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The Tale of the Fox ( Le Roman de Renard ) [DVD]

Claude Dauphin , Romain Bouquet , Irene Starewicz , Wladyslaw Starewicz    Parental Guidance   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £27.69 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Claude Dauphin, Romain Bouquet, Sylvain Itkine, Léon Larive, Robert Seller
  • Directors: Irene Starewicz, Wladyslaw Starewicz
  • Writers: Irene Starewicz, Wladyslaw Starewicz, Antoinette Nordmann, Jean Nohain, Johann Wolfgang Goethe
  • Format: PAL
  • 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: Doriane Films
  • DVD Release Date: 10 May 2006
  • Run Time: 65 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006TLD6K
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,776 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


France released, PAL/Region 0 DVD: LANGUAGES: French ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), English ( Subtitles ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Biographies, Commentary, Filmographies, Interactive Menu, Production Notes, Short Film, SYNOPSIS: Predating Disney's 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' by a good few years, this was one of the very first animated features, with all the characters performed by stop-motion animated puppets. It tells the story of how the crafty Fox runs rings round all the other animals, and how the Lion (Lion King?) orders his arrest and imprisonment. But the Fox has other ideas... ...The Tale of the Fox ( Le Roman de Renard )

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible early animation 12 Sep 2011
Wladyslaw Starewicz is an incredible animator. It's taken him 10 years to create this piece only being aided by his daughter, while based in the French countryside near Paris. Originally from Poland, Starewicz's knowledge is originally based in entomology. He was a researcher in Russia, given the task of recording the mating patterns of beetles. However, with the heat of the camera lights found it impossible to record. It was at this point he turned to stop-frame animation, wiring the bodies of beetles to recreate the motions of beetle mating. However, it wasn't long before he began his 'Cameraman's Revenge' series using other insects to reenact humanistic scenarios. Tale of the Fox was his last piece and is truely amazing. I adore it. Way ahead of his time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tale of the Fox 15 April 2010
This film is extraordinary. Just wish that Jiri Trnka's Midsummer Night's Dream (with naration by Richard Burton was available on DVD too... then I be very happy!!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magical Experience 5 Jan 2010
By Gerard D. Launay - Published on
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With the introduction in 2009 of the "Fantastic Mr. Fox" based on colorful animal characters, I thought there might be interest in a truly original version of the rogue fox on film...and that would be "Le Roman de Renard." Without exaggeration, I consider it one of the 10 greatest animated films in any language...yet it dates back to 1930 (or 1940 for the expanded French version). Basically, Renard is a likeable villain who plays tricks on all the other citizens (animals) of the kingdom. After endless complaints, he - the Fox - is finally brought before the King to answer for his crimes. Yet, as the perfect rogue, Renard talks himself out of punishment and gets promoted - to boot!

What makes the film - which is in black and white - so wonderful is the vivid, creative puppet and stop animation work. Each animal - whether the royal guards, the lioness queen, or a peasant, has a distinctive visual personality. How the director Ladislas Starevich was able to get so much emotion out of his puppets is the real magic here. If you have ever wondered about the talent of an animator, consider his short "The Cameraman's Revenge" which is a story of "insect infidelity" which was filmed in 1912. It is quite remarkable...still interesting after 100 years of filmmaking progress. (By the way, "that" movie is easily found in a region 1 DVD version). In between these two films is the director's 1926 "The Town Rat and the Country Rat" - a wonderful movie that is available - French subtitles only - on Youtube. Already you can sense how Ladislav Starevich is incorporating interesting personalities into his stop motion puppets.

I can't think of any other French film - other than Beauty and the Beast (by Cocteau)- that is so effective as "The Tale of the Fox" in creating the romantic, fantasy world of a Renaissance castle. You will be glued to the screen. I highly recommended this animated treasure to all those who have ever loved a fairy tale...yes, this movie needs to be released as a Region 1 DVD as soon as possible. There is a 2d animation version in English known as "The Adventures of Renny the Fox" which is a fine introduction to the basic story for those who prefer to avoid subtitles. There is also a lovely CD recording of "Le Roman de Renart" recited by Jean Rochefort...but this is only in French. (It is available on Amazon).
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing and hysterically funny forgotten film! 25 Sep 2010
By xxgrendelxx - Published on
First and foremost, the film is sadly only available as a region 2 PAL dvd, not playable onstandard American players.

When seeking back through all the gems that animated cinema has to offer, for the most part, there are few stones left unturned. This is particularly true for American enthusiasts. We all know how amazing and wonderful the old Betty Boop and Popeye cartoons are, the quality of animation in the original Disney efforts, and so forth.

So it makes my mind reel that Ladislav Starewitch 's 1931 (it was produced from 1929 to 1931 but did not see release until almost ten years later, due to issues with the soundtrack) 65 minute long feature film "Le Roman de Renard" (The Tale of the Fox)is practically unknown and unseen. I myself was only turned-on to Starewitch's work in the last decade and it took me a year before I bothered to order this film on DVD from Amazon France. I still can't believe what I've been missing.

This is simply one of the funniest comedies Of The 1930s, if not of all time. The story is far from sweet, being positively savage in its humor at all times.
Mr.Fox engages, enrages, and outwits an entire kingdom of forest animals until the king lion himself is forced to send his army of beasts to capture Fox and his family.

The story, slapstick and the jokes are good enough to have been portrayed by human actors. In fact, for 1930 this movie predates or is at least contemporary with many American efforts at slapstick and is viciously fast paced.

And it's this fast pace that's what makes the animation so startling. For viewers only familiar with puppet animation wherein the characters move leadenly and ponderously you're in for a shock. The beautifully crafted and detailed puppets often race about, making the action (yes , action!) violent and hysterically funny. Many of these motions and gags are reminiscent of early Warner Bros. Friz Freleng drawn cartoons. What will immediately impress viewers is in how Starewitch achieves "blurred " images to accentuate the action, making them optically realistic, quick and fun and quite different than any other stop-motion animation you have ever seen. The recent "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" by Wes Anderson pales in comparison. The special effects are stunning; for instance, apparently animating characters outdoors in sunlight, and in front of moving water!

The movie is entirely in french, yet if you only speak english don't despair: there are decent subtitles in english only. Besides, when you have seen the movie once and play it again you will realize that the film could only ever work in french - the very sassiness and charm of that language only enhances the comedy and would never work dubbed into english.

The DVD offers an on-screen filmography and brief biography of Starewitch as well as an additional short Starewitch film "FETICHE EN VOYAGE DE NOCES"(aka "The Navigator") from 1936. It includes commentary by a relation of Starewitch.

The print itself is in black and white from The National Center for Cinematography of France and is quite good with no warpages or blemishes besides an occaisional tendency to jump a bit and some scratches. Every scene is packed with background detail and animation and all of it is very clear, if not crystal clear. If you speak no french, you will want to watch it three times, at least: once to read the subtitles, again without them to watch the animation undistracted, and again after that to absorb all the background. The film has a lot to offer!

Speaking for myself, the funniest thing I find in the film is the cat's serenade to the lioness queen: "I will not go away - meow meow!", and the badger's verbal attack on the hen's honor (not appropriate for kids!), but you'll have to see it for yourself.

Prepare for a treat like you've never expected!
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars masterpiece 5 Oct 2009
By Paola Ricci - Published on
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this movie is something to see, a wonderful piece of art. every single detail from clothes to face expressions, from scenery to voices is perfect. unfortunately some parts of the english subtitles are missing and in some parts-especially at the beginning- it is so dark it really get hard to see anything. you can find a couple of bits of the movie on youtube. check and value!
5.0 out of 5 stars This movie is fun, Fun, FUN! Reynard RULES! 29 Jun 2014
By Andre M. - Published on
Essentially, this is an early Eastern European animated feature telling the story of Reynard the Fox. Reynard, who is better known in Europe than America, was the sly, crafty trickster Fox who was the star of an Ancient European folktale from around the 1100s AD, a rather amoral beast who overcame his enemies through trickery and cunning as well as subtly satirizing the church and politics of that era. In a sense, Reynard is the European cousin of Brer Rabbit and Anancy The Spider. For almost a thousand years, books and cartoons, and plays in Europe have celebrated this character.

As for the film itself, its a wildly entertaining French movie (although originally released in Germany) from the 1930s. Basically, Reynard wreaks havoc among the animals of his kingdom and they go to the lion king to stop Reynard's antics. Reynard then tries to trick his way out of capture by the animal army and from execution. Along the way, we are treated to wild and witty gags, some of which would not have made it past American censors of the time, and a completely unexpected trick ending that has to be seen to be believed. The scene with the simian radio announcer giving a play by play rundown of Reynard's planned execution as well as the animal army's attempt to capture him are real hoots, as well as the rabbit getting drunk in church, and the subplot of the secret affair between the feline minstrel and the lioness queen.

There has often been concern among American viewers of Reynard's complete lack of morals. An objective mind can only say "Come on" to this. Some of the gags will go over the heads of American children (such as the double entendre of the four letter word for "rooster"), but while the humor is overall adult oriented, any child familiar with Looney Tunes will have enough sense not to take this literally or be confused about right versus wrong. It has been said that Walt Disney had considered making a movie about Reynard, but decided against making such an amoral character as the star of a film that would be seen by impressionable children. This from the man who introduced the equally ruthless trickster Brer Rabbit to a generation of American children. But I digress.

Overall, adult animation fans and even non-film historians will be highly entertained by this film decades after its release. Unfortunately , the DVD is not currently available in a form compatible to North American DVD players and right now, the best way to see this domestically is on a certain website known for video clips and movies. Hopefully, these reviews may encourage this to happen so that you too will have a joyous afternoon with a witty and rascally European trickster of ancient folklore.
5.0 out of 5 stars A WONDERFUL FILM 3 Jun 2013
By SAINT REMY - Published on
Verified Purchase
Animation film is an art ! and this film is an example of what we must admire ! even in black and white ! it's marvellous !
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