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A Man Escaped (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1956)

Francois Leterrier , Robert Bresson  |  NR |  Blu-ray
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

List Price: $39.95
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Product Details

  • Actors: Francois Leterrier
  • Directors: Robert Bresson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: March 26, 2013
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00AQ6J3AG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,493 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Bresson: Without a Trace, a 1965 episode of the television program Cinéastes de notre temps in which the director gives his first on-camera interview
  • The Essence of Forms, a forty-five-minute documentary from 2010 in which some of Bresson’s collaborators and admirers, including actor François Leterrier and director Bruno Dumont, share their thoughts about the director and his work
  • New visual essay with text by film scholars David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Tony Pipolo

  • Editorial Reviews

    With the simplest of concepts and sparest of techniques, Robert Bresson (Au hasard Balthazar) made one of the most suspenseful jailbreak films of all time in A Man Escaped. Based on the memoirs of an imprisoned French resistance leader, this unbelievably taut and methodical marvel follows the fictional Fontaine’s single-minded pursuit of freedom, detailing the planning and carrying out of his escape with gripping precision. But Bresson’s film is not merely process-minded—it’s a work of intense spirituality and humanity.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Best film to get started with Bresson May 29, 2005
    Format:DVD
    This is the first Bresson film I ever saw and it stunned me. Since then, I have seen most of his other films and each one is remarkable, though a few stand out: Diary of a Country Priest, Au Hazard Balthaaar, Pickpocket, L'Argent. Still, this film is unique in that it retains the austere, minimalist and ultimately spiritual style of the others, and at the same time is a gripping thriller.

    You might say of this film -- though Bressonian purists might hate me for saying this -- that Bresson uses his anti-Hollywood style to outdo Hollywood style. What I mean is: Bresson is known for revealing only what is absolutely essential, a gesture, an item, two hands engaged in an activity, feet walking. This has the effect of encouraging the viewer to pay attention, but also, because it forces no specific interpretation upon these items, encouraging the viewer to participate in the unfolding of events, and become more than merely a spectator. Hollywood style tends also to eliminate much of what is inessential, but to a much different end: to eliminate moments where the viewer might be distracted and think about something other than the film; the aim is to replace thought with the action on the screen, rather than to stimulate thought. In the case of this film, however, where the subject matter is a prison breakout (standard Hollywood fare) the minimalist style employed by Bresson is able to achieve both a high degree of tension, and a high level of involvement. From the moment the prisoner is in the prison, nothing is shown except what is relevant to the single-minded focus of the prisoner: to escape. In that sense, it is not at the end that the man escapes (as already announced in the title of the film), but from the very beginning he is escaped in the sense that he never accepts the status of imprisonment. The film is able to show this without ever having him discuss the matter with anyone. Remarkable.
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    15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Not only escape, but redemption January 12, 2001
    By A Customer
    Format:VHS Tape
    One of the finest films I've ever seen, painted with a spare but rich brush this is truly a masterpiece. The subtitle of this film is "Where the wind listeth" taken from the biblical passage concerning a man being born again. This seems to get lost in some reviews of this gem, but I think it is its underlying theme, redemption and grace.
    I've never seen a film that truly kept me so involved and on the edge of my chair. Bresson lets this story tell itself from the beginning as you watch the main character's hands and feel his hesitation and his desperation. A man so fully human and yet touched and guided by an amazing grace that takes him step by step and leaves him free in the truest sense of the word.
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    20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars A Man Escaped--so did the print December 28, 2005
    By Sandy
    Format:DVD
    This is one of cinema's great achievements, a testament of the combination of elements (subject, visual style, photographic image, movement, sound, background music, character, montage) are perfectly blended into a unique experience. The New Yorker print, however, is the worst copy of this film (16mm, 35mm, television screenings) I have ever seen. This was a copy with a lack of contrast, extra noise on the track, looking like a dub. If only there was a decent attempt to attain anything better would have begun to do the film justice. As it is, enjoy what you're stuck with but know there's something better out there.

    Burt Shapiro
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    7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars probably the best use of sound in any film March 2, 1999
    By A Customer
    Format:VHS Tape
    Robert Bressons unique way of using sound in this film, helps making it one of the most suspenseful films I've ever seen. I can recommend it to anyone who wants something more than "just another film".
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    8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
    By A Customer
    Format:VHS Tape
    What is the lesson from this film? Was it just the true story about how "a man escaped" from a Nazi prison? No, it is a film about human endurance in the face of great adversity.It shows how one man's determination can surmount seemingly impossible odds. Bresson depicts this in a minimalistic manner that uses small events to heighten the dramatic tension. As all of his movies, this one will linger, long after seeing it, in your memory.
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    9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars this is French? December 6, 2001
    Format:VHS Tape
    (...)
    (...)
    It seems strange to me that Robert Bresson referred to himself as a "Christian atheist", because God is very much present in this film. A
    Man Escaped is based on the true story of André Devigny, a member of the French Resistance who managed to break out of prison just
    hours before he was to be executed by the Germans. The movie begins with the prisoner, here called Fontaine, being driven to jail. The
    men beside him are cuffed, but he is not. He tries to get away when the car stops but is recaptured and beaten about the head.
    In prison, Fontaine nearly succumbs to despair, fearful that his fellow Resistance fighters will be rounded up too, but then a stranger
    intervenes, a prisoner exercising in the courtyard who promises to get a note to them. Relieved of this concern, Fontaine once again sets
    his mind to escape. While other men remain bound either physically or mentally, Fontaine develops a detailed plan of escape and
    arduously sets about implementing it.
    Bresson presents Fontaine's machinations in painstaking detail. He also confines most of the film to Fontaine's cell, so the viewer too
    feels like a captive. Seemingly forgotten by the Germans, Fontaine delays his escape attempt. He believes that two people will be
    required to make the attempt work, but is unable to convince anyone else to join him. He is himself afraid to take the leap of faith that it
    requires, seemingly waiting for a sign that he should go ahead. The sign comes quite suddenly in the form of his death sentence, his
    crimes not forgotten after all.
    Read more ›
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Very under-rated film!!
    Thank goodness for Criterion!! They release films little seen or heard of onto film lovers!! The french are great with heist & escape films!! And this one does not disappoint. Read more
    Published 6 months ago by S. E. Hermo
    2.0 out of 5 stars Art film?
    My husband said he spent almost 3 hours watching a man dig a hole in a door with a spoon. I can understand how important the film is, in terms of cinema history , however, it... Read more
    Published 6 months ago by Sanibel Thunder
    5.0 out of 5 stars Tense and thrilling
    Based on a true story of a French resistance captain imprisoned by the Nazis in WW2, the use of close-up shots and, indeed, black and white film, make the whole story feel tense... Read more
    Published 7 months ago by Colin Millward
    5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Early Best Films of the 50's
    This film is absolutely wonderful but when examined closer, it is merely a simple film and that is the main power. Read more
    Published 7 months ago by Bartok Kinski
    5.0 out of 5 stars lean and compelling
    You wouldn't think that a film that is relatively "quiet" and without much action, would be so suspenseful and engaging. Well, this one is. Bresson was the consummate filmmaker. Read more
    Published 9 months ago by Kirk Alex
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
    Just like all of the reviews I read, it's simply one great movie that needs to be watch more than once.
    Published 11 months ago by Narika
    5.0 out of 5 stars More Exciting Than Batman to Me
    "A Man Escaped," (1956). This is a classic of French cinema, a dramatic war story of just 100 minutes. Read more
    Published 13 months ago by Stephanie De Pue
    5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful!
    A remarkable and unique film by a rare artist who somehow manages to give us a film that is both a nail-biter and transcendently moving. The print is virtually perfect. Read more
    Published 14 months ago by GHD
    5.0 out of 5 stars (4.5 Stars) For the Bresson cineaste, "A Man Escaped" is a wonderful...
    Robert Bresson, a legendary French filmmaker known for cinematic maserpieces such as "Pickpocket", "Diary of a Country Priest" and his most popular film "Au Hasard Balthazar". Read more
    Published 16 months ago by Dennis A. Amith (kndy)
    2.0 out of 5 stars Boring beyond belief
    I sat down on my big chair in the living room and changed the station from CNBC where I had been watching the stock market. Read more
    Published on April 26, 2012 by Dr. James Gardner
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