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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Pierre Etaix - 5 Features / 3 shorts [Blu-ray]



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: C.A.P.A.C.

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #655



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime Disc One: 1:38:15 (Yoyo), 1:24:40 (Suitor), 1:00:45 (Pierre Etaix, un destin anime)

Runtime Disc Two: 1:27:27 (Le Grande Amour), 1:16:31 (Land of Milk and Honey), 1:08:04 (As Long As You've Got Your Health)

Disc One Size: 48,229,485,581 bytes

Disc Two Size: 47,172,075,045 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.97 Mbps / 21.47 Mbps

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: April 23rd, 2013



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1 (shorts), 1.66:1 (features)

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



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



English (SDH), none



• New digital restorations of all five features and three short films

• Shorts: Rupture (12:45), Happy Anniversary (13:55) and Feeling Good (14:56)
New interview with director Pierre Etaix (13:55)
New video introductions by Etaix to seven of the films;
Suitor (3:59), Yoyo (4:45), As Long As You've Got Your Health (3:44), Le Grande Amour (6:03), Land of Milk and Honey (5:51)

Introduction to shorts (5:28)
Pierre Etaix, un destin anime (2010), a portrait of the life and work of Etaix (1:00:45)
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic David Cairns





Description: A French comedy master whose films went unseen for decades as a result of legal tangles, director-actor Pierre Etaix is a treasure the cinematic world has rediscovered and embraced with relish. His work can be placed on the spectrum of classic physical comedy with that of Jacques Tati and Jerry Lewis, but it also stands alone in its good- natured delicacy. These films, influenced by Etaix’s experiences as a circus acrobat and clown and by the silent film comedies he adored, are elegantly deadpan, but as an on-screen presence, Etaix radiates warmth. This collection includes all of his films, five features, The Suitor, Yoyo, As Long as You’ve Got Your Health, Le grand amour, and Land of Milk and Honey—most of them collaborations with the great screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière—and three shorts, Rupture, the Oscar-winning Happy Anniversary, and Feeling Good. Not one of these is anything less than a bracing and witty delight.



The Film:

Pierre Étaix (French: born 23 November 1928) is a French clown, comedian and filmmaker. Étaix made a series of acclaimed short- and feature-length films in the 1960s, many of them co-written by influential screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière. He has won an Academy Award. Due to a legal dispute with a distribution company, these films have been unavailable for a long period. They have now been restored and are available again.

As an actor, assistant director and gag writer, Étaix has worked with the likes of Jacques Tati, Robert Bresson, Nagisa Oshima, Otar Iosseliani and Jerry Lewis, who cast the comedian in his unreleased film The Day the Clown Cried. Influenced by Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Harry Langdon, Max Linder, Charlie Chaplin, and Jacques Tati.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

Comedian, illustrator, gagman, film director - Pierre Étaix has done it all, and yet he remains largely unknown outside his homeland. Janus Films is proud to correct that situation with 8 new prints: five features and three shorts produced between 1961 and 1971, all beautifully restored in 35mm. Praised by directors as diverse as Truffaut, Bresson, Godard, and David Lynch, Étaix's films combine exquisite physical comedy with inventive sight gags and a slightly surreal visual sensibility. This retrospective is an unprecedented opportunity to discover a neglected master of comic filmmaking.

Excerpt from Janus Films located HERE

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

Criterion have put together a two-disc Blu-ray package.  Both discs are dual-layered and offer the films at a healthy bitrate.  They are prefaced with details including this statement:


I thought they all looked fine and I while I could see a few minor inconsistencies - there was nothing that distracted me from my enjoyment of the presentations. The 1.33:1 black and white shorts exhibited very good contrast with a touch of green in one of them and the colors in those (2) feature-length films were bright with a relative dark cast. Yes, these have had some digitization in the transfer but it is nothing outrageous or untoward. I suspect Criterion's discretion has encouraged a clean, consistent 1080P image in-motion. Certain detail is impressive. This Blu-rays have no unacceptable flaws and offer, not only the ability to see the films but, in pleasing and consistent video presentations. I enjoyed my viewing very much.















Audio :

Nothing special in Criterion's audio transfer - a straightforward linear PCM mono track in original French at 1152 kbps. I suspect there has been some clean-up there must I noticed no fatal flaws, drop-outs or hiss. It's flat but clear and there are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.


Extras :

Criterion include three wonderful Etaix shorts in the package: Rupture (12:45), Happy Anniversary (13:55) and Feeling Good (14:56). There re is also a new, 14-minute, interview with director Pierre Etaix - as well as new, healthy, introductions by Etaix to seven of the films; Suitor (3:59), Yoyo (4:45), As Long As You've Got Your Health (3:44), Le Grande Amour (6:03), Land of Milk and Honey (5:51) and 5.5 minutes for two of the shorts. We get the 2010 documentary portrait of the life and work of Etaix entitled Pierre Etaix, un destin anime - running just over an hour. Included in the case are some liner notes featuring an essay by critic David Cairns.



I could definitely see the influences of both Tati and Keaton in Pierre Etaix work. It was very amusing and in certain spots absolutely hilarious.  The Criterion Blu-ray package is a real keepsake representing unique film experiences - unavailable for so long. These are films you can watch at any time - and the shorts would make wonderful presentations for a film night with friends over. Strongly recommended ! 

Gary Tooze

April 6th, 2012


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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