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Les Enfants du Paradis (1945) [DVD]


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Product details

  • Actors: Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Brasseur, Pierre Renoir, María Casares
  • Directors: Marcel Carné
  • Format: PAL, Mono, Full Screen, Black & White, Subtitled
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Second Sight
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Sep 2000
  • Run Time: 183 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000558Y9
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,906 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Classic French drama following the ill-fated love of a mime artist and a sometime actress in 1840s Paris. When Baptiste (Jean-Louis Barrault) comes to the rescue of Garance (Arletty) when she is falsely accused of shoplifting, it is the beginning of an obsession that will have a profound effect on his life. Unhappily for Baptiste, the beautiful Garance has three equally determined suitors: Fréderick (Pierre Brasseur), an actor, Pierre François (Marcel Herrand), a thief, and the aristocratic Édouard (Louis Salou). The lives of the four men become intertwined as they pursue Garance, with increasingly dangerous consequences for all...

From Amazon.co.uk

A film which regularly charts high in critics' polls of the best films of all time, director Marcel Carné and screenwriter Jacques Prévert's masterpiece Les Enfants du Paradis is as solid a landmark in French film history as the Eiffel Tower is on the Parisian landscape. And at 187 minutes running time, it's a massy edifice indeed, built from a rambunctious cast of characters--ranging from pickpockets and prostitutes to aristocrats and actors--whose lives intersect around the Theatre des Funambules, a popular Parisian theatre on the Boulevard du Crime, during the 1840s. (The title refers to the poor who can only afford seats in the upper galleries of the theatre.)

The heart of the plot is a love story between mime artiste Baptiste (Jean-Louis Barrault) and streetwalker Garance (the magnificent, sand-paper-voiced Arletty). When Garance is falsely accused of pickpocketing, Baptiste provides a mimed alibi for her to the police (one of the film's most famous set pieces). The rose she later throws him in gratitude sets off a romantic obsession, one of several that structure the film, as do love triangles, duels, and tortured confessions of feeling.

Thematically, Les Enfant du Paradis gnaws over typically French cinematic preoccupations: illusion and reality, the nature of performance, the indomitable spirit of the proletariat and so on, all made the more charged and poignant when you know the film was shot during the Nazi occupation. (One actor, Robert Le Vigan, was reportedly a Nazi collaborator and disappeared during the filming under mysterious circumstances and so had to be replaced by Pierre Renoir.) --Leslie Felperin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By J. E. Holden on 20 Nov 2003
Format: VHS Tape
'Oh Garance! Tu ne m'aime pas!' Is just about the saddest line ever spoken in cinema.
Four characters, (loosely based on historical French figures) vye for the eye of the beautiful and serene Garance. The four stereotypical male character types that have continuously made great cinema over the last century. The cold millionaire aristocrat, the genius criminal, the amiable noble adventurous lover and finally our tragic hero, the romantic artist. Each seek her in their own way, yet each selfishly encroaches her formidable freedom with their tragic flaws. The romantic needs her exlusively and needs her unconditional love, the aristocratic will only ever see her as an object, he will never 'love as a poor man'. The lover is too full of dramatic hyperbole for her truthful sensibility and the criminal can never love, for his dark humour and excessive intelligence can not grasp its simplicity. For it is true, 'L'amour, c'est simple.' but it is also tragical and farcical. This film does justice to this fact on a grand and beautiful scale and certainly deserves its plaudits as one of the top ten best films of all time.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By M. Warburton on 4 Dec 2006
Format: DVD
Simply the greatest French Film of all time. Made in Paris whilst Paris was still under Nazi occupation this quite beautiful Film is wonderfully cast, acted, written and directed. Many great French films can lay claim to being the greatest, but Les Enfants Du Paradis is for me the greatest of all time because it is the richest, most humane & powerful. Let the human emotions of the French Theatre it is set in and around wash over you as you marvel at the performances and the characters journey's. I can't tell you too much as that would be give away what is a gift of a Film. If you like, love or are curious about French cinema, start with this Film and you'll not be disappointed.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Dec 2000
Format: VHS Tape
It is 7 years since I last saw this film and it is time to see it again. I shall post my order today. A deeply moving and tragic film, of huge scope. Please take the time to see it. I think that you will never forget it. The closing scene is one of the most tragic in all cinema.
Arletty is beautifully seductive as the heroine and one can quite understand why the hero, Jean-Louis Tritignant, would leave a wife and child whom he adored for the chance of her love. But the real stars are 'les enfants du paradis' themselves - the audience in the 'Gods' of the popular theatre 'Les Funambules' (sp?) where Jean-Louis is the mime artist.
Sounds gripping? Probably not. But please don't let this review put you off. Nothing in cinema is as great as this film, IMHO.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Janina on 17 Mar 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Full of pathos,love, and tragedy yet with moments of humour. Wonderfully drawn characters, finely acted against the vibrant backdrop of 19th century French theatre and street-life. Visually very beautiful, you will never tire of this one and will always find something new to appreciate.Well worth the investment.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Geoffrey H. Thorne on 20 Mar 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
To be honest, I was rather scared of seeing this film. Its reputation, plus the fact that I did not really know many of the actors and that there are scenes of mime in it all conspired against my watching it. Suddenly, on reaching an advanced age, I thought that I should watch the classic French films and, eventually I plucked up courage to watch "Les Enfants du Paradis". By that time I had seen Arletty in "Hotel du Nord" and "Le Jour Se Leve", Pierre Brasseur in "Quai des Brumes", Jean-Louis Barrault in "La Ronde" and Marcel Herrand in "Fanfan La Tulipe", and had seen a few Marcel Carne/Jacques Prevert films. I was a little optimistic about the film but was quite unprepared for the experience of being totally enthralled from the very first minute until the last. Those reviewers who say that, although 3 hours 15 minutes long, the film does not feel at all long could not be more right. This is a display of consummate acting by all concerned. Watching Arletty as Garance you can see why she was a legend of French cinema. Pierre Brasseur is truly fascinating as the arrogant actor, Lemaitre. Jean-Louis Barrault as Baptiste quite simply makes mime an art. I should, however, be wrong not to mention a now largely forgotten actor who, when he is on screen, you cannot take your eyes off him. That is Marcel Herrand as Lacenaire, the murderer, thief, playright. His is a performance which absolutely fascinates, whilst repelling (rather the sort of ability that Jules Berry had). The story holds your attention throughout and covers the complete spectrum of human emotions. If you do not watch this film, you are missing one of the great cinematic experiences. Best French film of all time? Certainly. Best film ever made? Quite probably. At least a very compelling argument would be made by anyone who has seen it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ruth Horsfall on 14 Aug 2009
Format: DVD
I will never forget the first time I saw this film in the cinema about 15 years ago - it was simply breathtaking, and remains the most memorable movie experience of my life. As a rule, I'm not a fan of long movies, nor having to read subtitles, and mimes fill me with horror. However, I am so thankful that I got past my movie prejudices and saw this film.
The massive scale and beauty of this superb love tale, with the incredible, sublime acting of Arletty and Jean-Louis Barrault, combine to make this one of the truly great films of all time.
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