French Connection II (1975)

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Released 12-Feb-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer-3
Gallery
Audio Commentary-John Frankenheimer (Director)
Audio Commentary-Gene Hackman (Actor) & Robert Rosen (Producer)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1975
Running Time 114:24
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (76:58) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By John Frankenheimer
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Gene Hackman
Fernando Rey
Bernard Fresson
Jean-Pierre Castaldi
Charles Millot
Cathleen Nesbitt
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Don Ellis


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (96Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (96Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Czech
Danish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Finnish
Hebrew
Hungarian
Icelandic
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Swedish
Turkish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    French Connection II is, as the name suggests, the sequel to the 1971 Academy Award winning picture The French Connection.

    The movie has Gene Hackman returning to his Oscar winning role of New York detective Popeye Doyle. This time, Doyle travels to Marseilles, France to try and capture the elusive drug boss Charnier played again by Fernando Rey. Doyle is helped by local police detective Barthelemy (Bernard Fresson), but he is unaware that he is being used as bait to try and draw out Charnier. Unfortunately, Doyle is captured by the drug ring and is forced to take heroin in an effort to extract information. Doyle must overcome this addiction and find a way to take down the drug ring.

    This sequel was directed by John Frankenheimer (Grand Prix, Ronin) and was filmed on location in Marseilles. While this movie is not as compelling as the first, it is still very enjoyable and contains some brilliant performances. If you enjoyed the first film you should take a look at this movie.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is reasonably sharp, displaying high levels of detail throughout but some scenes shot with high power zoom lenses are clearly softer. No low level noise was detected at any time during the transfer. During the numerous dark scenes shot at night, high levels of shadow detail may be seen at all times.

    As typically seen in films of this age, the colour palette is slightly muted. This works well with the time period of the film and is never distracting to the viewer.

    No MPEG artefacts were detected at any stage during the transfer.

    No instances of aliasing were detected during the transfer.

    A number of small film artefacts may be seen throughout the transfer. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 1:06, 2:22, 3:18, 21:07, 33:44 and 39:47. All of these artefacts are relatively minor and are only slightly distracting.

    Twelve sets of subtitles are included on this disc. I extensively sampled the English stream and found it to be consistently accurate.

    The layer change appears to occur at 76:58 at the start of chapter twenty two and is unlikely to be detected by most viewers.

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

Audio

    A single English Dolby Digital 2.0 192 kbps 2.0 soundtrack is provided on this disc.

    The dialogue is usually clear and easy to understand, but during the scenes when Hackman is recovering from his drug addiction he intentionally slurs and mumbles. These scenes are difficult to understand but this is never a real problem for the viewer.

    No dropouts were detected at any time during the transfer. The scenes with Fernando Rey speaking French were all dubbed as this Spanish actor did not speak the language fluently. The most obvious example of this dubbing may be seen at 3:10 but due to the short duration of these scenes this is only very slightly distracting to the viewer. No other problems with audio sync were detected during the transfer.

    The score was created by Don Ellis who was also responsible for the soundtrack of the original movie. Like the first score, this is slightly dated but it works well with the on-screen action and the time period portrayed.

    The surround and subwoofer channels were not utilised during the transfer.

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

Extras

Menu

    The animated menus are presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 or 1.33:1 depending upon the player setup.

Commentary: John Frankenheimer (Director)

    During this scene-specific feature length commentary, John Frankenheimer discusses the making of the film detailing various aspects including sets, locations, casting and the involvement of the Mafia. This track does contain numerous small gaps and an excessive number of compliments regarding the performance of Gene Hackman.

Commentary: Gene Hackman and Robert Rosen (Producer)

    This track was created by editing together two separately recorded tracks by Gene Hackman and producer Robert Rosen. During the track, they discuss the language problems they encountered, sets, casting and the last minute rewriting of the script. I found this track to be more interesting than the first but it does unfortunately contain numerous long periods of silence towards the end of the film.

Theatrical Trailer (3:13)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. Dolby Digital 2.0 English Spanish and Portuguese soundtracks are provided for the trailer.

Storyboards

    This is a collection of storyboards for five different scenes from the movie. These boards are presented in a window in the centre of the screen and unfortunately are quite small.

Behind the Scenes

    This is a collection of twenty nine shots of the cast's wardrobe with the notes taken at the time. These images were presumably used when planning the wardrobe as well as for continuity purposes.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    Both versions of this film are nearly identical and I would have no preference for either version.

Summary

    French Connection II is an enjoyable sequel to an all time classic and while not as compelling as the first film, this movie is definitely worth taking a look at.

    The video transfer for this film displays a number of film artefacts but this is not surprising considering the age of the source material.

    The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is adequate for a film of this age.

    The extras included contain some interesting information but unfortunately the audio commentaries have numerous periods of silence.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Thursday, February 28, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

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