SACHA GUITRY: FOUR FILMS 1936-1938 DUAL FORMAT review

Arrow academy releases a four film collection of the great french comedian and satirist, Sacha Guitry. The New Testament (Le Nouveau testament) follows a physician who sees himself outwardly as holier-than-though man but is scuppered by his hypocrisy. A classic premise done with Guitry rye sense of irony. My Father Was Right (Mon père avait raison) tells of a man left by his joyful wife for a man less unpleasant man. In retaliation he raises his son to be cautious of any women. Let’s Make a Dream… (Faisons un rêve...) sees a husband and wife living together but having multitudes of extras. From their multiple lovers to their personal contradictions.  And finally we live through the history of Champs-Elysees. It is one of France’s and the world most famous streets is retold in Let’s Go Up the Champs-Élysées (Remontons les Champs-Élysées).

You may know Guitry. You may know his work well.  If you do then I have little to tell you that you already do not know. I would suggest for those who do not know his work then it is worth following this very essential point.

  • You always start with an open mind…and the work that is easiest to access.
  • You should always start with a classic that can be seen from a multitude of points.
  • You have a film that is not directly of the time or place.

Let’s Go Up the Champs-Élysées is that film. I suggest this because it has many dimensions. It is funny and silly but has Guitry at his best in a multitude of roles. He keeps the film paced well, scripted well and it still looks very good indeed. I would say that the novice will come to this and be warmed enough to find it funny and engaging.

To the extras.

The HD transfer on most films are tidied up enough. They have slight marks and perished elements. The best looking are Let’s Make a Dream…  with all that lovely indoor visuals. It serves enough of its time visually to be complemented by the transfer in HD. I would also recommend Veber introduction to the film. Defining its qualities but also not over heating the piece. Contradictions and Guitry written work at his younger age.

 

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS:

  • Limited Dual Format Collection [1500 copies]
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original French mono soundtracks on all films (uncompressed LPCM on Blu-ray)
  • Optional English language subtitles
  • Newly filmed introduction to the films of Sacha Guitry by French cinema expert and academic Ginette Vincendeau
  • Selected scene commentaries by Ginette Vincendeau
  • Four video essays on different Guitry themes by critic Philippe Durant
  • Interviews about Guitry with writer and director Francis Veber, and filmmaker Pascal Thomas
  • Let’s Make a Dream… sound tests
  • Let’s Make a Dream… theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeves featuring newly commissioned artwork by Scott Saslow for all films
  • Limited edition 60-page book illustrated with original stills, featuring new writing by Craig Keller and Sabrina Marques; and credits for all films [Limited Edition Exclusive]

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