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The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe aka "Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire" [Blu-ray]
(Yves Robert, 1972)
Review by Gary Tooze
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 22,751,657,253 bytes
Feature Size: 19,336,003,584 bytes
Video Bitrate: 25.00 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: July 14th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio French 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
•Theatrical Trailer (3:08 - burned-in English subs)
• Film Movement Trailers
• Liner Notes Booklet
Description: A frothy French farce, The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe is a classic madcap comedy about espionage, surveillance and mistaken identity. When Francois (Pierre Richard), an unsuspecting violinist, is misidentified as a superspy by national intelligence, outrageous antics ensue. As everyone (including Mireille Darc, playing a knock-out henchwoman) falls over each other in their misguided attempts to discover the tall blond man's secrets, his best friend complicates matters even further when he overhears a salacious recording of Francois with his wife. The whole merry-go-round comes crashing to a halt in one final showdown, pitting spy versus supposed spy with hilarious results. Elegantly filmed and accompanied by a memorable score, The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe is one of the most seminal comedies of the 1970s.
The Film:From director Yves Robert (MY FATHER'S GLORY and MY MOTHER'S CASTLE) and writer Francis Veber – whose LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, THE FUGITIVES, THE TOY, and THE DINNER GAME have all been remade stateside in addition to this film as the awful Tom Hanks vehicle THE MAN WITH ONE RED SHOE – THE TALL BLOND MAN WITH ONE BLACK SHOE is a cleverly-written work that turns counter-espionage into light comedy. Although Robert's first choice for the lead was Claude Rich (THE BRIDE WORE BLACK), comedian Pierre Richard had a supporting role Robert's earlier comedy VERY HAPPY ALEXANDER and it is difficult to imagine anyone else brushing his teeth with shaving cream, trying to walk with Chistine's (WEEKEND's Mireille Darc) hair caught in his zipper, and being physically assaulted by a bagpipe. In less showy roles than Richard and Jean Carmet (THE FUGITIVES), Jean Rochefort (THE ARTIST AND THE MODEL) and Bernard Blier (CASANOVA 70) – father of director Bertrand Blier (BEAU PERE) – turn in subtler comic performances. Masterful staging elicits fresh chuckles from old sight gags, with the third act's orchestral performance – conducted by Robert himself – managing to be simultaneously suspenseful and hilarious in its editing and choreography of the actors to symphonic accompaniment (followed by another comic highlight as Milan and his spies fresh from the symphony find themselves the audience to the comically-protracted "foreplay" to Francois' and Christine's lovemaking). The principal cast and crew would return two years later for a sequel (which really should have accompanied this release since both films are on Blu-ray in France). Michel Duchaussoy (AMEN) has an uncredited role. Eric Cotenas
In this wacky French spy comedy, the chief of the French secret service wants very much to keep his job and stoops to chicanery to prevent rivals from closing in. He points to a man chosen at random from a crowd of people (Pierre Richard), and identifies him to his rival as an important spy who must be followed at all costs. In fact, he is François, a bumbling, good-natured musician. However, his lack of any notable spy-like failings only serves to convince his watchers that he is more skillful and professional than they. At every turn, they redouble their efforts, leading to many absurd situations. For instance, they send a beautiful woman to try to get his secrets from him. Instead, convinced of his innocence, she falls in love with him. This extremely popular film became actor Pierre Richard's signature role, and he often used the character's name in other films. This was one of the first successful screenplays by Francis Veber, who went on to write the screenplay for La Cage Aux Folles and many other successful comedies.Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe is transferred to a single-layered Blu-ray from Film Movement. The 1.5 hour feature, in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio, looks reasonably consistent an clean. It has a slight blue-teal leaning but the thick appearance is actually very pleasing and film-like with close-ups showing decent sharpness. It's a shade dark, but I suspect this is accurate. I saw one instance of noise but there may be a couple of others scattered in the presentation. This Blu-ray, like the early 70's film itself, is pleasing in its appearance despite the, acceptable, and less-consistent imperfections. Without being too picky, I think most will be very appreciative of the image quality.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Film Movement use an authentic linear PCM 2.0 channel at 2304 kbps in the original French. Dialogue is clean and audible - there isn't an excess of effects but the bubbly score is by veteran Vladimir Cosma (Diva) and it deftly shifts between intrigue and humor - sounding delightful and strong via the lossless. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.
NOTE: Eric found that some of the subtitles linger in the silences between lines of dialogue (the subtitle translation of the title also stays onscreen throughout the title sequence).
The only supplements is a trailer and the package has a liner notes booklet.
July 9th, 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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