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Les Liaisons Dangereuses

3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

The imperious Jeanne Moreau stars in this modernized adaptation of the classic French novel of seduction and deceit, Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Moreau and Gérard Philipe play the amoral Juliette and Valmont, a wife and husband in 1960s Paris who tell each other everything about their endless affairs; they respect nothing but each other's manipulative skill. But when Valmont genuinely falls in love with a virtuous woman (Annette Vadim, the director's wife at the time), Juliette tastes the bitterness of jealousy for the first time. Her revenge destroys not only their lives, but the lives of several innocents as well. Director Roger Vadim is unsubtle, but not without style. Like his other films (And God Created Woman, Barbarella), Liaisons features discreet nudity and aloof displays of passion, but the brilliantly orchestrated plot gives Liaisons real momentum, helped by a fantastic score from jazz giant Thelonious Monk. --Bret Fetzer

From the Back Cover

Amidst the smoky and chic world of Parisian elite, Roger Vadim (And God Created Woman, Barbarella) re-creates Choderlos de Laclos' scathing 18th-century novel of bedroom secrets and casual cruelties. Jeanne Moreau (Jules & Jim, La Notte) and Gerard Phillipe (La Ronde, Beauty and the Beast) star as Juliette and Valmont, two charming and vindictive spouses who find sport in each other's conquests. But while staying at a ski resort, their games of passion come to a tragic end when Valmont falls in love with a pious socialite earmarked to be his next victim. Banned in some parts of France during its initial release, Les Liaisons Dangereuses co-stars Jean-Louis Trintignant (Red, Z) and features a jazz-infused score by Thelonious Monk.

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jeanne Moreau, Gérard Philipe, Annette Stroyberg, Madeleine Lambert, Jeanne Valérie
  • Directors: Roger Vadim
  • Writers: Roger Vadim, Choderlos de Laclos, Claude Brulé, Roger Vailland
  • Format: Black & White, Letterboxed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Fox Lorber
  • DVD Release Date: February 4, 2003
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007KK1S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,913 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Matthew Patton on February 23, 2006
Format: DVD
Roger Vadim is hardly a distinguished name in the history of film, but he was always better than most of his detractors thought, and when he ran into good material and a strong cast, good things happened.

That's certainly the case here, a smart, fast tightly-wound adaptation of Chaderos de Lalcos' 18th-century novel of lust and cruelty (and an attempt by de Lalcos, a rather reactionary Catholic, to indict the decay he thought that free-thinking and a lessening of religious faith had brought to French society). No version of this material can completely overcome the original material's sexism and misogyny (only modest, submissive women could be "good" in de Lalcos' eyes), but with intelligence and sensitivity, the characters can be complicated and deepened. And I suspect that even free-thinking atheists enjoy the spectacle of Valmont and Merteuil getting theirs . . .

One of the nice twists of this version (written by Vadim, Roger Vailland, and Claude Brule), is that de Lalcos' villainous pair are now married, although the rest of the plot is pretty much as before; Merteuil (Jeanne Moreau) angry at being dumped by a lover before she could get around to dumping him, asks her husband to seduce and ruin the innocent girl (Jeanne Valery) that she has been dumped for. While off on this, er, mission, Valmont (Gerard Philippe) meets a kind and virtuous married woman (Annette Vadim) and vows to have her. Eventually, both the virgin and the married woman are seduced, but complications spring up; for one thing, the younger woman is truly in love with a young man her own age (Jean-Louis Triginant) and Valmont genuinely falls in love with the married woman, and vice versa.
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"Les Liaisons Dangereuses" by Choderlos de Laclos is one of my favorite books. I've seen all the other adaptations, and with a cast like Jeanne Moreau and Gerard Philippe I was really looking forward to seeking this one. Well... the performances are great, but the film leaves a lot to be desired. In contrast to the more recent TV film with Rupert Everett and Catherine Deneuve, it does not fare quite so well in adapting the story to a 20th century (1950s/early 1960s) setting. Making Valmont and Merteuil (Juliette in this version, perhaps a reference to the Marquis de Sade's anti-heroine) husband and wife rather than ex-lovers was a really bad idea, since it totally alters their dynamic and removes one of the key elements in the characters' motivation: Valmont's pact with Merteuil that she will spend the night with him if he can seduce the pious Madame de Tourvel. Also, the film feels very "rushed," especially toward the end -- 106 minutes just isn't enough to do justice to this story and these characters.
There are some very good touches: Valmont's break-up letter to Tourvel -- which, in the novel, he copies verbatim from a letter Merteuil writes to him -- becomes a telegram dictated by Juliette. This is also the only film adaptation of the novel which preserves the theme of Merteuil's disfigurement and "her soul turning out on her face"; the novel's smallpox becomes a fire in the film. The final image is very arresting. But it's not enough to make up for the scant characterization and the other flaws of this film.
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Format: DVD
What's not to like? It's irreverent, jazzy, a time-capsule, has a snowy Alpine setting, and features the most stunning screen duo of all time: Gerard Phillipe and Jeanne Moreau. Try as they might to be deviant, they remain as young & innocent (and classy) as the period the film so paradigmatically embodies. There's a good deal of Europe on display here: a world of holidays, conviviality (Gemuetlichkeit) and easy-going hedonism. And the film manages to be profound in spite of itself.

It's not the best transfer, but it may be the best SD transfer it receives in region 1. So, it you are a fan of French cinema, of black & white films, or films about relationships, you owe it to yourself to watch "Les Liasons Dangereuses".
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