Blu-ray, DVD Release: La poison

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Aug. 22, 2017
Price: DVD $20.52, Blu-ray $25.99
Studio: Criterion

The writer, actor, and director Sacha Guitry emerged from the theater to become one of France’s best-known and most inventive filmmakers, and 1961’s La poison marked his first collaboration with another titan of the screen, the incomparably expressive Michel Simon (L’Atalante).

Michel Simon in La poison

With Guitry’s witty dialogue and fleet pacing, the black comedy is the quintessential depiction of a marriage gone sour: after thirty years together, a village gardener (Simon) and his wife (Germaine Reuver) find themselves contemplating how to do away with each other, with the former even planning how he’ll negotiate his eventual criminal trial.

Inspired by Guitry’s own post-World War II tangle with the law – a wrongful charge of collaborationism – La poison is a blithely caustic broadside against the French legal system and a society all too eager to capitalize on others’ misfortunes.

Presented in French with English subtitles, Criterion’s editions of the foreign language drama-comedy contain the following:

* New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
* New interview with filmmaker Olivier Assayas on director Sacha Guitry’s influence on French cinema
* On Life On-screen: Miseries and Splendour of a Monarch, a 60-minute documentary from 2010 on the collaboration of Guitry and Michel Simon
* New English subtitle translation
* An essay by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau and a 1957 obituary for Guitry by François Truffaut

Buy or Rent La poison

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.