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The Lovers (The Criterion Collection) (1958)

Jeanne Moreau , Alain Cuny , Louis Malle  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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The Lovers (The Criterion Collection) + The Fire Within (The Criterion Collection) + Elevator to the Gallows (The Criterion Collection)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Jeanne Moreau, Alain Cuny, Jean-Marc Bory, Patricia Garcin, Michéle Girardon
  • Directors: Louis Malle
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Black & White, Dolby, NTSC, Restored, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: May 13, 2008
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00152VXUI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,160 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Lovers (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New, restored digital transfer of the complete, uncensored version
  • Selection of archival interviews
  • Gallery of promotional material
  • A new essay by film historian Ginette Vincendeau

Editorial Reviews

Louis Malle unveiled the natural beauty of Jeanne Moreau in his breakthrough, Elevator to the Gallows. With his follow-up, the scandalous smash The Lovers> (Les amants), he made her a star once and for all. A deeply felt and luxuriously filmed fairy tale for grown-ups, perched on the edge between classical and New Wave cinemas, The Lovers presents Moreau as a restless bourgeois wife whose eye wanders from both her husband and her lover to an attractive passing stranger (Jean-Marc Bory). Thanks to its frank sexuality, The Lovers caused quite a stir, being censored and attacked for obscenity around the world. If today its shock has worn off, its glistening sensuality and seductive storytelling haven't aged a day.

Special Features

* - New, restored high-definition digital transfer of the complete, uncensored version
* - Selection of archival interviews with Louis Malle, actors Jeanne Moreau and José Luis de Villalonga, and writer Louise de Vilmorin
* - Gallery of promotional material from the U.S. theatrical release
* - New and improved English subtitle translation
* - PLUS: A new essay by film historian Ginette Vincendeau

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This film has stayed in my mind for 35 years. July 25, 1999
By David
Format:VHS Tape
I saw this film along with a Yiddish stage show in a theatre on south beach in Miami many years ago. It was difficult at the time, to really enjoy the movie since it was inappropriate for that particular audience as they were laughing and giggling at the very serious and sensitive scenes due to their embarrassment.I loved the movie and think about it every time I hear strains of Brahms Double Concerto, (repeated beautifully in many love scenes)"The Lovers" is a French tale of adultery without today's nudity and language - but oh so very sexy! I would recommend this movie for anyone who is a fan of Louis Malle. His direction of Jeanne Moreau is superb. I am eagerly awaiting the re-issue of this film so that I may own it and enjoy watching it again and again.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars remarkable film making May 2, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
I have seen this film when it first came out some 40 years ago and I will never forget it. It proves that a love making act can be presented with an autmost purity and sensitivity, and without the need for pornography.I cannot wait for it to be released again.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's the music August 20, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
It's the Brahms first sextet, Opus 18, that's used in this movie, not his Double Concerto, as reported by an earlier reviewer. This exquisite Brahms piece provides one of the greatest soundtracks in the history of film. (Another is the Miles Davis original soundtrack for an earlier Louis Malle film, Ascenseur pour l'échafaud.)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Viva Moreau and Malle" June 2, 2008
Format:DVD
Criterion's recent release of Louis Malle's "The Lovers" is a hidden gem; a film that makes viewing many classic art films- in hope of finding a transcendent work- worthwhile I have always thought Jeanne Moreau was one of the finest French actresses of her generation through such noteworthy films such as "Jules and Jim," " Elevator to the Gallows," "Diary of a Chambermaid," and "La Notte" However, this film elevates her to the level of, in my opinion, such later great French actresses as Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert- and like the other two actresses she is still acting in films today; but the transformation of a "bored "bourgeoisie bitch," who reminded me of a French Bette Davis or Joan Crawford, to a vulnerable, sensually aware, luminescent beautiful woman through a sensual/sexual liaison with a freethinking, and authentic (with a young man who had in bourgeoisie background that he rejected) is hypnotic and spell binding. Prior to this, her life in the French, low cultured, Provences (anywhere but Paris) is so stifling that she is carrying on a relatively open affair with an idle rich, superficial, (but pleasant) Spanish polo player. He, like her workaholic, cynical, domineering, wealthy husband, is almost old enough to be her father, and, as is often the case of men who struggled through the horrors of world war II, is devoid of any real self awareness. Moreover, the Moreau character was certainly what we would call today a "trophy wife."

The last third of the film, involving the transformative sensual encounter, was cinematically and characterlogically mesmerizing. The depictions of nature at night, both human/sensual and scenic, were hauntingly beautiful.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Towering film of the New Wave! July 24, 2005
Format:VHS Tape
To talk about the meaning and trascendence of The lovers means to make reference to one of the most remakable, irreverent and daring films in the Fifties decade. If you look behind in the story of the cinema, you will find interesting proposals such as The devil in the flesh, Ectasy (with Hedy Lamarr), Pandora Box, The blue angel, Gilda, Baby Doll for instance, but never before a film loaded with such abundance of dark poetry,increasing tension and a great doses of references about the double moral and social hypocrisy.
After the huge sucess in the whole world with Elevator to the Gallows, Louis Malle decided to make an unique film; a true fullfillment in every sense of the meaning.
Louis de Villalonga and Jeanne Moreau are specially splendid in this unmatched film that deserves all your special attention.
A true landmark in the story of the cinema.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Malle's "love" letter to Moreau November 27, 2008
Format:DVD
After working with Jeanne Moreau in ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS, Louis Malle decided to showcase her in his next film, THE LOVERS. Showcase her he did, because she is in practically every frame of the movie. THE LOVERS created quite a storm when it came out in 1959 for it's frank sexuality which would be quite tame by today's standards. It might be the first depiction of a woman having an orgasm on screen. Moreau's stardom was launched by THE LOVERS, and she gained a certain measure of notoriety in the process. She was labeled the new Bardot, but Moreau was anything but a sex kitten. Her characters exuded sensuality more than sexuality, a sensuality tinged with intelligence and a fair share of danger.

THE LOVERS is about a woman, living in Dijon, married to a successful but overbearing and inattentive magazine publisher. Feeling bored and unfulfilled in her married life she goes on frequent jaunts to Paris to see her friend and hook up with her playboy lover. The suspicious husband asks her to invite both over for a weekend stay at their estate. On the way back, her car breaks down and she is given a lift by an attractive young archaeologist who looks down on her friends and lifestyle. He is invited to stay over, and on a fateful night, meets Jeanne outside the mansion. A love affair commences that will cause Jeanne to make a life altering decision.

THE LOVERS is a very personal and egocentrically themed movie. The Self and it's emotional enrichment as well as sexual fulfillment has primacy over interpersonal relationships, even the basic mother/child relationship. Jeanne makes her fateful decision and for better or worse will have to live with the consequences.
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