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Directed by Julien Duvivier
France 1946

 

Proud, eccentric, and antisocial, Monsieur Hire (Michel Simon) has always kept to himself. But after a woman turns up dead in the Paris suburb where he lives, he feels drawn to a pretty young newcomer to town (Viviane Romance), discovers that his neighbors are only too ready to suspect the worst of him, and is framed for the murder. Based on a novel by Georges Simenon, Julien Duvivier’s first film after his return to France from Hollywood finds the acclaimed poetic realist applying his consummate craft to darker, moodier ends. Propelled by its two deeply nuanced lead performances, the tensely noirish Panique exposes the dangers of the knives-out mob mentality, delivering as well a pointed allegory for the behavior of Duvivier’s countrymen during the war.

***

For his first French film in nearly a decade (he'd spent the war years in Hollywood), filmmaker Julien Duvivier chose to adapt Les Fiançailles de Monsieur Hire, a novel by Georges Simenon. Panique, as Duvivier's version was titled, is a twisted tale of murder, subterfuge and revenge from "Beyond." Middle-aged loner Monsieur Hire (Michel Simon) falls for his neighbor Alice (Viviane Romance) only to be framed for the murder committed by Alice's lover Alfred (Paul Bernard). The ending suggests that the actual culprits are going to get their well-deserved comeuppance, though exoneration comes a shade too late for the luckless Monsieur Hire. The Simenon book was filmed again in 1989, as the excellent Monsieur Hire, directed by Patrice Leconte, a film as bleakly pessimistic as the original, more in keeping with the style and tone of the literary source.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: September 1946 (Venice Film Festival)

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Criterion Collection - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Also available, on Blu-ray, from Criteion in the UK:

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine #955 - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:38:40.915       
Video

1.37:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,550,891,156 bytes

Feature: 29,547,878,400 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.78 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

LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion Collection

 

1.37:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,550,891,156 bytes

Feature: 29,547,878,400 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.78 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• The Art of Subtitling, a new short documentary by Bruce Goldstein, founder and copresident of Rialto Pictures, about the history of subtitles (20:56)
• New interview with author Pierre Simenon, the son of novelist Georges Simenon (15:41)
Conversation from 2015 between critics Guillemette Odicino and Eric Libiot about director Julien Duvivier and the film’s production history (20:08)
• Rialto Pictures rerelease trailer (02:07)
• New English subtitle translation by Duvivier expert Lenny Borger
• PLUS: Essays by film scholar James Quandt and Borger
• New cover by Katherine Lam


Blu-ray Release Date:
December 18th, 2018
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 14

 

 

Comments:

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

This is just another extraordinary transfer from Criterion, with a new 2K digital restoration. The dual-layered Blu-ray houses the 1.37:1 image with a maxed out bitrate. The image quality is rather striking, with a very strong amount of detail, except for purposefully soft-lensed sequences. There is a healthy amount of grain and very few instances of damage. The contrast levels are also very strong on this Blu-ray, with a wide variety of blacks and greys.

Equally as impressive as the image is the audio transferred via an uncompressed monaural soundtrack. This 24-bit 1.0 track is presented as a linear PCM. Dialogue is quite audible (though my French is a little rusty) and the music is nicely present in the background. The score is thanks to composer Jean Wiener (Au Hasard Balthazar) and reminds one of a carnival. There are optional English subtitles (a brand new translation--see below) on this Region-A / B
Blu-ray.

Criterion provide a handful of fascinating extras on this
Blu-ray, starting with an in-depth look at "The Art of Subtitling". This 21-minute documentary has Bruce Goldstein (founder and co-president of Rialto Pictures) discussing the history and purpose of subtitles. Though it may sound a little dry, this is an illuminating piece, especially when Goldstein gets into how subtitles are rarely exact translations due to the limits of 2 lines and 40 characters, not to mention incidental dialogue. Speaking of subtitles, this Blu-ray features a new English subtitle translation by Duvivier expert Lenny Borger. Next up is a 16-minute interview with Pierre Simenon, the son of novelist Georges Simenon. The novelist speaks about his father's work from pulp fiction to self described "real novels". Simenon mentions certain aspects of a main character's paraphilia that was interestingly left out of the film adaptation of Panique. "Guillemette Odicino and Eric Libiot" is a 2015 20-minute discussion between the two critics discussing the late director Julien Duvivier. The two also discuss the film's production history. Also on this Blu-ray is the film's re-release trailer from Rialto Pictures. Essays by film scholar James Quandt and Lenny Borger also appear in the booklet. There is a new cover by Katherine Lam.

Criterion's
Blu-ray of Julien Duvivier's "Panique" is superb. I was so impressed with the film. The new 2k transfer is quite an achievement, and the extras enhance the value. Highly recommended!

Colin Zavitz

 


Menus / Extras

 


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Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

    

Also available, on Blu-ray, from Criteion in the UK:

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine #955 - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray


 


 

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