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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Love in the Afternoon [Blu-ray]


(Billy Wilder, 1957)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Billy Wilder Productions

Video: Warner Archive



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:09:56.789

Disc Size: 40,106,104,753 bytes

Feature Size: 37,798,459,392 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Chapters: 18

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 7th, 2017



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1781 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1781 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English (SDH), none



Trailer (3:00)





Description: She plays the cello. He plays the field. She’s coltishly young. He’s worldly and mature. Lovestruck conservatory student Ariane knows she’s not like millionaire American playboy Frank Flanagan. But if she pretends to be just as much a cosmopolitan lover as he is, maybe the magic of l’amour will take hold. May-December romance is in bloom when Billy Wilder directs and Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper meet for Love in the Afternoon. Laughs, Parisian settings, champagne elegance – Wilder, in his first collaboration with long-time cowriter I.A.L. Diamond, delivers them all in a soufflé-light homage to his filmmaking idol Ernst Lubitsch, punctuating it by casting Lubitsch alumnus Maurice Chevalier, the cinema’s ambassador of Gallic charm who smoothly plays Ariane’s detective father.



The Film:

For this grandly sophisticated romance, which Mr. Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond have penned, with a courteous nod to a novel by a Frenchman named Claude Anet, is in the great Lubitsch tradition, right down to the froth on the champagne, with a couple of fine additional "touches" that Mr. Wilder may wholly claim.

Like most of Lubitsch's chefs-d'oeuvre, it is a gossamer sort of thing, so far as a literary story and a substantial moral are concerned. A little French girl—a 'cello player and daughter of a private eye—matches wits with a formidable American roué in his suite in the Paris Ritz Hotel. That is to say, she matches techniques in the art of tangling someone in love. There is little more to the story. And, come to think of it, there is not a shred of moral.

But, boy, what a charming lot of detail Mr. Wilder and Mr. Diamond have contrived to keep their unmoral story going for a couple of minutes over two hours! And what delightful performances Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper give as the cleverly calculating couple who spar through the amorous afternoons!

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

Co-written and directed by Billy Wilder, Love in the Afternoon was filmed on location in Paris, showing off such sites as the Paris Opera House and the Chateau de Vitry. Like Sabrina(1954), a previous Wilder film also starring Audrey Hepburn, this May-December affair dealt with a younger woman's affection for an older man. Yet, despite the potentially disturbing age differences between the two characters, Love in the Afternoon managed to escape scathing comments from moralists due to Wilder's subtle handling of the subject matter. For instance, Ariane was always fully clothed and never seen in a compromising situation with Flannagan. Only the occasional removal of her gloves and Flannagan bestowing kisses on her hand and arm hinted that the couple were involved romantically. When the film was released in Europe, the ending was altered slightly, leaving the relationship between Ariane and Flannagan unresolved. The U.S. version, however, concludes with a promise of commitment between the two lovers.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE


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

Love in the Afternoon appears pretty solid on Blu-ray from The Warner Archive.  The image detail advances over SD with nicely layered contrast and appealing textures. This is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. The visuals have inherent softness but there are sequences that look quite tight wit pleasing depth. This Blu-ray seems faithful expecting the slightly bastardized 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The film doesn't appear dynamic in 1080P but this may be exactly how it looked theatrically.


















Audio :

The audio is rendered in a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1781 kbps (24-bit). Dialogue is clear and consistent. No credited score but there is orchestral-based music; Henri Betti's C'est si bon, Matty Malneck's Love in the Afternoon 'theme', Wagner's Tristan und Isolde etc.. There's a strong sense of 'class; established by the background music and it's supported well by the lossless. There are optional English subtitles (all capitalized in a bright yellow font) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

The only supplement is a trailer... with a scene I don't recall in the film (?!?)



I hadn't seen Love in the Afternoon for many years. It actually holds up pretty well - more credit to Wilder's sensitive handling and the charismatic leads.  Love in the Afternoon is a touching piece of cinema worthy to have on Blu-ray, in my opinion. Something you can really curl up to enjoy Hepburn, Cooper and Chevalier - still recommended despite the bare-bones status. 

Gary Tooze

March 1st, 2017


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.

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Gary W. Tooze






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