Eclipse Series 4: Raymond Bernard

Discuss DVDs released in the Eclipse and Essential Art House lines and the films on them.
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souvenir
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#51 Post by souvenir » Fri Apr 20, 2007 3:00 pm

The Bernard set is apparently under construction on the Eclipse site. Small versions of the art are up but everything else is mixed up with Ozu info.

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skuhn8
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#52 Post by skuhn8 » Fri Apr 20, 2007 3:02 pm

souvenir wrote:The Bernard set is apparently under construction on the Eclipse site. Small versions of the art are up but everything else is mixed up with Ozu info.
Les Miserablés
1956
145 min
Black & White
1.33:1
Mono
In Japanese with optional English subtitles

Gotta admit that Les Miserablés in Japanese with English subs sounds quite intriguing.

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HerrSchreck
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#53 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun Apr 22, 2007 1:05 am

Tribe wrote:
HerrSchreck wrote:Three discs, two films, no WOLF. But with the films on here and the woooonderfuckingful price, this is napolean brandy for the mind.
Schrek (or anyone else for that matter), you're enthusiastic about this...what's to recommend it? Prior to the announcement of this release I'd never heard of this director. Was he well regarded in his time?
This Magnificent Silent Film is what has created the bulk of instant Bernard-hungry cineastes slavering for more nutrients. If you haven't seen this film (which I assume you haven't) run, don't walk. It's sublime, and chronologically precedes all the films in the Eclipse box so will be sequentially astute viewing. The reputation enjoyed by these films and a few others by this hard-to-see (at least here in the states, even here in NYC) director make the eclipse box a must.

eez28
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#54 Post by eez28 » Tue Apr 24, 2007 8:43 pm


mmacklem
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#55 Post by mmacklem » Tue Apr 24, 2007 10:21 pm


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thechallenger
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#56 Post by thechallenger » Sat May 19, 2007 12:59 pm

Wasn't this set supposed to contain Three films? I'm not complaining but I know so little about Bernard that I was really hoping for three films. Who knows - maybe that third film (whatever it was supposed to be) is going to be released soon as an actual Criterion Special edition

From the 2/24/07 Criterion newsletter:

"And while the first few releases highlight some famous names—Louis Malle and Yasujiro Ozu follow Bergman's lead—we will then bring you the less familiar, offering up three films by Raymond Bernard, an unknown master of 1930s French cinema, whose Les Misérables is considered by many to be the finest screen adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel, and whose Wooden Crosses is one of cinema's strongest antiwar films."

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HerrSchreck
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#57 Post by HerrSchreck » Tue May 22, 2007 7:05 pm

That was why we were all crushed by the exclusion of LUPE. I think counting LES MIZ as 2 films-- simply because its in 2 parts-- a bit cheeky, but hey, whattayagunnadoo?

Does anybody know if his version of MIZ was-- say, like the 2-part silent epics of Lang (i e NIBEL or MABUSE which had 2 seperately titled films, even though niether could function independantly without the other part)-- broken into two parts which had two seperate titles?

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Kinsayder
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#58 Post by Kinsayder » Tue May 22, 2007 7:34 pm

There's some information about that here:
The various stages of Valjean's life--from convict to businessman to elderly martyr--were bounded by the film's original three-part structure. Part one, Tempete sous un Crane, ran two hours; part two, Les Thenardiers, was 90 minutes; and part three, Liberte, Liberté Cherie clocked in at 95. The American version of Les Miserables was spliced down to 165 minutes, with all three parts combined into one, then was withdrawn to avoid competition with 20th Century Pictures' 1935 Les Miserables. Years later, director Bernard himself pared down his film to two parts: Jean Valjean (109 minutes), and Cosette (100 minutes, with Josseline Gael in the title role). ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
I've only seen the three-part version, and the division of that film is similar to that of Les Enfants du paradis, which is split into Le Boulevard du crime and L'Homme blanc.

From the Eclipse running time of 279', it looks like this edition is not Bernard's 2-part re-edit (209'), though curiously it still seems to run 26' shorter than the original three-parter.

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HerrSchreck
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#59 Post by HerrSchreck » Tue May 22, 2007 7:57 pm

Thanks for the info. Interesting. My guess is we'll probably get a METROPOLIS/ M/ TESTAMENT MABUSE-style pre-film onscreen text explanation of the original release length, the various snips to it over time, and the contents of this presentation and what it is considered to be constituting.

I'm so psyched to see this and (equally if not more so) WOODEN CROSSES that I've forgotten all about my mild disappointment. I'll get LUPE eventually, somehow. When I heard that CROSSES so effectively recreates the anguish and horror of WW1 so fully and faithfully, that in the 1970's, when a french vet of the great war saw the film on tv he promptly commited suicide... I said to myself "Now here is a film that's a Must See.."

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jbeall
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#60 Post by jbeall » Wed Jun 20, 2007 7:30 pm

Kinsayder wrote:Le Miracle des loups had a major restoration in 2003, so would be well primed for a DVD edition.
If Miracle had a major restoration, wouldn't that make it a better candidate for a criterion edition? Or would that also be contingent on finding some extras? I was hoping it'd be in this set, so I guess I'm holding out hope that it'll eventually make its way to a R1 release.

Anyway, not to knock the other Eclipse sets, but this one looks awesome. I'm looking forward to picking this one up.

Kenji
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#61 Post by Kenji » Mon Jun 25, 2007 11:38 am

I'll be interested to see more Bernard, on the strength of the grand stirring romantic adventure The Chess Player, one of the best and most unfairly neglected silent films; certainly a hidden gem.

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jbeall
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#62 Post by jbeall » Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:56 am

I got The Chess Player from Netflix, and it was definitely one of the best silents I've ever seen. Pretty understated acting, too, given the tendency toward theatricality in so much of silent cinema. Now I'm really looking forward to the Eclipse set (although I ordered it from amazon, so no beating the street date).

Les Mis will eventually get watched, but as soon as the set arrives, my girlfriend and I are watching Wooden Crosses. The Second World War has been such fertile cinematic ground (really eeeeeevil bad guys and really obvious good guys for American viewers with our Manichean understanding of the world, and it's more recent in our collective memory) and there aren't as many good WWI films.

I thought A Very Long Engagement was enjoyable as popcorn entertainment, but it certainly didn't do anything, IMO, to capture the feel of WWI, which was at heart a long, nasty, muddy, hideous drawn-out conflict that in some ways the world has yet to recover from. Very Long... was too much "Amelie in the year 1920", rather too trite and sepia-toned.

Trench warfare was really horrifying, and any government that was willing to commit troops to that situation on an extended basis, including the occasional orders for human cannon-fodder to go "over the top", should really tell us something about where we are as a species. Any government that would commit human beings to that kind of warfare can't be trusted, regardless of which side they fought on.

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tryavna
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#63 Post by tryavna » Wed Jul 11, 2007 1:03 pm

If you haven't seen it already, you really must view King Vidor's excellent The Big Parade (another silent film) -- possibly the best American film treating WWI. (Milestone's All Quiet on the Western Front, of course, is also excellent, though I presume you've seen it already.) Pabst's Westfront 1918 is also commendable. Actually, come to think of it, there are several very good movies made about WWI: Kubrick's Paths of Glory, Losey's King & Country, Dovzhenko's Arsenal, Barnet's Outskirts, etc. Further afield, but still about WWI, are Lean's Lawrence of Arabia and Huston's The African Queen.

I won't go on, since that's not exactly what your post is about. However, this topic could make a worthy candidate for the Other Lists section of the forum. It suddenly occurs to me that, while there may be fewer films about WWI than about WWII, films about WWI have a higher likelihood of being really good.

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jbeall
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#64 Post by jbeall » Wed Jul 11, 2007 2:33 pm

tryavna wrote:If you haven't seen it already, you really must view King Vidor's excellent The Big Parade (another silent film) -- possibly the best American film treating WWI. (Milestone's All Quiet on the Western Front, of course, is also excellent, though I presume you've seen it already.) Pabst's Westfront 1918 is also commendable. Actually, come to think of it, there are several very good movies made about WWI: Kubrick's Paths of Glory, Losey's King & Country, Dovzhenko's Arsenal, Barnet's Outskirts, etc. Further afield, but still about WWI, are Lean's Lawrence of Arabia and Huston's The African Queen.

I won't go on, since that's not exactly what your post is about. However, this topic could make a worthy candidate for the Other Lists section of the forum. It suddenly occurs to me that, while there may be fewer films about WWI than about WWII, films about WWI have a higher likelihood of being really good.
Great list--after I finish this post I'll hop on over to netflix and see what I can get my hands on. Although I've seen Lawrence..., I still have yet to see All Quiet..., one of the more glaring gaps (among many) in my movie knowledge. One film that I would add to that list would be Johnny Got His Gun. I certainly wasn't trying to imply that there are no WWI films, just fewer. Perhaps there's a bit of WWII-related oversaturation at the moment with the recent dvd releases of the two Clint Eastwood films, Days of Glory, and various films from other countries in recent years.

And you're probably right about a higher likelihood of WWI films being really good, at least as long as Michael Bay and George Lucas don't decide to make WWI epics.

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Kinsayder
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#65 Post by Kinsayder » Wed Jul 11, 2007 2:52 pm

I'd rank Léon Poirier's Verdun, visions d'histoire (1928) as the best French film on the subject, alongside Wooden Crosses. The film is available in an English-subbed French edition.

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colinr0380
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#66 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Jul 11, 2007 2:54 pm

And for television series don't forget Blackadder Goes Forth!

mogwai
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#67 Post by mogwai » Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:46 pm

DVDBeaver. Les Miserables looks especially great. I love this new line!

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jbeall
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#68 Post by jbeall » Mon Jul 16, 2007 11:20 pm

mogwai wrote:DVDBeaver. Les Miserables looks especially great. I love this new line!
Hell yeah!!! I can tell I'm going to be checking my mailbox compulsively until the damn thing arrives.

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Tribe
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#69 Post by Tribe » Tue Jul 17, 2007 8:19 am

Dave Kehr in the NY Times:

[quote]RAYMOND BERNARD

The fourth volume from Eclipse — the new, no-frills offshoot of the Criterion Collection — is devoted to two films by the French director Raymond Bernard: his 1932 antiwar epic, “Wooden Crosses,â€

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#70 Post by What A Disgrace » Sun Jul 22, 2007 8:24 pm

It needs to be re-emphasized that Les Miserables, apart from being a kind of masterpiece of literary adaptation that makes Gone With the Wind look pornographic, has here eye poppingly good looking transfer for a budget release. The print is, for the most part, crystal clear and clean, and no Criterionized French films of the era look anywhere near this consistently good (La Bete Humaine and Grand Illusion are close, anyway).

This is my favourite Eclipse release so far. Wooden Crosses is great, too.

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jbeall
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#71 Post by jbeall » Fri Jul 27, 2007 12:04 pm

I just watched Wooden Crosses last night, and I have to say it was tremendous. Easily one of the best war films I've ever seen.

There are some amazing shots, the actors are all credible, and you really get a sense of the horror of war during the extended battle scene. The shift to handheld cameras is just right, and the film never comes close to becoming overly sentimental.

Seriously, I am now in awe of Raymond Bernard. I can't wait to sit down and watch Les Miserables.

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HerrSchreck
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#72 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri Jul 27, 2007 1:34 pm

Oh how I wish I had the time for a traditionally schreckian tome on this release, but I've got shit to take care of... I've had this thing for a week now and am in absolute heaven... in awe of the achievement, especially of LES MIS, so utterly UNsentimental, total masterpiece. CROSSES just on believable, the war scenes are like some cinematic zeus blowing off blockbusters-- the raw power of these scenes are just unbelievable. Fucking Bernard, man.

I love this period of the cinema, the state the lenses were in at the time, combined with the state of the sensitivity of film stock. Moving paintings-- such a uniquely beautiful patina to the images that adjusted aas the technology improved. Just heaven watching this stuff.

With all the releases this year, plus ACE IN HOLE (maybe the most audacious maintstream A list hollywood film of the 50's) this is beyond all doubt CC's best year. It makes 04 look like 06, and 06 look like VHS in 1985.

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Tribe
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#73 Post by Tribe » Fri Jul 27, 2007 2:39 pm

I have to echo the sentiments on Bernard...Wooden Crosses is bound to be "re-evaluated" after this release and start showing up on sundry top hundred lists. It's that good...not an ounce of corn in this...excellent story and an engrossing film. I'm surprised that I had never heard of Bernard before this box set...was he really all that obscure before this? I'm looking forward to Les Miserables this weekend (after catching Brand Upon the Brain in Detroit that is).

And welcome back, Schreckster...missed your posts.

Tribe

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#74 Post by French completist » Thu Aug 09, 2007 6:23 pm

I just watched Les Misérables. I was very impressed, especially by the third part and the barricade scenes. This was the first time I watched a Raymond Bernard movie.

Said elsewhere, the mix of classical shoots, handheld shoots, and German-expressionist tilted shoots gives a powerful feeling.

This is the first Eclipse I watch for which I feel that the movie could be Criterion material. I think Bernard should go to the main collection some day. A full Criterion treatment.

=D>

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HerrSchreck
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#75 Post by HerrSchreck » Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:48 pm

For those who dug this set, rush out and grab his CHESS PLAYER from 1927. It's utterly sublime, and you'll note that this man is completely consistent. His style seems to have jumped out of hi fully formed and remained firm despite the variances in material, and when moving from silent to sound.

Now how about Gremillon???????????????????

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