Plein Soleil (1960)

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Released 18-Aug-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1960
Running Time 112:35
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (51:43) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By René Clément
Studio
Distributor
Canal+
Madman Entertainment
Starring Alain Delon
Maurice Ronet
Marie Laforêt
Erno Crisa
Frank Latimore
Billy Kearns
Ave Ninchi
Viviane Chantel
Nerio Bernardi
Barbel Fanger
Lily Romanelli
Nicolas Petrov
Elvire Popesco
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $24.95 Music Nino Rota


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.70:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Here at michaeldvd.com.au we attempt to keep our review of the program on a DVD separate from our review of the technical quality of the DVD production. On rare occasions I personally find this hard to do. The last time I recall having this difficulty was when I reviewed a Chinese film called The Promise which had such a bad video transfer that it significantly affected my enjoyment of the film itself. On this occasion it is the audio which caused this problem for me, not specifically due to its technical quality but rather that the only audio option available is a dubbed English soundtrack (by Americans). Considering that this is a classic FRENCH film from 1960, starring Alain Delon, this is a travesty. I can understand having the English dub as an option but not having the original French soundtrack is unacceptable in this day and age, especially considering that other editions around the globe include both. As I had not seen this film before I personally found this very distracting and I am sure I would have enjoyed the film more in the original French.

    Considering my opening diatribe I was surprised how much I enjoyed watching this film after my initial disappointment. This film from 1960 is an earlier adaptation of the same source material (a novel by Patricia Highsmith) as was used for the more recent, Anthony Minghella directed, The Talented Mr. Ripley. The story involves a young confidence trickster, Tom Ripley (Alain Delon), who has been sent to Italy by a very rich man, Mr Greenleaf to bring his wastrel playboy son, Phillipe (Maurice Ronet, who looks surprisingly like Jude Law) back to San Francisco. In return Mr Greenleaf will pay Ripley $5000. Ripley soon sees a bigger opportunity and starts to enact his plan.

    This film takes a different approach to the novel with less of the early parts of the story, starting after Tom Ripley and Phillipe Greenleaf have already met up and been spending time together. Their relationship here is portrayed as more adversarial than it was (at least initially) in the other film. This is a dramatic and effective thriller, with some wonderful cinematography of the beautiful Mediterranean, quality acting and tight direction. The attractive young cast also add to the feel of the film.

    The film was released as Purple Noon in the United States, presumably with this dub. I would love to see this film with the original French soundtrack but cannot recommend it in this form.

NB : Madman have said they are looking at reissuing this title with both the English dub and original French soundtrack but to date this has not been confirmed. We will let you know if this happens. NB : Latest update from Madman as of 26/2/10 is that they will be releasing another version of this title some time in the next 2-3 months once new materials are provided by Studio Canal.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is decent but certainly not without issue.

    The feature is presented in a 1.70:1 aspect ratio which is close to the original aspect ratio of 1.66:1. It is 16x9 enhanced widescreen.

    The picture was quite clear and sharp generally for a film of this age, however some scenes were softer such as at 27:40. Shadow detail was decent but never great. There was grain throughout which was generally not too intrusive but sometimes developed into mild macro-blocking. There were also some MPEG artefacts during fast movement.

    The colour was well rendered and vibrant representing the the beautiful cinematography well.

    Other artefacts include some edge enhancement, lots of white spots and dots, some jumps (eg 13:02 & 100:30), some spots of telecine wobble and some aliasing on a swimsuit and a couch at 103:20.

    There are no subtitles.

    The layer change is at 51:43 and caused a noticeable pause.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio is a travesty.

    This DVD contains an English dubbed Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s. No original French soundtrack is available.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand throughout although as I mentioned above is only available in a pretty ordinary English dub. Audio sync was obviously very bad indeed.

    The music consists of a score by Nino Rotta (it's spelt that way in the titles) which combines some good themes with some really annoying ones. The music sounds too strident, loud and a little distorted on this soundtrack.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    

Menu

    The menu is still and includes music from the score. Scene selection is available.

Madman Propaganda 

    Trailers for other films and an anti-piracy warning.

 

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 release of this movie has a non-16x9 enhanced picture but does feature both French and English soundtrack options. The Region 2 UK release by Optimum Publishing includes a 16x9 enhanced transfer and the original French soundtrack with burned in English subtitles. Other European versions do not have English subtitles. Region 2 UK is the best available.

Summary

    A classic French thriller spoiled by only having an English dubbed soundtrack.

    The video quality is decent but not without issue.

    The audio is a travesty.

    No extras of any note.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS708H upscaling to 1080p, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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