Simone Signoret, Anton Walbrook, and Simone Simon lead a roundelay of French stars in Max Ophuls's delightful, acerbic adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler's controversial turn-of-the-century play Reigen. Soldiers, chambermaids, poets, prostitutes, aristocrats—all are on equal footing in this multicharacter merry-go-round of love and infidelity, directed with a sweeping gaiety as knowingly frivolous as it is enchanting, and shot with Ophuls's trademark mellifluous cinematography.
Theatrical Release: September 27th, 1950
DVD Review: Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
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|Distribution||Criterion Collection - Spine #443 - Region 1 - NTSC|
All 3 Criterion
Average Bitrate: 7.47 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||French (Dolby Digital 1.0)|
commentary featuring film scholar Susan White, author of
The Cinema of
The Criterion is pictureboxed transferred (see our full description of 'pictureboxing' in our Kind Hearts and Coronets review) with a black border circumventing the framed image.
I don't yet own the Second Sight DVD of La Ronde, HERE, but expect we will compare it with this Criterion in the future. This image transfer has some noise infiltration and contrast, usually a hallmark of Criterion quality, is somewhat dull and flickers a bit. There are some light scratches visible here and there. Detail is weak. I fully expect that the source for La Ronde, like the other Ophuls films offered, is not pristine and would benefit from a thorough restoration. I'm interested to see the UK edition to appreciate/critique this NTSC transfer more. Hopefully, the screen captures below will give you a decent idea of how it will look on your system.
Audio is an unremarkable mono track that does the job well enough to appreciate this masterpiece film. It has optional English subtitles (sample below).
Supplements are stacked starting with a professional and intelligent audio commentary by film scholar Susan White - who is the author of The Cinema of Max Ophuls. Great information, presented very well in a concise clear dissertation. It suffers by being a bit dry but otherwise wonderful to listen to. We have a short, less than 7-minute, interview with Max Ophuls's son, Academy Award–winning filmmaker Marcel Ophuls recorded at Cannes 2008 specifically for the Criterion Collection. Marcel discusses La Ronde in the context of his father's legacy. Another excerpt interview with actor Daniel Gélin (12:34) (who worked with Hitchcock, Cocteau and Louis Malle) from 1989 by Martina Muller where he discusses his work on La Ronde. There is a very good 35-minute interview with film scholar Alan Williams who has spent much of his life studying the films of Max Ophuls, especially La Ronde. He is the author of, the long out-of-print, Max Ophuls and the Cinema of Desire Style: Style and Spectacle in Four Films, 1948-1955 and his input is very much appreciated. I'm sure he could have also given a splendid commentary. We are given some scanned correspondence between Sir Laurence Olivier and Heinrich Schnitzler (the playwright's son), illustrating the controversy surrounding the source play and finally an 18-page liner notes booklet with photos and a new essay by film critic Terrence Rafferty.
I can't say I'm overwhelmed with the image quality but feel fully sated by the fantastic extra features which lean this toward being an essential DVD buoyed by the brilliance of the film.