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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Two Men in Manhattan aka Deux hommes dans Manhattan [Blu-ray]


(Jean-Pierre Melville, 1959)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Belfort Films

Video: Cohen Media Group



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

Runtime: 1:24:30.231

Disc Size: 39,644,734,070 bytes

Feature Size: 25,433,281,920 bytes

Video Bitrate: 36.00 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 17th, 2013



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio French 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit



English (SDH), none



• Keeping Up Appearances: a conversation between critics Jonathan Rosenbaum and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky (35:48)

• Original French Trailer (3:47)

• Original Re-release Trailer (1:35)
• 12-page liner notes with new essay by Melville scholar Ginette Vincendeau





Description: A French UN delegate has disappeared into thin air, sending reporter Moreau (Jean-Pierre Melville) and hard drinking photographer Delmas (Pierre Grasset) on an assignment to find him. Their only lead is a picture of three women. Set against a smoky jazz score and featuring stunning black and white cinematography that beautifully captures the gritty streets at night, this is director Melville s love letter to New York City and homage to the American Film Noir.



The Film:

The primary protagonists in this routine drama are two French journalists, Delmas (Pierre Grasset) and Moreau (Jean-Pierre Melville, the director), and also the city of New York at night. The two journalists are on the trail of a story -- a French diplomat has disappeared from the U.N. for no apparent reason. As they wander through the city tracking down the reason for the disappearance, the journalists eventually discover that the diplomat has met with foul play. Now the two men have a serious disagreement. Delmas wants to take photos of what happened and use them to create sensational headlines and plenty of attention, but Moreau wants them both to cover up what they have found and bury what they know. Given the setting for this tale, both English and French are spoken throughout the film.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

If Bob le Flambeur was Melville's love letter to Paris, Deux Hommes is his billet-doux to New York. The chief pleasure from this fast, laconic movie is in the appearance of Melville himself, playing one of two journalists who are sent to Manhattan to trace the French UN delegate, only to discover that he died in his mistress' arms, thus creating possible scandal. The New York scenes were shot on the run, and mainly consist of Melville racing from a cab and into the entrances of famous buildings, which are then matched with suspiciously Parisian-looking interiors. A well-sustained, cheeky joke, full of life and a love for all things American, indispensable for an overview of the man.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

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

Two Men in Manhattan on Blu-ray from Cohen Media looks super. There is a pleasing sheen of fine grain and contrast is strong with layered greyscale.   This is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. There are almost no speckles and it appears as though some restoration may have gone on at the film-level. Either that or the source was in excellent condition. Softness appears inherent in the production - nothing to do with the fine transfer.  The weakest visuals are in the scene with Melville standing on the subway train which makes it look vérité. There are almost exclusively night sequences but there is no intrusive noise. This Blu-ray video is quite impressive - as are most of Cohen's efforts to date!

















Audio :

The linear PCM 2.0 channel at 2304 kbps with segments in both French and English is clean and clear without flaws. Other than that it is relatively unremarkable with some atmospheric original music by Christian Chevallier and Martial Solal. There are English subtitles for the French language and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'.


Extras :

Supplements include and interesting 35-minute conversation between critics Jonathan Rosenbaum and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky entitled 'Keeping Up Appearances'. We should note, as Jonathan does in the beginning, that it does contains spoilers and should only be viewed after the feature. There is also an original French trailer and original re-release trailer - plus the package contains a 12-page liner notes leaflet with photos and a new essay by Melville scholar Ginette Vincendeau.



Two Men in Manhattan is a very cool Noir and I feel fortunate to see it 1080P.  It is not similar to his later works like Le Samourai, Army of Shadows or Le Cercle Rouge. It is not as polished but the form of his style starts showing through. I don't think this is a great film but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The Cohen Blu-ray gives a super presentation and the extras add more appreciation to the film. Recommended!

Gary Tooze

September 6th, 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.

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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