Blu-ray, DVD Release: Children of Paradise

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Sept. 18, 2012
Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95
Studio: Criterion

Children of Paradise movie scene

Jean-Louis Barrault stars in Marcel Carne's Children of Paradise.

Poetic realism reached sublime heights with Marcel Carné’s 1945 romantic drama Children of Paradise, which is widely considered one of the greatest French films of all time.

A classic depiction of 19th century Paris’s theatrical demimonde, Les enfants du paradis follows a mysterious woman (Arletty, The Pearls of the Crown’s) loved by four different men (all based on historical figures): an actor, a criminal, a count, and, most poignantly, a street mime (Jean-Louis Barrault, La ronde).

Directed with sensitivity and dramatic élan (during World War II, no less!) director Carné (Port of Shadows) and screenwriter Jacques Prévert (Le jour se lève) bring to life a world teeming with hucksters and aristocrats, thieves and courtesans, pimps and seers, and, of course, love and sorrow.

Released previously by Criterion in 2002, Children has since been restored for its re-issue and Blu-ray debut.

Presented in French with English subtitles, the Blu-ray and DVD of Children of Paradise contains the following features:

· New high-definition digital transfer from Pathé’s 2011 restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
·  Audio commentaries by film scholars Brian Stonehill and Charles Affron
·  Video introduction by director Terry Gilliam
· Once Upon a Time: “Children of Paradise,” a 2010 documentary on the making of the film
·  New visual essay on the design of Children of Paradise by film writer Paul Ryan
· The Birth of “Children of Paradise,” a 1967 German documentary that visits Nice, where the film was partially shot, and features interviews with cast members Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Brasseur; production designer Alexandre Trauner; and others
· Restoration demonstration
·  U.S. trailer
·  New English subtitle translation
·  A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Dudley Andrew and excerpts from a 1990 interview with director Marcel Carné

Also available on Blu-rayand DVD on the same date from Criterion is one of Marcel Carné’s lesser-known works, 1942’s Les visiteurs du soir (The Devil’s Envoys), a romantic fantasy set in the 15th century. Criterion’s release of the movie represents it Blu-ray and DVD debut.

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.