Paris When It Sizzles (1964)

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Released 7-Sep-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1964
Running Time 105:51
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Richard Quine

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring William Holden
Audrey Hepburn
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Nelson Riddle

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown 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

    Another release from Paramount in the Audrey Hepburn collection, Paris - When It Sizzles sees Hepburn reunited with her Sabrina co-star William Holden. This time around, Holden plays Richard Benson, a single playboy and successful screenwriter who has wasted the time that was allocated to get his next screenplay finished, a film called 'The Girl Who Stole The Eiffel Tower', for which he was paid a large advance. The producer of the film, Alexander Meyerheim (Noel Coward) is set to meet Benson in Paris on Bastille Day (two days from now) to collect the finished script. Benson has little choice but to get his act together and in his haste to finish his assignment hires a typist to speed the process. The typist (Audrey Hepburn) will type the manuscript as he dictates. Of course not all goes to plan, and the two find themselves conjuring up all manner of unusual plot lines for Benson's script, in addition to consuming various amounts of alcohol.

    The movie is an unusual parody of the whole film-making process. There are numerous references to classic films such as Casablanca, My Fair Lady, and Breakfast At Tiffany's (get the connection with the latter two). As the two begin creating the script, we are whisked off in a dream-like sequence (complete with slow fades - a very important film device) to the actual story they are inventing. One minute we are watching gangsters, then a vampire, then Audrey Hepburn piloting a bi-plane.

    Some of the comedy works quite well. I particularly liked the references to poor Tony Curtis (a bumbling cameo). He appears in the dream sequences, yet is always relegated to a minor role such as 'second policeman', even though he was a major star at the time.

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Transfer Quality


    Not the best video I have seen, but since it is approaching 40 years of age it is certainly better than satisfactory.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is pretty sharp all round, with only occasional edge enhancement. Grain pops up on a handful of occasions (most notably at 42:50 and 46:21). Given the nature of the film, set in Paris at the height of summer, there are few darker moments except in the closing scenes. As a result, shadow detail is rarely troubled and blacks are nice and deep. There is no low level noise present, though the significant number of film artefacts are more prominent during the darker scenes.

    Colours are typical of the era, with decent colour saturation of quite a wide palette, although the vibrancy is not anywhere near what you would expect from younger material.

   There were no MPEG artefacts and film-to-video artefacts were limited to some minor shimmer. Film artefacts were numerous. Given the age of the source material, this is not surprising. Most are the usual spots and nicks, though some are significantly larger than others.

    There are four sets of subtitles present; English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. I sampled the English flavour and they were in a decent font and were very accurate.

    Thi is a single sided, dual layered disc. I was unable to detect the layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    A soundtrack in all its mono glory awaits you, and quite a harsh one that has been mastered at quite a higher volume level than normal. I had to reduce the volume on my amplifier a full 10dB to make it bearable. There is also a reasonable amount of background noise when listened to at a higher volume.

    There are four audio tracks present, all Dolby Digital 2.0 mono in English, French, Spanish, and Italian. I switched Dolby Pro-Logic decoding on to allow the audio to emanate from the centre channel. I listened to the English track in full and verified the presence of the other three.

    Dialogue is very prominent in the soundtrack. Most of the film centres on the dialogue exchanged between Holden and Hepburn and this is handled reasonably well, though Holden's dialogue can be a touch grating at times. There are no audio sync issues.

   The musical score is credited to Nelson Riddle and is typical of the era; fast-paced to suit a hip modern French capital.  Songs performed by Frank Sinatra and Fred Astaire are also prominent.

    There is no surround channel or subwoofer use.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Theatrical Trailer

    Presented in an aspect of 1.78:1 and 16x9 enhanced, this trailer runs for 2:37 minutes. It is typical of trailers of the time, with the usual mix of large garish titles, and loud sound. Still images of the stars and almost every major scene are also repeated.

R4 vs R1

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

    Both Region's discs are identically-specified. The Region 4 offering with PAL formatting is the preferred option.


    In the end, Paris-When It Sizzles is a romantic comedy and the rule by which it should be judged would be the link that exists between Hepburn and Holden. It is certainly not as strong as it is in Sabrina, but then this was made some 10 years later and Holden was beginning to look like he could quite easily play the eternally youthful Hepburn's father!

    In terms of the disc itself, this is an average effort from Paramount, though the lack of decent extras is disappointing. The video is pretty good considering its age. The audio could be better - I found myself turning down the volume to make it bearable. There are virtually no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Tuesday, September 11, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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