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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Inspector Lavardin Collection [Blu-ray]

 

(Claude Chabrol, 1985, 1986)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: MK2 Productions

Video: Cohen Media Group

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:49:40 / 1:40:30

Disc Size: 48,176,037,894 bytes / 46,800,691,829 bytes

Feature Size: 28,554,175,680 bytes / 26,945,046,528 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.02 Mbps

Chapters: 12 X 2

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: April 22nd, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio (both):

LPCM Audio French 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentaries: LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

Chicken With Vinegar

• Audio Commentary by Wade Major and Andy Klein

The Black Snail (1:31:56)

• 2014 Re-Release Trailer (1:47)

Inspector Lavardin

• Audio Commentary by Wade Major and Andy Klein

Danger Lies in the Words (1:34:14)

• 2014 Re-Release Trailer (1:28)
• 12-page leaflet with photos, chapter titles etc.

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Both of Claude Chabrol's murderous black comedy, feature film mysteries starring Jean Poiret as the incomparable Inspector Lavardin: Chicken with Vinegar: When a small town begins losing its citizenry in a series of grisly murders, out-of-town police inspector Jean Lavardin is sent to investigate. Could the killers be a bullied son and his cruel mother, who run the local post office? Or a pushy trio of would-be land developers? Inspector Lavardin: When a wealthy and devout Roman Catholic writer is found murdered on a beach with the word "PIG" written on his back, Inspector Lavardin is sent to investigate. In the course of his probing, he discovers that the widow is an old flame of his and that the small coastal town holds other secrets.

 

 

 

The Films:

One of the more flagrant injustices of foreign-film distribution has been the near total eclipse of Claude Chabrol in this country. This delightful, acidic 1984 mystery--set in a corrupt small town rife with land speculation, murder, and diverse other intrigues--was a big enough hit in France to prompt a sequel the following year (Inspecteur Lavardin), but American audiences weren't allowed so much as a peek at it. Adapted by Dominique Roulet and Chabrol from Roulet's novel Une mort en trop, this sexy and adroit intrigue starring Jean Poiret, Stephane Audran, and Michel Bouquet is one of Chabrol's best efforts in his lighter vein, and proves that the classic French cinema has never been quite as dead as U.S. release policies have suggested.

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum's capsule at the Chicago Reader located HERE

Shortly after investigating the banning as blasphemous of a play entitled 'Our Father Which Farts in Heaven', a high-minded paterfamilias is found dead on the beach, PIG scrawled insultingly on his naked backside. With the widow offering a regal display of indifference, a teenage stepdaughter skulking furtively in drug-pushing circles, and a gay uncle gloating madly over his collection of glass eyes, this is Chabrol at odds with the bourgeoisie again. But there is a difference as Poiret's police inspector arrives for his second murder investigation following Cop au Vin, this time trailing memories of his former love for the widow, a fallen angel who has innocently sinned in her emotional affairs. Discovering what amounts to a paradise lost, Lavardin elects to play God in order to rout the otherwise unassailable forces of evil. Strangely tender, bizarrely funny, with gorgeous performances from Lafont (the widow) and Brialy (the uncle), this is Chabrol back to the mood of eccentric metaphysical mystery he mined in the marvellous Ten Days' Wonder.

Excerpt from Timeout Film Guide located HERE

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

Firstly, this set from Cohen Media has two main features - on two separate dual-layered Blu-ray discs. Chicken With Vinegar (was previously reviewed on MK2 DVD by our reviewer Per-Olof Strandberg HERE) and the follow-up Inspector Lavardin (reviewed on DVD HERE.) The 1080P image quality is fairly unremarkable for both films looking having little to no depth and flat colors. Detail advances over SD and the films are in their original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. There is no noise or artefacts. Inspector Lavardin may look marginally crisper than Chicken With Vinegar. There are a very few speckles and no damage. This Blu-ray video is unimpressive - but consistent and provides a decent presentation in which to enjoy both films.

 

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

 

Chicken With Vinegar

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspector Lavardin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio is transferred, for both films, via a linear PCM 2.0 channel stereo at 2304 kbps in the original French. It is clean and consistent, if - like the video - fairly unremarkable with the film's having few dynamic effects. The scores are composed by the directors son Matthieu Chabrol and support both films quite adeptly. There are optional English subtitles (sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'.

 

Extras :

The supplements are where we see surprising value. Firstly, both films are excellent (I lean to Chicken With Vinegar as the superior effort  although both offer enjoyable 'detective work') and Cohen include a commentary for each by the team-up of film critic Andy Klein of Brand X, and Wade Major (regular critic for NPR affiliate KPCC's weekly FilmWeek program as well as co-host and producer of the popular IGN DigiGods podcast). They cover quite a lot with information on Chabrol (The 'French Hitchcock') focusing on a few specifics. They appear to support each other's opinions well and I found it fairly educational. What I thought were also valuable extras were the inclusion of two 'The Secret Files of Inspector Lavardin' 1.5 hour TV episodes from the late 80's (transferred in 1080P.) The French TV Series had 4 X 90-minute episodes and retained Jean Poiret as Inspector Lavardin. What Cohen, specifically, have included is The Black Snail (L'escargot Noir) which is described as 'In a peaceful little town, three women are murdered. Oddly enough the killer has left a black snail shell on each of the bodies. It takes the unusual talents of Lavardin, assisted by Mario, the local inspector, to solve this mystery.' and Danger Lies in the Words (Maux croisés) where it looks as though Inspector Lavardin is having a vacation in Montecatini, Italy. Of course though, the French sleuth is 'on the case' involving an Italian millionaire whose wife - a successful crime novelist - is murdered. Both these inclusions are appreciated and I enjoyed them thoroughly. I almost feel like seeking out the other two (Le diable en ville and Le château du pendu.)

 

Chicken With Vinegar

 

 

Inspector Lavardin

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
So, despite being underwhelmed by the a/v - I do recommend for both the excellent Chabrol film and as the supplements carry so much value. You can really sink your teeth into Pioret's Inspector Lavardin's character and Chabrol's subversive humor angle is unique and refreshing. There is something very classy and amusing about these films (I wish they had done more!) The Cohen Blu-ray
package offers a lot (about 6.5 hours of entertainment - plus 2 commentaries!) and for that we recommend!

Gary Tooze

April 18th, 2014

 

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.

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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
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Gary W. Tooze

 

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