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Diary of a Chambermaid [Blu-ray]
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: United Artists
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 18,702,103,492 bytes
Feature Size: 18,648,078,336 bytes
Video Bitrate: 26.20 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: February 26th, 2013
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 817 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 817 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
Description: Legendary director Jean Renoir's film version of Octave Mirbeau's novel, Diary of a Chambermaid was adapted for the screen by Burgess Meredith. Paulette Goddard (Modern Times) plays the title character, a sexy and saucy servant named Celestine, whose forthrightness has a curious effect on a wealthy Parisian household. Determined to elevate her lot in life, Celestine uses her unsubtle charms to beguile the master of the household. Burgess Meredith (Rocky) delivers an astonishing performance as Captain Mauger, the bizarre and shell-shocked neighbor and Judith Anderson (Rebecca) is equally great as the mistress of the household. Luis Bunuel remade Diary of a Chambermaid in 1964 with Jeanne Moreau in the lead.
In its own strange way, even more genuinely surreal than Buñuel's later version of Mirbeau's novel about a keyhole-peeking chambermaid whose arrival in the household of a decadent and eccentric aristocratic family wreaks havoc. What's so bizarre about Renoir's adaptation (scripted and produced by Meredith, then husband of Goddard) is the sheer artificiality of both setting and performances, emphasising the power struggles that develop as a theatre of deceit and delusion. Less bitterly savage than Buñuel, but equally sharp in its satire, it stands on an otherwise uncharted point between La Règle du Jeu and, say, The Golden Coach.Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE
Based on the novel by Octave Mirbeau, Diary of a Chambermaid is a noble experiment: a "Continental" sex drama with a virtually all-Anglo cast. Paulette Goddard plays the title character, a saucy servant named Celestine whose forthrightness has a curious effect on a wealthy Parisian household. Determined to elevate her lot in life, Celestine uses her unsubtle charms to beguile her wishy-washy master, Monsieur Lanlaire (Reginald Owen), and Lanlaire's wastrelly son, Georges (Hurd Hatfield). She also inadvertently inspires the lovesick valet Joseph (Francis Lederer) to steal from the family and kill Georges. Burgess Meredith, Goddard's then-husband, delivers an astonishing performance as Mauger, the Lanlaires' bizarre, shell-shocked neighbor (he also wrote the screenplay and co-produced).Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The print used for the Olive Blu-ray transfer of Renoir's Diary of a Chambermaid has damage mostly in the form of mid-to-heavy vertical scratches just under the surface. This surfaces sporadically through the entire presentation and it looks suspiciously like wear as the density also tends to fluctuate. Contrast can look faint and others times black levels are much deeper. I don't know that dual-layering would benefit the visuals extensively - what seems to be required is a restoration. I wouldn't say this deterred my viewing to a serious extent - but it was noticeable. The Blu-ray still improved the presentation over an SD rendering and it supported the grain structure with a textured thickness. This is very watchable in 1080P with moments hinting at depth and only a couple of instances of noise.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio is in a DTS-HD mono track at 768 kbps. There is no depth or range to speak of but it probably a faithful transfer without any 'pop' or dropout flaws. The film has original music by Michel Michelet who is notable for work in some Noirs of the time period including Impact and The Chase. It has a harsh edge at times but is supportive without eclipsing the narrative. There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with many of their releases.
March 3rd, 2013
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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