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|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
Moulin Rouge [Blu-ray]
(John Huston, 1952)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Romulus Films
Video: Vértice Cine / BFI
Region: FREE/ 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:58:54.919/ 1:59:53.311
Disc Size: 21,123,929,803 bytes / 42,345,453,034 bytes
Feature Size: 20,803,246,080 bytes / 30,783,744,000 bytes
Video Bitrate: 20.03 Mbps /27.99 Mbps
Chapters: 6 / 12
Case: Standard Blu-ray case / transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: April 28th, 2013 / November 18th, 2019
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1571 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1571 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DUB: Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 384 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / DN -4dB
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
English (SDH), Spanish, none
English (SDH), none
Commentary by Angela Allen
(2019): the longstanding associate of John Huston and Moulin
Rouge script supervisor discusses this film and many others
across an eclectic career in this new commentary recorded
specifically for this release
DVD and Booklet
Description: Moulin Rouge is the story of 19th century French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, portrayed by José Ferrer. The film records his frustration over his physical handicap (the growth in his legs was stunted by a childhood accident), his efforts to "lose" himself in Paris' bawdy Montmartre district, and his career as a painter, which brought him money only when he turned out advertising posters--but what posters! Toulouse-Lautrec's drinking and debauchery lead to his early death, which in the hands of director John Huston is staged (brilliantly) in the manner of a musical comedy finale. This is the film in which Zsa Zsa Gabor actually acts, in the role of demimonde entertainer Jane Avril. As a bonus, the film's musical score (by Georges Auric) managed to hit the Top Ten charts in the U.S. When this immensely successful film was released to television in the late '50s, Moulin Rouge proved to be one of the strongest-ever incentives to purchase a color TV set
There have been a number of films with the title Moulin Rouge, including a 1944 French release with Josephine Baker, a 1934 Hollywood comedy with Constance Bennett and Franchot Tone, and of course Baz Luhrmann's 2001 over-the-top re-imagining of the musical genre, appropriately fitted with an exclamation point at the end of the title. But although the latter film had John Leguizamo in a supporting role as a cartoonish Toulouse-Lautrec, John Huston's 1952 release is the only one to delve into the life of the famous French painter and chronicler of the Parisian belle époque. Not that the facts of this bio-pic are to be taken as the gospel truth. Moulin Rouge (1953) is based on Pierre LaMure's fictionalized account of the life of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, descendent of a prominent old aristocratic family who in the mid-1880s moved to Montmartre, the center of Parisian bohemian life. In the few years left in his short life (he died at 36 in 1901), the artist painted the world of the cabarets, dance halls, and brothels; pioneered the art of poster design; and became a fixture of local night life, particularly at the nightclub of the title, which opened in 1889 and immediately became one of the city's most popular and scandalous entertainment spots.
If the measure of the quality of a motion picture merely boils down to
how much the screen is crowded with stunning illustration, then John
Huston's "Moulin Rouge" well qualifies for consideration as one
of the most felicitous movies ever made. For this fictionalized
dramatization of the checkered life of Toulouse-Lautrec, the fin-de-sicle
French painter, whom José Ferrer primly portrays, is a bounty of
gorgeous color pictures of the Parisian café world at the century's turn
and of beautifully patterned compositions conveying sentiments, moods
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
John Huston's 1952 Moulin Rouge looks quite appealing on Blu-ray from Vértice Cine out of Spain. The image quality shows some inconsistencies but Technicolor hues can be bright - frequently bordering on vibrant. There are some color flecks, speckles and light scratches but mostly frame-specific and don't hinder the presentation much. It is neither glossy nor pristinely sharp but shows some depth and I would guess the 1.33:1 aspect ratio 1080P transfer is a decent replication of the theatrical appearance some 60+-years hence although I don't know and may compare another 1080P version one day if it gets released.
The more I look at the Spanish 1080P - the more it looks like an up-convert possibility. The BFI Blu-ray presentation starts with a text screen that states: "Restored by The Film Foundation in collaboration with Park Circus, Romulus Films and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., with additional funding provided by the Franco-American Cultural Fund, a unique partnership between the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Societe des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs de Musique (SACEM), and the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW). Restored from the 35mm Original Nitrate 3-Strip Technicolor Negative. 4K scanning, color grading, digital image restoration and film recording by Cineric, Inc., New York. Colorist Daniel DeVincent. Audio restoration by Chace Audio. Restoration Consultant Grover Crisp. " As well as showing more information in the frame the image is far more consistent on BFI's dual-layered - mostly showing richer fuller colors - and has a higher bitrate on the 4K-restored image.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Subtitle Sample - BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Vertice Cine use an unremarkable DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1571 kbps in the original English.There is also a superfluous Spanish DUB and optional Spanish subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
BFI advance again with a linear PCM 24-bit track. Aside from dialogue, all the audio is notable for the music - namely the Can-Can, some Handel and Waltzs as well as the score by Georges Auric (Dead of Night, The Innocents, Lola Montes, Rififi, Wages of Fear) which sounds quite lively with a shade of depth. The musical/dance performances are exhilarating. This has optional English (SDH) subtitles and is a Region 'B'-locked Blu-ray with a second disc DVD included. For the first-pressing an illustrated booklet with essays and full film credits is included.
BFI do a far better job of describing their extras - so let's go with that: "new commentary by Angela Allen. She is a longstanding associate of John Huston and Moulin Rouge script supervisor discusses this film and many others across an eclectic career in this new commentary recorded specifically for this release. Images of Paris in Silent Film runs about 17-minutes and is a selection or rare early films, spanning the years 1900-1925, reflecting different aspects of life in Lautrec's adopted home, from the vaults of the BFI National Archive. Lightning Sketches: Posters, Printing and Caricatures in Silent Film show 21-minutes of artists use new cinematic technology to bring their topical cartoons to life in this collection of archival oddities from the earliest days of animation and the popular press. Lautrec is a 6-minute short from 1974 showing the artists' characters dance playfully through this lovely animated effort which celebrates his life and work. There is an mage gallery, second disc DVD and 'collector's booklet.
Vertice Cine Region FREE - Blu-ray
BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
As well as superior in all aspects (video, audio, extras, cover) - the BFI is also cheaper in the UK. I really enjoyed re-visiting this film in the improved presentation.It encapsulates the ribald Paris of the 1890s - life breaking free from classic confinement. The performance numbers, dance are great and it works well with the backdrop of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, his life and his art. the BFI Blu-ray is absolutely recommended!
May 8th, 2012
November 19th, 2019
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 3500 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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