directed by Jean Renoir
USA 1943

 

Renoir's second American film, made in the same brutal year as Stalingrad and El Alamein, is one of his quietest and least startling, featuring Laughton as a timid village schoolteacher 'somewhere in occupied Europe' who muddles his way to martyrdom. Both Laughton - happier in this role than many - and O'Hara are fine, but the film's main attractions remain the elegant Renoir set-ups (some recalling La BÍte Humaine) and the script's unusual ethical stance: not that Nazism was wrong because it denied free enterprise, but that it was wrong because it stood against the possibility of Socialism, human dignity, and political emancipation.

Excerpt of review from Time Out's film guide located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: May 7th, 1943

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DVD Comparison:

Blackhorse Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL vs. Montparnasse (RKO Collection) - Region 2 - PAL

(Blackhorse Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Montparnasse (RKO Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Blackhorse Entertainment

Region 0 - PAL

Montparnasse
Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:43:00 1:43:01
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.43 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

4:3 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.20 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

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

Bitrate:

 

Blackhorse Entertainment

 

Bitrate:

 

Montparnasse (RKO Collection)

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital mono)

English, French (Dolby Digital 2.0)

Subtitles None French, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Blackhorse Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Blackhorse catalogue

DVD Release Date: July 2nd, 2007
Transparent Keep Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Montparnasse

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 4:3

Edition Details:
• Introduction by Serge Bromberg

 

DVD Release Date: September 16th, 2003
Slim Case

Chapters 15

 

Comments

Addition: Montparnasse

I'm happy to report that Gary's suspicions proved correct. The Montparnasse edition of the film is a significant improvement over the Blackhorse edition. Image-wise, the difference is stark, with the Montparnasse providing a clearer and crisper picture with more satisfying contrast. What's more, as you can see in all of the screen captures, the Blackhorse print has been cropped on all four sides. According to Gary, the Blackhorse has poor sound, but the sound on the Montparnasse edition is satisfactory without any distortions or other interference. The only extra on the disc is an introduction to the film from Serge Bromberg. Sadly, since I don't know French and there are no English subtitles on this disc, I can't comment on it. However, the choice is still clear, fans of the film should opt for the far superior Montparnasse edition.

 - Brian Montgomery

ON THE BLACKHORSE (UK) DVD: There is a …ditions Montparnasse from France available HERE, but I don't know that is any significant improvement but perhaps we can compare one day and see.

 

The only things this Blackhorse DVD transfer has going for it - is that it is progressive from all I can tell. But this is only at certain times as I do notice some combing here and there - so I can't be positive about the lack of progression. There appears to be contrast boosting and the image is fairly weak with noise and haziness. This is one of those examples of amazing film - terrible DVD image. I don't recall viewing anything from Blackhorse before but this appears to be akin to a 'Public Domain jobbie' transfer - it is that weak. It is single-layered and although the source material is probably poor the manipulations are not appreciated. It has no subtitle options and audio is as similarly weak as the image.  

The supplements are only some adverts for other editions in the Blackhorse catalogue. The film is typical Renoir - wonderful - subtly potent and memorable. I wouldn't say Laughton or O'Hara are at their best performances and are somewhat overshadowed by the film itself. Although I don't own the Montparnasse - I'll recommend that for price and, hopefully, an improved appearance. It came out in 2003. This Blackhorse is barely watchable but is far too expensive for what you are getting digital-wise. We need Criterion to step up here and do this marvelous films some justice.

Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus
(Blackhorse Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Montparnasse (RKO Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Blackhorse Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Montparnasse (RKO Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Blackhorse Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Montparnasse (RKO Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Blackhorse Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Montparnasse (RKO Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Blackhorse Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Montparnasse (RKO Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Blackhorse Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Montparnasse (RKO Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Blackhorse Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Montparnasse (RKO Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Blackhorse Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Montparnasse (RKO Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Montparnasse

Sound:

Montparnasse

Extras: Montparnasse (In all likelihood)
Menu: Blackhorse

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Blackhorse Entertainment

Region 0 - PAL

Montparnasse
Region 2 - PAL

 

 


 

 





 

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Gary Tooze

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