3 thoughts on “Jean De Florette / Manon of the Spring”

  1. I’m editing my review. In my case, I’m an obsessive fan of these movies, and maybe nothing would’ve met my expectations. If you haven’t seen these films, buy this DVD IMMEDIATELY! You will not be sorry, and more than likely you’ll find my criticisms baseless and nit-picky.

    I wrote the original after skipping around the discs and being extremely disappointed by what I saw. Since then, I’ve sat down and watched both movies on this disc and my opinion has changed somewhat. The problem was my expectations, not the actual product.

    On the whole, these films DO look fantastic when compared to every other DVD release available (MGM and the R2 Pathe discs from France). However, they don’t look nearly as good as I believe possible. I think this film deserves the royal treatment, an all new, high definition transfer by seriously skilled people.

    Unfortunately, while the resolution is good, it is anamorphic, and appears to be a straight NTSC transfer (and not a PAL-to-NTSC conversion as I previously thought), there is just something not right. The colors are way too hot when compared to the actual film, and there just seems to be a layer of fuzz or blur over the whole thing that is not present on the big screen.

    I give it 5 stars because the films are fantastic. The two greatest foreign films I’ve ever seen. I’ve watched them each about 15 times, and never grow tired of them. I pretty much learned French watching these movies.

    However, this DVD seriously lacks. This movie is in dire need of a new and improved subtitle translation. While the subtitles make sense on the whole, I’ve studied the French script, and there is a great deal missing in the translation.

    There are no special features.

    For YEARS, these films have been out of print in America, the originals going for upwards of $50 a piece on ebay. Clearly someone was paying attention and realized there’s enough people who enjoy this movie to make it available again. But slapping this set together, while allowing new viewers the opportunity to see the films, is an insult to fans who’ve waited a LOOOONG time for a proper American release. But a cheap release is better than none at all.

    Caveat: Perhaps if enough people buy this DVD, MGM will wake up and release a proper special edition. For $14, it’s a great deal for two masterpieces, but we could’ve done better than this.

  2. Two big steps forward, and one 1/2 step back. Contrary to the impression from the disc specs on the back of the jacket, the new MGM/Fox double feature disc DOES present the films 16:9 enhanced. They are also, surprisingly a big step up from the earlier R2 PAL discs , which for the longest time were the only way to satisfyingly watch these on a widescreen display or front projector.
    Unfortunately they still aren’t a home run. The picture in general consistently looks a little too ‘hot’ – contrast is jacked up which blows out the details in the highlights in many shots- also there is an at times over bearing yellow tint to the image in the countryside exteriors. Some EE and ringing are also visible in a few shots. Fine detail on the other hand is much improved over the PAL disc and artifacts related to compression are a monumental improvment over the first MGM release.
    These should have been color timed a bit cooler- but on the whole, this new release easily represents the most watchable versions of these two classics yet (at least, not counting the widescreen Image laserdisc set that is now long out of print).

    Its a shame that this release is so close, and yet still misses the mark. At least this one will suffice for a few years until the film are (hopefully) properly presented on one or both of the High Def formats.
    The films themselves get 5 stars easy- the new disc gets 3.5 for PQ and AQ.

  3. For those who haven’t seen these films originally released in the 80s, I give them my highest review. They’re well worth seeing and everything from the story to the characters to the beautiful cinematography in the French village and countryside is exceptional. Another reviewer pointed out that the translation is a bit off in the subtitles. I’ve watched these films many times over the years both with and without subtitles and while there are obvious differences, I don’t have a problem with them to the extent that the other reviewer did. Examples of differences that I picked up are quoting lengths in inches (presumably for an American audience) rather than the original centimeters. Several slang terms and phrases are also not translated literally sometimes eliminating little jokes and so on, but I don’t think that detracts from the film at all.

    Now as for the packaging, this new release is bare bones. Technically the picture, and sound are improved over previous releases in my opinion. It’s presented in widescreen though not in an HD format. Refer to the other reviews for the technical mumbo-jumbo, but it looked great to me. The two subtitling choices are English and Spanish. Jean de Florette is on one side of the disc and the sequel on the other. That’s it. There’s nothing else. They could certainly have dome more here, but for the price, who’s complaining?

    Highly recommended!!!!! (one exclamation point for each star)

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