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  • Francois Truffaut's Adventures of Antoine Doinel (The 400 Blows / Antoine & Collette / Stolen Kisses / Bed & Board / Love on the Run) (The Criterion Collection)
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Francois Truffaut's Adventures of Antoine Doinel (The 400 Blows / Antoine & Collette / Stolen Kisses / Bed & Board / Love on the Run) (The Criterion Collection)

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The release of François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows (Les Quatre cents coups) in 1959 shook world cinema to its foundations. The now-classic portrait of troubled adolescence introduced a major new director in the cinematic landscape and was an inaugural gesture of the revolutionary French New Wave. But The 400 Blows did not only introduce the world to its precocious director—it also unveiled his indelible creation: Antoine Doinel. Initially patterned closely after Truffaut himself, the Doinel character (played by the irrepressible and iconic Jean-Pierre Léaud) reappeared in four subsequent films that knowingly portrayed his myriad frustrations and romantic entanglements from his stormy teens through marriage, children, divorce, and adulthood. With The Adventures of Antoine Doinel, Criterion is proud to present Truffaut’s celebrated saga in its entirety: the feature films The 400 Blows, Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board, and Love on the Run, and the 1962 short subject, Antoine and Colette, in a special edition five-disc box set.

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The Adventures of Antoine Doinel captures François Truffaut's alter ego (played by Jean-Pierre Léaud) over the span of five films and 20 years. Truffaut's first feature was The 400 Blows (1959), in which Doinel is a boy who turns to petty crime in the face of neglect at home and hard times at a reform school. The film helped usher in the heady spirit of the French new wave and introduced the Doinel character. Poignant, exhilarating, and fun (there's a parade of cameo appearances from some of the essential icons and directors from the movement), this film is an important classic.

The second film to feature Doinel, "Antoine and Collette" (1962) was originally made for the omnibus film Love at Twenty but has outlived its companion shorts. As romantic and gently ironic as The 400 Blows is harsh and haunting, this modest 20-minute lark finds a teenage Antoine pursuing the lovely, lithe 20-year-old Colette (Marie-France Pisier) like a lovesick puppy. The comic sweetness of this episode sets the tone for all future Doinel films, and Léaud, who matured into the poster boy for the French new wave, displays the lanky charm and self-effacing egotism that propelled him through some of the greatest films of the next two decades.

Stolen Kisses (1968) opens with the now-grown Doinel sprung from military prison with a dishonorable discharge. He woos the perky but unresponsive object of his affections, Christine (Claude Jade), while he engages in a series of professions--hotel night watchman, private investigator, TV repairman--with mixed success and comic entanglements. But when he falls in love with the elegant wife of his client (Delphine Seyrig), Christine realizes she misses Antoine's persistence and clumsy passes, so she embarks on a seductive plan of her own.

Bed and Board (1970) finds Doinel married to Christine and still plugging away at odd jobs. He learns of his impending fatherhood, but then throws a monkey wrench into his new happiness when he becomes obsessed with a beautiful young Japanese woman (Hiroku Berghauer). Truffaut enlivens Doinel's courtyard apartment with the bustle and business of neighbors and pays homage to comic auteur Jacques Tati. However, he tempers the giddy screwball kookiness with a less forgiving disposition toward Antoine's passionate irresponsibility and emotional impulsiveness.

Love on the Run (1979) was Truffaut's last film in the series. Here, our compulsive liar and general scamp is found out time and time again, but, as the women of the film find, it's impossible to blame him entirely. The film stands on its own as a light comedy but carries much more resonance if watched in its proper place in the series.


Special Features

  • Includes: The 400 Blows, Antoine and Colette, Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board, and Love on the Run
  • Audio commentary on The 400 Blows by film scholar Brian Stonehill
  • Audio commentary on The 400 Blows by Truffaut's lifelong friend Robert Lachenay
  • Les Mistons (1957), Truffaut's 18-minute short
  • Audio commentary for Les Mistons by then assistant director and future writing collaborator Claude de Givray
  • Introduction to Les Mistons by Truffaut historian Serge Toubiana
  • Rare audition footage of cast members from The 400 Blows
  • Newsreel footage of Jean-Pierre Leaud at the Cannes Film Festival in 1959
  • Portrait de Truffaut (1961), a 25-minute documentary about Truffaut
  • Introduction to Stolen Kisses by film historian Serge Toubiana
  • Archival newsreel footage of the "Langlois Affair"
  • Newsreel footage of Truffaut's impassioned rally to shut down the 1968 Cannes Film Festival in support of striking students and workers
  • Promotional spot featuring Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut appealing for public support of Henri Langlois
  • Rare footage of Truffaut and co-writer Bernard Revon discussing their notes
  • Interview footage of Truffaut speaking about Antoine Doinel and the decision to continue the Doinel series with Stolen Kisses
  • Interview footage of Truffaut discussing the entire Doinel cycle
  • Excerpt from a 1979 TV show featuring Truffaut
  • Theatrical trailers for The 400 Blows, Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board, and Love on the Run
  • Booklet featuring Truffaut's writings, notes, script treatments, interviews with Truffaut, and more

Product Details

  • Actors: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Marie-France Pisier, Delphine Seyrig, Michael Lonsdale, Claude Jade
  • Directors: François Truffaut
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Box set, Black & White, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Home Vision Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 29, 2003
  • Run Time: 412 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008H2GR
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,967 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Francois Truffaut's Adventures of Antoine Doinel (The 400 Blows / Antoine & Collette / Stolen Kisses / Bed & Board / Love on the Run) (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on October 1, 2006
Format: DVD
For my money, "The Adventures of Antoine Doinel" might be my favorite Criterion release. Period. One of the reasons I respect Criterion (and not every choice is a slam dunk) is that it allows regular people to really learn about cinema. As someone who attended graduate school in film, I feel as if my education and appreciation has never waned due to the influx of great choices on DVD. The constant improvement of special features and supplemental material adds a new level to the movie going experience. This set alone has scores of pertinent interviews, commentaries, a short, promotional art and a 72 page book of contemporary essays and Truffault's own notes.

Now, I had seen "The 400 Blows" several times--but I had not been introduced to the other 4 films that represent the saga of Antoine Doinel. And like some other reviewers, I will not dissect each disc--but leave some overall impressions. "The 400 Blows" is considered one of Truffault's masterpieces--not only was it instrumental in initiating the French New Wave movement, it's just a great entertaining film!

And it doesn't stop there. Every film, to me, succeeded on the level of entertainment. Some people think that the later films are lesser works--and surely they are less significant on an individual basis than "The 400 Blows." But I loved them. Any one of them, taken out of context, is worth seeing--if for no other reason than entertainment value. There is much humor, sweetness, romance, and trouble to be had in the misadventures of Doinel.

Taken together, however, I think this set is a towering achievement! It's a real pleasure to spend 20 years with the same director, the same actor and the same character! You see how these components interact and evolve.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By P. Smith on July 30, 2003
Format: DVD
There isn't much I can say about Truffaut that hasn't been stated already. The man is a genius. You can sense his love of life in every frame of his films.
I never thought I'd have much interest in French film or culture. Hitchcock was and still is my favorite director of them all. Once I learned how much Truffaut respected Hitch I became more interested in his works. What a happy accident that at the exact same time Criterion released this set. I think The 400 Blows was nearly impossible to find. Before this collection, all Criterion editions had sold out.
As for plot, amazon has already provided all that you need to know. What is important is the character of Doinel; a charming, infuriating, idealistic, romantic, ridiculous manchild. How many movies document most of a character's life? Especially one that outwardly leads a somewhat ordinary life.
You can't really categorize any of these movies as sequels since not that much is repeated. The consistencies among the movies ring true to real life. (ex. recurring characters like the tall longhaired guy, Antoine ogling his latest 'apparition'.)
The only let down was Love On The Run. The character of Sabine wasn't that fascinating, and you cared more about Claude Jade's character than her. There were way too many flashbacks too. But much of that is forgiven due to the 'discovery' Antoine makes.
If you tend to overdose on life, then you must see this series. The only other Truffaut film I've managed to see otherwise is Day For Night, but I wholeheartedly encourage you to see that too.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 7, 2003
Format: DVD
I am very partial to all of Truffaut's movies, and I am very partial to all the DVDs released by Criterion Collection. To write a review about both of them is bound to be a praise over and over. These movies, masterfully transferred by Criterion, are some of the most memorable treasures of all time. Truffaut has that rare gift of storytelling, and these are some of the finest examples. Lucid and honest, yet never so obvious, the stories are told as if an intimate secret from a friend. Stolen Kisses, in particular, will make you rethink about the much loved-or-despised genre called romantic comedy. The previous previewers have done an excellent job, so I shouldn't even go further to explain every one in the series. The only thing I can add is that whether you watch movies analytically or for pure pleasure, these movies will not betray you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Miller on January 20, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was a bit concerned about paying the high price for films I've never seen before. But without a doubt I can only describe this series as "excellent." The caveat would be for those viewers expecting high drama.

I was surprised to learn Francois Truffaut was disappointed with Love on the Run as the finale to the adventures of Doinel. For the period in France, the series was befitting of family struggle post war reconstruction, and the new socialism of the 1970s. I also appreciate how French films seem to allow women to pursue the same sexual desires Hollywood likes to reserve for men.

Character Doinel is stuck, (which seems to have bothered Truffaut most,) but he gets away with what most men probably wish for -- being a silly prankster boy who ends up never having a shortage of women in his life as an adult.

As with many French 'people' films, this series is not for those who wouldn't appreciate the lifestyle and culture and storylines simply about 'average.' One could draw a comparison between what films were being produced in the USA during '59/'62 -- '79 to see the difference from being entertained (by John Wayne) to spying on a character's real life saga via story telling.
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Francois Truffaut's Adventures of Antoine Doinel (The 400 Blows / Antoine & Collette / Stolen Kisses / Bed & Board / Love on the Run) (The Criterion Collection)
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