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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Shoot the Pianist" or "Shoot the Piano Player")

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/truffaut.htm
France 1960

 

François Truffaut is drunk on the possibilities of cinema in this, his most playful, anarchic film. Part film noir, part comedy, part tragedy, Shoot the Piano Player relates the adventures of the mild-mannered piano player Charlie (Charles Aznavour, in a triumph of hangdog deadpan) as he stumbles into the criminal underworld and a whirlwind love affair. Loaded with gags, guns, clowns, and thugs, this razor-sharp homage to the American gangster film is pure nouvelle vague.

***

What makes Truffaut's second feature such a delight is the almost tangible passion for the history of cinema, its language and conventions, and the artistic possibilities offered by their innovative adaptation and re-interpretation. But don't let the label of artiness put you off. Truffaut was thankfully not so stuffy as to forget that the best movies can be funny as well as clever. Witty dialogue and thoroughly inventive visual humor are equally important elements in the composition of the film's considerable charm. Charles Aznavour, as the eponymous pianist, is ideally suited as the alternately tragic and comic hero and coasts effortlessly through the sudden changes of mood.

IExcerpt from Iain Harral's review located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: 25 November 1960

Reviews                                                               More Reviews                                                              DVD Reviews

Comparison: 

MK2 - Region 2 - PAL vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Per-Olof Strandberg for the MK2 captures!

1) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL LEFT

2) Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE

3) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

The MYK2 also available in the  12 Truffaut DVD set - all with English subtitles and many extras with English subs. Includes - Jules et Jim, La Peau douce (The Soft Skin), Les Deux anglaises et le continent (Two English Girls), La Femme d'à côté (The Woman Next Door), Le Dernier métro (The Last Metro), Les 400 coups (The 400 Blows), Baisers volés (Stolen Kisses), Domicile conjugal (Bed and Board), L'Amour en fuite (Love on the Run), Vivement dimanche ! (Confidentially Yours), Tirez sur le pianiste (Shoot the Pianist), and Fahrenheit 451.

Distribution

MK2

Region 2 - PAL

Criterion Collection - Spine # 315

Region 1 - NTSC

Artificial Eye
Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Bitrate: Criterion (Disc 1)

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Runtime 1:18:00 1:21:39 1:21:17.041
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.2 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 21,568,743,703 bytes

Feature: 20,800,868,352 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0) French (Dolby Digital 1.0) LPCM Audio French 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Commentary: LPCM Audio French 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Subtitles English and None English and None English and None
Features Release Information:
Studio: MK2

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Serge Toubiana presents the film (3:27)
• Commentary track by Marie Dubois
• Commentary track by Raoul Coutard
• Francois Truffaut speaks about the film (9:41)
• François Truffaut talks about the book
• "Down there" the film is based on (12:22)
• Screen tests of Marie Dubois (2:51)
• Trailer (4:3 / 1:54)
• Truffaut Collection (12 trailers)
• The extra material on this DVD do not have English subtitles

DVD Release Date: 20 February 2002
Keep Case

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by film scholars Annette Insdorf and Peter Brunette
• Exclusive new video interviews with actors Charles Aznavour and Marie Dubois
• Video interview with Coutard, conducted in 2003
• Rare interview with François Truffaut collaborator Suzanne Schiffman, from 1986
• Excerpts from a 1965 episode of the French television program Cinéastes de notre temps dedicated to Truffaut
• An excerpt from the French television program Étoiles et toiles in which Truffaut discusses his adaptation of the David Goodis novel
• The Music of George Delerue, an illustrated essay
• Dubois’ screen test for the film
• Theatrical trailer
• 30-page liner notes booklet with photos and essay by film critic Kent Jones

• Tales of Hoffmann postcard

DVD Release Date: December 5th, 2005
Double thick Keep Case

Chapters 23

Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

 

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 21,568,743,703 bytes

Feature: 20,800,868,352 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Commentary track by Raoul Coutard

• Introduction by Serge Toubiana (3:27)

• Screen tests of Marie Dubois (2:50)

• Trailer (1:48)

Blu-ray Release Date: July 28th, 2014
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 12

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Artificial Eye - Region 'B' Blu-ray - July 2014: Yes, quite nice. The screen captures indicate the advancement in the visuals via Artificial Eye's 1080P transfer.  Superior contrast, frequent depth , deeper black levels and notably sharper - still maintaining textures and  there is no digital manipulation.  No noise. I think it looks quite strong - better than I was anticipating.

Audio comes via a linear PCM 2.0 channel stereo track at 1536 kbps in the original French. It is predictably flat but has some tightness not present on the SDs. Georges Delerue (Jules et Jim, The Woman Next Door, The Last Metro, Day For Night) did the score and it also benefits from the uncompressed rendering. There are optional English subtitles (they are optional!) on the Region 'B'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Supplements replicate some of what was on the mk2 DVD with the commentary track by Raoul Coutard - with English subtitles (see sample), a brief introduction by Serge Toubiana, 3-minutes of screen tests of Marie Dubois and a trailer.

I had not seen this in almost a decade. I loved it - the improved a/v bolstered my appreciation. I can't wait to see more upcoming Truffaut on Blu-ray. This absolutely gets our endorsement! 

***

 

ADDITION: - Criterion - NTSC - November 2005: The first huge difference in these edition is the extensive cropping on the MK2 release - mostly on the two sides but on the top as well. The Criterion is much brighter and we can only surmise that the transfer, supervised by director of photography Raoul Coutard, is the most accurate in terms of intended appearance. The MK2 has both brightness boosting and de-saturation that leaves the image very thin. This makes the Criterion appear a little softer alongside. There are some visible artifacts in the MK2 that are more apparent also next to the Criterion. 

Frankly this is all quite contrary to what we have seen from Criterion in some of their past releases. As opposed to their usual slight de-saturation and darkness (often reds and/or blacks) boosting to bring up detail, they have gone the opposite route and allowed the image to have a softer glow... which is possibly more accurate. Also Criterion have been caught a number of times with cropping issues in the past, but since the use of their new quantization matrix (1st seen in PickPocket) this no longer seems to be an issue, but we will keep attentive in any case. This is actually very good news as it shows that Criterion appear to be improving - raising the bar another notch. In this DVD comparison the Criterion gives a far more film-like presentation.

Although the MK2 has some decent extras - those supplements do not have English subtitles. There are some cross-over's with the Maria Dubois screen test (example) - I particularly got a lot out of the Kent Jones essay booklet that includes and interview with Truffaut. It is beautifully bound and a nice keepsake. Criterion's 2nd disc has some real value. We, of course, recommend the Criterion.   

***

The new wave took the cameras out from the studio to real location. This is shot in Dyaliscope, with big cameras. Because of that I believe that the original material in this film varies in quality a lot. Some scenes seems soft, and the outdoor scenes has very little light. Some of the film stock is very grainy also, but I believe this is quite a good reproduction from the original elements. As the main title is quite sharp, it's believable that the out of focus scenes are also so in the original film negative.

The film makes a little left to right movement, but not so that it annoys you. Looking on screen cap no 4, makes me believe the DVD is cropped on the both edges a little.

Unfortunately the huge amount of extra-material is not subtitled in English on this DVD.

 - Per-Olof Strandberg






Menus
(MK2 - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT)

 

 

 

Criterion - Disc 2

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 


 

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

 

Commentary Subtitle Sample - Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Criterion - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Screen Captures

 

1) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1- NTSC SECOND

3) Fox/Lorber - Region 0 NTSC THIRD

4) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE

3) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE

3) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE

3) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE

3) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE

3) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) MK2 - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE

3) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Criterion

 

 


Recommended Reading on Truffaut /  French Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

The Films in My Life
by Francois Truffaut, Leonard Mayhew

François Truffaut
by Annette Insdorf
HITCHCOCK (REVISED EDITION)
by Helen G. Scott, Francois Truffaut
The French New Wave: An Artistic School
by Michel Marie, Richard John Neupert, Richard Neupert
A History of the French New Wave Cinema
by Richard Neupert
French New Wave
by Jean Douchet, Robert Bonnono, Cedric Anger, Robert Bononno
French Cinema: From Its Beginnings to the Present
by Remi Fournier Lanzoni
Truffaut: A Biography by Antoine do Baecque and Serge Toubiana

Check out more in "The Library"


Box Covers

 

The MYK2 also available in the  12 Truffaut DVD set - all with English subtitles and many extras with English subs. Includes - Jules et Jim, La Peau douce (The Soft Skin), Les Deux anglaises et le continent (Two English Girls), La Femme d'à côté (The Woman Next Door), Le Dernier métro (The Last Metro), Les 400 coups (The 400 Blows), Baisers volés (Stolen Kisses), Domicile conjugal (Bed and Board), L'Amour en fuite (Love on the Run), Vivement dimanche ! (Confidentially Yours), Tirez sur le pianiste (Shoot the Pianist), and Fahrenheit 451.

Distribution

MK2

Region 2 - PAL

Criterion Collection - Spine # 315

Region 1 - NTSC

Artificial Eye
Region 'B' - Blu-ray




 

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