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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

La Piscine aka "The Sinners" aka "The Swimming Pool" [Blu-ray]

 

(Jacques Deray, 1969)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Tritone Cinematografica

Video: Park Circus

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:03:06.295

Disc Size: 42,410,482,523 bytes

Feature Size: 33,849,031,104 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.68 Mbps

Chapters: 13

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 28th, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

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

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, none

 

Extras:

• English language version (1:54:12 in 576i PAL)

Alternate Ending (:33)
Photo Gallery
• Trailer (3:28)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: This chilling portrait of male rivalry and jealousy reunites real-life lovers Alain Delon and Romy Schneider as a couple on vacation at a villa near St. Tropez. When her ex-love shows up unexpectedly with his beautiful teenage daughter (Jane Birkin), it creates a dangerous love triangle between the grown-ups that leads to deadly consequences.

 

 

The Film:

Jean-Paul (Alain Delon) is an out-of-work writer having an affair with Marianne (Romy Schneider), a successful journalist. As they frolic in a swimming pool in St. Tropez, she receives as call from the record executive Harry (Maurice Ronet). He arrives with his nubile young daughter (Jane Birkin). Harry and Marianne were once lovers and he makes a pass at her. Meanwhile, Jean-Paul makes a pass at Harry's daughter. After some drinking, Harry and Jean-Paul fight, resulting in Harry being pushed into the pool. Jean-Paul refuses to help the struggling man as he drowns, and the young couple tries to get their stories straight in order to avoid being charged with murder in this sometimes masochistic feature from France.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Four characters. A Mediterranean villa. Sun, sex and… suspicion. The ingredients are fairly simple in this welcome reissue for a star-powered psychological thriller which has remained underexposed on these shores. Perhaps director Jacques Deray’s journeyman reputation has been the stumbling block, for this is a deliciously languid, slinkily unsettling affair. Romy Schneider is all feline elegance and sphinx-like intelligence as the girlfriend of brooding wastrel Alain Delon. Their erotically charged St Tropez sojourn is interrupted by the arrival of flamboyantly smug Maurice Ronet with teenage jail-bait daughter Jane Birkin in tow. Little is said, but past indiscretions hang in the air. The ’60s trappings and jazz-meets-psychedelia score are treasure enough in themselves, but it’s Deray’s beady concentration on the pointed silences and angled looks which really turn the screw. Bourgeois-scum Claude Chabrol territory, essentially, but done with a more commercial eye for showing off Schneider and Delon’s bronzed curves.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

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

La Piscine gets an solid transfer to Blu-ray from Park Circus.  It's dual-layered with a healthy bitrate for the 2 hour feature. We've compared to the out-of-print 5-disc Alain Delon Collection DVD from Lionsgate reviewed HERE. Colors are brighter and truer than the SD relates and detail rises dramatically. Even the bronzed flesh tones cool and become more realistic. The 1080P supports solid contrast and frequent depth in the 1.66:1 frame.  It's very clean showcasing some hi-def detail and there is no noise nor any demonstrative flaws with the rendering. This Blu-ray provides a very pleasing video presentation of a beautiful film.

 

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

 

Lionsgate - Region 1 - NTSC DVD (reviewed HERE) TOP vs. Park Circus - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Lionsgate - Region 1 - NTSC DVD (reviewed HERE) TOP vs. Park Circus - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Lionsgate - Region 1 - NTSC DVD (reviewed HERE) TOP vs. Park Circus - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio is via an authentic linear PCM 2.0 channel at 2304 kbps in original French. Dialogue is very clear with hints of sync'ing issues, but I recall the DVD being similar in this regard. The score by Michel Legrand (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Young Girls of Rochefort, A Woman is a Woman, Cleo From 5 to 7, Ice Station Zebra) is probably the highlight of the audio - sounding exceptionally moody and atmospheric supporting both the lighter and darker intents of the film. It sounds wonderfully rich. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

 

Extras (SPOILER ALERT):

Park Circus add the English language version of the film in SD with PAL speed-up. I don't really see the purpose of this - the a/v is inferior and I don't consider the DUB'ing 'authentic'. We also get the brief alternate-ending that was added to the Spanish release of the film. The censorship authorities of Franco-Era Spain objected to the "amoral" ending in the original version and insisted that a more moralistic ending be added which suggests the imminent arrest of the culprit with the arrival of the inspector and two gendarmes. Unlike the French version where the culprit evades justice. There is also a photo gallery and trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Brilliant film that impacted me immeasurably more in the film-like beauty of 1080P. I'm very happy to have had the chance to revisit this on Blu-ray. La Piscine is so much mood and unspoken emotions established. Tack on gals like bikini'd Romy Schneider, Suzie Jaspard and Jane Birkin in the Mediterranean sun and it has great appeal. I reflected often on Purple Noon. Strongly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

March 23rd, 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.

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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