Blu-ray, DVD Release: Le silence de la mer

Blu-ray & DVD Release Dates: April 28, 2015
Price: Blu-ray $39.95; DVD $29.95
Studio: Criterion

Jean-Pierre Melville (Two Men in Manhattan) began his superb filmmaking career with the 1949 war drama La silence de la mer, a powerful adaptation of an influential underground novel written during the Nazi occupation of France.

silence-de-mer-007An idealistic, naive German officer is assigned to the home of a middle-aged man and his grown niece; their response to his presence—their only form of resistance—is complete silence.

Constructed with elegant minimalism and shot, by the legendary Henri Decaë (The 400 Blows), with hushed eloquence, Le silence de la mer is a fascinating tale of moral ambiguity that points the way toward Melville’s later films about resistance and the occupation (Léon Morin, Priest; Army of Shadows) yet remains a singularly eerie work in its own right.

Presented in French with English subtitles, Criterion’s Blu-ray and DVD editions of the movie contain the following:

  • New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • 24 Hours in the Life of a Clown (1946), Melville’s seventeen-minute first film
    • New interview with film scholar Ginette Vincendeau
    • Interview with Melville from 1959
    • New English subtitle translation
    • An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien


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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.