Red Balloon/White Mane
Albert Lamorisse is best remembered for directing two of the most celebrated children's films of the 1950's, Crin Blanc (aka White Mane) and La Ballon Rouge (aka The Red Balloon), and his two best known works are paired up on this double-feature disc from Janus Films in partnership with the Criterion Collection. Both The Red Balloon and White Mane have been transferred to disc in their original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and while both have been released on home video in the past, the new transfers presented on this DVD are markedly superior to any previous edition. Edmond Sechan's Technicolor camerawork on The Red Balloon is especially impressive, with the vivid scarlet of the balloon joyously popping off the screen, while Sechan's more modest monochrome framings in White Mane look clean and sharp, and the restored prints used for these transfers are spotlessly clean. The audio for both films has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, and the sound has been just as well cared for as the visuals. The sparse dialogue for both films is in French, with optional English subtitles, and viewers can choose to hear the narration for White Mane in the original French with subtitles, or in a new English-language track read by Peter Strauss. Unlike Criterion's releases, neither film includes any bonus materials, but the excellent quality of this release makes it a must for anyone with an interest in classic films for the family -- these two landmark shorts have never looked better, and it's hard to imagine the quality being improved any time soon.