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Stage and Spectacle - Three Films directed

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/renoir.htm
USA 1944 - 1950

The Golden Coach     French Cancan     Elena and Her Men

Near the end of his long and celebrated career, master filmmaker Jean Renoir indulged his lifelong obsession with life-as-theater and directed The Golden Coach (1953), French Cancan (1955), and Elena and Her Men (1956), three delirious films, infatuated with the past, love, and artifice. Awash in jubilant Technicolor, each film interweaves public display and private feelings through the talents of three immortal film icons—Anna Magnani, Jean Gabin, and Ingrid Bergman. The Criterion Collection is proud to present these three majestic films by Jean Renoir for the first time on DVD.out of

 

DVD Review:

Criterion Collection -  Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 241 -  Region 0 - NTSC
Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion Collection

Aspect Ratios:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Includes the films:
• The Golden Coach, 1953, 103 minutes
• French Cancan, 1955, 105 minutes
• Elena and her Men, 1956, 95 minutes
• Introductions to The Golden Coach and Elena and Her Men by Jean Renoir
• Video introduction to The Golden Coach by director Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Gangs of New York)
• Video introduction to French Cancan by director Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon)
• Part two of Jean Renoir: a two-part 1993 BBC documentary by David Thompson, featuring reflections on Renoir from his family, friends, collaborators, and admirers
• Collections of behind-the-scenes and publicity stills
• New and improved English subtitle translations for French Cancan and Elena and Her Men

• Three-part interview with Renoir conducted by French New Wave director Jacques Rivette (The Nun, La Belle noiseuse)
• A new essay by film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum discussing all three films
• Number of discs: 3

DVD Release Date: August 3, 2004

Cardboard Box with 3 plastic insert Cases

Comments:

Each individual release here is strong with great transfers, original mono audio. Included are a host of interesting extras including interviews, Renoir (and other) introductions, documentary, stills etc.  Perhaps the highlight (for me) is the three part Rivette interview with Renoir - magical!

I don't know that I can add too much more to the wonderful images below. Colors are noticeably vibrant and alive in a Technicolor-esq way (almost to the point of saturation in The Golden Coach). Subtitles are perfect! Contrast is at its zenith! Film grain is peeking out in all 3 films. One could write 16 paragraphs simply on the Extras.

Criterion continues to display to the DVD Production world what can be achieved. They are groundbreaking pioneers in the field of DVD authorship. In fact, I suspect we will have to use a different rating system for Criterion. It would seem unfair to hold other studios up to this benchmark of excellence. It seems impossible to give any less than out of  

Gary W. Tooze


Recommended Reading in French Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 My Life and My Films (Da Capo Paperback)
by Jean Renoir

French Cinema: A Student's Guide
by Philip Powrie, Keith Reader
Agnes Varda by Alison Smith Godard on Godard : Critical Writings by Jean-Luc Godard Jean Renoir (French Film Directors)
by Martin O'Shaughnessy
Robert Bresson (Cinematheque Ontario Monographs, No. 2)
by James Quandt
The Art of Cinema by Jean Cocteau French New Wave
by Jean Douchet, Robert Bonnono, Cedric Anger, Robert Bononno

Check out more in "The Library"


(aka 'La Carrozza d'oro' or 'Le Carrozza d'oro)
 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/renoir.htm

France / Italy 1953

Theatrical Release:  February 27th, 1953 - France

The Golden Coach (Le Carrosse d’or) is a ravishing eighteenth-century comic fantasy about a viceroy who receives an exquisite golden coach, and gives it to the tempestuous star of a touring commedia dell’arte company. Master director Jean Renoir’s sumptuous tribute to the theatre, presented here in the English version he favored, is set to the music of Antonio Vivaldi and built around vivacious and volatile star Anna Magnani. out of       

 

NOTE: Watched "The Golden Coach" last night, and the DVD is for the most part fine, but the final minutes, which are crucial to the full impact of the film, are ruined by deplorable mastering. The scene appears to be out of focus and the colors are washed out to the point of barely being able make out what is happening (especially where Camilla has come out front and is surrounded by children from the troupe). I believe Criterion made some kind of mastering error, because Martin Scorsese's introduction to the film explicitly refers to the wonderful restored ending of the film.

submitted by Louis Erwin (Thanks Louis!)

This is regarding the addendum to The Golden Coach. I don't think it is a mastering problem at all, as the writer seems to think it is. The grain structure in this segment is equal to that of the rest of the film, and the problem seems primarily to be in the center of the image. The edges, i.e. the curtain and the like, are relatively without problem. After watching this segment, I'm of the impression that the problem was with the original camera negative. I highly doubt that Criterion would allow for, or let slip by, such a glaring flaw. The color bleeding/flaring evident in this segment seems typical of a technical issue that was present either in the negative, perhaps with the synchronization of the three-strip process or in the printing of the film. I think that perhaps the strip filtered to capture magenta was loose, not loaded properly, or something to that effect, which is why you see the red in the image, affecting the skin tones as well, bounce around to and fro. Perhaps Criterion used the best source material available and the problem is simply local, but I even doubt that. Unless the folk at Criterion chime in, or someone more knowledgably on the subject, or film specifically, for that matter, I'll remain believing the problem in this segment is an uncorrectable flaw of the original film itself.

submitted by Jon Barli (Thanks Jon!)

 

Thanks, Gary. Incidentally, I have seen "The Golden Coach" in the theater twice, in the 80s and 90s, and there was no problem at all with the final scene, so I am skeptical of claims that the problem is in the source rather than the mastering. On a related note, I started watching "French Cancan" last night and was very disappointed in the poor contrast. I saw the film in the theater once in the 70s and once in the 90s, and there was no such problem - the colors were rich and gorgeous, not washed out as in the Criterion DVD.

I see that you posted comments from Jon Barli, who does not think the problem I mentioned is a mastering problem and that the problem was with the original camera negative. That explanation just does not seem plausible to me, because I have seen the English language version screened twice in theaters, and it simply did not suffer from the problem present on the Criterion DVD. The French language version, which I saw once, also did not exhibit the problem. Now, the film is available in VHS on Kino, and the cover at Amazon shows a banner reading "Martin Scorsese Presents," so I'm betting that it is the print Scorsese is talking about (in the DVD intro) as being wonderfully restored. A critical question would be whether the same problem was present in the VHS. If not, then Criterion simply bungled the job, either by poor mastering/restoring, or by not doing a good job in getting a source for the film. I wonder if any of your contacts can confirm if the VHS has the same problem?

Incidentally, apart from the problem under discussion, the DVD has other mastering problems, most notably fluctuating contrast levels, a problem I have seem with other of their releases (one of the worst being "Ikiru").

submitted by Louis Erwin (Thanks Louis!)

Posters

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Cover

(Can only be purchased in Renoir Boxset)

 

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Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 242 -  Region 0 - NTSC
Extras Introduction to the film by Jean Renoir

Video introduction by director Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Gangs of New York, The Age of Innocence)

A collection of behind-the-scenes and publicity stills
Runtime 1:42:24
Video

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.40 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

Chapters : 32

Bitrate:

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



DVD Menus

 


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http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/renoir.htm

France 1955

(aka "Only the French Can")

Theatrical Release:  April 27th, 1955 - France

Nineteenth-century Paris comes vibrantly alive in Jean Renoir’s exhilarating tale of the opening of the world-renowned Moulin Rouge. Jean Gabin plays the wily impresario Danglard, who makes the cancan all the rage while juggling the love of two beautiful women—an Egyptian belly-dancer and a naive working girl turned cancan star. This celebration of life, art and the City of Light—with a cameo by Edith Piaf—is a Technicolor tour de force by a master of modern cinema. out of    

 

NOTE:  Robert says: "I like this movie quite a lot and have shown in classes for many years, a number of times in a spectacular 35 mm IB tech print. The Criterion color is not so hot - not faithful to the original color, being kind of one-dimensional and lacking in the original richness very noticable in the 35 print. Clear and bright it is, but there was and should be more to it that that.

I'd be thrilled if my only problem was quibbling over the color - but the cuts are a disgrace and make the film impossible to watch as they distort the relationship of Gabin's character to that of Felix's and Felix's to her art. Somebody, somewhere must not have liked Maria Felix, as it is her (character establishing) scenes that are gone. The first is right after her cooch dance number near the start of the film where her relationship to Gabin and the industrialist guy is laid out, the second is when she has a conversation of the guy who owns the cafe they all visit after her performance and we see that she is one of the working class artist community. When the second scene disappeared as if it never existed I shut off the machine, and have never looked at anything else in the set, as the mutilation of French Can Can is so extreme. Felix plays one of the three main characters and the cuts not only ruin her role but totally distort it. If within 15 minutes two entire scenes (the two and only times to this point in the film when Felix's character has something significant to say) are cut, how many more of her moments are cut in what remains of the movie? Perhaps every time Maria Felix's character has something to say, the person who edited the print Criterion worked from also removed it?"

Posters

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Cover

(Can only be purchased in Renoir Boxset)

 

 

CLICK logo to order

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 243 -  Region 0 - NTSC
Extras Video introduction by director Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon)

Interview with production designer Max Douy

A collection of behind-the-scenes and publicity stills
Runtime 1:43:44
Video

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.45 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

Chapters : 26

Bitrate:

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



DVD Menus

 


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(aka 'Paris Does Strange Things' or 'Elena and Her Men' or 'Eliana e gli uomini')
 

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/renoir.htm

Italy / France 1956

(aka "Farewell My Lovely" )

Theatrical Release:  September 12th, 1956 - France

Set amidst the military maneuvers and Quatorze Juillet carnivals of turn-of-the-century France, Jean Renoir’s delirious romantic comedy stars Ingrid Bergman in her most sensual role as a beautiful, but impoverished Polish princess who drives men of all stations to fits of desperate love.out of     

Poster

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Cover

(Can only be purchased in Renoir Boxset)

 

 

CLICK logo to order

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 244 -  Region 0 - NTSC
Extras Introduction to the film by Jean Renoir

Part two of Jean Renoir: a two-part 1993 BBC documentary by David Thompson, featuring reflections on Renoir from his family, friends, collaborators, and admirers
Runtime 1:38:51
Video

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.0 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

Chapters : 24

Bitrate:

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



DVD Menus

 


Subtitle Sample

 

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

 

Recommended Reading in French Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 

The Films in My Life
by Francois Truffaut, Leonard Mayhew

French Cinema: A Student's Guide
by Philip Powrie, Keith Reader
Agnes Varda by Alison Smith Godard on Godard : Critical Writings by Jean-Luc Godard Notes on the Cinematographer by Robert Bresson Robert Bresson (Cinematheque Ontario Monographs, No. 2)
by James Quandt
The Art of Cinema by Jean Cocteau French New Wave
by Jean Douchet, Robert Bonnono, Cedric Anger, Robert Bononno
French Cinema: From Its Beginnings to the Present
by Remi Fournier Lanzoni
Truffaut: A Biography by Antoine do Baecque and Serge Toubiana

 

 

Check out more in "The Library"




 

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Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA

Many Thanks...