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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "La mia droga si chiama Julie" or "Mississippi Mermaid")

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/truffaut.htm
Italy / France 1969

Initially poorly received in the U.S. (largely due to a missing 13 minute butcher cut) and lightly regarded, François Truffaut's Mississippi Mermaid (La Sirène du Mississippi) deserves reappraisal. An economical director without peer for storytelling, Truffaut demonstrates his ability to venture into Hitchcock's suspense/thriller territory while simultaneously delving into Buñuel's patented themes of sexual obsession. And it all starts with Catherine Deneuve—literally. Following the financial success of Stolen Kisses, producers Robert and Raymond Hakim offered to finance Truffaut's next film as long as he cast Deneuve, who was then working in Buñuel's Belle de Jour. After a lunch meeting, Truffaut was “sold” on the beautiful actress and vice-versa (the beginnings of another of the director's discreet extramarital affairs), and the project began to take shape.

Working single-handedly to adapt William Irish's novel, Truffaut transposes the setting from 1830 New Orleans to the tiny island of Reunion (off the coast of Madagascar) in the 1960's. Pre-dating the days of Internet personals, wealthy tobacco magnate Louis Mahè (Jean-Paul Belmondo) marries a woman (Deneuve) that he met through personal ads and has corresponded with. Although her appearance doesn't match the picture she had sent, Mahè accepts her explanation that she lied from lack of confidence. After all, he had told similar “white lies” by claiming to be the company foreman instead of the owner to avoid suspicion that his unseen correspondent was out for his money.

 Excerpt of John Nesbitt's review on CultureDose.net located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: June 18, 1969

Reviews                                                                                 More Reviews                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

MGM (US) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. MGM (Europe) - Region 2,4 - PAL vs. Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Kevin T and Pavel Borodin for the DVD Screen Caps!

1) MGM (US) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) MGM (Europe) - Region 2,4 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

Distribution

MGM (US)

Region 1 - NTSC

MGM (Europe)
Region 2,4 - PAL
Twilight Time
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 2:03:08 1:57:28 (4% PAL speedup) 2:03:19.225
Video

2:35:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.68 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.30:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.45 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.35:1 Disc Size: 34,202,368,475 bytes

Feature Size: 33,449,084,928 bytes

Total Bitrate: 29.98 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

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

Bitrate:

 

MGM (US)

 

Bitrate:

 

MGM (Europe)

 

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

 

Audio French Mono (Dolby Digital 2.0)

French (Dolby Digital 2.0)

DTS-HD Master Audio French 1063 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1063 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1145 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1145 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1799 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1799 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

Subtitles English, French, Spanish, none English, French, Dutch, Danish, Greek, none Burned-in English (yellow font)
Features Release Information:
Studio: MGM (US)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 2:35:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: 2001
Keep Case

Chapters 16
 

Release Information:
Studio: MGM (Europe)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.30:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer

 

DVD Release Date: August 4, 2003
Keep case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio:
Twilight Time

 

2.35:1 Disc Size: 34,202,368,475 bytes

Feature Size: 33,449,084,928 bytes

Total Bitrate: 29.98 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:
Audio Commentary with Film Historians Nick Redman + Julie Kirgo
Isolated Score Track
Original Theatrical Trailer (1:35)

8-page liner notes by Julie Kirgo

Limited to 3,000 units
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Blu-ray Release Date: May, 2015
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 24

 

 

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray June 15': Mississippi Mermaid is another problematic title in regards to bringing it to digital - reminding me of Twilight Time's transfer of Truffaut's The Bride Wore Black. The Twilight Time 1080P transfer is blameless in that it is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate and seems to have been at the mercy of the source provided. Historically, they never seem to do manipulations and looking positively, it does look significantly superior to the SD renderings of more than a decade ago. The grain textures are somewhat inconsistent (but not as clunky as we have seen) but over-all, in-motion, the image quality is certainly better than just 'watchable'. Colors, in particular, regain some normalcy. It is heavy with very little depth. There is, mostly, much more information in the frame of the 1080P - notable on the side edges. Perhaps this is the best HD video we will see for this title?

Twilight Time utilize an authentic DTS-HD Master mono track in the original French at 1063 kbps. No aggressive effects per-se but the score by Antoine Duhamel (Godard's Weekend) carries some weight not heard in my European SD. Unfortunately, it has burned-in yellow font subtitles (that I assume were on the D1 source provided.) Like all Twilight Time Blu-rays it is region FREE.

We get a new audio commentary with film historians Nick Redman + Julie Kirgo. Julie takes the lead but I find this an unusual film for discussion although the educated pair do impart some interesting value. Twilight Time add their usual isolated score track, there is a theatrical trailer and some liner notes with essay by Julie Kirgo. This release is limited to 3,000 units.

This is not my favorite Truffaut although I did appreciate the film more via the 1080P presentation, along with the commentary than ever before. I still find it an oddball, but there are some features about it that are intriguing in a filmmaking sense. For those keen, or who have not seen Mississippi Mermaid, this is the best way for your home theater consumption.

***

ON THE DVD (2003): Overall both look very weak. The anamorphic PAL edition appears to have better image quality. It is marginally sharper with superior contrast levels. Skin tones in the non-16X9 NTSC look a little unnatural and orange to me... and that edition is slightly cropped. It seems the Region 1 may have some contrast boosting. It is very difficult to know for sure, but I lean toward the PAL edition and its anamorphicity. All else is the same (extras, audio, menu).

 - Gary Tooze

 



DVD Menus

(
MGM (US) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. MGM (Europe) - Region 2,4 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


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

 

Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Screen Captures

 

1) MGM (US) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM (Europe) - Region 2,4 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM (US) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM (Europe) - Region 2,4 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM (US) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM (Europe) - Region 2,4 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM (US) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM (Europe) - Region 2,4 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM (US) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM (Europe) - Region 2,4 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


Hit Counter


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"


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray
Box Covers

 

Distribution

MGM (US)

Region 1 - NTSC

MGM (Europe)
Region 2,4 - PAL
Twilight Time
Region FREE -
Blu-ray



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...