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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Love at the Top aka "Le mouton enragé" aka "Das Wilde Schaf" [Blu-ray]

 

(Michel Deville, 1974)

 

   

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Viaduc Productions

Video: Filmconfect Home Entertainment

 

Disc:

Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:45:17.375

Disc Size: 22,126,517,858 bytes

Feature Size: 21,834,525,504 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.97 Mbps

Chapters: 22

Case: Slim book-style Blu-ray case

Release date: May 30th, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 24 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio French 1592 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1592 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
DUBs:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1576 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1576 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio German 1610 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1610 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

German, French, English, Spanish, Italian, Danish, Dutch, none

 

Extras:

• None

Book-style Case has photos and text in German only.

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: In this French satire, a meek little bank (Jean-Louis Trintignant) clerk finds fame and fortune when he begins getting lessons from an impoverished novelist (Jean-Pierre Cassel) . Soon the clerk is wowing the Parisians with his ability to make the women swoon, and for his talent at attracting money. The film is also known as The French Way Is or Love at the Top.

 

 

The Film:

Trintignant plays a bank teller who gets up enough nerve to pick up a girl (Birkin) who turns out to be a hooker. However, rather than pay her, he more or less forces himself on her. When he tells his friend, Cassel, who is crippled from an auto accident that also cost him his ability to have sex, Cassel comes up with a plan. He will turn Trintignant, who is clearly no longer timid, into a ladies man and deal-maker, and then write a best seller about it.

Excerpt from Movie House Commentary located HERE

Nicolas Mallet is a modest bank clerk resigned to mediocrity for the social security provided him his job. Introverted and dull, with the assistance and under the guidance of a former high school classmate, Claude Fabre, it will become an assured seducer, an opportunistic upstart unambitious set. In the aftermath of the oil crisis, the Bel Ami 70s experiencing remarkable upward mobility, based exclusively on the women he seduced almost unintentionally while being guided by Fabre. Going seek power from those who rule him, knowing himself indispensable, he will succeed his ascension and promote that of his first conquest.

Excerpt from Wikipedia-translated located HERE

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

Love at the Top appears about as good as you might expect, an early 70's French film, on Blu-ray out of Germany to look. In other words the image quality has some HD positives but suffers from its source and age. I thought it looked pretty decent in-motion - superior to the old Pathfinder DVD I own(ed). Healthy detail in close-ups - and overall softness in medium shots but clean, with instances of depth and a slight richness to the colors. It is neither glossy nor pristinely sharp but has a smidgeon of waxiness- at times looking texture-less (notably indoor lit sequences.) I would guess the 1.66:1 aspect ratio 1080P transfer is a decent replication of the theatrical appearance some 40-years hence. This Blu-ray has a touch of thinness but is very watchable, IMO.

 

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

 

Screen Captures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Firstly, the disc allows to you choose, via a country's flag, where you want the British, French or German menus (see below) - and once you do you can choose (in those languages) what audio and/or subtitles you want. This makes the disc very English-friendly. Naturally I choose the original French - it comes via a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1592 kbps / 24-bit. It sounds very good - plenty of consistency and depth although the film has no formal soundtrack or effects - it is basically, entirely, dialogue-driven. Subtitles come in a number of national-flag options including German, French, English, Spanish, Italian, Danish, Dutch and none (an arrow click above the French flag - took me a minute to figure out.) At times the subs do place two characters dialogue in the same instance but it's not hard to figure out. My Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

 

Extras :

None at all - a true bare-bones disc with the book-style case contains photos and German text.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I was reminded of François Truffaut's 'The Man Who Loved Women' which followed a few years later. It has its own plot, pace and style but it's a lot of female eye-candy appreciation. It's a fun film - Trintignant goes bold and scores with Romy Schneider, Jane Birkin, Estella Blain, Florinda Bolkan and others in a casual 70's way. I liked Love at the Top enough to take a chance on the Blu-ray. Despite it's lack of extras - it satisfied my desire to see, and hear, the film in a - notably, better transfer than my old SD. If you have not seen this and enjoy the performers and subtle, sexy, French comedies - my advice would be to pick this Blu-ray up. It's worth a spin or two. 

Gary Tooze

August 4th, 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 3500 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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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