Great story easily overcomes technical nuisances
Joel Marcus Johnson | Easton, MD United States | 03/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The previous reviewer accurately describes the technical viscissitudes of this re-release. In fact, and as I recall the film from the '60s, this DVD is so dark that at times it feels like a completely different work, almost noirish in places. The impression is quite different.
But what a good tale! What moves it right along is that all of the characters are caricatures. In the '60s, the war still horrifyingly fresh in memory, we all knew what our characters were supposed to be like in war flics, so that this show seemed a welcome relief, permitting us some reserved laughter. So, the German commander and the French underground agent offered us a pleasant outlet over a most unpleasant event in recent history.
Ultimately, though, it's the wondrous Catherine Deneuve at lens center who makes the film work, as we see her genius emerging so early in her life. Not to seem gushing, now, but isn't it great that the DVD medium enables us all these many re-releases, permitting us to see anew the tremendous artistic range of her four decades in cinema! All the way from "Umbrellas of Cherbourg" to "Indochine", we receive the bigger picture of what a great actress she is, and how fortunate we are.
So buy this DVD, already. You'll like it!"
A young Deneuve... a very pleasant diversion
dooby | 03/29/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A romantic comedy that borders on but does not quite turn into farce, this french film made in 1966 starred the still very young Catherine Deneuve, fresh from Polanski's Repulsion and the film that made her internationally famous, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, made just 2 years earlier. Here she plays a bored young housewife married to a French nobleman. Feeling constrained by her "wet rag" of a husband, she is wooed by a heroic resistance leader and a german officer, both encamped in their chateau which just so happens to be chosen as the site for an airborne landing set to take place on the night prior to D-day. Despite the grim setting, this is just a light happy romance, helped along by the languid dreamy score by Michel Legrand which does more than anything else to evoke the flavour of the French countryside. At the end we get to see Catherine Deneuve live out her dreams as she rides with the victorious Americans down the Champs Elysee.
This is the first Black-&-White transfer I've seen from Wellspring and while it doesn't compare to Criterion's pristine restorations of black-&-white films, it is quite good. There is minimal scattered film defects including a shuddering frame or two but otherwise quite serviceable. It is a bit on the dark side with loss of detail in blacker scenes, this is especially evident in the night-time airborne landing at the chateau where for long minutes you are left in near total blackness. The transfer is in its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1 (enhanced for widescreen TV). The sound is poor, tinny and doesn't really serve the lovely music at all, which breaks up at higher frequencies. Still, the french dialogue is very clear and natural sounding. This release comes with optional English subtitles.
Maybe not an essential purchase but a very pleasant diversion."