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83 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2005
This is an interesting and informative film about the history of the Louvre; but it's much more an ode to the building itself than to the treasures contained within.

This award-winning film was made by American Lucy Jarvis and represents the first time anyone was ever allowed to film inside the Louvre. Charles Boyer narrates in English, and tells an engaging story of the Louvre's journey from Fortress to Palace to Museum--and its unique place in the history and heart of Paris. The building changed physically at the hand of each of its regal denizens, and the art collection was purchased, gifted, stolen and scavenged throughout the course of centuries. The narration is illustrated with portraits of key historical figures, as well as drawings, paintings and prints of historical events surrounding the Louvre through the ages. Some of the nicest film footage is of the deserted galleries at night, captured when the crew got locked in the Museum one evening.

Because this DVD was released in August 2005, I assumed it was a brand new program. In fact, THE LOUVRE was filmed in 1977, and, unfortunately, shows its age. I've been spoiled by the sharp, clean, bright, digital quality which makes fine art DVDs such a pleasure to view. Even older titles seem to have been "cleaned up" for their digital debuts in order to take full advantage of the new medium. Sadly, no such restoration appears to have taken place with this title (at least to my untrained eye). The interior scenes have a yellowish cast to them that distorts the colors of the paintings, and infuses THE LOUVRE with a fuzzy, dated feel. In addition, much of the footage is slightly "jumpy," which I found very distracting. One good thing about the film's age is that we get to see some works by Manet, Degas, Cezanne, Van Gogh and others which were moved from the Louvre long ago and are now housed in the Musee d'Orsay.

The DVD "extras" aren't even worth mentioning.

I don't want to come across as too terribly negative. This is still a "must have" for serious art geeks like myself--I just want people to understand what this DVD is, and what it is not. It IS a lovingly-made account of the fascinating history of one of Paris' oldest and most famous buildings; it is NOT a retrospective of the vast art collection housed within its walls. Yes, many paintings and sculptures do appear throughout the film, but they do not often appear to their best advantage. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I learned about the Louvre's rich history, but disappointed by the secondary role assigned to art history and appreciation.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2007
Let's just say this upfront, it has nothing to do with the Da Vinci Code so forget about that. It's an NBC News documentary from the '70s, shot on film with professional lighting and voicever by Charles Boyer, mainly about the long and complicated history of the building. It's very, very well done, with high production values - not like a Rick Steves or Samantha Brown traveldoc (not that there's anything wrong with those).

As others have noted, the film stock has not aged as well as one might like, and while the audio is very good, the visual is perhaps a 3.5-4 out of 5. Also, there's a little bit of staging every so often with spectators. The most effective bit is a running feature where a costumed arm adds to and rearranges the wings and corridors of the Louvre to show how it changed over time (and it changed a lot). Boyer has a good script to work with and does a professional job of narration.

It's only an hour long so it catches your attention, gives you useful info, and then you're done. It deals with the Mona Lisa only as one of thousands of works of art, so don't buy this hoping for a documentary on that subject. What it is, is a very professional overview of the joint. Good for people who are planning to go and want to take a peek, and those who have been and want to remember. This is a good gift for an older Francophile.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2011
I used the video of this during the 20 years that I taught French -- it is FABULOUS! It is not just a dry litany of the art but a living story of the history of Paris with her Louvre. It ranks as one of my favorite movies, one that I never tire of seeing again. Very few students would zone out or fall asleep. I can't say enough about this film.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2009
I've always believed history is taught best when we study a civilization's art rather than making our students study timelines.

This video accomplishes that beautifully, showing major events in French history and tying it to the Louvre and its treasures.

The Louvre has, of course, undergone changes since this video was produced in the late 1970's, so I have a more modern DVD I show my classes as well, but for hitting the highlights of the last 1,000 years of French history, this video is marvelous.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2014
This is a loving tribute to the Louvre narrated with enthusiasm and pride by French actor Charles Boyer. The museum turns out to have just as wonderful and amazing a history as any of the great works of art it houses. I first saw this way back in high school and it left such an impression on me that more than 30 years later I still remember many parts of it. One of the most interesting story telling devices are the models used to show how the Louvre grew, expanded, and changed over the course of time. All the major historic figures of France seem to have been involved with this great monument over its life and their lives are inevitably intertwined in a great historic narrative. The Louvre has such a fantastic story of its own that you could not have made up anything more exciting and unbelievable if you tried. Watch this and you will spend more time marveling at the structure than the Mona Lisa.

Follow this up by watching The Monuments Men. In The Louvre you find out what the French did to preserve all the great works in the museum. The Monuments Men is another great story about other great art works protected from the Nazi.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2015
I enjoyed this, learned a few things I didn't know despite three visits to the Louvre (and one of those with a French tour guide).

The introduction that explains how the French feel about the Louvre goes a long way towards keeping my eyes from rolling during some of the sensual description of art and architecture.

I would love to see this remastered (and the lighting improved) with the addition of another hour of what has happened since 1977.

The minute I was done watching, I sent a note to recommend to a friend who will be traveling to Paris for the first time later this year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2014
Fabulous documentary of a legendary historical masterpiece fittingly narrated by Charles Boyer, the suave, debonair actor with the silken voice. Beautifully filmed, packed with information of great interest and with only one small error in reference to the painting of Napoleon and Josephine's coronation, mistakenly referred to as Napoleon and Marie Louise's coronation. I have watched it time and again. Highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2013
This is one of five DVDs I purchased to prepare my husband and me for our upcoming trip to Paris. This DVD provided an excellent background to understand the Louvre and its history. Yes, it is a 1977 film and many things in the Louvre had changed even 10 years ago when I first visited it. However, I am very glad I have this DVD to enjoy again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2009
I originally ordered this DVD because I wanted to see art. The ONLY reason that there aren't 5 stars is for this reason. There is quite a bit of art, but not just what I was looking for. However, it is a wonderful history of the Louvre itself. The building, the kings & queens and the history was a splendid eye opener. Loved it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2012
Being an art history buff, I was delighted with the video. One gets the essentials without spending $30,000 on a trip to Europe. I especially enjoyed the private Louvre tour after hours. I suspect the video shows about all that can be seen without a ticket. I highly recommend the video.
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