Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Arch of Triumph|
Actors: Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Charles Laughton, Louis Calhern, Ruth Warrick
Director: Lewis Milestone
Genres: Drama, Military & War
Set in pre-WWII Paris, the film stars Charles Boyer as Dr. Ravic, a brilliant German surgeon who has fled to Paris to escape the growing power of the Nazis. There he meets Joan Madou (Ingrid Bergman), a depressed, unemploy... more »
"Bless your eyes"
meg | santa monica, california | 11/28/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Erich Maria Remarque wrote characters worldly enough to attract directors as sophisticated as G.W. Pabst, André De Toth, Douglas Sirk and James Whale to their stories. Here we are in the hands of Lewis Milestone, who earlier adapted Remarque's classic "All Quiet on the Western Front" into an Oscar-winning Hollywood triumph.
"Arch of Triumph" drops us into a refugee underworld in 1938 Paris. Europe is on the brink of another war, and people fleeing the fascists are evading deportation, internment, or worse. Charles Boyer plays a torture survivor, a German surgeon practicing medicine on the black market, an illegal alien one step away from being sent back to the Nazis who tortured his lover to death. His life is reduced to basic survival and an ambition for revenge upon the Gestapo officer (Charles Laughton) who prowls Paris looking for information on resistance networks.
Late one rainy night, Boyer's doctor performs a reluctant act of kindness, and rescues Ingrid Bergman from self-destruction. Beyond mere distress, she is a "damsel in disgrace," a kept woman cast suddenly adrift. Inevitably, Boyer's aloofness from humankind cannot withstand the fascination of a Bergman photographed in elegant chiaroscuro by Russell Metty. Given the complexity of the times, the very real impending danger and doom, and their own battered psyches, these lovers cannot be anything but star-crossed.
I was wholly and pleasurably immersed in this dark melodrama. I am a late-awakening fan of Boyer's grownup allure, and this may be the most imperfect character I've seen Bergman play. Picture the party girl at the beginning of "Notorious." Now imagine that true love does not turn her recklessness into strength and bravery. This demimondaine is weak, frightened and needy, and while it is completely understandable and beautifully played, she may be jarring to some classic movie fans and Bergman aficionados.
Fans of old Hollywood should keep an eye peeled for Mike Romanoff in a small role as a restaurateur (perfect!), and young William Conrad as a gimlet-eyed French detective. I can't imagine anybody refusing to enjoy Louis Calhern as a colonel exiled by the Russian revolution."
Great Film - Poor Quality Film to DVD Transfer
ed600 | New York, N.Y. | 10/17/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It's surprising that this film comes from the UCLA film archives and this DVD is NOT a restored version. In fact the print it came from was dirty and not well transferred. You see white and black spots all over the place, in one point you see a hair that got stuck in the projector thats just hovering on an area until it dislodged. You occasionally see streak lines going through the whole frame during segments. Also I noticed some flickering (picture jumping up and down) inherent to poor film projector alignment. The source film that must have been used for transferring this to digital (DVD) looks like reels that were played many times in theaters and also there are many signs of splicing as there are some abrupt cuts.
I have seen better quality of this film shown on cable where TCM plays it often. The film was shot with very high contrast(very common in European films of the day to use exaggerated contrast levels) very black blacks and very bright whites, (US made films of the time tended more towards a grey smoother low to medium contrast) and I must say that the digital resolution is very good on this DVD as far as there not being digital grain or pixelation in the dark blacks, which is a very good plus for this DVD. The contrast balance is well preserved here!
You dont see any of the digital artifacting that one might find with poor transfers - but you have all the dust and dirt and scratches from the unrestored film source to bear with. It's like playing a record lp that was not protected - and has scratches and cracks and pops similar to the transfer of this DVD. This movie is what I would consider a classic Great and should get the full treatment to preserve and restore and make available to the consumer the best possible quality - which in this case they did not do.
If you dont mind the dust dirt scratches and other imperfections, overall this is a great movie and DVD and worth having.
Otherwise Catch it on cable or wait for a possible re-release that might come restored - although I have doubts we will see a new release or a restored version for a very long time."
Severe editing leaves us with half an "Arch"
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 08/16/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Based on Erich Remarque's novel (he of "All Quiet on the Western Front"), ARCH OF TRIUMPH is a shadow-filled, dreary wartime story of two European refugees hiding in Paris who maintain low profiles to avoid deportation. One, a Czech doctor (Boyer), prevents a woman (Bergman) from jumping into the Seine from a bridge, and he later falls in love with her. The other (Calhern), an older exile from the Czar's Russia, acts as his father figure and advisor.
Charles Laughton plays a sadistic Gestapo officer (is there any other kind?); he was a late replacement for an injured actor. New scenes written specifically for Laughton were filmed in NYC, yet his part is still somewhat minor.
In its initial form, this movie was over 4 hours long; some ruthless cutting shortened that by half but also affected continuity. Further, censors objected to the brutality of an all-important murder scene, and editing weakened it. In its intial run, "Arch of Triumph" did poorly at the box office. It remains a flawed and minor work, memorable only for its four principal performers.
Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer illuminate the screen in GASLIGHT. (Or is that BY gaslight?)
Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 viewer poll rating found at a film resource website.
(5.9) Arch of Triumph (1948) - Ingrid Bergman/Charles Boyer/Charles Laughton/Louis Calhern (uncredited: William Conrad/Feodor Chaliapin Jr./Irene Ryan/Gene Roth)"
Randy Buck | Brooklyn, NY USA | 10/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"ARCH OF TRIUMPH has generated a faithful following in the years since its initial failed release, and with good reason. Director Lewis Milestone's film of Erich Maria Remarque's novel, FLOTSAM, didn't achieve the success of his earlier Remarque adaptation, ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT; the downbeat subject matter, coupled with the offbeat casting of Bergman in the kind of role her fans couldn't accept, doomed the project. But this picture boasts many strengths, starting with Milestone's intelligent screenplay. The usual Hollywood euphemisms for promiscuous heroines fail to prevent Bergman from creating an unusually frank, complex portrait of female sexuality, deeper and more moving than many of her performances from this period. She's matched by Boyer, whose cynicism breaks in the film's last scene, to shattering effect. Kudos, too, to Louis Calhern and Charles Laughton in incisive work in supporting roles, Russell Metty's striking black-and-white photography, and William Cameron Menzies' production design. Despite the carping of other reviewers here, the quality of the dvd is fine, certainly easily watchable; I'm not of the opinion that we should ignore classic films altogether until some studio springs for a perfect restoration. The UCLA restoration work here's given us an ARCH that clocks in at its original release time of 131 minutes (not 123, as the dvd's box states). Until the happy day more archival material's found and made available, fans of the actors, director, or films of this period shouldn't hesitate. A surprisingly moving viewing experience."