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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Un chapeau de paille d'Italie" )

 

directed by René Clair
France / Germany 19
28

 

René Clair’s sparkling comedy of manners is a witty, delicate, inspired satire on propriety and behavior in the bourgeois mind-set. Transposing the action of the perennial stage farce from 1851 to a summer wedding day in 1895 – the birth of cinema – Clair recalls detail, costume and design captured by the first movies. The Italian Straw HatUn Chapeau de paille d’Italie – triumphantly survives its 1927 journey from stage to screen; a dozen eccentric characters, superbly acted, try desperately to keep up appearances in the face of disaster, their attitudes, concerns and gestures exquisitely stylized under Clair’s deft orchestration. The sets and costumes, too are a charming combination of the suffocating and the exact.

***

THE ITALIAN STRAW HAT was first released in English territories in 1930 as The Horse Ate the Hat. Albatros seems to have prepared the English version at the time of production, since the English inserts (such as Lt. Tavernier’s note) match the French ones, but a whole reel of the best scenes was hacked out prior to English distribution. This edition, produced by David Shepard, was mastered in high definition at Ascent Media in Burbank, California from the vintage 35mm English negative, with all the missing and truncated scenes restored from an original European print. The film is presented at 19 frames per second, the speed used at the French premiere as confirmed by the original printed program.

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Release date: January 13th, 1928

DVD Review: Flicker Alley - Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution

Flicker Alley

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:45:20
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.9 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.

Bitrate

Disc 1

Audio Silent (Dolby Digital 2.0) - Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra or Pianist Philip Carli
Subtitles English / French or Spanish translated title cards
Features Release Information:
Studio: Flicker Alley

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• La Tour (Eiffel Tower) (1928) - A short film by René Clair - 11:26
• Noce en Gouguette (Fun After the Wedding) (1907) A film by Ferdinand Zecca, typical of the films that inspired Clair - 9:05
Booklet
• Hats Off! – A new booklet essay by Lenny Borger
• The Italian Straw Hat – A new booklet essay by Iris Barry
• Notes On the Score – by Rodney Sauer 

DVD Release Date: April 6th, 2010
Transparent Keep Case

Chapters 16

 

Comments

Flicker Alley have brought us another silent masterpiece. This farcical adapted comedy works well over 80 years later. It's a hoot! Mastered from surviving elements - the image quality is exported well via another strong DVD production from Jeffery Masino and David Shepard. Due to the frame-rate conversion the transfer is interlaced - cleaned through Teranex Mastering. This has options for English, French or Spanish title card translations. There is no tinting and while damage, obviously, exists - it is usually frame-specific. Detail and contrast are very well-rendered the single dual-layered disc.

 

The audio, gives the option, in Dolby Digital 2.0, of either the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra or Pianist Philip Carli. Sampling both I found Carli's appropriate for my viewing. Extras include a 11.5-minute short film by René Clair La Tour (Eiffel Tower) from 1928 and the 9-minute Noce en Gouguette (Fun After the Wedding) - the 1907 film by Ferdinand Zecca, as a representation of the typical films that inspired Clair. There is a liner notes booklet with Hats Off! – a new essay by Lenny Borger, an Iris Barry's piece and some Notes On the Score – by Rodney Sauer. On the disc, in PDF format, we get an English version of The Leghorn Hat, by Eugene Labiche and Marc Michel published by The Poet Lore Company in 1917. Also in the same publication is an essay by Clair Vincent Chesley, M.A. entitled Eugene Labiche, Vaudevillist Member of the Academy.

It didn't take me long to get into the mood once I started this disc. It's a lot of fun - looks and sounds exceptional considering the age and stacked with interesting supplements. Fans of Flicker Alley know the type of class DVD productions thee guys produce and this is yet another - a must for silent film aficionados.

 - Gary Tooze

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Flicker Alley

Region 0 - NTSC

 





 

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