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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: #139,917 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
21 of 22 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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16 of 16 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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18 of 20 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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Viva Moreau and Malle" June 2, 2008
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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7 of 7 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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars astounding, no other word for it. November 16, 2009
Had someone asked me to name the most romantic films of all time before seeing what I think is Louis Malle's masterpiece, I would have said "Last Year at Marienbad" or "L'Atalante" or "Rules of the Game," all French (of course). Well, "The Lovers" is now on the top of my list and will stay there for a very long time -- because it is highly unlikely someone of Malle's caliber will come along any time soon, or of the caliber of any of the New Wave geniuses who were part of his generation (which is too bad). And just think, Malle was only 25 when he made "The Lovers"!

As he himself admits in an interview shown on this DVD, the film is a love letter to Jeanne Moreau, which she herself knew perfectly well and is the reason everything is worked out so beautifully. More than one director has fallen in love with her, namely Truffaut and Bunuel, but this is different. Malle clearly adored Jeanne Moreau. He made this film to render her immortal. He had no way of knowing what would happen later in her career and probably felt this was his one chance and wasn't about to let it slip away.

This film was enormously successful and caused a scandal. Many of the reasons are obvious -- this is 1958, after all -- but there is one reason I want to point out that Malle himself isn't entirely explicit about in one of the interviews. He admits he wanted to keep the camera on Jeanne as she experiences an orgasm (maybe for the first time) instead of the usual sound effects while camera filmed ... the window. An orgasm induced how? The bedroom scene has Bernard on top of her kissing her on the mouth, then kissing her neck, then her breasts, and he just keeps on kissing as he moves further and further down Jeanne's body -- which is implied but not shown.
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