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A TRIO OF CANAL CLASSICS
The StudioCanal Collection is intended to offer some of the most influential films in their back catalogue on Blu Ray. This month sees another three titles added to their list.
First up is The Trial, based on Frank Kafka’s novel of the same name. Directed by Orson Welles and starring Anthony Perkins, this film from 1962 is a little bit of an interesting curio. Perkins plays Josef K, an office worker who is arrested and made to stand trial but the charges he is accused of are never spelt out. So he spends the film attempting to get to the bottom of proceedings, being forced to go through a series of scarily bureaucratic episodes. Welles was a great director but Perkins feels out of his depth here. However, a supporting cast that includes Jeanne Moreau, Romy Schneider, Akim Tamiroff and even a small cameo from Welles himself, means that The Trial is a cinematic surrealistic snapshot of early sixties film with some exceptional performances, great visuals and strong directing. While it doesn’t hold up to Welles’s best (Third Man, Citizen Kane), it is still appropriate it should be in the collection and made available on Blu-ray…
The second film is Luis Buñuel’s That Obscure Object of Desire, from 1977. There is no question of this movie’s iconic status as it is undoubtedly one of Buñuel’s best efforts, a look at the odd relationship between wealthy middle-aged sophisticate Mathieu and his former chambermaid, Conchita. Casting two actresses to play Conchita, the gorgeous Carole Bouquet and Angela Molina, was a stroke of genius, as this reflects the duality of the character and women in general and Fernando Rey as Mathieu has real screen presence. But someone decided to issue this as dubbed rather than subtitled and this lessens its impact. The transfer to Blu-ray is very crisp but it does make you wish that it was subtitled. It’s a worthy addition to the Collection as it’s certainly one of the most important European films of the period…
Finally, Quai Des Brumes (1938) brings Marcel Carné’s adaptation of the Pierre MacOrlan novel to Blu-ray at last. Deserter soldier Jean (Jean Gabin) finds himself in Le Havre, looking for somewhere to flee to. He finds himself among an eclectic mix of gangsters, a painter and a young girl called Nelly (Michele Morgan). What he doesn’t realise is that his tragic destiny has already been written for him. Quai Des Brumes possesses a wonderful dream-like quality to it, and the transfer to Blu-ray really enhances this. Gabin is excellent as is Morgan and Carné really makes the setting like a character in the story. This film is a classic slice of French noir, with a great cast and a beautiful painterly quality to its visuals. Jean is an iconic French film protagonist and Gabin invests him with real empathy. Quai Des Brumes should be seen by true cineastes…
All three of these films are worthy additions to the StudioCanal Collection and are out now…
Studio Canal

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