Eclipse Series 4: Raymond Bernard

Discuss DVDs released in the Eclipse and Essential Art House lines and the films on them.
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Forgotten Goldfish
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#26 Post by Forgotten Goldfish » Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:27 pm

Kinsayder wrote:
Forgotten Goldfish wrote:Also still to be released on DVD (unless I'm mistaken?) is the 1958 Le Chanois version with Gabin and Blier in the principal roles.
There is a René Chateau 2-DVD edition of the Gabin / Le Chanois version (unsubbed).
What's more, the rights to the Le Chanois version have now passed from René Chateau to Pathé, who are listing it for future restoration and release in their French-subtitled Classique series alongside Bernard's 1935 film. So, if Criterion continues to use Pathé source material, and if the Eclipse series sells well enough as a whole, we might eventually see an Eclipse release of the Le Chanois version too... who can tell!?

Well, no, I'm not seriously suggesting that Le Chanois should appear in Eclipse. (The strange rumbling sound you can hear is Truffaut turning in his grave at the very thought.)

Bernard, however, is another matter. I hope the Eclipse release may encourage other companies to consider issuing some of his work. As the present thread abundantly shows, there are far more recently-restored first-rate Bernard films than Eclipse will be able to issue. And it isn't as though Eclipse has picked all the plums, or even all the most marketable items in the list.

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Kinsayder
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#27 Post by Kinsayder » Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:59 am

Forgotten Goldfish wrote:Well, no, I'm not seriously suggesting that Le Chanois should appear in Eclipse. (The strange rumbling sound you can hear is Truffaut turning in his grave at the very thought.)
Curiously, a Le Chanois title is mentioned as a "distinct possibility" in the Forthcoming Eclipse List. I can't imagine which one it would be, as most of his output falls into the deeply unfashionable "cinéma de qualité" category. Personally, I welcome it (and to hell with Truffaut), but it seems about as likely as an Eclipse Louis de Funès box.

Forgotten Goldfish
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#28 Post by Forgotten Goldfish » Fri Mar 02, 2007 6:18 pm

One of the things I like about the folks at Criterion is that they find room for both the fashionable and the unfashionable, trying to avoid commitment to any one party line. They've done the same thing with the British tradition de qualité too. Asquith's Browning Version can't be much more fashionable than Le Chanois, yet lo and behold, there it is on Criterion.

Truffaut and his colleagues will one day fall as far out of fashion as the predecessors they derided so much. That's life. It always happens.

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Via_Chicago
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#29 Post by Via_Chicago » Fri Mar 02, 2007 6:53 pm

While I'm looking forward to seeing these films, particularly as an historian (with a strong interest in historiographical cinema) Le Miracle des Loups, some of the "tradition of quality" films and filmmakers (especially Pagnol) are pretty bad.

Roger_Thornhill
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#30 Post by Roger_Thornhill » Mon Mar 19, 2007 2:50 am

tryavna wrote:Am I a bad person for looking forward to this one more than the previous three?
Not at all, I find this set the most interesting as well because I'm not familiar at all with Raymond Bernard's work and the films themselves sound promising. One thing I hoped with Eclipse is that they'd release pictures from filmmakers that aren't as famous as canonical filmmakers like Ozu, Bergman, etc... It appears they're doing just that. I couldn't be more excited.

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#31 Post by rollotomassi » Thu Mar 22, 2007 4:32 pm

I can assure those who haven't seen it that Raymond Bernard's 5 hour, three part Les Misérables is easily the best version made, blowing away even the excellently made but much simplified 1935 Hollywood version. The performances of Harry Baur, Charles Vanel, Charles Dullin, Marguerite Moreno, Gaby Triquet, Orane Demazis and Odette Florelle are beyond compare. It also contains the greatest score of composer Arthur Honegger and superb pohotography from Jules Kruger.

I'm lucky enough to still have a copy taped 10 years and more ago.

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justeleblanc
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#32 Post by justeleblanc » Sun Mar 25, 2007 1:02 pm

Are we sure this is the 4th Eclipse series?

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Matt
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#33 Post by Matt » Sun Mar 25, 2007 2:28 pm

justeleblanc wrote:Are we sure this is the 4th Eclipse series?
Not 100%, but it's not all that hard to change a 4 to a 5 (or 6 or 7) in the thread title.

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Matt
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#34 Post by Matt » Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:37 pm

Dave Kehr, in his review of the Bergman set, seems to think that the Bernard set will only be a double feature of Les Misérables and Wooden Crosses:

[quote="Dave Kehr"]Upcoming Eclipse collections include a selection of Louis Malle's documentaries (including the long version of “Phantom Indiaâ€

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CSM126
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#35 Post by CSM126 » Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:09 am

I dunno...Bernard's Les Miserables is divided into a trilogy of feature-length films, is it not? That's three discs right there, and Wooden Crosses is a fourth. So this set would be four films, four discs, which fits the bill.

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HerrSchreck
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#36 Post by HerrSchreck » Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:11 am

Negative, that would be two films, four discs.

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Matt
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#37 Post by Matt » Wed Apr 04, 2007 2:05 pm

According to a story in Premiere, this is confirmed as the fourth Eclipse release and will consist solely of Les Misérables and Wooden Crosses. Tant pis.
It's with the fourth Eclipse package that the label forcefully addresses the idea of introducing an unknown master. "His name is Raymond Bernard," Becker says, growing a little more animated. "He's a French filmmaker who began in the silent era, and the two films in this series are a five-hour adaptation of Les Miserables from 1934, and a 1932 war movie, Wooden Crosses.

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HerrSchreck
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#38 Post by HerrSchreck » Thu Apr 05, 2007 7:28 pm

Heart lightly broken via the exclusion of WOLF... but it's still pure vitamins & minerals for the soul as is.

The Beckers havent seemed to be awful nuts over the selling power of silent films as of late-- least in the dvd age.

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HerrSchreck
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#39 Post by HerrSchreck » Tue Apr 17, 2007 2:24 am

No new Eclipse announcements. Hmmm... so what's going to be the announcment rhythm here-- guess they're not doing the 15th of the month thingy like w the CC titles?

Was hoping for a horse's mouth on the Bernard Box.

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Scharphedin2
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#40 Post by Scharphedin2 » Tue Apr 17, 2007 3:58 am

Schreck, I think if any rhythm has been established yet, it is that Eclipse announcements come in the fourth week of the month (around 24th), where Criterion news usually come in the third (around the 14th-17th). Or, am I just tracing a pattern in the chaos?

However, they kind of broke the pattern by skipping a May release.

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arsonfilms
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#41 Post by arsonfilms » Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:51 am

The first Eclipse annoucement is always through Image at the same time that THEY annouce the Criterion titles. No official artwork or specs for Eclipse titles from Criterion until a week or so after the official announcement, but they always leak the titles in advance.

As to skipping May, they simply didn't have it ready by their deadline to present to Image. We all got a glimpse of the artwork shortly after the other announcements, so it seems clear to me that they never planned to skip May until they fell behind schedule.

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Derek Estes
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#42 Post by Derek Estes » Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:31 pm

arsonfilms wrote:As to skipping May, they simply didn't have it ready by their deadline to present to Image. We all got a glimpse of the artwork shortly after the other announcements, so it seems clear to me that they never planned to skip May until they fell behind schedule.

How do you know they fell behind schedule? Or are you speculating?

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arsonfilms
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#43 Post by arsonfilms » Tue Apr 17, 2007 3:48 pm

Derek Estes wrote:
arsonfilms wrote:As to skipping May, they simply didn't have it ready by their deadline to present to Image. We all got a glimpse of the artwork shortly after the other announcements, so it seems clear to me that they never planned to skip May until they fell behind schedule.

How do you know they fell behind schedule? Or are you speculating?
I used to produce disks, and there are very strict sales announcement deadlines. If a studio doesn't have the materials together to announce by the deadline, it's better just to skip ahead to the next month. Everything we ever heard about Late Ozu indicated it would come out in May, but it was a week after the deadline before we heard about the release officially and saw artwork - at which point we were told we'd see it in June. They just wouldn't have handled things like that if they hadn't fallen behind.

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indiannamednobody
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#44 Post by indiannamednobody » Tue Apr 17, 2007 4:00 pm

Which to me is understandable with such a large project just starting up. As long as they keep it up Eclipse should be every film students absolute best friend.

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Buttery Jeb
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#45 Post by Buttery Jeb » Thu Apr 19, 2007 10:15 am

Image's information about the set. Due July 17th; SRP $39.95.

-BJ

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HerrSchreck
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#46 Post by HerrSchreck » Thu Apr 19, 2007 4:58 pm

Three discs, two films, no WOLF. But with the films on here and the woooonderfuckingful price, this is napolean brandy for the mind.

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Tribe
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#47 Post by Tribe » Thu Apr 19, 2007 5:08 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:Three discs, two films, no WOLF. But with the films on here and the woooonderfuckingful price, this is napolean brandy for the mind.
Schrek (or anyone else for that matter), you're enthusiastic about this...what's to recommend it? Prior to the announcement of this release I'd never heard of this director. Was he well regarded in his time?

Tribe

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Kinsayder
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#48 Post by Kinsayder » Thu Apr 19, 2007 11:29 pm

The two films are a good pairing. Both are literary adaptations; both deal with historical subjects; both are notable for the skill with which Bernard combines the intimate with the epic.

Croix de bois (Wooden Crosses) is France's response to Pabst's Westfront and Milestone's All Quiet. Like Poirier's Verdun (which has more of a documentary feel), Bernard's film gives the French perspective, showing the fate of a platoon of soldiers caught up in the nightmare of trench warfare. Bernard was a veteran of the trenches himself, as were his two stars Pierre Blanchar and Charles Vanel, and indeed most of the extras (the French war ministry provided young recruits for the battle scenes but Bernard replaced them). It was filmed on the real battlefields of Champagne, which had to be swept for mines before filming could start.

This authenticity is what gives the film its emotional punch. We share the anxiety of the soldiers as they wait to be blown up by the Germans they can hear mining beneath their position; their terror during the harrowing ten-day battle; the agony of their protracted deaths. It's not an easy film to watch, but the anti-war message is powerful and clear.

As a footnote, I was interested to read in Dudley Andrew's Mists of Regret about the fate of Croix the first time it crossed the Atlantic. It was bought up by the Fox Corporation who, shamefully, instead of distributing the film, chopped it up for stock war footage. Parts of Bernard's film ended up in Ford's The World Moves On and Hawks' The Road to Glory.
Buttery Jeb wrote:Image's information about the set.
I realise it's just pre-release information, but that "392 minutes" mentioned by Image seems a little short. Croix = 110', Mis = 120', 90' and 95', all of which adds up to 415'. Or does the fact that there are three discs mean that this is the two-film re-edited version of Mis?

Cinesimilitude
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#49 Post by Cinesimilitude » Thu Apr 19, 2007 11:40 pm

39.99 for a 5 hour les miserables is worth it alone. Fantastic news.

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zedz
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#50 Post by zedz » Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:37 am

Tribe wrote:Schrek (or anyone else for that matter), you're enthusiastic about this...what's to recommend it? Prior to the announcement of this release I'd never heard of this director. Was he well regarded in his time?
I've never seen either of these films, but Miracle des loups was a milestone French silent film, and The Chess Player - the only Bernard I've seen - is superb. On the basis of that film, he's a gifted, inventive metteur-en-scene.

In addition to this, a large part of my enthusiasm about this release is due to the strength of this era in French filmmaking: there seems to be so much worth rediscovering. Furthermore, this is the first Eclipse release to deliver on a key aspect of its promise (rediscovering overlooked filmmakers, as opposed to airing the neglected corners of big name filmographies).

And maybe, just maybe, this brings us one step closer to a Jean Gremillon Eclipse set. (There: I knew I couldn't get through this post without mentioning the Big G)

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