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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

Directed by Raymond Bernard

France, 1934

 

Les misérables (1932) - Hailed by film critics around the world as the greatest screen adaptation of Victor Hugo's mammoth nineteenth-century novel, Raymond Bernard's dazzling, nearly five-hour Les misérables is a breathtaking tour de force, unfolding with the depth and detail of its source. Featuring stunning art direction and cinematography and unforgettable performances by the exquisite Harry Baur (who died tragically during World War II), as Jean Valjean, and the legendary Charles Vanel, as Inspector Javert, Les misérables is one of the triumphs of French filmmaking.

***

The most thorough of all film adaptations of Victor Hugo's immortal novel, Les misérables [The Wretched] was a triumph for director Raymond Bernard, one of the more overlooked filmmakers of the early French cinema.

Originally released in quick succession as three separate features in 1934, Bernard's film recounts the story of the ex-convict Jean Valjean (Harry Baur) harried by the wicked Inspector Javert (Charles Vanel); of the virtuous Fantine (Florelle, née Odette Rousseau) who sells herself into prostitution for the welfare of her daughter Cosette (Gaby Triquet as the young girl Cosette, and Josseline Gaël as the young woman); and of intersections of these threads and more in an impressive rendering of Hugo's stately tapestry.

Newly restored in 4K at its original length by Pathé, Les misérables is a major accomplishment on the level of storytelling, and a major component in the history of French film. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Raymond Bernard's magnum opus for the first time on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK.

Poster

Theatrical Releases: February 3rd, 1934

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Comparison:

 

 Eclipse Series Four from the Criterion Collection (3-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Pathé - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

1) Criterion (Eclipse) - Region 1 - NTSC  - LEFT

2) Pathé - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

 Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution Eclipse / Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC Pathé 
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Masters of Cinema - Spine # 106
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Time: Respectively - 1:53:32, 1:49:52, 1:25:21 + 1:26:36

2 Dual-layered Blu-rays MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Disc One Size: 43,332,680,182 bytes

Part 1 Size: 24,462,987,264 bytes - 1:55:39.349

Average Bitrate: 25.93 Mbps

Part 2 Size: 18,134,575,104 bytes - 1:25:45.223

Average Bitrate: 25.91 Mbps

Disc 2 Size: 32,322,896,086 bytes

Part 3 Size: 18,484,353,024 bytes - 1:27:23.071

Average Bitrate: 25.93 Mbps

2 Dual-layered Blu-rays MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Disc One Size: 49,528,430,725 bytes

Part 1 Size: 28,442,626,944 bytes - 1:55:40.642

Average Bitrate: 28.96 Mbps

Part 2 Size: 21,076,984,320 bytes - 1:25:45.348

Average Bitrate: 28.95 Mbps

Disc 2 Size: 40,000,154,770 bytes

Part 3 Size: 25,538,676,672 bytes - 1:27:24.447

Average Bitrate: 34.88 Mbps

Bitrate:

 Les misérables (part 1)

Bitrate:

 Les misérables (part 2 + 3)

Bitrate:

Pathé Les misérables part 1 Blu-ray

Bitrate:

Pathé Les misérables part 2 Blu-ray

Bitrate:

Pathé Les misérables part 3 Blu-ray

Bitrate:

Masters of Cinema Les misérables part 1 Blu-ray

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Masters of Cinema Les misérables part 2 Blu-ray

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Masters of Cinema Les misérables part 3 Blu-ray

Audio French (original mono) DTS-HD Master Audio French 844 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 819 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit) LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, None English, French, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Eclipse / Criterion Collection

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 1.33 

Edition Details:

  •  one page (for each film) of liner notes in the transparent case


DVD Release Date: July 16th, 2007

2 Transparent Keep Cases inside a Slipcase cardboard box
Chapters: 18, 19, 12 and 13

Release Information:
Studio: Pathé

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

2 Dual-layered Blu-rays MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Disc One Size: 43,332,680,182 bytes

Part 1 Size: 24,462,987,264 bytes - 1:55:39.349

Average Bitrate: 25.93 Mbps

Part 2 Size: 18,134,575,104 bytes - 1:25:45.223

Average Bitrate: 25.91 Mbps

Disc 2 Size: 32,322,896,086 bytes

Part 3 Size: 18,484,353,024 bytes - 1:27:23.071

Average Bitrate: 25.93 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• 
New fully restored copy
Contains the film in 3 parts:
- A storm in a skull (101')
- The Thenardier (81')
- Liberty, cherished liberty (83')
- A booklet with the following contents:
. entire dialogue between Raymond Bernard and Andre Lang (writer)
. "Memories of filming" testimonies of actors
Limited Edition Digibook card
Interviews Raymond Bernard Raymond Shirat (film historian) and Claudine Cohen (historian) - 22:49
"Florelle" Florette sings for Pathé
"But who will Gavroche?" : Auditions several children in the role of Gavroche
.

Blu-ray Release Date: December 4th, 2013
Sturdy Book-style Blu-ray Case

Chapters 16 + 17 + 16

Release Information:
Studio: Masters of Cinema

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

2 Dual-layered Blu-rays MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Disc One Size: 49,528,430,725 bytes

Part 1 Size: 28,442,626,944 bytes - 1:55:40.642

Average Bitrate: 28.96 Mbps

Part 2 Size: 21,076,984,320 bytes - 1:25:45.348

Average Bitrate: 28.95 Mbps

Disc 2 Size: 40,000,154,770 bytes

Part 3 Size: 25,538,676,672 bytes - 1:27:24.447

Average Bitrate: 34.88 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• Victor Hugo in Cinema (22:49)

• Raymond Bernard (11:22)

• Raymond Chirat (18:41)

• Gavroche Screen Tests (1:59)

• Deleted Scenes (2:39)

• Newsreels (3:35)

• Theatrical Trailer (3:35)

• Le Chimeneau (1905) (3:39)
• 40-PAGE BOOKLET

DVD included


Blu-ray Release Date: December 8th, 2014
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 16 + 16 + 16

 

 

 

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray (November 2014): This is also from Pathé's 2012 4K restoration - in its original length. A number of capture below are exact matches and the Masters of Cinema shows a small amount of additional information in the top of the frame. Other than that they look practically identical.

 

Audio, the MoC is a shade more robust using a linear PCM transfer, but I couldn't say I could hear any differences. It has optional English subtitles and is region 'B'-locked.

 

Where the UK package shines above the Pathé is in the supplements. We get an interesting video entitled Victor Hugo in Cinema, It runs 23-minutes and is in French with optional English subtitles. There is a similar piece with Raymond Chirat, who has authored many books on French cinema - lasting 18-minutes. We also get Gavroche Screen Tests, deleted scenes, Newsreels, a theatrical trailer and an incomplete, tinted version of Albert Capellani's 1905 Le Chimeneau (The Vagabond). Masters of Cinema also generously include a 40-page booklet and the dual-format package has DVDs of the feature.

 

Another superb package from The Masters of Cinema group! Easily the definitive one to own... This is, certainly, the greatest adaptation of Victor Hugo's story I have ever seen and to have it looking so beautiful - is... miraculous. This is a must-own for any Home Theatre library. Drink deep of this Blu-ray - our highest recommendation!

***

ADDITION: Pathé - Region FREE - Blu-ray - January 2014: Firstly, this looks fabulous on my 60" system. Truly, the static captures below don't do the 1080P, in-motion, justice. It is jaw-droopingly smooth,... and brilliant. There are wonderful textures visible and contrast is pristine accentuating some impressive shadow detail. Wow! It looks immeasurably superior to the SD. I see no digital manipulation. The package is two, dual-layered, Blu-ray discs housed tightly (imbedded in the front and back cover) inside a book-style case.

The audio is lossless but still has issues due to the production limitations but it was exceptionally clearer and more consistent than the Eclipse. Two HUGE positives - not only does it have English subtitles as an option but the Blu-ray is Region FREE!

The Blu-ray supplements (discussions, child auditions, restoration examples etc.) are extensive but none seem to have English subtitles that I can determine.

***

ON THE ECLIPSE DVD: NOTE: The 2 feature films of this boxset are housed in individual transparent keep cases (slim for Wooden Crosses and a double for Les mis) they are not sold separately at this time. These particular editions can only be obtained in Criterion's Eclipse Series Four - Raymond Bernard package at present.

All three DVDs are dual-layered and, unfortunately for some, pictureboxed transferred (see our full description of 'pictureboxing' in our Kind Hearts and Coronets review). Each are coded for Region 1 in the NTSC standard. The transfers are progressive and in the original 1.33 aspect ratio. The audio for all is original mono French and there are optional English subtitles. The Pathé logo starts each film so we can assume that is the transfer source.

Les misérables (1934) - Firstly - everything you may have heard about this film version of Hugo's novel is true; it is awe inspiring. I was riveted for the entire, nearly, 5 hours. It is filled with beauty and depth - almost hard to believe it was made over 70 years ago.

 

The transfer looks very professional and although the image and audio quality is not perfect by any means - it was adept enough for me to swoon over the film. Criterion's hallmark remains their contrast. I'll assume there was some black level boosting which brings out detail to a higher standard. It has some damage but none extensive enough to impinge upon viewing, and the digital noise is fine enough to resemble grain. I watched it on a plasma television and it appeared quite wonderful considering the films age.

 

As standard for Eclipse there are no digital supplements but some liner notes readable through the keep case cover (for Wooden Crosses) and a 4 page leaflet in the Les mis box.  

For the price I consider this a desirable DVD package. I don't know where you will see these films, looking this good, for the total price of less than $25 (currently 37% off at the time of this writing). Really - it is a ridiculous bargain in my mind. Les Mis fans maybe especially be keen for much more from just a historical viewpoint - this film eclipses (no pun intended) any version, live, musical or other, that I have seen. Highly recommended!

Gary W. Tooze


Menus

 

1) Criterion (Eclipse) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Pathé - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 

Pathé - Region FREE - Blu-ray Extras

 

Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 


 

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

 

Part 1

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Criterion (Eclipse) - Region 1 - NTSC  - TOP

2) Pathé - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Screen Captures

 

 

1) Criterion (Eclipse) - Region 1 - NTSC  - TOP

2) Pathé - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion (Eclipse) - Region 1 - NTSC  - TOP

2) Pathé - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion (Eclipse) - Region 1 - NTSC  - TOP

2) Pathé - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Part 2

 

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Criterion (Eclipse) - Region 1 - NTSC  - TOP

2) Pathé - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

1) Criterion (Eclipse) - Region 1 - NTSC  - TOP

2) Pathé - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Part 3

 

 

1) Criterion (Eclipse) - Region 1 - NTSC  - TOP

2) Pathé - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion (Eclipse) - Region 1 - NTSC  - TOP

2) Pathé - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

1) Pathé - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Pathé - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Pathé - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


 

 Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution Eclipse / Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC Pathé 
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Masters of Cinema - Spine # 106
Region 'B' - Blu-ray




 

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