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Donkey Skin [DVD] (1970)

Catherine Deneuve , Jean Marais , Jacques Demy    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: £11.07 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Donkey Skin [DVD] (1970) + Les Demoiselles de Rochefort [1967] [DVD] + Lola - (Mr Bongo Films) (1961) [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Catherine Deneuve, Jean Marais, Jacques Perrin, Micheline Presle, Delphine Seyrig
  • Directors: Jacques Demy
  • Format: PAL, Anamorphic, Widescreen, Subtitled, Colour
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 10 Oct 2005
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AMSSC0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 43,604 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

French fairytale drama, directed by Jacques Demy. The King (Jean Marais) is distraught at the death of his wife (Catherine Deneuve), and promises never to marry anyone less beautiful than her. But when he is compelled to marry his own daughter (also Deneuve), her fairy godmother manages to save her from this incestuous fate by making her demand impossible gifts, including a suit of clothes made from the skin of a magical donkey that ensures the land's prosperity.

Product Description

Director Jacques Demy (Lola; The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) brings this ode to the classic fairy tale by 17th century author Charles Perrault to life with breathtaking brilliance. Digitally restored and remastered under the supervision of Agnes Varda (Cleo from 5 to 7; Vagabond), this epic tale overflows with dazzling elaborate costumes and an enchanting score by Oscar-winning composer Michel Legrand (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg). Catherine Deneueve (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg; Repulsion; Belle de Jour; Indochine; Potiche) stars as a Princess whose father, Jean Marais (Beauty and the Beast; Orphée; Stealing Beauty) seeks her hand in marriage after promising his dying wife to only wed a woman more beautiful than she. Listening to her godmother, the fairy of Lilacs (Delphine Seyrig - Daughters of Darkness; Day of the Jackal; The Black Windmill), the frightened Princess flees to a neighbouring farm and hides as a scullery maid, while wearing the skin of her father's prized donkey as a disguise. A visiting Prince passes by, and an unlikely romance is born. Ahead of it's time and strikingly modern in it's design, this warts and all fairytale is perhaps the Demy film most ready for re-discovery.


Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely delightful anarchic fairytale 15 Nov 2005
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Peau D'Ane/Donkey Skin is an unexpected delight. Jacques Demy's fairytale musical has one of the most gorgeous uses of color ever seen thanks to Ghislain Coquet's photography and the sumptuous visual design (one kingdom has blue-clad, blue-faced servants and blue horses, the other red-clad red-faced servants and red horses), and the script manages to juggle just enough knowing wit without turning into total parody - despite featuring a donkey that craps rubies and emeralds, a crone who spits frogs and a king who wants to marry his daughter in the one film about incest that's still suitable for the whole family, it's played admirably straight.
Michel Legrand's songs are as pleasant as they are unmemorable and anarchic (one romantic duet features lyrics about snack bars while another is simply a recipe for a cake) and if Catherine Deneuve's voice double sings even worse than Deneuve acts, it still somehow comes across as charming (although things do go badly for the donkey). Beautiful stylistic touches abound, from the princess running in slow motion through frozen villagers to the how-did-they-do-that-then? dress the color of the weather, but never at the expense of the storytelling. Not quite up there with 'The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,' but light years ahead of 'Les Demoiselles de Rochefort.'
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Helen
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a thoroughly charming movie - unmissable - for adults and children - gloriously kitschy and immensely stylish as you'd expect from France, with this fine director, this musician's charming music, and such actors!

The old fable theme, existing in many countries and many versions from light to deeply dark, of a man lusting after his daughter is of course highly unpleasant but is turned into a charming fairy tale as the Princess with help from her Fairy Godmother escapes her father's unsuitable desires. Children can watch and learn because they are told in this story in such a clever, instructive way to understand that loving your father is normal but marrying your father is not normal, and never acceptable.

You'll surely love the decor which is gorgeous. The Princess's homeland has a myriad shades of blue theme - from flowers which are everywhere adorning the scenes, and beautiful clothes, to even the faces of servants and the colour of the horses, whilst the Prince's homeland is decked out in shades of red - red for true love.

Jean Marais makes a splendid and Kingly father whose desires go badly awry due to his dying Queen's wishes. Catherine Deneuve is as always so very beautiful and charming. Delphine Seyrig is a brilliantly acid and clever Fairy Godmother who keeps the heroine up to the mark, and I'm pleased to see another favourite of mine, Sacha Pitoff as the Chamberlain.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not too good, really 17 Feb 2013
By schumann_bg TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
I recently bought Donkey Skin again at bargain price, having sold it before, but seeing it afresh only confirms the reasons I didn't keep it then. I generally don't like to write critically but here no one else has, and there are enough positive endorsements for these comments to form a contrast that can then be disregarded. I also feel my objections are quite clearcut, so hopefully worth putting. First, the father/daughter incest motif might work well enough in the original fairy tale, but as it is here played by actors there is not enough distance and the effect is jarring. Second, the hag spitting toads with every other word is particularly repellent, even more so coming hot on the heels of the whole donkey-skin sequence where the Princess puts on the skin still red on the inside from the freshly slaughtered animal. Again, it would be more angled to its psychological meaning in Perrault's text. More importantly, perhaps, there is the very dominant presence of Michel Legrand's music. The first song here is played by the orchestra over the credits, and is subsequently overworked so that its angular, strained melody becomes quite irritating - and hard to get out of your head thereafter. It is memorable, but in the wrong sense. Two other songs - one about baking a cake and a romantic duet, also seem too saccharine to register any real sense of emotion, accentuating the rather cloying artifice of the whole film. Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars magical 27 April 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Donkey Skin is a dark psychedelic fairy tale done with a great sense of humour. The score was composed by Jacques Demy regular Michel Legrand and it's as infectious as it is beautiful and elegant. There are strong performance by Delphine Seyrig and Jacques Perrin, a beautiful and sweet young Deneuve and an impressive Jean Marais. Probably not as good as Umbrellas or les demoiselles de rochefort, Donkey Skin is still a great film, very entertaining and magical, a must see.
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