Le Cercle Rouge

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Overview

The Criterion Collection strikes again with this feature-packed release of French director Jean-Pierre Melville's crime classic Le Cercle Rouge. Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, the newly restored image is nothing short of pristine. In addition to sporting solid colors and even skin tones, the blacks are solid and the transfer shows no obvious signs of edge enhancement or debris. The Dolby Digital Mono soundtrack may not be dynamic, but it does offer a clear and solid representation of the film's ...
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Overview

The Criterion Collection strikes again with this feature-packed release of French director Jean-Pierre Melville's crime classic Le Cercle Rouge. Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, the newly restored image is nothing short of pristine. In addition to sporting solid colors and even skin tones, the blacks are solid and the transfer shows no obvious signs of edge enhancement or debris. The Dolby Digital Mono soundtrack may not be dynamic, but it does offer a clear and solid representation of the film's original sound design. As usual, the generous folks at Criterion have also seen fit to include a heaping helping of attractive extra features on this disc. A detailed, 24-page booklet offers not only an introduction by acclaimed Hong Kong action director John Woo (Melville's influence on Woo's The Killer is no secret to those who have done a bit of reading on the film), but also informative essays by critics Michael Sragow and Chris Fujiwara, a reprinted interview with composer Eric Demarsan, and a telling excerpt from Melville on Melville, in which the director himself discusses the making of the film. Add to that such great extras as excerpts from the Jean-Pierre Melville installment of the French film program Cinéastes de Notre Temps, telling interviews with Melville on Melville author Rui Nogueira and assistant director Bernard Stora (all conducted in French with English-language subtitles), and 30 minutes of rare footage offering interviews with Melville and stars Alain Delon, Yves Montand, and André Bourvil. As if that wasn't enough, viewers are also treated to trailers for both the original release and the 2003 re-release, as well as image galleries offering production and publicity stills and a poster gallery. Though it may not be as immediately noticeable as the majority of the extras presented here, a new and improved English-subtitle translation that truly brings the dialogue to life as never before for non-French speaking audiences is also offered.
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Special Features

Newly restored, complete, uncut version enhanced for widescreen televisions; Excerpts from Cinéastes de Notre Temps: Jean-Pierre Melville (Portrait en 9 Poses); New video interviews with the author of "Melville on Melville," Rui Nogueira, and assistant director Bernard Stora; 30 minutes of rare on-set and archival footage featuring interviews with director Melville and stars Alain Delon, Yves Montand, and André Bourvil; Original theatrical trailer and 2003 Rialto Pictures re-release trailer; Production and publicity stills, poster gallery; 24-page booklet featuring an introduction from director John Woo, new essays by film critics Michael Sragow and Chris Fujiwara, a reprinted interview with composer Eric Demarsan, and excerpts from "Melville on Melville"; New and improved English subtitle translation; Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
Part of the genius of Jean-Pierre Melville was that he was able to take the formal elements of the crime film and put a thoroughly individual stamp on them -- his best films take the stuff of a thousand grade-B thrillers and invest them with a singular intelligence and quiet cool. On the surface, Le Cercle Rouge concerns two criminals thrown into a slightly uneasy alliance with a corrupt and alcoholic ex-cop to pull off a heist, but in Melville's hands this becomes a story about kindred spirits brought together through chance and unforeseen circumstance; their lives on the other side of the law have as much to do with their own personal sense of ethics and honor as those of the lawmen who struggle to track them down. Melville's clean, elegant framing of shots and his appreciation of the value of silence gives this picture a spare but satisfying feel quite different from most European crime films, and the subtle but sharply etched performances of Alain Delon, Gian Maria Volonté, and Yves Montand are the ideal embodiment of Melville's notion that less is more. In 1970, Le Cercle Rouge received a spotty release in the United States in a version cut by some 40 minutes; the uncut print finally received a belated American release in 2002, and in its pristine form, Le Cercle Rouge reveals itself as a film whose subtle touch only adds to the tension and suspense it generates -- a valuable lesson for filmmakers who believe that the function of genre filmmaking is to slap the viewer about the face and neck.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/28/2003
  • UPC: 037429184028
  • Original Release: 1970
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Aspect Ratio: Theatre Wide-Screen (1.85.1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Language: Français
  • Time: 2:20:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Alain Delon Corey
Bourvil Mattei
Gian Maria Volonté Vogel
Yves Montand Jansen
François Perier Santi
Paul Crauchet The fence
Paul Amiot Chief of Internal Affairs
Yves Arcanal Examining magistrate
René Berthier Police chief
Jean-Marc Boris Santi's son
Jean Champion Guard
Yvan Chiffre Policeman
Pierre Collet The prison guard
André Ekyan Rico
Robert Favart Salesperson at Mauboissin's
Roger Fradet Policeman
Jean Franval Le tenancier d'hotel
Jean Pignol L'employe du greffe
Robert Rondo Policeman
Technical Credits
Jean-Pierre Melville Director, Screenwriter
Eric De Marsan Score Composer
Henri Decaë Cinematographer
Robert Dorfmann Producer
Marie-Sophie Dubus Editor
Théo Meurisse Art Director
Jean Nény Sound/Sound Designer
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Scene Index

Side #1 -- Disc One
1. The Circle Is Drawn [12:06]
2. Escape [5:03]
3. Wake-Up Call [5:10]
4. Billiards [5:50]
5. Manhunt [6:23]
6. Roadside Assistance [3:32]
7. The Coast Is Clear [6:58]
8. Forest Road [4:37]
9. No One Is Innocent [4:13]
10. Return Home [3:11]
11. Santi's [5:00]
12. Crack Policeman [7:09]
13. Low Profile [6:11]
14. Casing the Premises [5:28]
15. Preparations [8:30]
16. Arrival [14:18]
17. The Heist [12:29]
18. Born Innocent [12:12]
19. The New Fence [4:53]
20. Full Circle [7:31]
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Menu

Side #1 -- Disc One
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
   Color Bars
   Subtitles
      On
      Off
Side #2 -- Disc Two
   Cinéastes de Notre Temps
      Introduction
      Play
      Index
         The Businessman
         The Worker
         The Recluse
         The Perfectionist
         Franglais
         Encircled
   On-Set & Archival Interview Footage
      Pour le Cinéma
      Midi Magazine
      Vingt-Quatre Heures Sur la Deux
      Excerpts From Morceaux de Bravoure
   Interview With Bernard Stora
      Play
   Interview With Rui Nogueira
      Play
   Trailers
      Original French Trailer
      2003 Rialto Pictures Re-Release Trailer
   Gallery
      Production and Publicity Stills
      Posters
   Subtitles
      On
      Off
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Classic Melville, Classic Noir, Classic Cinema

    I just saw this film yesterday as part of a local French Film Festival and I must say that it is Cinema at it's finest. In an era when heist film means either ridiculus buddy pic or action packed shoot em up chase film this is a breath of fresh air. If you are a fan of film's like 'hana bi' by Beat Takeshi you must see this film just to see where Beat copped is style of elegant violence from... or if you are a fan of Tarantino or John Woo you must see this because the both count Melville as one of their biggest influences for his ethos of Honour Amongst Thieves. If you are a fan of Noir You MUST SEE THIS just for the fact that Melville is one of the genre's best. Lastly if you are a fan of cinema you must see this so as to witness what film is actually capable of. In Short... Buy This Now if you have any l'adore pour film, le cinemateque et la vie.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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