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Stage and Spectacle: Three Films By Jean Renoir [3 Discs] [Criterion Collection] [DVD]

Release Date:08/03/2004
Three late period films from the masterful French director Jean Renoir are compiled on this first-rate release from Criterion. The Golden Coach, French Cancan, and Elena and Her Man are each presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio. Soundtracks for all three films are presented in mono and in the original language. Supplemental materials include introductions by Renoir himself as well as directors Peter Bogdanovich and Martin Scorsese, a three-part interview with Renoir that extends over the course of all three discs, the second half of a documentary about Renoir created by film critic David Thompson, production stills, and interviews with some of Renoir's collaborators. This is an outstanding box set for anyone who loves movies.

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    Special Features

    • New high-definition digital transfers, with restored image and sound
    • Introductions to The Golden Coach and Elena and Her Men by Renoir
    • Video introduction to The Golden Coach by filmmaker Martin Scorsese
    • Video introduction to French Cancan by filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich
    • Exclusive interview with French Cancan set designer Max Douy
    • "Jean Renoir - Hollywood and Beyond," part two of the BBC documentary by David Thompson
    • Three-part interview with Renoir ("Jean Renoir Parle de Son Art," conducted by French New Wave director Jacques Rivette)
    • Galleries of production stills
    • Essays by film critics Jonathan Rosenbaum and Andrew Sarris, and Renoir historian Christopher Faulkner
    • New and improved English subtitle translations
    • Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer editions


    Elena and Her Men
    In the 1950s, French films were considered the ne plus ultra in naughtiness by certain impressionable filmgoers. It was to these movie fans that the American distributor of Jean Renoir's Elena et les Hommes (Elena and the Men) catered when it provocatively retitled the picture Paris Does Strange Things As further grist to the mill for American publicity hacks, the film starred Ingrid Bergman, who had recently returned to Hollywood after her career was nearly ruined by a marital scandal. Actually there was nothing overtly erotic about Paris Does Strange Things. The film was a sweet romantic comedy wherein Bergman plays a poverty-stricken Polish princess, who is wooed by eligible admirers Mel Ferrer and Jean Marais. Will she marry for love, or merely to restore her wealth? The suspense is bearable. Inexpertly cut to 86 minutes for its American showings, Paris Does Strange Things was restored to its full 98 minutes in 1986 and its title reverted to Elena et les Hommes. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    The Golden Coach
    Set in 18th-century South America, The Golden Coach (Le Carrosse D'Or) stars Anna Magnani as an earthy Commedia Del Arte performer. Magnani is lusted after by diplomat Duncan Lamont, who leaves both his job and his mistress to pursue the sexy actress. Also vying for Magnani's favors are a bullfighter and a nobleman. Magnani tries to avert bloodshed by giving away the Golden Coach that had been bestowed upon her by the expansive Lamont. When director Jean Renoir was asked if he intended The Golden Coach to be Pirandellian, what with its linking of reality and theatricality, Renoir responded that his intention was to establish that "life is life and the stage is the stage." Maybe so, but the film's brilliant Technicolor and superb performances easily transcend that mundane entity known as Real Life. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    French Cancan
    Beautifully photographed, this comedy drama from Jean Renoir chronicles the revival of Paris' most notorious dance as it tells the story of a theater producer who turns a humble washerwoman into a star at the Moulin Rouge. The film is also title Only the French Can. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Ingrid Bergman
      Ingrid Bergman - Princess Elena Sorokowska
    • Jean Marais
      Jean Marais - Gen. Francois Rollan
    • Mel Ferrer
      Mel Ferrer - Viscount Henri de Chevincourt
    • Jean Richard
      Jean Richard - Hector, Rollan's Batman
    • Pierre Bertin
      Pierre Bertin - Martin-Michaud

    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.