Brace yourself for the uncut, uncensored version of "the most controversial film of its era" (Leonard Maltin). As scandalous as it scintillating, Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris
still resonates as a landmark in cinematic history, featuring an Oscar® nominated performance by Marlon Brando that ranks among the best of his career. He (Brando) is a 45-year-old American living in Paris, haunted by his wife’s suicide. She (Maria Schneider) is a 20-year-old Parisian beauty engaged to a young filmmaker. Though nameless to each other, these tortured souls come together to satisfy their sexual cravings in an apartment as bare as their dark, tragic lives.
A film whose infamy precedes it, Last Tango in Paris
has always been sold heavily off the back of its graphical content as much as anything else. But that’s always sold the film short. Bernardo Bertolucci’s film is an intelligent, exceptionally well-acted story of two people who are drawn together. It’s a cold, physical relationship they have, testament to the darkness in their respective lives, and the production makes no attempt to present it as anything other than that.
It’s haunting cinema, in a film that’s very much stood the test of time. What’s particularly impressive about its Blu-ray presentation is how it complements Last Tango in Paris so strongly. The stark framing of the film is only enhanced here by the quality and clarity of the 1080p upgrade. The audio, too, has been cleaned up, albeit in a respectful way that doesn’t seek to force an overly-zealous surround sound mix on a film that doesn’t need, or was intended to have, one.
Sadly, there’s not much in the way of supplementary material to beef the disc out. The original theatrical trailer is of interest, but there’s a deeper look at the film waiting to be made. Yet the excellent, natural video transfer in particular makes the upgrade worth the investment. A cliché, perhaps, but it’s a classic film that really hasn’t look better. --Jon Foster