Montparnasse 19 aka "Modigliani of Montparnasse" or "Les amants de Montparnasse" or "Hero of Montmatre" [Blu-ray]
(Jacques Becker, 1958)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Franco London Films
Video: Arrow Video
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 40,253,874,700 bytes
Feature Size: 25,358,604,288 bytes
Video Bitrate: 27.99 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: November 27th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio French 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
•Jacques Becker and the Artistic Condition, a 55-minute documentary on the making of Montparnasse 19 featuring interviews with Anouk Aimée, Françoise Fabian and Jean Becker (57:29)
• Newly filmed appreciation of the film by Ginette Vincendeau, author of The BFI Companion to French Cinema and Paris in the Cinema: Beyond the Flâneur (19:48)
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin
• FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector s booklet containing new writing by David Jenkins
Description: Montparnasse 19, a film about the tragic
final years in the life of Italian painter and sculptor
Amadeo Modigliani, was itself beset by tragedy. Max Ophuls,
the famed director of Letter from an Unknown Woman and Le
Plaisir, died during its production, leaving his friend
Jacques Becker to complete the picture. Its lead performer
too, the great French actor Gérard Philippe, would succumb
to cancer just over a year after its release.
A transitional film (1958, 108 min.) between the French “tradition of quality” and the New Wave, this slick biopic about the last year or so in the life of the painter Amedeo Modigliani (the title alludes to the bohemian quarter and the year, 1919) is a highly personal effort by one of the idols of the New Wave generation, the neglected Jacques Becker (Casque d'or, Le trou). At once clunky, overproduced, and naive, it's also sincere and moving, in spite of its faults as a statement about the gulf between serious artists and marketers. It's both helped and hindered by its glamorous cast: Gerard Philipe, Anouk Aimee, and Lilli Palmer. Jean-Luc Godard memorably defended this film when it came out by writing,...Excerpt from JonathanRosenbaum at the Chigco Reader located HERE
In Les Amants de Montparnasse, even the odd, spectacular shot of sunlit, Provençal rooftops (reminiscent of Marcel Pagnol comedies) is tied to Modigliani’s point-of-view. But this apparent fidelity to human scale allows Becker to pull off a visual and emotional coup so audacious not even Ophuls, Becker’s mentor Renoir or Modigliani’s acquaintance and one-time subject Cocteau quite managed.Excerpt from CriticsRoundup located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Montparnasse 19 gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from Arrow Video from the Gaumont elements. It's dual-layered with a supportive bitrate for the 1 3/4 hour feature. Contrast exhibits a pleasing, black and white, image in the original 1.66:1 frame. It's pristinely clean although may look occasionally dampened with sepia or less-noticeable green infiltration. There is appealing depth and impressive detail. This Blu-ray offers an excellent image - epically in-motion. Kudos.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Arrow use a linear PCM transfer at 1536 kbps (16-bit) in the original French language. There are no aggressive effects that I recall. The score is by Paul Misraki (quite a resume composing for Bunuel's Death in the Garden, Godard's Alphaville, Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Doulos, Welles' Confidential Report). It adds subtly heightening the film's drama while dialogue is always clear and consistent. Solid. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' + 'B'-locked - which we refer to as Region FREE.
Jacques Becker and the Artistic Condition is a 55-minute documentary on the making of Montparnasse 19 featuring interviews with Anouk Aimée, Françoise Fabian and Jean Becker. It is in French with optional English subtitles. There is also a newly filmed appreciation of the film by Ginette Vincendeau, author of The BFI Companion to French Cinema and Paris in the Cinema: Beyond the Flâneur. It runs short of 20-minutes but is quite good - love her voice. The package has a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin and for the first pressing you get a collector's booklet containing new writing by David Jenkins.
November 25th, 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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