- 24 page booklet, including transcribed excerpts from Brian Stonehill's 1990 interview with Marcel Carne, cast biographies, and essay by film historian Peter Cowie
- New restored and digital transfer of the film
- Video introduction by director Terry Gilliam
- New and improved English subtitle translation
- Jacques Prevert's film treatment
- Production designs by Aleandre Trauner
- Production stills gallery
- Filmographies for Marcel Carne and Jacques Prevert
- U.S. theactrical trailer
Children of Paradise (The Criterion Collection)
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Poetic realism reaches sublime heights with Children of Paradise (Les enfants du paradis), the ineffably witty tale of a woman loved by four different men. Deftly entwining theater, literature, music, and design, director Marcel Carné and screenwriter Jacques Prévert resurrect the tumultuous world of 19th-century Paris, teeming with hucksters and aristocrats, thieves and courtesans, pimps and seers. The Criterion Collection is proud to present this milestone of cinema in a new high-definition film transfer made from the restored negative.
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Top customer reviews
Yes-this version is presented on 2 DVDs rather than 1 Blu-ray. Yes-the Blu-rays have a lot more extras.
BUT... I (in my humble opinion), think they over-tweaked the image on the new Blu versions. The European PATHÉ version has contrast issues (too dark), and the CRITERION blu image seems a little too softened. I looked at 3 different transfers, and this is the one that pleased me the most. I wish it was a Blu because I love that they are scratch resistant unlike standard DVD, and having the film on one disc is nice... But I think this is the better looking version. Again, sometimes it is a matter of personal taste.
I have never enjoyed mimes -- not even Marcel Marceau. But Jean-Louis Barrault's mime, the lovelorn Baptiste, is sublime -- at times balletic in his grace and witty in his movements.
Marcel Herrand's villain, Lacenaire, is the epitome of an oily, mustachioed hiss-the-villain type, performed in the grand poetic realism which preceded the more realistic acting style of Jean Gabin.
And Louis Salou epitomizes all that is truly noble in a French aristocrat.
If you value classic French films, please add this luminous masterpiece to your collection.
Viewers may also be interested to know that three of the four lovers of Garance (Frederick LeMaitre, the actor; Jean-Baptiste Gaspard Debureau, the mime; and Pierre Francois Lacenaire, the criminal) as well as the Funambules theatre and certain of the events in the storyline, are based upon historical fact. The character Garance is more archetypal--love in the eye of each beholder.
Also, both of the male leads, Jean-Louis Barrault (Baptiste) and Pierre Brasseur (Frederick), strongly identified with the historical personages they were playing--so much so that they admitted they felt they were living rather than acting their roles.
For the curious, Jill Forbes' book, Les Enfants du Paradis (published by BFI Classics and available through Amazon), provides a great deal of fascinating information about the making and meanings of this film.
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