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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Rififi')

directed by Jules Dassin
France 1955

A seminal work of crime filmmaking that lead the young critic Francois Truffaut to declare the best Film Noir I have ever seen, Jules Dassin's Rififi [Du rififi chez les hommes] has influenced films as diverse as Reservoir Dogs and Oceans Eleven since its release.

Following, Tony le Stephanois (Jean Servais), a master thief fresh out of jail, wearing a harried look and suffering ill health he refuses to be involved with crime, until he finds his girlfriend shacked up with a rival gangster. With little reason to keep living he plans a final job. Tony sets about finding his crew and meticulously planning the job; a robbery of the jewellery store Mappin & Webb. Rififi revolves around the central heist, famed for its finite detail and incredible tension, but the drama does not end at the heist like so many other crime films. Dassins film is a humanist tale that hinges on the loyalty among thieves and draws on the fatalistic, doom laden lives common to crooks and thieves in pulp literature.

***

After making such American noir classics as The Naked City and Brute Force, blacklisted director Jules Dassin went to Paris and embarked on his masterpiece: a twisting, turning tale of four ex-cons who hatch one last glorious heist in the City of Lights. At once naturalistic and expressionistic, this melange of suspense, brutality, and dark humor was an international hit and earned Dassin the Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Posters (Click to enlarge)

Theatrical Release: April 15th, 1955 - France

Reviews                                           More Reviews                                   DVD Reviews 

Comparison:

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Madman Entertainment (Australia) Region 0 - PAL vs. Gaumont - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Arrow Academy (Dual Format) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray

PAL DVD screenshots courtesy of Ole

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Madman - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Gaumont - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Arrow Academy - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine #115
Region 1
- NTSC
Madman Entertainment 
Region 0 - PAL
Gaumont 
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Arrow Academy 
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Criterion Collection, spine #115 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:58:24 1:57:48 (No PAL Speed Up?) 1:58:05.666 1:58:13.127 1:58:24.514
Video Original Aspect Ratio (Standard) - 1.37:1
Average Bitrate: 6.71 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
Original Aspect Ratio (Standard) - 1.37:1
Average Bitrate:  6.21 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Disc Size: 24,576,843,967 bytes

Feature Size: 21,061,693,440 bytes

Average Bitrate: 21.70 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Disc Size: 45,143,228,997 bytes

Feature Size: 32,754,892,800 bytes

Average Bitrate: 32.95 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Disc Size: 43,969,427,562 bytes

Feature Size: 34,905,815,040 bytes

Average Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes

Bitrate Criterion:

Bitrate

Madman Entertainment

 

Bitrate Gaumont 
Region FREE -
Blu-ray

 

Bitrate Arrow Academy 
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray

 

Bitrate Criterion Blu-ray

 

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Dub - English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

DTS-HD Master Audio French 865 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 865 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit) LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
DUB: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Subtitles (White) English or none (Yellow) English (removable when the film is running) French or none English or none English or none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Edition Details:

• Production notes
• Theatrical trailer
• New digital transfer, with fully restored picture and sound
• Exclusive video interview with director Jules Dassin (30:00/ in 4 separate chapters)
• Production design drawings and stills (69)
• New and improved English subtitle translation

 

DVD Release Date: April 24, 2001
Keep Case

Chapters 24

Release Information:

Madman Entertainment (Australia)

 

Discographic Information:
Region free (0) PAL

Layers: Dual

Edition Details:

  • Director interview (28:39)

  • Animated menu (The dancers)
  • Trailer (2:40)
  • 15 textpages of production notes
  • Trailers of 3 other MadMan releases: Innocence, Paris, Texas and Walkabout
  • Photo Montage: 63 stills

DVD Release Date: April 2002
Click Case

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio: Gaumont

 

Disc Size: 24,576,843,967 bytes

Feature Size: 21,061,693,440 bytes

Average Bitrate: 21.70 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Edition Details:

• Jules Dassin: l'elegance de noir (33:57)
• Bande-announce

 

Blu-ray Release Date: February 22nd, 2011
Standard
Blu-ray Case with cardboard slipcase

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Arrow

 

Disc Size: 45,143,228,997 bytes

Feature Size: 32,754,892,800 bytes

Average Bitrate: 32.95 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Edition Details:

Filmed introduction by Ginette Vincendeau, French cinema critic, scholar and author (24:08)
Interview with Jules Dassin (29:53)
Q&A with Jules Dassin at the BFI Southbank, London (37:10)
Original Theatrical Trailer (2:51)
A comprehensive booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by writer and filmmaker David Cairns, author Alastair Phillips (Rififi: French Film Guide), Francois Truffaut and John Trevelyan.
Artwork presentation packaging including three original posters and a newly commissioned artwork cover 

 

Blu-ray Release Date: May 9th, 2011

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Disc Size: 43,969,427,562 bytes

Feature Size: 34,905,815,040 bytes

Average Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

 

Edition Details:
• 
Interview with director Jules Dassin from 2000 (28:42)
• Stills Gallery
• Trailer (2:45)
• Optional English-dubbed soundtrack
• One Blu-ray and one DVD, with all content available in both formats
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic J. Hoberman


Blu-ray Release Date: January 14th, 2014
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 24

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - January 13': So Criterion take their kick-at-the-can for Dassin's noir-ish crime thriller. Their 1080P is slightly darker and more technically robust than the Arrow (with a max'ed out video bitrate) - it also shows quite a bit more information in the frame - on all 4 sides - than any of the other digital editions. While I have no proof - I suspect it is the most theatrically accurate - the contrast shows a richer, texture-filled image that just reeks of  'dark cinema'.

Criterion's linear PCM mono track sounds exactly like the Arrow but they also offer an English DUB (same as the old SD) but not in lossless. Of course, English subtitles are available on the region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Extras duplicate the Criterion DVD from 2001 with the 1/2 hour interview with director Jules Dassin from 2000 (also found on the Arrow Blu-ray which trumps the Criterion digital supplements) There is a Stills Gallery and trailer. This is another dual-format edition with one Blu-ray and one DVD, with all content available in both formats and included is a booklet featuring an essay by critic J. Hoberman.

I could watch Rififi yearly for the rest of my life. One of many Dassin flics I could say the same about. Strongly recommended!

***

ADDITION: Arrow Academy Region 'B' Blu-ray: April 2011: The Arrow image is excellent - a significantly higher file size and bitrate but looking from the same strong source gives the UK 1080P Blu-ray transfer the nod with a nice sheen of textured grain and the equally clean and impressive appearance with strong detail and contrast. It may be slightly darker than the Gaumont Blu-ray - or that French disc may have some minor brightness boosting. Without being picky - both discs produce strong visuals but technically the Arrow Academy is superior appearing, in my opinion, a shade more film-like.

For audio - the UK disc goes with a linear PCM track in original mono. In sampling I couldn't note much difference between the two lossless tracks. The most important attribute to the Arrow is the optional English subtitles (see sample below) but the disc is coded region 'B'-locked.

No commentary but the Arrow has some excellent extras including an introduction by Ginette Vincendeau, French cinema critic, scholar and author for almost 25-minutes, a 1/2 interview with Jules Dassin and a 37-minute Q&A with the director at the BFI Southbank, London. There is also an original theatrical trailer (2:51) and a comprehensive booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by writer and filmmaker David Cairns, author Alistair Phillips (Rififi: French Film Guide), Francois Truffaut and John Trevelyan. The Artwork presentation packaging includes three original posters and a newly commissioned artwork cover. There is also a PAL - Region 2 DVD included in the 'Dual Format' release.

NOTE: The enclosed DVD has the features and some of the extras but omits the Jules Dassin interview and the Q&A with the director at the BFI Southbank, London which are exclusive to the Blu-ray.

Wonderful package for fans of the film and Dassin - along with the Masters of Cinema Antonioni packages this is one of the best Blu-rays to come out of the UK so far this year. Absolutely recommended!

***

ADDITION: Gaumont Region FREE Blu-ray: March 2011: Okay - short story the single-layered Gaumont Blu-ray is region FREE... but has no English subtitles (but does offer French ones). We will assume the upcoming -in May 2011 - Arrow (UK) Blu-ray HERE will be of similar strong transfer quality (solid detail and minimal artifacts) and hopefully will also be region FREE. We intend on adding it to this comparison as soon as it is released.

***

ON THE DVDs: Although it appears as though the Australian Madman version has duplicated the Criterion extras they certainly couldn't duplicate the image quality. Hazy and washed-out the Madman release, from an unconverted NTSC source - see 'ghosting', displays green and sepia hues. The Criterion on the other hand is sharper (see the Umbrella top in capture #3 but has some edge-enhancement). My other complaint with the Criterion was  two reels were out of sync with the sound being slightly early - This was corrected in a 2nd printing. Picky, I know. The Australian release has inaccurate and incomplete sub-titles. Go with the Criterion all the way on this one.

Aside: Unclear throughout the narrative of the film, the cabaret song in the show that details what the word "rififi" means 'for the rough and tumble', as an active sexual reference.


Recommended Reading in Film Noir (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

(Criterion left, Madman Entertainment  right)
DVD Menu

 

Gaumont - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Arrow Academy - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle sample

 

1) Arrow Academy - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Madman - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Gaumont - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Arrow Academy - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Madman - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Gaumont - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Arrow Academy - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Madman - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Gaumont - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Arrow Academy - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - edge-enhancement halos - SECOND

3) Madman - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) Gaumont - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Arrow Academy - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Madman - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Gaumont - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Arrow Academy - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Madman - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Gaumont - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Arrow Academy - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Criterion Blu-ray Captures


Report Card:

 

Image:

 Criterion Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-rays (Criterion also offers English DUB)

Extras:

Arrow Blu-ray

 

Box Covers

 

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine #115
Region 1 - NTSC
Madman Entertainment 
Region 0 - PAL
Gaumont 
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Arrow Academy 
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Criterion Collection, spine #115 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

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