The Last Metro [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1980]

1980's Le Dernier Metro (aka The Last Metro) was one of Francois Truffaut's final films (he died in 1984) and it was his last unqualified commercial and critical triumph, a film whose romance and suspense captivated audiences while dealing pointedly with the moral compromises the French struggled with during World War II. The Criterion Collection's DVD release of The Last Metro is not the film's first appearance on disc in North America, but it's easily the best, and confirms this was the work of a master filmmaker in full command of his medium. The Last Metro has been given a widescreen transfer to disc, letterboxed at the 1.66:1 aspect ratio on conventional televisions and enhanced for anamorphic play on 16:9 monitors. The transfer handles the dominant reds of Nestor Almendros's cinematography with skill, and preserves the film's delicate balance of realism and dreamlike beauty with commendable accuracy. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, preserving the original audio mix, and the results sound nearly as good as the film looks. The dialogue is in French, with optional English subtitles but no multiple language options. The feature is accompanied by two optional commentary tracks. Truffaut biographer Annette Insdorf talks about the making of the film, Truffaut's style and the historical background of the story on one track, while the other is drawn from comments by actor Gerard Depardieu, historian Jean-Pierre Azema and Serge Toubiana, author of another book on Truffaut. The second commentary track is in French, and optional subtitles translating the commentary into English have been included. Additional bonus materials appear on a second disc, including two 1980 television interviews with Truffaut and members of his cast (including Catherine Deneuve, Jean Poiret and Depardieu; a conversation on the making of the film with actors Paulette Dubost, Andrea Ferreol, Sabine Haudepin and Alain Tasma (the latter also served as Truffaut's assistant); a discussion on the look of the film and how it was achieved featuring camera assistants Florent Bazin and Tessa Racine; and a rare interview with Nestor Almendros on working with Truffaut. A scene that was deleted from The Last Metro's original theatrical release is also included, though for some reason it hasn't been subtitled into English. Un Histoire D'Eau, a short film Truffaut made in 1958 in collaboration with Jean-Luc Godard, also appears on disc two, with The Last Metro's French theatrical trailer rounding out the program. And Armond White contributes an original essay on the film to the booklet, part of one of Criterion's most handsome packages to date. No one with a love of French cinema will need much persuading to pick up this edition of The Last Metro, but even those with just a passing interest in European cinema are likely to be dazzled by the beauty of this film, and this DVD is the definitive presentation for home theaters of Truffaut's late period masterwork.
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Special Features

  • Disc One:
  • New Audio Commentary by Annette Insdorf, Author of François Truffaut
  • Audio Commentary by Actor Gérard Depardieu, Historian Jean-Pierre Azéma, and Truffaut Biographer Serge Toubiana
  • New and improved English Subtitle Translation
  • Disc Two:
  • Deleted Scenes
  • French television excerpts featuring interviews with Truffaut and Actors Catherine Deneuve, Depardieu, and Jean Poiret
  • New Video Interviews with Actors Andréa Ferréol, Sabine Haudepin, and Paulette Dubost, Second Assistant Director Alain Tasma, and Camera Assistants Florent Bazin and Tessa Racine, in which they discuss The Last Metros' ensemble performances and visual style
  • A Video interview with the celebrated cinematographer Nestor Almendros, detailing his collaborations with Truffaut
  • Une Histoire d'eau, a 1958 short film codirected by Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Plus: A Booklet featuring a new essay by Critic Armond White

Synopsis

The Last Metro
The Last Metro is set virtually in its entirety in a crumbling French theatre. During the Nazi occupation, Jewish director Lucas Steiner (Heinz Bennent) hides in the basement of the theatre, while his wife Marion (Catherine Deneuve) stars in its latest production. Marion is enamored of leading man Bernard Granger (Gerard Depardieu), and he with her, but they resist temptation out of respect to her husband. When she is given a choice between loyalty to her husband and to her countrymen, her dilemma offers two logical solutions--both of which are acted out on stage during the play. This Pirandellian ending aside, The Last Metro is one of the few films to accurately capture the feeling of what it was like to live in Paris under the thumb of the Nazis. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Catherine Deneuve
    Catherine Deneuve - Marion Steiner
  • Jean Poiret
    Jean Poiret - Jean-Loup Cottins
  • Heinz Bennent
    Heinz Bennent - Lucas Steiner
  • Andréa Ferréol
    Andréa Ferréol - Arlette Guillaume
  • Paulette Dubost
    Paulette Dubost - Germaine Fabre

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