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Rififi
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • French PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 2 Discs
FEATURES
  • Region B
  • Filmed introduction by Ginette Vincendeau, French cinema critic, scholar and author
  • Interview with Jules Dassin [Blu-ray only]
  • Q&A with Jules Dassin at the BFI Southbank, London [Blu-ray only]
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • A comprehensive booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by writer and filmmaker David Cairns, author Alastair Phillips (Rififi: French Film Guide), Francois Truffaut and John Trevelyan.
  • Artwork presentation packaging including three original posters and a newly commissioned artwork cover

Rififi

Dual Format Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Jules Dassin
Starring: Jean Servais, Carl Mohner, Robert Manuel, Janine Darcey, Pierre Grasset, Robert Hossein, Marcel Lupovicu, Dominique Morin, , Marie Sabouret, Claude Sylvain, Perlo Vita
1955 | 118 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: £24.99 | Series: Arrow Academy
Arrow Films

Release Date: May 9, 2011
Review Date: May 10, 2011

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SYNOPSIS

Following, Tony le Stephanois (Jean Servais), a master thief fresh out of jail, wearing a harried look and suffering ill health he refuses to be involved with crime, until he finds his girlfriend shacked up with a rival gangster. With little reason to keep living he plans a final job. Tony sets about finding his crew and meticulously planning the job; a robbery of the jewellery store Mappin & Webb. Rififi revolves around the central heist, famed for its finite detail and incredible tension, but the drama does not end at the heist like so many other crime films. Dassin's film is a humanist tale that hinges on the loyalty among thieves and draws on the fatalistic, doom laden lives common to crooks and thieves in pulp literature.

An instant commercial success in Paris and worldwide, the film was also very well received by the critics with Jules Dassin being awarded the best director prize at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Arrow Academy is proud to present Jules Dassin's legendary film in 1080p high definition for the first time in the UK.


PICTURE

Arrow Films presents Jules Dasinís caper classic Rififi on Blu-ray in its original aspect ratio of about 1.33:1 on this dual-layer disc. The transfer is presented in 1080p/24hz. The disc is Region B locked and will not playback on most North American players. Make sure your player supports Region B playback.

Rififiís Blu-ray presentation is stunning and may be the strongest presentation Iíve seen from the company so far. Thereís still some damage present but itís minimal, limited to some tiny marks and minor scratches which never really draw any attention to themselves. Overall the restoration has been incredibly thorough.

The digital transfer itself is sharp and the level of detail present can be astonishing at times. Film grain is present and looks natural. Gray levels are rendered without issue and are clearly defined. Shadows in the darker scenes look great, details still strongly visible.

A very pleasant surprise in the end, and a great upgrade over my Criterion DVD.

(Again, this disc is a Region B release and will not play on Region A players.)

8/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The lossless PCM mono presentation is also a nice step up from my Criterion DVD edition, though the source still limits it. Thereís no hiss or pops to speak of, and general audio quality is satisfactory; music can sound like its straining here and there and dialogue can be a bit flat, but itís the best Iíve heard the film.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Arrow Films throws in a few supplements starting with an introduction by Ginette Vincendeau, running about 24-minutes. I wouldnít actually recommend it as an introduction as she does provide some spoilers despite her effort not to do so. She goes over some plot elements of the film, devoting a lot of time to the filmís heist sequence, and even explains the title (both the English and French titles). But itís best when she talks about the French gangster genre in general, including the novels that most of the films are based on, and also covers the American elements found in Rififi (more than likely unavoidable since Dassin was an American.) Starts out disappointing but has some nice insights overall.

Arrow also includes the same 30-minute interview with director Jules Dassin that Criterion filmed for their 2001 DVD edition. This is an outstanding interview and Iím pleased Arrow did obtain it to add here. Dassin first opens with a great story about being recruited to play in a studio baseball game (Fox vs. MGM) and then talks about the painful experience of being blacklisted. In this section he doesnít only talk about his own experiences, which made life difficult professionally and personally, but also shares stories of others, including the effect it had on those people that did ďname namesĒ. He talks about the long dry spell where he couldnít find work anywhere (Hollywood studios threatened to not show films made by overseas studios if they worked with Dassin) until he was finally able to make Rififi in France. The last half of the interview covers the book and the making of the film. Absolutely great interview.

Also included is a Q&A session with Jules Dassin filmed after a screening of Rififi at the BFI Southbank in London. He talks a little about working in London, which leads to a little discussion about how foreign directors always present the city in the best possible way, and then talks about being blacklisted before moving on to Rififi. He also talks a little about the Hollywood system. Running 37-minutes itís a nice addendum to the previous interview even if he does repeat some of the same stories. Another great inclusion.

The disc then closes with the theatrical trailer, the same 3-minute one found on the Criterion DVD, presenting the dialogue in English.

A booklet is also included but I did not receive a copy with the screener disc I have. Once I have an actual copy I will update this review. As of now I will copy the note about the booklet thatís listed on Arrowís website: ĒA comprehensive booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by writer and filmmaker David Cairns, author Alastair Phillips (Rififi: French Film Guide), Francois Truffaut and John Trevelyan.Ē.

Criterionís DVD included some notes and photos, not found here, but this is still a nice comprehensive little package.

6/10

CLOSING

Stunning release. The presentation found here is spot on, possibly the best one Iíve seen from Arrow, and the supplements are all worth the time. Comes with a high recommendation.

(Yet again, this disc is a Region B release and will not play on Region A players.)




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