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The Louis Malle Collection Vol.1 (Optimum) in June

Optimum Home Entertainment have announced the UK Region 2 DVD release of The Louis Malle Collection Volume 1 for 5th June 2006 priced at £39.99. With a career spanning over thirty years, Louis Malle was one of the giants of French cinema. After he burst onto the scene as one of the pioneers of the French New Wave with Lift To The Scaffold, Malle quickly achieved a reputation as a great director who was unafraid to embrace a wide array of subjects – many famously controversial. Working both in Hollywood and his native France, Malle imprinted his films with subtlety, intelligence and a sharp eye for the mores of human behaviour that set him apart from his contemporaries.

This collection brings together Malle’s early French films. As well as demonstrating the young Malle’s considerable talent, these works also aptly illustrate his ability to successfully hop genres. Here we have a tense police thriller (Lift to the Scaffold,), a romantic moral drama (Les Amants), a dark parable (Le Feu Follet) and a feverish visual comedy (Zazie dans le Metro).

Lift To The Scaffold (1958)
Malle’s debut feature, made when he was only 25 is a tense thriller starring Jeanne Moreau as Florence and Julian Tavernier as Maurice, a pair of lovers who conspire to murder Florence’s husband in the most ingenious manner. However, not everything goes quite as planned.

Lift To The Scaffold is arguably the first film of the French New Wave with its arresting camerawork by cinematographer Henri Decaë, who also shot the debut films of Truffaut and Chabrol. With its sultry black and white palate, Paris locations and an improvised jazz score by the legendary Miles Davis, Lift To The Scaffold is an unforgettable slice of 50s French cool.

Features include:

  • Anamorphic Widescreen
  • French Stereo Sound with English subtitles
  • Interview with Vincent Malle
  • Interview with Rene Urtreger, the pianist on the Lift to the Scaffold soundtrack

Les Amants (1958)
Malle’s second film, Les Amants stars Jeanne Moreau as a middle-class wife and mother who is bored with her life. But she is awakened when she meets Bernard (Jean-Marc Bory) a younger man with whom she embarks on an affair.

Infamous for its depiction of female sexual desire, Les Amants ran into trouble with US censors on its release and it still retains its power almost half a century later. Featuring a performance that helped make Jeanne Moreau a star, Les Amants was a huge box office success and won the 1959 Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival.

Features include:
  • 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • French Stereo Sound with English subtitles
  • Interview with Vincent Malle

Zazie Dans Le Metro (1960)
Zazie Dans Le Metro is a whirlwind paced comedy with a satirical edge about a twelve year old girl’s adventures around Paris. Zazie (Catherine Dermongeot) is dumped on hapless Uncle Gabriel (Philippe Noiret) so her mother can spend thirty-six hours with her lover. However Zazie manages to escape from her Uncle and sets off to explore Paris by herself.

Ingeniously imaginative, Zazie Dans Le Metro is an eye-popping spectacle of a movie. Using an armoury of arresting visual effects, Malle explores one of the main themes that recurs throughout his career – the experiences of a child exposed to the corruption and hypocrisy of the grown-up world.

Features include:
  • 1.33:1 Full Frame
  • French Stereo Sound with English subtitles
  • Interview with Vincent Malle
  • Interview with co-writer Jean-Paul Rappeneau
  • Vive Le Tour, Louis Malle’s 1962 short film (17 mins approx)

Le Feu Follet (1963)
Based on the novel by Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, Le Feu Follet charts the downward spiral of Alain (Maurice Ronet) a recovering alcoholic who sees no future for himself. He leaves rehab to visit some old friends, but will they provide the connection he is looking for?

With Le Feu Follet Malle proves himself to be a director of great sensitivity. He coaxes a beautiful and compelling performance from Maurice Ronet while never sensationalising the tough subject matter. The winner of the 1963 special jury prize at the Venice Film Festival, Le Feu Follet is widely considered the finest of Malle’s early films.

Features include:
  • 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • French Stereo Sound with English subtitles
  • Interview with Vincent Malle

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