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Vice and Virtue aka "Le vice et la vertu" [Blu-ray]
(Roger Vadim, 1963)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: S.N.E. Gaumont
Video: Kino Lorber
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 23,829,708,096 bytes
Feature Size: 23,246,782,464 bytes
Video Bitrate: 25.95 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: March 17th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio French 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
• Trailer (3:11)
Description: Set against the backdrop of the Nazi occupation of France, VICE AND VIRTUE (La vice et le vertu) is a stylized retelling of the Marquis de Sade's Justine, as envisioned by one of cinema's most provocative filmmakers: Roger Vadim (Blood and Roses, Barbarella). Two sisters navigate very different courses as they struggle to survive within the morally corrupt fascist regime. Juliette (Annie Girardot, The Piano Teacher) is surrounded by the spoils of war, being the mistress of an SS colonel (Robert Hossein). Meanwhile, Justine (Catherine Deneuve, Repulsion, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg), whose husband is seized by fascists on their wedding day, is taken to a chateau in the country, where she is groomed to become a concubine for the Nazi elite.
The "vice and virtue" of the title of this wartime drama directed by Roger Vadim are exemplified in the personae of two very attractive women: Juliette (Annie Girardot) and Justine (Catherine Deneuve). Juliette is a collaborator and Justine supports the resistance movement, yet when her husband is arrested on her wedding day, she goes to Juliette to ask for help. That simple plan is nixed by a series of unfortunate circumstances that send Justine to a brothel for German soldiers and make Juliette the mistress of a brutal Nazi officer. The symbolism in this tale harks back to two stories by the Marquis de Sade, one titled "Juliette" and the other, "Justine." Vadim seems to have been caught between creating symbolic characters versus creating believable women since as the story unfolds, Juliette is not exactly vice incarnate, nor is Justine a model of pristine virtue.
De Sade was all over the publicity for this film, but is excluded from its credits. Nevertheless, it's Justine and Juliette updated to 1944-45. Justine (Deneuve), churchgoing, loyal to her fiancé in the Resistance, is forcibly consigned to an SS brothel in the Tyrol. Meanwhile her sister Juliette (Girardot) is infatuated with a Gestapo brute who lets her sit in on his torture sessions. Only the cast makes this worth a look. The sex contrives to be both tame and vulgar, and Vadim's fancy lighting effects - dimming out the set in mid-scene and putting a spot on the characters - just looks silly. What with this and Pasolini's odious Salò, it's clear that Sade and WWII are subjects best treated separately.Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Roger Vadim's Vice and Virtue has come to Blu-ray from Kino-Lorber. The image quality seems solid with a, single-layered, 1080P transfer for the bare-bones package. The bitrate supports the black and white visuals well enough. There is a shade of gloss but also plenty of scenes highlighting the grain structure. It is transferred in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio and the only notable inconsistency are the stock war footage sequences that were part of the production (see last capture.) There is some depth, no obvious signs of digitization or speckles and fairly crisp sharpness - noticeable in the close-ups. This Blu-ray video seems to do a reasonable job appearing quite pleasing through most of the HD presentation.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Kino use a linear PCM in 2.0 channel mono at 1536 kbps in the original French language. There are a few aggressive effects that carry some bass response. The score is by Michel Magne (Monsieur Gangster, Angélique, Angelique and the Sultan) and isn't particularly remarkable, IMO but sounds clean with some moody ominous-ness. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Only a trailer in French with English subtitles.
March 2nd, 2015
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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