Lola Montes: The Restored Edition  [DVD]
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Martine Carol stars as notorious 19th century Mexican circus performer Lola Montes, who in her heyday counted among her lovers the crowned heads of France, Italy, Poland, and Russia. The film dwells upon Lolas' extended affairs with King Ludwig of Bavaria (Anton Walbrook) and composer Franz Liszt (Will Quadflieg). We learn of these various amours in flashback form, for the film is framed by a prologue and epilogue in a tawdry New Orleans circus, where an old and faded Lola is exploited by a slimy nickel-and-dime ringmaster.<br /><br />Special Features <br /><br />Lola Montes Revisted - A documentary on the making of the film<br />Commentary by Susan White, author of 'The Cinema Of Max Ophuls'
Lola is back and more beautiful than ever. --The Guardian
A sumptuous restoration --The New Yorker
One of the ESSENTIAL FILMS --David Thomson
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Unfortunately the uber-desirable USA Criterion release is REGION-A LOCKED - although it doesn't say so on Amazon.
So it WILL NOT PLAY on most UK BLU RAY players unless they're chipped to play 'all' regions (which the vast majority aren't).
Don’t confuse BLU RAY players that have multi-region capability on the 'DVD' front – that won’t help.
Luckily the French release (with foreign language all over the rear of the box) is REGION B - so that will play this lavish 1955 film on UK machines (even if it has garnished a hefty price tag over the years).
So before you buy - check you’re player’s region-coding acceptability if you want the cheaper Criterion release (which is said to have a stunning transfer restored to the Director’s wishes). Because until such time as “Masters Of Cinema” or even the BFI release this restored movie in Region B – you’ll either have compatibility problems with the American BLU RAY or a hole in your wallet with the French version…
Lola Montez was an 'adventuress', who, in this lightly fictionalised account of her life, has ended up in a circus, re-enacting key scenes from her life. In flashback, we see what really happended, starting with an unhappy marriage, her career as a dancer, and affairs with Liszt and the King of Bavaria (Anton Walbrook), the latter causing a revolution! Lola is played by Martine Carol, a wonderful French actress, and the ring-master in the circus scenes is a youthful Peter Ustinov. Mention must also be made of Auric's music, which captures the mood exactly.
This film is truly astonishing in its lavish detail and epic flair, and I can't recommend it highly enough.
edit: I just saw some of the Criterion Collection edition of this movie. The subtitles on the Criterion edition are not hard coded. The picture is flawless. The sound is superb. It makes me realise just how *incredibly* poor this supposedly restored DVD actually is. What a rip off. Lousy print, lousy sound, stupid clumsy subtitling ruining the movie. If I could give it 0 stars I would. I've bought some really terrible DVDs of classic movies, a lot of OK or unobjectionable ones and a few that are genuinely restored to a high standard, well presented and technically excellent. This one is a genuine stinker, being so bad that it ruins the experience of simply watching and enjoying the film.
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