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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.37:1 Standard
  • French PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • The Art of Subtitling, a new short documentary by Bruce Goldstein, founder and copresident of Rialto Pictures, about the history of subtitles
  • New interview with author Pierre Simenon, the son of novelist Georges Simenon
  • Conversation from 2015 between critics Guillemette Odicino and Eric Libiot about director Julien Duvivier and the filmís production history
  • Rialto Pictures rerelease trailer
  • Essays by film scholar James Quandt and Lenny Borger

Panique

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Julien Duvivier
1946 | 98 Minutes | Licensor: Rialto Pictures

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $39.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #955
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Release Date: December 18, 2018
Review Date: January 1, 2019

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SYNOPSIS

Proud, eccentric, and antisocial, Monsieur Hire (Michel Simon) has always kept to himself. But after a woman turns up dead in the Paris suburb where he lives, he feels drawn to a pretty young newcomer to town (Viviane Romance), discovers that his neighbors are only too ready to be suspicious of him, and is framed for the murder. Based on a novel by Georges Simenon, Julien Duvivierís first film after his return to France from Hollywood finds the acclaimed poetic realist applying his consummate craft to darker, moodier ends. Propelled by its two deeply nuanced lead performances, the tensely noirish Panique exposes the dangers of the knives-out mob mentality, delivering as well a pointed allegory of the behavior of Duvivierís countrymen during the war.


PICTURE

The Criterion Collection presents Julien Duvivierís Panique on Blu-ray in its original aspect ratio of 1.37:1 on a dual-layer disc. The 1080p/24hz high-definition presentation comes from a new 2K restoration performed by TF1. The digital transfer was scanned from a 35mm nitrate fine-grain.

It really is amazing how far restoration work has come. Though the film still shows its age and certainly looks like a film from 72 years ago (and it could just come down to source materials) there is very little damage here, next to nothing really; the only flaws I noticed were some thin tram lines and the odd spec of dirt here and there, but other than that, nada. The image also comes off quite sharp and detailed, some of those tweed jackets and cross-hatch patterns looking especially impressive. The film is quite grainy, but it is stunningly rendered and clean, keeping a natural look and never looking like noise. Black levels are also nicely tuned, delivering some rich blacks while still allowing the appropriate details to show through. The shadows in this film are absolutely gorgeous and the end result is a stunner of a presentation.

8/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The filmís French audio is presented here in lossless PCM 1.0 mono. It shows its age, coming off a bit tinny and flat. When the audio gets louder it does get quite a bit harsher, the end moments being especially edgy. A bit rough but I put it down more to age of the materials.

5/10

SUPPLEMENTS

This film gets a decent little special edition, and the best feature on here has very little to with the film specifically, and Iím surprised Criterion has never done one before. In The Art of Subtitling, Rialto Pictures founder Bruce Goldstein talks about the history of subtitling after the introduction of sound films. Marketing silent features internationally was easy (of course) but once people started speaking that made things harder. One solution was to make versions of films in other languages and dubbing was also an option, but subtitles became the go-to eventually. Goldstein really gets into the history, explains why everything is rarely translated, and the basic rules required. We even get comparisons showing how subs have evolved over the years. This was really incredible and we even get some footage of work being done on the subtitles for this film. I loved this and I actually hope we get more technical features along these lines in future releases.

Criterion then gets a new interview with Pierre Simenon, son of Georges Simenon, author of the novel on which Panique is based. He talks a little about the adaptation and shares his thoughts, but spends most of time talking about his father, his work, his dealings with the movie business, and accusations thrown against him of sympathizing with the Nazis during the occupation. Itís a very personal, very rewarding interview, even at just 16-miniutes.

Criterion then ports over a feature from a French Blu-ray release, a 20-minute interview with critics Guilimette Odicino and Eric Libiot. The two talk about the film as an adaptation, how it fits into his filmography, how the original story was shifted a bit to better fit Duviverís common themes, even his own misogyny (which is argued to be a good thing in this case). Itís a decent academic addition to the release though nothing too special. I think the other features outshine by quite a bit.

The Rialto re-release trailer closes the release.

Closing off this release is a foldout poster insert, featuring one by James Quandt about the film, its subject matter, and its look, and another by Lenny Borger that explains the history of the film and why Duviver chose to make it as his first film after returning from the U.S.

Not packed but Criterion has managed to add some really great supplements here, and I especially enjoyed the one on subtitles.

6/10

CLOSING

An excellent little special edition, sporting a couple of great features and a fantastic looking 2K restoration.


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Purchase From:
amazon.com  amazon.ca