The Inheritor (L'heritier) (1973)

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Due Out for Sale 18-Nov-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1973
Running Time 107:04
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Philippe Labro
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo
Carla Gravina
Jean Rochefort
Charles Denner
Jean Desailly
Jean Martin
Maurice Garrel
Pierre Grasset
Maureen Kerwin
François Chaumette
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Michel Colombier


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 Yes, an airline
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

     Bart Cordell (Jean-Paul Belmondo) inherits his family’s millions and interests in steel making plants, shipyards and the media when his father and mother are killed in a plane crash. Bart had been estranged from his father since he married Giovanella (Anna Orsa), the daughter of right wing Italian industrialist Luigi Galazzi (Fosco Giachetti), against his father’s wishes. As a result, Bart has since been living in America with his wife and young son Hugo. On the flight back to France to take up his inheritance, Bart makes love to high class call-girl Lauren (Maureen Kerwin). She has been paid to set up Bart with drugs that are discovered on arrival in Paris; however thanks to high connections he escapes arrest.

     Bart suspects that the air crash which killed his father was no accident and hires private investigator Brayen (Maurice Garrel) to investigate. In the meantime he starts to revamp and rearrange his father’s industrial empire, including the Globe magazine, and attempts to seduce Globe editor Liza Rocquencourt (Carla Gravina). With the help of his close friend and confidant David (Charles Denner), they track down Lauren; Bart pays her to obtain information about who set him up and they resume their affair. Soon Bart’s suspicion that his father was murdered is confirmed by a couple of attempts upon his own life. And as Bart digs deeper into the past he discovers that his father had been resisting a take-over bid from a non-French consortium, that there is evidence of collaboration with the Nazis in WW2 and the internment of Jews that people are prepared to kill to keep secret, and that the enemy is closer to home than he could imagine.

     The Inheritor (L’heritier) is a stylish thriller from director Philippe Labro that avoids pointless action and stunts although the set piece action sequences are well executed. Instead the film focuses upon a mystery while also saying something about politics, French society and the press. The key to the film is Jean-Paul Belmondo who was at the height of his popularity and whose Bart Cordell is a more complex character than is usual for Belmondo. Bart is established as a bit of a firebrand with a social conscience; as a young lieutenant in Algeria he was court marshalled for assaulting a superior officer who tortured Algerian prisoners. Bart also cares about the underpaid workers in his family’s factories. On the other hand, he is arrogant and utilises his own press, being followed around by a camera crew who film his sayings and movements for a TV documentary. As well, his treatment of women is appalling: despite his wife and child he thinks nothing of making love to Lauren on the plane, and taking up his relationship with her later as well as strongly pursuing Liza. Indeed, in one interesting scene he takes both Liza and Lauren to dinner at once, treating both off-handedly. However, some justice later prevails.

     The Inheritor is an intriguing, stylish thriller with something to say about the nature of power (power over women as well as the power of the press and industrial conglomerations), politics and society. It uses limited flashbacks, plus some interesting camera moves and scene juxtapositions to tell its story. The Inheritor looks good, includes some nice action and features a Jean-Paul Belmondo character with more depth than is usual.

     The Inheritor is included in the three disc set French Screen Icons: Jean-Paul Belmondo 2 from Madman that also includes Scoumoune: Mafia Warfare (1972) and The Body of My Enemy (1976).

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Inheritor is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     The print looks pretty good. It is mostly a sharp print, with only a few scenes appearing softer, with good detail, nice blacks and good shadow detail. Colours are deep, rich but natural and there is normal film grain. There are occasional very minor artefacts, glare when the light source was beyond the actor (see 16:48) and occasional ghosting with movement (51:41, 60:12) but nothing much to worry about.

     English subtitles are available. They are in a yellow font and have the occasional spelling and grammatical error but nothing serious. They are easy to read, except in one section where the characters speak Italian and white burnt in French subtitles occur under the yellow English subtitles.

     The layer change at 65:30 resulted in a slight pause.

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

Audio

     The audio is a French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono at 224 Kbps that does an acceptable job.

     Dialogue is easy to understand and the effects, such as the explosions or gunshots, come across with some depth and are pretty good. There was no surround or subwoofer use.

     The mainly electronic score is by Michel Colombier. At times it was effective but at other times it seemed strident and intrusive.

     Lip synchronisation varied. Mostly it was fine, but on a couple of occasions the audio seemed slightly out of synchronisation with the visuals.

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

Extras

     None

R4 vs R1

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

     There does not appear to be another English friendly release of The Inheritor in either Region1 US or Region 2 UK. The only other versions of the film I can find are a couple of Region 2 French releases. They have French language audio but no English subtitles. Our Region 4 is the one for English speakers.

     I cannot find an equivalent Belmondo collection listed on sales sites. The only thing close is a Region 2 UK collection that includes Breathless, Pierrot Le Fou, Le Professional, Stavisky and A Double Tour.

Summary

     The Inheritor is an intriguing, stylish thriller with something to say about the nature of power, politics and society. It looks good, includes some nice action and features a Jean-Paul Belmondo character with more depth than usual. Interesting and very enjoyable.

     The video and audio are acceptable. There are no extras but the film is presented in a box set with two other films, which is great value for fans of Belmondo or French cinema.

     The Inheritor is included in the three disc set French Screen Icons: Jean-Paul Belmondo 2 from Madman that also includes Scoumoune: Mafia Warfare (1972) and The Body of My Enemy (1976).

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, February 06, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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