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Eclipse Series 34: Jean Gremillon During the Occupation

 

Remorques (1941)        Lumiere d'ete (1943)        Le ciel est a vous (1944)

 

Though little known outside of France, Jean Grémillon was a consummate filmmaker from his country’s golden age. A classical violinist who turned to directing, he went on to make almost fifty films—from documentaries to avant-garde works to melodramas with major stars—in a thirty-year career. Three of his richest came during a dire period in French history: Remorques, starring Jean Gabin, was begun in 1939 but finished and released after Germany invaded France, and Lumière d’été and Le ciel est à vous were produced during the occupation. These character-driven dramas, the first two cowritten by legendary screenwriter Jacques Prévert, are humane, entertaining, and technically brilliant, and prove Grémillon to be one of cinema’s true hidden masters.

Titles


Remorques
Jean Gremillion 1941
Jacques Prévert cowrote this atmospheric tale of the romantic trials of a tugboat captain, played by the iconic French star Jean Gabin. For André and the other members of the Cyclone’s crew, existence is harshly divided between the danger of the stormy seas and the safety of life at home with their patient women. When André meets temptation in the form of the alluring Catherine during a risky rescue, he comes perilously close to betraying his wife of ten years. The haunting Remorques is distinguished by beautiful tracking shots and cunning special-effects work.

Lumiere d'ete
Jean Gremillion 1943
A shimmering glass hotel at the top of a remote Provençal mountain provides the setting for a tragicomic tapestry about an obsessive love pentangle, whose principals range from an artist to a hotel manager to a dam worker. Scripted by Jacques Prévert and Pierre Laroche, the film was banned from theaters for the duration of the occupation for its dark portrayal of the hedonistic excesses of the ruling class. Today, it is often singled out as Jean Grémillon’s greatest achievement.

Le ciel est a vous
Jean Gremillion 1944
In this uplifting romantic drama, the wife of a mechanic and former fighter pilot falls in love with the idea of flying herself. This soon becomes an obsession, and she undertakes a lofty feat: the longest solo flight ever made by a woman. A warm look at a working-class family as well as a triumphant tale of determination, Le ciel est à vous was Jean Grémillon’s most financially successful film.


Theatrical Releases: 1941 - 1944

  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Eclipse Series 34: Jean Gremillon During the Occupation (3-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC

 

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution Eclipse / Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC
Bitrates: Respective bitrates - 6.88, 8.51, 8.63 mb/s
Time: Respectively - 1:24:36, 1:50:00, and 1:47:04
Bitrate:

Remorques

Bitrate:

Lumiere d'ete

Bitrate:

Le ciel est a vous

Audio 2.0 channel Dolby
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Eclipse / Criterion Collection

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 1.33:1 

Edition Details:

  •  liner notes (for each film) in the transparent case


DVD Release Date:
July 24th, 2012
3 Slim Transparent Keep Cases inside a Slipcase cardboard box
Chapters: 12, 16, 21

 

 

Comments:

The 3 features of this boxset are housed in individual slim transparent keep cases and they are not sold separately by Criterion or on NTSC DVD at this time (to my knowledge).

Remorques is single-layered, and Lumiere d'ete and Le ciel est a vous are both dual-layered. All three are progressive in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio and are coded for Region 1 in the NTSC standard. The audio is flat but acceptable and there are optional English subtitles (samples below). The Eclipse, then Janus, and some French production logos precede each film.

Quality is surprisingly strong with some light contrast flickering at the beginning of  Remorques and some scratch damage in Le ciel est a vous being the only notable black-marks. Contrast and detail are solid and there is even some grain visible. These DVDs gave me wonderful SD presentations.   

 

There are no extras aside from the liner notes for each film ( 4-page leaflet for Remorques and on the other two visible on the inner case sleeve through the transparent case cover.) 

Cinema fans have been waiting for years for a Jean Gremillon set... and if not in a full blown Criterion package - Eclipse is also much appreciated. These are fabulous films - and Le ciel est a vous could justly be called a masterpiece. Heck, all 3 could. This is very strongly recommended and should get some honored attention at our year-end poll. 

Gary W. Tooze


DVD Menus


 


 

 Case Cover

 

 

 

Jacques Prévert cowrote this atmospheric tale of the romantic trials of a tugboat captain, played by the iconic French star Jean Gabin.

 

Screen Captures

 


 






 

Slim Transparent Keep Case Cover

 

 

A shimmering glass hotel at the top of a remote Provençal mountain provides the setting for a tragicomic tapestry about an obsessive love pentangle, whose principals range from an artist to a hotel manager to a dam worker.

 

 

Screen Captures

 


 






 

 Case Cover

 

 

 

In this uplifting romantic drama, the wife of a mechanic and former fighter pilot falls in love with the idea of flying herself. This soon becomes an obsession, and she undertakes a lofty feat: the longest solo flight ever made by a woman.

Screen Captures

 


 






Deep Vertical scratches

 


 

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

 

Distribution Eclipse / Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

 

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