Christine E. (buffalogal) from BEDFORD, NY Reviewed on 4/30/2010...
Two of the best movies EVER made. The story is intricate and compelling. In French with English subtitles, you get to experience the actors' tones and reflections in the original soundtrack as opposed to a version that's dubbed.
Set in Provence, the scenery and settings are beautiful. But this is not a chick flick! Guys will appreciate the scheming and intrigue.
I can watch these movies time and time again and be delighted.
These are on my top 10 favortie movies list, along with The Man Who Would be King, Cyrano de Bergerac ( the Gerard Depardieu version), and Whale Rider.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
+20 for the movie, -15 for the package.
Brent Ritchey | Chicago, IL USA | 07/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm editing my review. In my case, I'm an obsessive fan of these movies, and maybe nothing would've met my expectations. If you haven't seen these films, buy this DVD IMMEDIATELY! You will not be sorry, and more than likely you'll find my criticisms baseless and nit-picky.
I wrote the original after skipping around the discs and being extremely disappointed by what I saw. Since then, I've sat down and watched both movies on this disc and my opinion has changed somewhat. The problem was my expectations, not the actual product.
On the whole, these films DO look fantastic when compared to every other DVD release available (MGM and the R2 Pathe discs from France). However, they don't look nearly as good as I believe possible. I think this film deserves the royal treatment, an all new, high definition transfer by seriously skilled people.
Unfortunately, while the resolution is good, it is anamorphic, and appears to be a straight NTSC transfer (and not a PAL-to-NTSC conversion as I previously thought), there is just something not right. The colors are way too hot when compared to the actual film, and there just seems to be a layer of fuzz or blur over the whole thing that is not present on the big screen.
I give it 5 stars because the films are fantastic. The two greatest foreign films I've ever seen. I've watched them each about 15 times, and never grow tired of them. I pretty much learned French watching these movies.
However, this DVD seriously lacks. This movie is in dire need of a new and improved subtitle translation. While the subtitles make sense on the whole, I've studied the French script, and there is a great deal missing in the translation.
There are no special features.
For YEARS, these films have been out of print in America, the originals going for upwards of $50 a piece on ebay. Clearly someone was paying attention and realized there's enough people who enjoy this movie to make it available again. But slapping this set together, while allowing new viewers the opportunity to see the films, is an insult to fans who've waited a LOOOONG time for a proper American release. But a cheap release is better than none at all.
Caveat: Perhaps if enough people buy this DVD, MGM will wake up and release a proper special edition. For $14, it's a great deal for two masterpieces, but we could've done better than this."
Yes, These ARE Anamorphic... but still not quite perfect
C. Denham | WNY | 07/29/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Two big steps forward, and one 1/2 step back. Contrary to the impression from the disc specs on the back of the jacket, the new MGM/Fox double feature disc DOES present the films 16:9 enhanced. They are also, surprisingly a big step up from the earlier R2 PAL discs , which for the longest time were the only way to satisfyingly watch these on a widescreen display or front projector. Unfortunately they still aren't a home run. The picture in general consistently looks a little too 'hot' - contrast is jacked up which blows out the details in the highlights in many shots- also there is an at times over bearing yellow tint to the image in the countryside exteriors. Some EE and ringing are also visible in a few shots. Fine detail on the other hand is much improved over the PAL disc and artifacts related to compression are a monumental improvment over the first MGM release. These should have been color timed a bit cooler- but on the whole, this new release easily represents the most watchable versions of these two classics yet (at least, not counting the widescreen Image laserdisc set that is now long out of print).
Its a shame that this release is so close, and yet still misses the mark. At least this one will suffice for a few years until the film are (hopefully) properly presented on one or both of the High Def formats. The films themselves get 5 stars easy- the new disc gets 3.5 for PQ and AQ."
A four-hour French epic.
G. Merritt | Boulder, CO | 10/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These are two of my all time favorite French films. Adapted from the 1966 two-part novel by Marcel Pagnol, Jean De Florette and Manon of the Springs, Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring (Manon des Sources) are award-winning 1986 companion films. Set in Provence in the 1920s, Jean de Florette tells the story of unscrupulous César "Papet" Soubeyran (Yves Montand) and his nephew, Ugolin (Daniel Auteuil), who are desperate to buy a neighbouring farm for its water supply from a spring. After they accidentally kill the farm's owner, the title character (Gérard Depardieu) then inherits the farm and decides to pursue his naive city dream of growing vegetables and raising rabbits by living there with his wife (Elisabeth Depardieu) and beautiful daughter, Manon (Ernestine Mazurowna). Depardieu's performance as Jean, the hunchbacked tax collector from Paris, brings real heart and soul to this film. Upon learning of this inheritance, César and Ugolin block the spring with concrete to force Jean to sell his land to them. Although he struggles to bring water from the well many miles away to irrigate his farm, Jean fails and ultimately César and Ugolin obtain the farm and force Jean's family off of the land. Always suspicious of the Soubeyrans, the film ends with Manon watching César and Ugolin opening the spring that could have saved her family.
The 1986 sequel, Manon des Sources, follows the events of Jean de Florette by roughly ten years. Jean's daughter Manon (Emmanuelle Béart) is now living in the countryside of Provence near Les Romarins, the farm once owned by her father, where she tends a herd of goats for an elderly Piedmontese squatter couple. She is an educated though feral young woman, who lives off the land by hunting for birds and rabbits. Meanwhile. the Soubeyrans have become successful at growing carnations at Les Romarins, using water from the spring. Dim-witted Ugolin (Daniel Auteuil) is lovesick for the beautiful Manon, but she is repulsed by him. While searching for a lost goat, Manon discovers the source of the spring, and decides to block it with mud and rocks to take her revenge on the Soubeyrans. She then publicly accuses César (Yves Montand) and Ugolain of the death of her father, and the Soubeyrans are disgraced. The film ends with two unexpected twists, a death and a discovery, leaving César a broken man, prompting him to return the farm to Manon. Emmanuelle Béart's performance is superb (and although Daniel Auteil's Ugolin may not have won her heart in the film, he won Béart's heart in real life).
These two slowly-paced films are as brilliant as a Greek tragedy or a Thomas Hardy novel (Jude the Obscure (Penguin Classics), Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Penguin Classics)). Those who enjoy these films might also enjoy two other films based on Marcel Pagnol's books, My Father's Glory & My Mother's Castle: Marcel Pagnol's Memories of Childhood: My Father's Glory and My Mother's Castle.
I heart this story
Dee Cook | Atlanta, GA | 07/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I think back on the first time I saw this movie. When it got to the end I just sat there, almost unable to move. I had so many emotions and thoughts processing in my little head that I'm sure that's why my body felt immobile. This story has *everything*! The acting is superb. If you're not used to foreign films with subtitles give it a chance. After the first 30 minutes you don't even realize they're speaking french. I have told so many people about this movie (and I mean both movies combined)I waited for years for this combined dvd. Thank you! I love movies and whenever someone asks me "What's your favorite movie of all time?" I always say "Gee, I have so many favorites, but if I had to choose one it would be Jean De Florette/Manon of the Spring!" So many people have never even heard of it. I recommend that you set aside 4 quiet hours(a rainy afternoon, a day off from work, perhaps) without interruption so that you can focus on this fabulously told story."