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  • The Return Of Martin Guerre [1982] [DVD]
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The Return Of Martin Guerre [1982] [DVD]


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The Return Of Martin Guerre [1982] [DVD] + Jean De Florette / Manon Des Sources Double Pack [DVD] [1986] + Cyrano De Bergerac [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Gérard Depardieu, Nathalie Baye, Maurice Barrier, Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, Isabelle Sadoyan
  • Directors: Daniel Vigne
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Arrow Films
  • DVD Release Date: 12 April 2004
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001MIQWQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,572 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Based on a true story which took place in rural France in the sixteenth century, Gerard Depardieu stars as a young man who returns to his wife and native village after nine years of disappearance, apparently at war. Although much changed from the quiet boy who left, he is readily accepted back, particularly by his wife. However, when he starts to have memory lapses and and fails to recognize people, accusations fly and the question of inheritance arises. He then comes under suspicion of being an impostor - is he the real Martin Guerre? The magistrate and court will have to decide.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Humpty Dumpty on 15 Aug. 2009
Format: DVD
Judged as a mediaeval costume drama cum adventure film, Le Retour de Martin Guerre succeeds admirably. The story - man disappears for donkey's years, is believed dead, then pops up out of the blue and resumes his place only to be accused of being an imposter - is of universal interest. The script moves things along at a trot and finds a neat balance between the jarring pitfalls of anachronism and Tolkienesque whimsy. The SW France location filming in Ariege, then and now one of France's poorest corners, and Haute Garonne, while providing the authentic look of the 16th century village and the echoing halls of the Palais de Justice in Toulouse, never goes over the top into some kind of Much-Wallowing-in-the-Marsh. The direction places the courtroom scenes at the heart of the matter, but they don't dominate the film to the extent that all preceding them is a mere hors d'oeuvre.

Gerard Depardieu gives a strong, intense performance. In court he expresses eloquently to the viewer the numerous emotional conflicts his character is going through, while suggesting that these are not revealed to the judges, witnesses and spectators. Mathilde Baye is excellent, too. Her look is perfect - the very image of the mediaeval woman, the virgin Mary or one of her handmaidens or saints in a thousand religious paintings of the era.

But the merit of the film lies in considerably more than its looking and sounding good. Its timeless theme, a meditation upon the nature of identity, is what raises its interest beyond the immediate and made it remain with me afterwards. Guerre mk 2 is a better man than the mk 1 version both in how he treats his wife and in his work. The old chestnut `if it looks, walks and quacks like a duck then the odds are that it is a duck' is tested to the limit. Hence the ultimate predicament of Guerre's wife evokes in the viewer enormous sympathy that informs the poignant conclusion.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Sept. 2000
Format: VHS Tape
The story is bound to be familiar since Hollywood's remake Sommersby attempted to re-interpret an interesting theme with dissapointingly mediocre results. Vigne's undoubtedly superior original, has Martin Guerre (Depardieu) as a man returning to his village who as a youngster abandoned his wife (Bayc). He is soon though accused of being an impostor... The medieval tale of mysterious twists and turns about the man's identity has two major strengths: firstly, Depardieu's tranquil performance which makes an interesting counterpart to his great physical presence, and secondly, the accurate depiction of the chaotic world of the Middle Ages governed by cruelty and superstition, ignorance and mistrust. The end result is quilt successful, and despite some flaws in the building of the story, it provides suspense and beautifully sustained perfommccs from beginning to end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 27 Aug. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The first time I saw this film, I needed a break from graduate school exams (in France). I did not particularly like Depardieu and knew nothing of the story. But once I was inside, I was amazed and left thinking it was one of the best films I had ever seen, a serious fan of Depardieu ever since. It is an extraordinarily vivid historical reconstruction of a true story, illuminating a tumultuous period of history with exceptional accuracy. You feel the texture of the life, with innumerable subtle allusions that deep reading in history can uncover - about the rights of women, law, the role of religion in everyday life, about identity and possibility - and the best of all: a completely absorbing story that keeps the viewer guessing the whole time.

The two principal characters, played by Depardieu and the astonishingly beautiful yet apparently plain Natalie Baye, are compelling in their love, having re-found each other. Martin Guerre, unhappy and unloving, had walked away from everything that he had: some land, a large extended family, and the obligations of his station. He returns after nearly a decade of war as a soldier in Spain, to welcome and forgiveness, fitting into the life of the village in his proper role. Martin and Bertrand have children, continue to work, and everything seems fine. Then some vagabonds arrive, who inadvertantly claim that Martin is not who he claims to be. This sows doubt in the village and gets tangled in some local politics and greed, leading to a law suit and threats of violence.

The story is framed by the investigation of a good, aristocratic magistrate who seeks to find the truth behind the allegations. Is it true? Or do the accusers have ulterior motives involving greed and corruption. It is utterly riveting and a mystery until the end.
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Format: DVD
Great film. I particularly liked the costumes and setting. Its at the start of the Renaissance period and so its like an Old Masters painting much of the time. Its based on real events where a young husband disappears only to return years later. One problem: he's a far better man than the one who left. Claiming his inheritance rubs his uncle up the wrong way...with dramatic consequences. Will his family and village recognise him for what he is?
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. D. Bradshaw on 26 Jan. 2010
Format: DVD
Since the mid-16th. century,the mysterious story of Martin Guerre continues to fascinate a wide public,much wider than in the village of Artigat in the foothills of the Pyrenees in which it began.
The young Martin Guerre and Bertrande de Rols were married in Artigat in 1538.The two families were not impoverished as they owned several areas of fertile land. Following marital and other problems,Guerre inexplicably disappeared.Nine years later,Guerre,after years of military service,suddenly arrived back in the village. He was bigger,stronger,self-confident,charming and silver-tongued. He displayed a wealth of knowledge and memories of his family,friends and homeland and his return was thus eagerly welcomed. Was he really Martin Guerre or were the family and villagers fooled by his charm into believing what they wanted to believe? They had little doubt as to his identity and,above all,his wife Bertrande embraced him as her lost husband. No pictures or written records existed,only human memories with all their faults and failings.
Guerre resumed life in the village but conflict soon arose over property ownership which provoked serious problems between Guerre and his uncle. With the chance arrival of some vagrants in the village,doubts stirred as to Guerre's identity. His uncle initiated legal proceedings against him and so began a tense and perplexing investigation in the Toulouse Court to ascertain this man's identity. The examining judge,Jean de Coras,later wrote a detailed account of this case which is the primary source of information concerning these events.
Daniel Vigne's 1982 film, 'The Return of Martin Guerre' digresses in some important respects from the historical record but it is a superbly made interpretation of this story.
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