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Rediscover Jacques Feyder French Film Master: Queen of Atlantis/Crainquebille/Faces of Children

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Until now, Jacques Feyder has been unjustly reduced almost to a footnote in film history, but these beautifully-restored editions with stunning tints and new orchestral scores reveal him as one of the finest silent film directors in Europe. Following these accomplishments, Feyder was invited to Hollywood in 1929 to direct two outstanding films with Greta Garbo, The Kiss and the German version of Anna Christie, and to London for Marlene Dietrich in Knight without Armour; he is probably best remembered for Carnival in Flanders (La Kermesse heroique, 1935), which, unfortunately, was cut by about one-third for American release. Queen of Atlantis (L'Atlantide), based upon Pierre Benoit's best-selling exotic novel of the French foreign legion and the woman no man can resist, was filmed under grueling conditions on location in the Sahara and in a large tent studio outside of Algiers. The desert, with its burning sun and vast expanse of sand, is the real star of this adventure, the most expensive French film until that time. It was hailed as a revelation, and ran for a year in Paris. Crainquebille is the name of a fruit and vegetable peddler (Maurice de Feraudy) who, accused of having insulted a policeman, becomes trapped in the bureaucratic web of French justice. He is sent to jail; after release, his bourgeois customers shun him, but at the point of suicide he is redeemed by an orphan newsboy (Jean Forest, an amazingly sensitive and expressive child found by Feyder on the streets of Montmartre). Feyder filmed on location around the market area of Les Halles and in some of the oldest areas of Paris. D. W. Griffith allegedly said of Crainquebille, "I have seen a film which, for me, precisely symbolizes Paris." Faces of Children (Visages d'enfants), a masterpiece, was filmed on location in the Haut-Valais region of Switzerland, with spectacular mountain scenery adding important atmosphere to the characters' complex emotions. The film is about the effect on a sensitive boy (again Jean Forest, who is heartrending) of his mother's death and his father's remarriage.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Jean Forest, Victor Vina, Pierrette Houyez, Jeanne Marie-Laurent, Rachel Devirys
  • Directors: Jacques Feyder
  • Writers: Jacques Feyder, Anatole France, Dimitri De Zoubaloff, Françoise Rosay, Pierre Benoît
  • Producers: Arturo Porchet, Aloys de Christen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC, Silent
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Homevision
  • DVD Release Date: October 24, 2006
  • Run Time: 360 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000H5U5IK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #205,497 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Rediscover Jacques Feyder French Film Master: Queen of Atlantis/Crainquebille/Faces of Children" on IMDb

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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
When you watch as many films as I do and especially silent films it's always exciting and gratifying to make a new discovery that's truly worthwhile. This set is marketed as REDISCOVERING JACQUES FEYDER FRENCH FILM MASTER and while that is certainly true based on the three films in this collection I would add that Feyder is a master filmmaker period! I knew of Feyder's name from the Greta Garbo vehicle THE KISS made in 1929 which was her last silent film. A good film but not a great one I thought but I have since gained a greater appreciation of it after seeing this collection.

The jewel of the set is unquestionably FACES OF CHILDREN released in 1925. Shot on location in the French Alps, it tells the story of a sensitive boy's reactions to his mother's death and his father's remarriage. The film is honest, understated, beautifully photographed, and performed by all with consumate skill especially Jean Forest as the boy. Photography is the principal componet in all these films as Feyder knows how to use movement within a frame for maximum impact without a lot of razzle dazzle. However he does not hesitate to use photographic tricks to emphasize a point.

CRAINQUEBILLE from 1923 tells the story of an old vegetable peddler in Paris who becomes victimized by the legal system after a simple misunderstanding. Incredible shots of Paris as it used to be are combined with portrait like closeups of the old man and the people around him. Jean Renoir had to know this film well. The film also introduces several surreal shots a la Abel Gance in depicting the world of French justice which help to magnify the old man's plight in being trapped in a world he cannot understand.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This great 3-disc set is a real delight for lovers of both silent and high quality films in general, and it's thrilling to see so many excellent long-forgotten films finally see the light of day again! The three films in this set were written and directed by French filmmaker, Jacques Feyder, and are of a very high standard, especially for their production years of the early 1920s. Furthermore, each film is different in theme and style, yet an underlying foundation of solid screenwriting and skilful editing make each one a shining example of French/European cinema of the time. In fact, a number of times I was reminded of the pioneering American director/filmmaker D.W. Griffith in the manner of storytelling, attention to people's emotions and even some `social commentary' which Griffith was well known for. This is most evident in Feyder's film "Crainquebille" which is the name of an elderly fruit and vegetable peddler in the old part of Paris who becomes the victim of the judicial system which nearly ruins his life completely. Some unusual camera effects are used to express the old man's confusion and distress in this film, and similar sensitivity to feelings are superbly shown in "Faces of Children", which explores the effect of a mother's death and father's remarriage on a young boy. This film is enhanced by a most beautiful setting in a French region of Switzerland with breathtaking scenes of valleys and mountains, as well as charming villages and houses. And just when you were relaxing to the comfortable pace of domestic life, watching the boy not adjusting so well to his new stepsister, the pace suddenly quickens and turns into quite a Griffith-like dramatic crisis near the end.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
This set of DVDs contains magnificently restored and tinted copies with new orchestral scores of Jacques Feyder’s silent masterpieces.
They show the impressive quality of his directing (also of children), his editing genius, his realism, his feeling for dramatic build-ups, his psychological insight and his predilection for spectacular sceneries.

‘Crainquebille’, based on a short story by Anatole France, is a tale that comes straight out of the ‘Belly of Paris’. Its main theme is friendship (here between two street vendors: an old peddler and a newsboy) and its opposite, exclusion and hate. The movie exposes the brutal power of the law (the police and the judges), the coldness and cynicism of the bourgeoisie and social ostracism of ‘stained’ people (even when a trial is rigged).
The movie excels by its realism (the street and market scenes) and by the acting of its main characters.

‘Queen of Atlantis’ is based on an exotic novel by Pierre Benoit. Its main theme is a subconscious male fear: the fatal attraction by a male devouring female. Even the heat of the Sahara cannot stop the seductive force of a sex goddess. An appealing element in this movie is the quality of the cast.

The most astonishing picture in this set is ‘Faces of Children’, based on an original screenplay by J. Feyder and his wife, F. Rosay. It is a major masterpiece in the history of the 7th art. The main theme is the bond between a mother and her child even after the mother’s death.
The editing is fascinating: one frame cuts (a technique later used by D. Vertov and A. Resnais and their followers) to evoke an obsessive dream and the cutting and mixing of two scenes in order to enhance the dramatic tension.
Other elements are fetishism (see L.
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