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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • French Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 4 Discs
FEATURES
  • Contains the films The Story of a Cheat, The Pearls of the Crown, Desire, and Quadrille

Presenting Sacha Guitry


Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Sacha Guitry
2010 | 378 Minutes | Licensor: Gaumont

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $59.95 | Series: Eclipse from the Criterion Collection | Edition: #22
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: July 27, 2010
Review Date: August 2, 2010

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SYNOPSIS

Sacha Guitry was once a household name. Something of a Gallic counterpart to Nöel Coward, this disarming, multitalented artist served up some of 1930s French cinema’s tastiest dishes. The son of a beloved theater actor, Guitry was devoted to the footlights, first turning to the silver screen as a way of bringing his plays to a wider audience. His films were anything but stage-bound, however: often the director, writer, and star of his popular movies, Guitry brought a witty inventiveness to the cinema and deployed radical tactics with such aplomb and control that he’s considered one of the medium’s first “complete auteurs.” With these four films, American audiences can finally sample Guitry’s creative, comic confections.

Forum members rate this film 7.8/10

 

Discuss the film and DVD here   


PICTURE

For their 22nd release in their Eclipse series Criterion gathers together four films by Sacha Guitry, presenting all of them in their original aspect ratio of about 1.33:1 over four discs. The films included are The Story of a Cheat, The Pearls of the Crown, Désiré, and Quadrille. The Story of a Cheat is presented on a single-layer disc while the others are presented over three dual-layer discs.

The films have been window-boxed, though there is an odd sort of glitch present in The Story of a Cheat; the first segment after the credits is actually not window-boxed, the image filling out the frame, but then the remainder of the film after the sequence (and the entirety of the other films) all have a black border around the image.

The source materials used are in fairly good shape and were a pleasant surprise. There is damage present, but it’s minimal, limited mostly to specs of debris and vertical lines. I noticed a few tears here and there but they’re few and far between. But the overall quality is striking, presenting a fairly sharp image through the first three films. Unfortunately Quadrille looks to have been taken from a slightly inferior print as it looks a little fuzzy and worn, and presents more visible damage, specifically some marks or burns in the top of the frame.

The digital transfers themselves are fine, and don’t present too many problems. Contrast can look a little boosted but it’s not distracting. Grain is present and can get heavy but it looks fairly natural, and I can’t say I noticed anything in the way of artifacts.

In all the transfer for each film can be limited by their source but the presentation is more than acceptable and in some cases quite surprising.

6/10

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AUDIO

All four films present Dolby Digital 1.0 mono tracks. They’re all pretty good though don’t stand out. There’s a slight bit of noise in the background of all of them and dialogue is a bit flat, but they’re easy to hear, have no significant problems, and just sound very good considering their age.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

As this is an Eclipse set (a sort of budget line aimed at getting obscure films out on DVD) there are not supplements to speak of. But, as always, we get some fantastic liner notes about the films written by Michael Koresky.

1/10

CLOSING

This is a fun little set and a great into to Guitry. The films, which are still fairly amusing and hold up rather well, come dangerously close to being too stagey (specifically Quadrille) but Guitry, a playwright who originally loathed cinema, had a keen understanding of the medium and was able to keep his films (at least what we get here) brisk and entertaining through his camerawork and editing. And though it would have been nice if more work could have been done on the restorations, Criterion still delivers wonderful digital transfer, really only limited by the materials. Another wonderful surprise from the Eclipse series.


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