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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'The Silence of the Sea')

Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville
France 19
49

Melville's extraordinary first feature, an adaptation of Vercors' classic novella about the French Resistance, is in effect a triangular drama in which two people don't speak. A German officer (Vernon), convalescing from a wound, is billeted on an elderly Frenchman (Robain) and his niece (Stéphane). Respecting their obstinate refusal to address the hated invader, he meets their silence with a series of monologues, apparently ignored, in which he recalls his life before the war and all the things he values; but what he reveals about himself causes the girl to fall in love, without being able to declare her feelings. Filmed in the most daring way imaginable, using a new cinematic language of transient expressions and glances, the film was a root influence on Bresson and the whole French New Wave.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 22nd, 1949

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Comparison:

Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - PAL vs. Masters of Cinema (Dual-Format Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - PAL LEFT

2) Masters of Cinema (Dual-Format Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

    

Distribution Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - PAL Masters of Cinema - Spine # 28 Region FREE - Blu-ray Criterion Collection - Spine # 755 - Region 'A' Blu-ray
Runtime 1:23:33  1:26:59.041  1:27:28.284 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.62 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 34,326,256,715 bytes

Feature: 25,202,872,320 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,450,793,312 bytes

Feature: 24,596,318,208 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.46 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate: DVD

Bitrate: MoC Blu-ray

Bitrate: Criterion Blu-ray

Audio French (Dolby Digital 1.0)  DTS-HD Master Audio French 1696 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1696 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit) LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, None English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Eureka - Masters of Cinema

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Video Discussion by Ginette Vincendeau (21:58)
• 56-page liner notes booklet

DVD Release Date: June 25th, 2007

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 14

Release Information:
Studio: Eureka - Masters of Cinema

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 34,326,256,715 bytes

Feature: 25,202,872,320 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• Video Discussion by Ginette Vincendeau (21:54 in 1080P)

• Melville Out of the Shadows – a new French-made documentary about Melville’s film [42:14 in 1080P] (Blu-ray only)
• Original theatrical trailer (2:39 in 1080P)

• 56-page liner notes booklet

Blu-ray Release Date: January 23rd, 2012
Transparent
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 14

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,450,793,312 bytes

Feature: 24,596,318,208 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.46 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• The short 24 Hours in the Life of a Clown (1946), director Jean-Pierre Melville’s first film (18:26)
• New interview with film scholar Ginette Vincendeau (17:09)
• Code Name Melville (2008), a seventy-six-minute documentary on Melville’s time in the French Resistance and his films about it (1:16:39)
• Melville Steps Out of the Shadows (2010), a forty-two-minute documentary about Le silence de la mer (42:19)
• Interview with Melville from 1959 (1:43)
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien and a selection from Rui Nogueira’s 1971 book Melville on Melvillee

 

Blu-ray Release Date: April 28th, 2015
Transparent Blu-ray case

Chapters 19

 

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: These Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

 

ADDITION: Criterion Region 'A' Blu-ray: April 2015: I can't see a lot of difference between the two 1080P transfers - the Criterion is a bit darker, but I suspect it is form the same source and also a dual-layered transfer with very high bitrate. It looks brilliant in-motion.

 

Criterion use a linear PCM monaural track in the original French and my ears can't detect a difference between it and the MoC's DTS-HD Master track. Both have optional English subtitles but the Criterion Blu-ray is region 'A'-locked.

 

Criterion add many supplements. The 18-minute 24 Hours in the Life of a Clown (1946) is director Jean-Pierre Melville’s first film - it is a short about a clown and his partner, who find inspiration one day in the streets for their performance in the circus that night. We get a new 17-minute interview, conducted by Criterion in November 2014, with film scholar, professor, Ginette Vincendeau author of Jean-Pierre Melville: An American in Paris. She discusses Melville's remarkable film debut. Code Name Melville - a 2008 documentary by Oliver Bohler - is seventy-six-minutes on Melville’s time in the French Resistance and how they affected his later filmmaking career. Melville Steps Out of the Shadows (also on the MoC) is a 42-minute, 2010 documentary by Pierre-Henri Gilbert, chronicling the making of Le silence de la mer and features interviews with Nicole Stephane, filmmaker Volker Schlondorff, cinematographer Pierre Lhomme, and Rui Nogueira, author of Melville on Melville. We also get a short interview with Melville from 1959 and the package contains a liner notes booklet featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien and a selection from Rui’s 1971 book Melville on Melville.

 

Another superb release from Criterion with added extras (ratcheting marginally ahead of the MoC) and an impressive a/c\v. Our highest recommendation!

 

***

 

ADDITION: Masters of Cinema - Region FREE - Blu-ray (December 11'): The improved resolution has produced a superior image via the new Blu-ray transfer. The 1080P visuals report more textured grain, better contrast, less noise and an overall more film-like image. The SD, by comparison, is flatter and more one-dimensional. It seems the Blu-ray has a shade more information at the bottom with slightly less on the top of the frame. The brighter and crisper looking HD is impressive in direct comparison. Strangely, the scratches seemed less evident via high bitrate Blu-ray - where usually the opposite is true. This is a significantly more robust improvement than I was anticipating.

 

Audio is given the lossless treatment. The stereo transfer is never dynamically tested in the dialogue-driven film. The segments of original music by Edgar Bischoff are notably tighter through the uncompressed rendering. Optional English subtitles are offered with narrative now in italics. The Blu-ray is Region FREE and the enclosed DVD, in the Dual-Format package, remains region 2 - PAL.

 

Additional to the 2007 DVD with Ginette Vincendeau's 20-minute video discussion and the 56-page liner notes booklet, we get Melville Out of the Shadows – a new French-made 42-minute documentary about Melville’s film - in 1080P and an original theatrical trailer - also in HD. Plus being 'dual-format' we get the previous DVD included in the package.

 

I think this is a worthy upgrade and an easy endorsement for those who don't own the original DVD. This is a compelling drama from a master filmmaker. To own it in such film-like quality with extensive extras seems essential, in my opinion.

***

NOTE: Max in email says - "Just saw the Silence de la Mer DVD from MoC yesterday and it seems to me that they have slightly zoomed into the image. Some of the compositions are distinctly odd, with character's heads too close to the edge of the frame. I chalked some of that down to Melville's and Decae's inexperience (it was their first film after all), but in the end, when they frame the book, you cannot actually read some of the words because they are cut off on the right. Also the logo in the beginning suffers from the same. So it seems to me that the picture is definitely cropped."

Aside from some heavy vertical scratches - present in the beginning of the presentation - the MoC image quality is quite exceptional. Strong contrast and shadow detail and at times the transfer looks remarkably sharp. I see some, fairly unnoticeable, artifacts and nitrate blemishes but considering the age of the film (and its probable print condition) one would expect many more. This is a dual-layered, progressive digital presentation that exports the film's intent very clearly and it is much appreciated to have it now on DVD. Audio is a notch below what one might expect from MoC but aside from an extensive, and costly, restoration this is a very acceptable presentation. Optional English subtitles support the single channel French audio.   

Supplements include Ginette Vincendeau, professor of French cinema at King's College -London (and author of Jean-Pierre Melville: An American in Paris) discussing the merits of both the film and director Melville. It is over 20 minutes and she is a bona-fide expert who transmits some excellent information further to appreciation of La Silence de la Mer. Typical of MoC releases they have also included and extensive booklet with essays by Rui Nogueira and Ginette Vincendeau. There are also a couple of pages of small photos.

Great DVD folks - strongly recommend!

Gary W. Tooze


Menus

 

Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Masters of Cinema (Dual-Format Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT


 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 


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

 

Subtitle Sample

 

 

1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Masters of Cinema (Dual-Format Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

 

1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Masters of Cinema (Dual-Format Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Masters of Cinema (Dual-Format Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Masters of Cinema (Dual-Format Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Masters of Cinema (Dual-Format Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Masters of Cinema (Dual-Format Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Masters of Cinema (Dual-Format Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

1) Masters of Cinema (Dual-Format Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema (Dual-Format Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema (Dual-Format Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Box Covers

    

Distribution Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Region 2 - PAL Masters of Cinema - Spine # 28 Region FREE - Blu-ray Criterion Collection - Spine # 755 - Region 'A' Blu-ray




 

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