Les Enfants Terribles

Overview

Two of the French cinema's greatest talents, Jean Cocteau and Jean Pierre Melville, collaborated on this remarkable film, with Melville directing from a screenplay by Cocteau, based on his novel. Les Enfants Terribles has been given a first-rate DVD release in this special edition from the Criterion Collection. Les Enfants Terribles has been brought to disc in its original Academy aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and the high-definition transfer looks excellent, rendering cinematographer Henri Decae's black and white ...
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Overview

Two of the French cinema's greatest talents, Jean Cocteau and Jean Pierre Melville, collaborated on this remarkable film, with Melville directing from a screenplay by Cocteau, based on his novel. Les Enfants Terribles has been given a first-rate DVD release in this special edition from the Criterion Collection. Les Enfants Terribles has been brought to disc in its original Academy aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and the high-definition transfer looks excellent, rendering cinematographer Henri Decae's black and white images with precise clarity. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, and sounds very good indeed, especially for a film shot in 1950. The dialogue is in the original French, with optional English subtitles. The film is also accompanied by an optional commentary track, in which critic Gilbert Adair shares his thoughts about Melville's approach to Cocteau's story. Other bonus materials include a 2003 television interview with actress Nicole Stephane, a short documentary on Cocteau and Melville's collaboration on the film (featuring interviews with actor Jacques Bernard, producer Carole Weisweiller and assistant director Claude Pinoteau), a chat with film writer Jean Narboni and historian Dominique Paini as they discuss who is the film's true author, a gallery of production stills and the film's original French trailer. In addition, the accompanying booklet features sketches by Cocteau, a 1971 interview with Melville on the movie, an essay by Nicole Stephane and an appreciation of the film from Gary Indiana. This top-shelf release of Les Enfants Terribles offers further evidence that Criterion has no peer in bringing classic European cinema to North American DVD.
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Special Features

New, restored high-definition digital transfer; Audio commentary by writer, film critic, and journalist Gilbert Adair; Interviews with producer Carole Weisweiller, actors Nicole Stéphane and Jacques Bernard, and assistant director Claude Pinoteau; Around Jean Cocteau (2003), a short video by filmmaker Noël Simsolo discussing Cocteau and Melville's creative relationship; Theatrical trailer; Gallery of behind-the-scenes stills; New and improved English subtitle translation; Plus: A bookplet featuring a new essay by critic Gary Indiana, a tribute by Stéphane, an excerpt from Rui Nogueira's Melville on Melville, and drawings by Cocteau
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Les Enfants Terribles shouldn't work. Director Jean-Pierre Melville's world view -- concentrating on men who eat nails for breakfast and live in a violent world, albeit one that is observed from a cool distance -- should be at odds with Jean Cocteau's mythical, fairy tale-like perverse playfulness. While there are moments when the tension between these two camps does rear its head, most of the time the end result is a surprising amalgam which draws strength from both sources. Melville and Cocteau produce a truly claustrophobic atmosphere, making the audience feel as much a prisoner as the characters, and the surrealism of several sequences is both beautiful and unnerving. Melville has also created a stunning design for the film, especially in its mixture of time periods and architectural styles, and he is enormously aided by Henri Decaë's fascinating cinematography and Monique Bonnot's exceptional editing (both of which are crucial to the film's climactic moments). While Edouard Dermit is somewhat stiff, he has the appropriate look and feel for the role; he does get overshadowed, however, by the powerful yet stealthy performance of Nicole Stephane, who makes the demonic seem bewitching. Disturbing, compelling, and fascinating, Enfants is a richly rewarding experience for audiences wanting something a little beyond the norm.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/24/2007
  • UPC: 715515024921
  • Original Release: 1950
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: B&W / Pan & Scan
  • Time: 1:46:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 29,862

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Nicole Stephane Elisabeth
Edouard Dermit Paul
Renee Cosima Dargelos/Agathe
Jacques Bernard Gerard
Roger Gaillard Gerard's Uncle
Melvyn Martin Michael
Maria Cyliakus The Mother
Jean Cocteau Voice Only
Emile Mathis Vice-Principal
Adeline Aucoc Mariette
Maurice Revel Doctor
Jean-Marie Robain Headmaster
Technical Credits
Jean-Pierre Melville Director, Producer, Production Designer, Screenwriter
Monique Bonnot Editor
Jean Cocteau Screenwriter
Henri Decaë Cinematographer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Enfants Terribles
1. Logos/Opening Credits [3:38]
2. Snowball Fight [5:00]
3. Elisabeth Nurses Paul [7:40]
4. Doctor's Visit [6:00]
5. Dargelos [3:19]
6. Mother [5:45]
7. To the Seaside [6:06]
8. Vacation Games [5:40]
9. In the Bedroom [5:32]
10. A Modeling Job [5:10]
11. Agathe [5:06]
12. Michael [9:18]
13. "Mourning Suits You" [3:36]
14. Paul's Own Room [4:53]
15. The Letter [7:57]
16. Elisabeth Spins Her Web [7:59]
17. Poison [6:28]
18. Dream of Death [7:41]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Enfants Terribles
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
      Color Bars
   Commentary
      Off
      On
      Chapters
         Master and Novice
         Cocteau and Dargelos
         Music and Nicole
         Dermithe
         The Children's Room
         Codirectors
         Melville's Style
         Incest and Transgression
         Metaphor of Theater
         Whiteness, Lightness
         Double Close-Up
         Michael and Gérard
         Black Plays a Role
         Tragedy by Racine
         Screen Composition
         A Brilliant Performance
         Lady MacBeth
         Famous Dream Sequence
         Color Bars
   Supplements
      About the Film
         Play
      Nicole Stéphane Interview
         Play
      Around Jean Cocteau
         Play
      Stills Gallery
      Theatrical Trailer
   Subtitles
      On
      Off
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