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Bay of Angels aka "La baie des anges" [Blu-ray]
(Jacques Demy, 1963)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Sud-Pacifique Films
Video: Criterion Collection Spine #715
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 33,648,278,777 bytes
Feature Size: 24,782,106,624 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.98 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: July 22nd, 2014
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
• French television interview from 1962 with actor Jeanne
Moreau on the set of Bay of Angels (13:47)
Description: This precisely wrought, emotionally penetrating romantic drama from Jacques Demy, set largely in the casinos of Nice, is a visually lovely but darkly realistic investigation into love and obsession. A bottle-blonde Jeanne Moreau is at her blithe best as a gorgeous gambling addict, and Claude Mann is the bank clerk drawn into her risky world. Featuring a mesmerizing score by Michel Legrand, Bay of Angels is among Demy’s most somber works.
Bay of the Angels (La Baie des anges) stars Jeanne Moreau as a middle-aged Parisian gambling addict who leaves her husband and children and heads for the roulette tables of Nice. There she meets young and handsome Claude Mann--a meeting which coincides with Moreau's first winning streak. She latches onto Mann in the belief that he's a good luck charm, and remains with him even when she starts losing heavily. Mann, emotionally drained, walks out of the relationship. The film ends with Mann entreating Moreau to return with him to the bourgeois existence that she'd escaped in the first scene. Bay of the Angels was directed by Jacques Demy, just before he achieved international fame with his musical films Young Girls of Rochefort and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
Demy's second feature has a ravishing Jeanne Moreau, ash-blonde for the occasion and dressed all in white, as a compulsive gambler who doesn't care what happens to her so long as she has a chip to start her on the roulette tables. Ostensibly the subject is gambling, but the real theme is seduction - with Moreau casting a spell on Mann that turns him every which way - and this is above all a visually seductive film. Shot mainly inside the casinos and on the sunstruck promenades of Nice and Monte Carlo, it is conceived as a dazzling symphony in black and white. Moreau's performance is magnificent, but it's really Jean Rabier's camera which turns the whole film into an expression of sheer joy - not only in life and love, but things. Iron bedsteads make arabesques against white walls; a little jeweller's shop becomes a paradise of strange ornamental clocks; a series of angled mirrors echo the heroine as she runs down a corridor into her lover's arms; roulette wheels spin to a triumphant musical accompaniment; and over it all hangs an aura of brilliant sunshine.Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Bay of Angels looks super on Blu-ray from Criterion. The film was shot in 1962 on 35mm black and white silver stock in a 1.66:1 panoramic format and was restored in 2012 by the laboratory Digimage. The restoration of the images was made in digital 2K from a 4K digital scan of the original 35mm. Mathieu Demy supervised the grading. This Blu-ray is dual-layered with max'ed out high bitrate and we can guess that it is a solid representation of the film. Contrast is pristine and there are frequent examples of depth but I appreciated the grain texture support which really adds a film-like expression. This Blu-ray is clean and has no noise or other discernable flaws. It supplies a wonderful 1080P presentation.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
An authentic mono linear PCM audio track at 1152 kbps in original French. The highlight is the iconic Legrand score. The sound restoration if from the original 35mm optical sound negative. I presume it to be a strong replication of the original. I hear no hiss, dropouts or other flaws and dialogue is consistent. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.
Supplements include a French television interview from 1962 with actor Jeanne Moreau on the set of Bay of Angels. It was broadcast on the show Cinepanorama and runs almost 14-minutes. Ghere is also a new, 10-minute, interview with journalist Marie Colmant, coauthor of the book Jacques Demy. I found this quite interesting. It was conducted by Criterion in 2013 and explores the director's affection for outcasts. There is also a 5.5 minute restoration demonstration and a trailer. The Demy package includes a booklet featuring essays by critics Ginette Vincendeau, Terrence Rafferty, Jim Ridley, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Anne E. Duggan, and Geoff Andrew, and a postscript by Berthomé.
July 8th, 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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