Overall | The Professional (Le professionnel) (1981) | The Gypsy (Gitan, Le) (1975) | Choice of Arms (Choix des armes, Les) (1981)

Best French Crime Flicks

Best French Crime Flicks

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Released 22-Sep-2009

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Overall Package

     Classic American film noir is a specific tone and was influenced by three sensibilities; post-war disillusionment, fear of the atomic bomb and modern alienation. In the 1940s French critics at Cahiers du cinema, grouped these films under the title film noir. The French critics were intrigued by several thematic concerns the film noir genre presented:
The protagonist could be on either side of the law - they could be law breakers or law enforcers.
Often characters who consume this film noir world are surrounded by murder, suicide, corruption, entrapment, gangsters, betrayal, greed and politics.
A film noir narrative will always be devoid of any sentiment or philosophic conclusion.

    As such, these young critics (Éric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol and François Truffaut) eventually channelled their enthusiasm for such films into actually writing their own scripts and directing/producing their own films, and ultimately challenging their audiences throughout their respective careers through detailed accounts of amorality.

    Their film noir would not be glamorous - instead it was always centred on ordinary people forced into uncontrollable situations, whether it was criminal, political, emotional or sexual, their narratives always dealt with human emotion. Often there was chaos and yet order, there was improvisation and yet highly stylised sequences and always, there was no motivation for the characters' actions, random things happen, just like in life. And most importantly the anti-heroes were self –destructive, eternally doomed both emotionally and physically:

“The world breaks everyone. And afterwards, many are strong at the broken places.
Those that will not break, it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave, impartially.
If you are none of these things it will kill you too, but there will be no special hurry.”

Jack Manfred in Croupier (1998)

    This collection includes three examples of French film noir – from the dark comedy of The Professional, the social plight of the common criminal in The Gypsy, to the violence of mankind in Choice of Arms. It is great to see these French films receive a local release, as their releases overseas are either out of print, or part of larger boxsets dedicated to specific actors (in particular The Gypsy in R1 and R2 in Delon themed boxsets). For its price, this is a great find for French film fans, although the absence of the original French soundtrack on the The Gypsy is a drawback.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Monday, November 23, 2009
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Professional (Le professionnel) (1981) | The Gypsy (Gitan, Le) (1975) | Choice of Arms (Choix des armes, Les) (1981)

The Professional (Le professionnel) (1981)

The Professional (Le professionnel) (1981)

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Released 23-Sep-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1981
Running Time 103:43
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Georges Lautner
Studio
Distributor
Canal+
Madman Entertainment
Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo
Jean Desailly
Robert Hossein
Michel Beaune
Cyrielle Clair
Jean-Louis Richard
Sidiki Bakaba
Pierre Saintons
Marie-Christine Descouard
Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu
Elisabeth Margoni
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Ennio Morricone


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

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Jean-Paul Belmondo was often typecast as an action/adventure hero in the 1970s and 1980s.The highly popular 1981 film Le Professionnel, is an example of such films. Le Professionnel was directed by Georges Lautner and was written by Michel Audiard, Jacques Audiard and Lautner. The film is based on the 1976 novel Death of a Thin-Skinned Animal by Patrick Alexander.

    Le Professionnel opens in the African republic – Malagawi, where French Secret Agent Josselin Beaumont (Belmondo) is on trial. Beaumont was initially sent to Malagawi on a mission to assassinate President N'Jala (Pierre Saintons), but when the political situation between France and Malagasy suddenly changes, the French Secret Service decide not to go ahead with the mission and notify the Malagasy authorities of Beaumont’s attempt to assassinate their President.

    Imprisoned for two years in Malagawi, Beaumont waits to make his daring escape back to Paris and take revenge on those who betrayed him.

    Driven by witty dialogue, only Belmondo could get away with, fistfights galore and a car chase which features the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop; Le Professionnel is an enjoyable revenge flick.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Presented in 1:66:1 16x9 enhanced widescreen, the transfer is satisfactory considering the age of the film. The colour scheme is natural and the transfer at most times sharp and defined. Shadow detail is equally adequate.

    Mild film grain and assorted artefacts appear throughout the feature film. The optional subtitles for the French dialogue are presented in a clear white font.

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

Audio

    There is only a 2.0 mono French soundtrack available on this DVD. This soundtrack is clear and does not exhibit any problems

    The impressive score by Ennio Morricone is the emotional backbone of the thriller, as it explores the emotional plight of Belomondo’s noir anti-hero, who must confront former friends, partners and lovers on his return to Paris.

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

Extras

Main Menu

    A still derived from the theatrical poster with options for 12 scene selections and subtitle options.

R4 vs R1

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

    This title is currently only available in R4 as part of the ‘Best French Crime Flicks' boxset from Madman, or in the yet to be released ‘French Screen Icons – Jean-Paul Belmondo 3’ boxset.

    Overseas this title, bar the USA, was released in a similar boxset fashion:

    R1 USA (Image Entertainment) - with an additional 2.0 isolated music score and additional English (dubbed) 2.0 soundtrack.

    R2 (Optimum) –released only as part of the Screen Icons: Jean-Paul Belmondo boxed set. This release is identical to the local release, except for a 1:78.1 transfer.

    R2 (Studio Canal) – only as part of a 3-Disc Belmondo boxset. This release has French and English (dubbed) mono soundtracks, 2 image poster gallery and theatrical trailer. No subtitles are available on this release.

Summary

    Driven by witty dialogue, only Belmondo could get away with, fistfights galore and a car chase which features the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop; Le Professionnel is an enjoyable revenge flick. The DVD release is satisfactory and currently available in a reasonably priced boxset.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDOPPO DV-980H, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE 700. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DSP-A595a - 5.1 DTS
Speakers(Front) DB Dynamics Polaris AC688F loudspeakers,(Centre) DB Dynamics Polaris Mk3 Model CC030,(Rear) Polaris Mk3 Model SSD425,(Subwoofer) Jensen JPS12

Other Reviews
Michael D's Region 4 DVD Info Page - Ray N (the bio is the thing)

Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Professional (Le professionnel) (1981) | The Gypsy (Gitan, Le) (1975) | Choice of Arms (Choix des armes, Les) (1981)

The Gypsy (Gitan, Le) (1975)

The Gypsy (Gitan, Le) (1975)

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Due Out for Sale 23-Sep-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Crime None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1975
Running Time 98:15
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By José Giovanni
Studio
Distributor
Canal+
Madman Entertainment
Starring Alain Delon
Paul Meurisse
Annie Girardot
Marcel Bozzuffi
Bernard Giraudeau
Renato Salvatori
Maurice Barrier
Maurice Biraud
Nicolas Vogel
Michel Fortin
Pierre Danny
Adolfo Lastretti
Rino Bolognesi
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Claude Bolling


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

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Alain Delon is Hugo Sennart aka The Gypsy. Sennart is a long-suffering gypsy, a social outcast and wanted man. Protected by his fellow people, Sennart is a ruthless criminal, and the crimes he commits are in the name of the injustices suffered by his people. As Sennart prepares to disappear once and for all, he must settle old scores and his plight is shown parallel to that of Yan Kuq (Paul Meurisse), an aging professional jewel thief, who is also a wanted man.

    As the police close in on Kuq and Sennart, the two find themselves having to work together to evade capture and because of their differences ‘honour among thieves’ comes into question, particularly since the two criminals are separated by class and the reasons for their crimes – Sennart has struggled due to his environment and steals to survive, while Kuq, simply steals because he can.

    Written and directed by José Giovanni, The Gypsy is an interesting crime-drama, which presents the predicaments of two different criminals without any sense of romanticism.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Presented in 1:66:1 16x9 enhanced widescreen, the transfer is satisfactory considering the age of the film. The colour scheme is natural and the transfer at most times sharp and defined.

    While shadow detail is equally adequate, mild film grain and assorted artefacts appear throughout the feature film. There are no subtitles available for the feature film.

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

Audio

    There is only a 2.0 English soundtrack available on this DVD. This soundtrack is clear and does not exhibit any problems.

    The film is scored with an original score by Claude Bolling and classic songs by Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt.

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

Extras

Main Menu

    A still derived from the DVD artwork of the ‘Best French Flicks’ boxset, with options for 12 scene selections.

R4 vs R1

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

    This title is currently available in R4 as part of the ‘Best French Flicks’ boxset from Madman, and the ‘French Screen Icons – Alain Delon 2’ boxset.

    Overseas this title is only available in the R2 (France) 10 Disc barebones boxset of Alain Delon films from Studio Canal, along with the following titles; The Red Circle, The Burned Barns, Un Flic, Red Sun, Plein Soleil, Icy Flesh, Honor Among Thieves, The Widow Couderc , Armaguedon

    It is unknown if this boxset is English Friendly.

    The R1 (US) ‘Alain Delon 5 Film boxset’ also contains this title with the original French soundtrack with English subtitles - along with The Swimming Pool, Diabolically Yours, The Widow Couderc, Our Story.

Summary

    Written and directed by José Giovanni, The Gypsy is an interesting crime-drama which presents the predicaments of two different criminals without any sense of romanticism.

    The DVD release is satisfactory, although the absence of the original French soundtrack is disappointing. This title is currently available in 2 reasonably priced boxsets - 'Best French Crime Flicks' and 'French Screen Icons - Alain Delon 2'.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDOPPO DV-980H, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE 700. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DSP-A595a - 5.1 DTS
Speakers(Front) DB Dynamics Polaris AC688F loudspeakers,(Centre) DB Dynamics Polaris Mk3 Model CC030,(Rear) Polaris Mk3 Model SSD425,(Subwoofer) Jensen JPS12

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Professional (Le professionnel) (1981) | The Gypsy (Gitan, Le) (1975) | Choice of Arms (Choix des armes, Les) (1981)

Choice of Arms (Choix des armes, Les) (1981)

Choice of Arms (Choix des armes, Les) (1981)

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Due Out for Sale 29-Sep-2009

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Crime None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1981
Running Time 130:15
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Alain Corneau
Studio
Distributor
Canal+
Madman Entertainment
Starring Yves Montand
Gérard Depardieu
Catherine Deneuve
Michel Galabru
Gérard Lanvin
Jean-Claude Dauphin
Jean Rougerie
Christian Marquand
Etienne Chicot
Richard Anconina
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Philippe Sarde


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Director Alain Corneau is well known for his policier collaborations with Yves Montand in the 1970s - Python Police 375 and Le Menace.

    In Le choix des armes, Corneau casts Montand as Noël Durieux, an elder bourgeois criminal who now lives a quiet life with his wife Nicole (Catherine Deneuve) against a young Gerard Depardieu as Mickey, a hardened criminal who wishes to live a normal life with his young daughter.

    The two men meet fatefully after Mickey breaks out his prison and a rival gang ambush him and a police shootout ensues. Mickey’s accomplice in the jail break Serge, is wounded as they make their escape and Mickey is advised by Serge to seek refuge at the country home of former gangland boss and now legitimate businessman - Noël Durieux.

    Mickey decides to leave for Paris, while Serge recovers from his injuries at the estate.

    However on his return Mickey finds the estate being searched by the police; careless Chief Inspector Bonnardot (Michel Galabru) and young sharp-shooter Sarlat (Gerard Lanvin). Believing Durieux has betrayed him, Durieux returns to Paris, with Bonnardot and Sarlat intent on bringing Mickey to justice by any means necessary – placing Durieux and his wife also in the line of fire.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Presented in 2:35:1 16x9 enhanced widescreen, the transfer is satisfactory considering the age of the film. The colour scheme is natural and the transfer at most times is sharp and defined.

     While shadow detail is equally adequate, mild film grain and assorted artefacts appear throughout the feature film. The optional English subtitles appear in a clear yellow font.

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

Audio

     The 2.0 French stereo soundtrack remains clear and does not exhibit any problems. There are many action sequences in the film and it is unfortunate a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack is not available.

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

Extras

Main Menu

    A still derived from the DVD artwork of the ‘Best French Flicks’ boxset, with options for 12 scene selections.

R4 vs R1

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

    This title is currently available in R4 as part of the ‘Best French Flicks’ boxset from Madman. This is the Original French Version of the film (135 mins – NTSC/ 130 mins PAL) not the edited US version (114 mins-NTSC ). In R2 France this title contains the same technical specifications as the local release and in addition a Making-Of , Gallery, Various Filmographies. However there are no English subtitles on this release.

Summary

    Le choix des armes is an elegant crime thriller, reminiscent of the crime films of Jean-Pierre Melville. The DVD has been produced well with decent sound and picture.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDOPPO DV-980H, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE 700. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DSP-A595a - 5.1 DTS
Speakers(Front) DB Dynamics Polaris AC688F loudspeakers,(Centre) DB Dynamics Polaris Mk3 Model CC030,(Rear) Polaris Mk3 Model SSD425,(Subwoofer) Jensen JPS12

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE