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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

La Cage Aux Folles [Blu-ray]

 

(Edouard Molinaro, 1978)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Da Ma Produzione

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #671

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:36:56.936

Disc Size: 47,763,818,425 bytes

Feature Size: 28,428,595,200 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Chapters: 21

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 10th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

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

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• New interview with director Edouard Molinaro (18:33)
Archival footage featuring actor Michel Serrault and Jean Poiret, writer and star of the original stage production of La Cage aux Folles (11:02 + 6:17 + 10:24)
New interview with Laurence Senelick, author of The Changing Room: Sex, Drag and Theatre (22:47)
French and U.S. trailers (4:05)
Liner Notes booklet featuring an essay by critic David Ehrenstein

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Renato (Ugo Tognazzi) and Albin (Michel Serrault)—a middle-aged gay couple who are the manager and star performer at a glitzy drag club in Saint-Tropez—agree to hide their sexual identities, along with their flamboyant personalities and home decor, when the ultraconservative parents of Renato’s son’s fiancée come for a visit. This elegant comic scenario kicks off a wild and warmhearted French farce about the importance of nonconformity and being true to oneself. A breakout art-house smash in America, Edouard Molinaro’s La Cage aux Folles inspired a major Broadway musical and the blockbuster remake The Birdcage. But with its hilarious performances and ahead-of-its-time social message, there’s nothing like the audacious, dazzling original movie.

 

 

The Film:

"La Cage Aux Folles" is "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" French style.

Or—how does a straight 20-year-old guy whose father has a male lover handle the situation when the parents of his bride-to-be want to meet his family?

It's bad enough when his father and his aunt/uncle learn that he is about to marry a female.

For better or worse, mostly worse, homosexuality has become a standard comic commodity\ in show business.

At its best, "La Cage" is funny because it sets up farcical situations in which people don't know the truth about each other or about what is going on, the stuff of which farce is made. .

Excerpt from CleavelandPress located HERE

"La Cage aux Folles" are "birds of a feather," which are precisely and hilariously what do not flock together in this wonderful comedy from France. It's about the gay owner of a scandalous nightclub in St. Tropez, his transvestite lover, and how the owner reacts after his son returns home one day and announces he's going to marry . . . a girl!

But that's not really what it's about: This is basically the first sitcom in drag, and the comic turns in the plot are achieved with such clockwork timing that sometimes we're laughing at what's funny and sometimes we're just laughing at the movie's sheer comic invention. This is a great time at the movies.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE

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

La Cages aux Follles looks like a very true replication of its original appearance via Criterion's Blu-ray transfer.  It's thick with a lot of grain texture visible. Colors show vibrancy and this dual-layered rendering with a max'ed-out bitrate looks as rich and warm as the film itself. It is in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio and there is s sense of occasional, refreshing, depth. This restoration has removed any minor imperfections of damage or speckles. This Blu-ray has no discernable flaws and supplies an pleasing, film-like, 1080P presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The audio is via an authentic linear PCM mono track at 1152 kbps in the original French language. It is fairly unremarkable. The light score by Ennio Morricone takes centre stage where appropriate and dialogue and music is clear and consistent. The lossless uncompressed monaural soundtrack sounds true to the source. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.

 

Extras :

Firstly we get a new, 18-minute interview with director Edouard Molinaro whose career as a film and television director has spanned more than sixty years. In this interview, conducted by Criterion in April 2013, he reminisces about La Cage aux Folles, which was both his biggest hit and biggest struggle. There is archival footage (about 1/2 hour's worth in total) featuring actor Michel Serrault and Jean Poiret, writer and star of the original stage production of La Cage aux Folles. La Cage aux Folles began as a sketch comedy in the late fifties on French TV. This archival footage has two television programmes and one excerpt from a broadcast of a performance of the play. There is also a new 23-minute interview with professor Laurence Senelick, author of The Changing Room: Sex, Drag and Theatre, who discusses the century old tradition of drag performance, and talks about the impact the film had on the contemporary understanding of sexuality and gender politics. We get both French and U.S. trailers and the package contains a liner notes booklet featuring an essay by critic David Ehrenstein.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
La Cage is a comedy/farce with human warmth and endears itself to all who give it the opportunity. This is less about sexual orientation and more about a broad, kinetic expression with universal fun and humor appeal.  This is an excellent choice for Criterion and the Blu-ray package has done the film proud. Absolutely recommended! 

Gary Tooze

August 31st, 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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