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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

("Des femmes disparaissent" aka "The Road to Shame" or "Girls Disappear" or "Women Disappear")

 

Directed by Édouard Molinaro
France 1959

 

When Béatrice (Estella Blain) decides to spend an evening with a group of wealthy playboys, her working class fiancé, Pierre (Robert Hossein), follows her and exposes a gang of organized criminals. Intercepted by henchmen, Pierre is threatened, beaten, and framed for murder. But he refuses to give up, and remains determined to infiltrate the criminal stronghold, liberate Béatrice from the sex traffickers, and clear himself of murder. French genre filmmakers of the late 1950s, such as Édouard Molinaro, have typically been overshadowed by those of the nouvelle vague. But this exquisite restoration of The Road to Shame (Des femmes disparaissent), supported by the Centre National du Cinema, allows for the overdue appreciation of this fine example post-noir European hardboiled cinema.

***

Pierre Rossi and Béatrice live in the same block of flats in Marseille and love each other. One night, Béatrice leaves her apartment. Pierre knows that his fiancée goes to a rendezvous, but she would not tell him more than just that. Worried, Pierre follows her but he is attacked...

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 1st, 1959

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Review: Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:28:04.112
Video

1.66:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,754,298,505 bytes

Feature: 22,380,638,208 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.94 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio French 1959 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1959 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

1.66:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,754,298,505 bytes

Feature: 22,380,638,208 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.94 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary by film historian Adrian Martin


Blu-ray Release Date: February 6th, 2024

Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 9

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Kino Blu-ray (February 2024): Kino have transferred Édouard Molinaro's The Road to Shame to Blu-ray. A text screen before the presentation tells us "The digitization, image and sound restorations were carried out by the L21 laboratory. The image restoration work was carried out from the 35mm negative, the sound was restored from the optical sound negative." The 1080P is quite strong - impressive for the majority if looking marginally faded in terms of contrast for certain sequences. Detail is quite pleasing. Grain is fine and consistent. I loved how this looked on my system - a very pleasant surprise.

NOTE: We have added 80 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Kino use a DTS-HD Master dual-mono track (24-bit) in the original French language. The Road to Shame has many aggressive conflicts - often hand-to-hand that come through with authentically modest bass. There is a delightfully jazz score by the American drummer and bandleader Art Blakey (his only film composition credit) - these include Générique (the 'Main Theme') written and performed by Art Blakey, Jymie Merritt, Bobby Timmons, Benny Golson and Lee Morgan (as 'Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers') and include many other pieces; Pierre Et Béatrice, Nasol, Tom, Poursuite Dans La Ruelle, Ne Chuchote Pas etc. It's true jazz that adds a great period French atmosphere. Kino offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

The Kino Blu-ray offers a new commentary by DVDBeaver favorite Adrian Martin. I'm so glad that it is Adrian as there is so little written about this film that his input is highly appreciated. He talks about this as a more commercial effort during the Nouvelle Vague, Molinaro's 'walk in' close-ups, point-of-view camerawork, The Road to Shame relationship to classic film noir, split diopter lens shots, the film's violence, the excellent jazz score - plus the 'hard bop' style of jazz, the film representing one night (a compressed time frame)... amongst many other topics. I certainly enjoyed Adrian's commentary. There are no other extras.

Édouard Molinaro's The Road to Shame starts with a public service text screen that states (Google translated) "Every year, throughout the world, and even here, thousands of young women disappear. Perhaps more aware of the formidable tricks of women traffickers, would it not be had they have not fallen into their sordid traps. It is only by revealing the methods of the bandits that it will be possible to defeat them: by showing without vain hypocrisy how the most odious of constraints, by means of learned temptations, followed by dramatic violence. To conceal the truth would be to conceal the seriousness of the danger and thereby remain defenseless against the most vile of trafficking." - Henri Torrès. He was a French trial lawyer / politician, and a prolific writer on political and legal matters. Despite the moralizing opening tone - the film, itself, it quite impressive. I found it a surprisingly strong thriller. As well as directing La Cage Aux Folles, you may recognize Édouard Molinaro's name from two 'French Film Noirs' that we recently reviewed (in, not surprisingly, Kino's French Noir Collection collection!); 1958's Back to the Wall (Le dos au mur) and Witness in the City (Un témoin dans la ville.) Some might recognize innocent babe Estella Blain from The Diabolical Dr. Z. (she sadly committed suicide on New Year's Day 1982 at age 51) and Magali Noël from Fellini's Amarcord. Robert Hossein went on to direct (and star in) pasta-westerns like Cemetery Without Crosses and portray the husband in much of the Angelique series. I think that The Road to Shame's human trafficking theme is lesser-addressed subtext - taking a backseat to the crime-drama and heroic would-be boyfriend in a noir-ish actioner. So, where have I been? This film is too good, or at the very least, too above average, not to be a part of the French 'dark-cinema' discussion until now. Are there more like this? Count me in. The Kino Blu-ray with Adrian Martin commentary gets full marks. Paint me as absolutely impressed.

Gary Tooze

 


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Distribution Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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