Le Plaisir

Overview

The works of Guy de Maupassant have likely been adapted by more French filmmakers than those of any other author with the possible exception of Georges Simenon. Max Ophuls harnesses three Maupassant short stories to suit his artistic purposes in Le Plaisir House of Pleasure. In "The Mask," an aging lothario Jean Galland learns more about himself than he cares to when he dons a mask to cover his wrinkles. In "The House of Madame Tellier," the proprietress of a brothel Madeline Renaud closes up shop one day for an ...
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Overview

The works of Guy de Maupassant have likely been adapted by more French filmmakers than those of any other author with the possible exception of Georges Simenon. Max Ophuls harnesses three Maupassant short stories to suit his artistic purposes in Le Plaisir House of Pleasure. In "The Mask," an aging lothario Jean Galland learns more about himself than he cares to when he dons a mask to cover his wrinkles. In "The House of Madame Tellier," the proprietress of a brothel Madeline Renaud closes up shop one day for an unusual for her personal mission. And in "The Model," both the title character Simone Simon and her artist-lover Daniel Gelin pay the price for her romantic impulsiveness. Each of the playlets in Le Plaisir explore conflicting sides of human nature -- a theme common to both the works of Maupassant and the films of Ophuls.
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Special Features

New, restored high-definition digital transfer; Introduction by filmmaker Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven); English and German language versions of the opening narration; From Script to Screen, a video essay featuring film scholar Jean-Pierre Berthomé discussing the evolution of director Max Ophuls's screenplay for Le Plaisir; Interviews with actor Daniel Gélin, assistant director Tony Aboyantz, and set decorator Robert Christidès; New and improved English subtitle translation; Plus: A new essay by film criti Robin Wood
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
It's hard to know where to begin singing the praises of Le Plaisir, one of the quartet of late masterpieces that capped the career of its brilliant and insightful director, Max Ophuls. To start with the absolute least of his achievements in Plaisir, Ophuls has created a superb anthology film, something which is notoriously hard to do. There's no worry about which of the stories in the film is best; even though the middle section is clearly the most important, both of the bookend pieces are excellent and, more importantly, are crucial to the development of the picture's themes. Adapting de Maupassant, Ophuls does so with a masterful understanding of how a literary work can be enhanced and transformed when rethought in cinematic terms, elevating and expanding rather than slavishly copying. The humanity, the sensitivity that Ophuls brings to the project lives side by side with the brutality and the melancholy that he also produces. And, of course, there's Ophuls' astoundingly inventive camera, including his trademark tracking shots, which are a marvel of grace, precision and drama. The final sequence also includes an incredible point-of-view shot that is still stunning even today, but even when his camera is still, Ophuls is working. One two and a half minute shot on board a train is static in terms of the camera, but not in terms of the deliberately and delicately choreographed movement of characters and set pieces within it. All of this would be so much smoke and mirrors, of course, were it not in the service of an engrossing story (or stories, as here), and Ophuls does not disappoint here either, creating a series of stories that paint a haunting picture not just of an era, but of the human soul. The cast is excellent, but Plaisir's extraordinary beauty is the work of its master director.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/16/2008
  • UPC: 715515031523
  • Original Release: 1952
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: B&W / Full Frame
  • Language: Français
  • Time: 1:37:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 33,196

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Claude Dauphin The Doctor [The Mask]
Jean Galland Ambroise [The Mask]
Gaby Morlay Denise, His Wife [The Mask]
Madeleine Renaud Mme. Tellier [The House Of Madame Tellier]
Daniel Gélin Jean [The Model]
Danielle Darrieux Rosa [The House Of Madame Tellier]
Simone Simon Josephine [The Model]
Jean Gabin Joseph Rivet [The House Of Madame Tellier]
Ginette Leclerc Flora [The House Of Madame Tellier]
Jean Servais The Friend/Narrator, French Version
Amedee Frédéric
Paul Azäis Owner, Palais de Danse
Antoine Balpêtré Monsieru Poulain
René Blanchard Mayor [The House Of Madame Tellier]
Pierre Brasseur Julien Ledentu, the Salesman
Gaby Bruyère Frimousse, The Mask's Partner [The Mask]
Mathilde Casadesus Louise [The House Of Madame Tellier]
Henri Cremieux [The House Of Madame Tellier]
Jo Dest The German [The House Of Madame Tellier]
Arthur Devére Employee [The House Of Madame Tellier]
Paulette Dubost Fernande [The House Of Madame Tellier]
Emile Genevois The Groom
Robert Lombard [The House Of Madame Tellier]
Helena Manson Marie [The House Of Madame Tellier]
Jean Mayer [The House Of Madame Tellier]
Mila Parely Raphaele [The House Of Madame Tellier]
Marcel Pérès [The House Of Madame Tellier]
Louis Seigner Mr. Tourneveau [The House Of Madame Tellier]
Michel Vadet Journalist [The Model]
Janine Vienot His Friend
Georges Vitray The Captain [The House Of Madame Tellier]
Anton Walbrook Voice Only
Charles Vissieres Old Man from Normandy [The House Of Madame Tellier]
Peter Ustinov Voice Only
Technical Credits
Max Ophüls Director, Producer, Production Designer, Screenwriter
Philippe Agostini Cinematographer
Georges Annenkov Costumes/Costume Designer
Leonide Azar Editor
Ben Barkay Production Manager
Jean D'Eaubonne Production Designer, Set Decoration/Design
Joe Hajos Score Composer
F. Harispuru Production Manager
Christian Matras Cinematographer
Jacques Natanson Screenwriter
Maurice Yvain Score Composer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Plaisir
1. A Voice in the Dark [3:47]
2. "The Mask": At the Ball [5:33]
3. Identity Revealed [2:09]
4. Back Home [6:06]
5. "The Tellier House": The Women of the House [5:48]
6. Disgruntled Clients [5:00]
7. Boredom Breeds Arguments [4:17]
8. The Journey Begins [3:27]
9. Something for Nothing [4:59]
10. The Countryside With Joseph [5:06]
11. Constance [3:07]
12. Silent Night [5:25]
13. First Communion [9:22]
14. Joseph Gets in Trouble [4:11]
15. The 3:55 [4:49]
16. A Celebratory Return [5:26]
17. "The Model": Jean and Josephine [4:44]
18. The Fighting Begins [4:44]
19. Leaving [4:43]
20. A Desperate Act [5:05]
1. "Paul's Mistress" [3:29]
2. Maupassant and the Filmmaker [4:26]
3. Filming Begins [1:45]
4. Story Replacement [2:43]
5. The Filmmaker Disappears [3:41]
6. A Symmetric Structure [3:46]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Plaisir
   Todd Haynes Introduction
      Play
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
      Color Bars
   Supplements
      English and German Audio
         Play English Opening
         Play German Opening
      From Script to Screen
         Play
         Index
      Actor Daniel Gélin
         Play
      Assistant Director Tony Aboyantz
         Play
      Set Decorator Robert Christidès
         Play
   Subtitles
      On
      Off
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