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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Bay of Angels aka "La baie des anges" [Blu-ray]

 

(Jacques Demy, 1963)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Sud-Pacifique Films 

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #715

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:24:32.317

Disc Size: 33,648,278,777 bytes

Feature Size: 24,782,106,624 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.98 Mbps

Chapters: 15

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 22nd, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

• French television interview from 1962 with actor Jeanne Moreau on the set of Bay of Angels (13:47)
New interview with journalist Marie Colmant, coauthor of the book Jacques Demy (10:09)
Restoration demonstration (5:25)
Trailer (1:20)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

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.

 

 

The Film:

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

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.

 

Extras :

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.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
This disc a very strong point in favor of purchasing the Essential Jacques Demy Set. A brilliant romance looking pristine with lossless audio and keen extras. We will continue to cover the Criterion Blu-ray package and this is a magnificent addition. Thumbs skyward. 

Gary Tooze

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.

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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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