49-50 Judex & Nuits rouges

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evillights
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#51 Post by evillights » Fri Aug 29, 2008 12:01 pm

Tommaso wrote:Anyway, while I can see why MoC released this film together with "Judex" (it fits thematically), I wonder whether something more substantial from the early 60s wouldn't have been a better choice ("Thomas l'Imposteur"!!). But as some reviewer wrote: perhaps it's best to consider "Nuits rouges" as a freebee and only think of this release as an excellent edition of "Judex".
For me, Nuits rouges is the greater film, though of course they're both excellent. I would argue that not only does it have plenty of "substance," but that it's also the harsher nightmare. Toward which end, is the reason Franju shot it as he did.

craig.

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david hare
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#52 Post by david hare » Fri Aug 29, 2008 7:36 pm

Apart from all its other pleasures, the most delicious thing to me in Judex is the absolutely liberating freedom of the narrative dynamics, thus the Cirque Daisy turns up out of nowhere, with its acrobats, just as Cocantin and junior have need of such assistance, and in the great Feuillade tradition, Cocantin
and his long lost love, Daisy are reunited!

I just adore this movie! Even if Channing was not Franju's ideal choice, as the liner notes suggest, with Franju having to use him at the producer's direction, he still works very well in the scheme of things.

BTW isn't the little girl whom Edith is teaching piano in her first scene away from the Chateau played by the same actress that plays her daughter? (Whom we never see again of course.)

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Awesome Welles
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#53 Post by Awesome Welles » Sat Aug 30, 2008 4:22 am

davidhare wrote:BTW isn't the little girl whom Edith is teaching piano in her first scene away from the Chateau played by the same actress that plays her daughter? (Whom we never see again of course.)
I thought that too, it did throw me for a moment!
davidhare wrote:Apart from all its other pleasures, the most delicious thing to me in Judex is the absolutely liberating freedom of the narrative dynamics, thus the Cirque Daisy turns up out of nowhere, with its acrobats, just as Cocantin and junior have need of such assistance, and in the great Feuillade tradition, Cocantin and his long lost love, Daisy are reunited!
I didn't find it to be the most delicious thing about the movie, as you put it David, but I did feel whilst watching the film as the events inexplicably unfolded that this is what movies are supposed to be like and I felt the same way as I watched Fantomas. Franju captures the magic, for want of a better word, of the movies and sews it all together in a wonderful package. The only really disappointing thing for me was that Channing Pollock lacked any real magnetism though the scene in which he walks through the ball pulling doves out all over the place was absolutely mesmerising, not to mention with Maurice Jarre's wonderful score, which I found too reminiscent of Les Yeux but loved it nonetheless.

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Tommaso
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#54 Post by Tommaso » Sat Aug 30, 2008 4:30 am

FSimeoni wrote: The only really disappointing thing for me was that Channing Pollock lacked any real magnetism though the scene in which he walks through the ball pulling doves out all over the place was absolutely mesmerising
Totally mesmerising, but to state the obvious: the scene works so well precisely because we don't see Pollock's face.

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david hare
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#55 Post by david hare » Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:47 am

Yes absolutely!

And this is part of the whole universe of secrets that Franju unleashes on the viewer.

My husband and I (apologies for such a hackneyed phrase but I refuse to use the word partner any more) have watched both Judex and Les Yeux sans Visage over the last night or two (first time for him.)

First thing he got was the post war horror angle, and the obvious Dr Mengele nightmare angle, but then the poetry. It was wonderful watching someone else follow Franju , at least in reverse order to my own history with him, from les Yeux onwards.

This movie, surely is everything that Salo is NOT. The bleakest imageinable view of human behavior delicately balanced against notions of "acceptable" decency or morality. And our complete failure to fulfil these notions as a species. What a total fucking masterpiece, all completely carried out in sublimely poetic form. With the dogs and pigeons left to transform the earth. Paso's movie, sympa as it might be to some younguns these days, is intolerably coarse by comparison.

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Felix
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#56 Post by Felix » Mon Sep 01, 2008 1:16 pm

Having finally noticed the bit about picture framing at the end of the booklet I realise that I cannot do 1.66:1 anamorphic as my set just puts it to 16:9, with no black bars at the sides of the screen as detailed in the booklet.

Anybody got any way round this? The best I seem able is to do it as Smart (Sony Bravia setting/term?) and zoom out which gives me about 1.58:1, or set the DVD player for 4:3 letterbox and watch it on a far smaller size which kinda does away with the value of anamorphic.

Alternatively, if there isn't a way round it, is the problem with my DVD player or TV?

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domino harvey
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#57 Post by domino harvey » Mon Sep 01, 2008 1:18 pm

Sounds like overscan

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Tommaso
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#58 Post by Tommaso » Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:01 pm

Felix wrote:Alternatively, if there isn't a way round it, is the problem with my DVD player or TV?
I have the same problem with all 1.66 anamorphic discs, and as it's the same with three different players, I strongly suspect the TV set. For whatever unfathomable reason, it stretches the sides of the image so as to fill up the whole screen. It's not overscan in the strict sense of the term, but it's pretty annoying in any case (though admittedly, if I didn't know the film should be 1.66 I would hardly notice the slight stretching). No workaround that I'm aware of apart from setting the player to 4:3 and then zooming in, which probably should result in a less detailed image. I can't even zoom out with my set-up. :cry:

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Felix
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#59 Post by Felix » Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:06 pm

Tommaso wrote:I have the same problem with all 1.66 anamorphic discs, and as it's the same with three different players, I strongly suspect the TV set. For whatever unfathomable reason, it stretches the sides of the image so as to fill up the whole screen. It's not overscan in the strict sense of the term, but it's pretty annoying in any case (though admittedly, if I didn't know the film should be 1.66 I would hardly notice the slight stretching). No workaround that I'm aware of apart from setting the player to 4:3 and then zooming in, which probably should result in a less detailed image. I can't even zoom out with my set-up.
yup, that's what it does to mine, the previous set did the same I guess but like I say I had never noticed until I saw that bit in the booklet. Now I notice...

I can do it with the 4:3 and zoom as well, just a tad pissed as I upgraded my La Notte for the better image and it will have the same problem, damn and blast it.

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#60 Post by BradStevens » Tue Sep 02, 2008 2:36 pm

Just compared MoC's disc of JUDEX with an ancient VHS edition released by Sinister Cinema. The MoC transfer looks gorgeous, but is heavily cut. The cuts are as follows:

1- 52m 58s. 33 seconds are missing; the end of the shot showing a man walking away from the camera; the whole of the following shot, showing the doctor walking behind a pair of children; the start of the next shot of the doctor.

2- 53m 11s. After the woman tells the childern "This isn't a sight for you", they walk away. In the MoC ediiton, the shot ends here; in Sinister's tape, it continues for an additional 5 seconds with the boy turning around and shouting at the woman.

3- 53m 23s. The whole scene (46s) showing the man getting into a car and talking to the nun has been cut.

4- 54m 37s. A 35s shot has been cut; this shows two men carrying a stretcher into a room and placing a woman on it.

5- 55m 8s. Shot slightly shortened.

6- 57m 20s. A 3s shot showing a man getting out of a car is missing.

7- 58m 1s. 4s of dialogue is missing after the man says "it's quite a walk you know".

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#61 Post by starmanof51 » Tue Sep 02, 2008 3:50 pm

BradStevens wrote:Just compared MoC's disc of JUDEX with an ancient VHS edition released by Sinister Cinema. The MoC transfer looks gorgeous, but is heavily cut.
Thanks for the effort, very interesting.

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HerrSchreck
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#62 Post by HerrSchreck » Tue Sep 02, 2008 4:13 pm

I wonder if the other current editions (there is a new edition from Sinister on dvd, and there is a Coffret Franju double feature edition-- w Nuits Rouges-- from Editions Cahiers du cinema) are similarly cut? (Taking Brad's assertions of the cuts as valid of course).

For links to the editions I'm talking about in R1 &2, see the Franju thread I created just a couple days ago in the Filmmakers Forum.

EDIT: checking the runtimes of the SInister dvd (99 min. at least on the amazon specs) vs the 1 hr 33 min runtime of the Beev for Judex, reveals a 6 minutes approx difference... but of course there's a PAL speedup to be taken into consideration?

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#63 Post by david hare » Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:35 pm

EDITED: Thanx Brad - mercifully I had not yet binned the VHS/DVDR from SBS, but the same shots seem to be cut, possibly excluding the shot with the boy looking at the photograph. The SBS print is dated 1992, and runs just over 93 minutes (PAL.)

THis is bizarre - why were these cuts made and by whom?

FURTHER MYSTERIES:

Raymond Durgnat's wonderful Studio Vista book is my only source on Franju but a couple of extrapolations from that: his filmographby gives the ORT at 95 minutes which makes the Sinister's 99 minutes (if it's correct) a rare artefact indeed. Evidently Franju was compelled to do some trimming of bits and pieces himself as the film was in danger or running too long for his own liking, thus - among other reasons - he and Jacques Champreux endowed several scenes with quite exhaustive dialogue for the sole purpose of cutting through an otherwise voluminous amount of narrative detail. Secondly there were, not unexpectedly objections from the French Catholic Legion to several shots of Nun's business, including two shots in particular: the brief shot of Cocantin reading the original Fantomas book with the two leads on the sleeve cover dressed as nuns, and the great single take of Francine stripping off the habit down to her black tights literally perched above the camera before plunging to her escape in the river. Franju argued back, and the shots remained. But this does lead one to wonder why, specifically all these cuts in this print occur during this episode of the picture.

This is all playing out a bit to me like a Feuilladean riddle!

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#64 Post by BradStevens » Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:18 am

Sinister's tape runs 99m 24s, 30s of which consists of an English-language foreword added to the opening credits. Curiously, although the print has burned on English subtitles, the scenes unique to this edition are unsubtitled, suggesting that they have been edited in from another source (though there is no noticeable difference in quality or framing).

MoC's disc runs just over 93m at 25fps, which would translate to a 24 fps running time of 96 or 97m.

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#65 Post by peerpee » Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:13 pm

All these anomalies appear within a 5 minute period of the film. None of them are for violence or nudity, so they don't really make much sense. If the film were to be tightened up to shave minutes, edits are normally made all over (see KWAIDAN, or LA NOTTE) -- not just within a 5 minute area.

The print MoC used is Jacques Champreux's personal print, and it is identical to the Cahiers/Why Not French DVD edition. I've asked Monsieur Champreux about this, and will report back when I hear something.

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#66 Post by david hare » Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:33 pm

Let us all know Nick. When you look at the sequence, which is one of the busiest in the entire picture for sheer incident, the only missing shot that might have added anything to narrative logic would have been the "unknown" woman who is placed on the stretcher to substitute for Edith before being taken away. But even without such an "explanatory" shot this sequence still seems in keeping with the relative chaos that surrounds each event throughout the five odd mjinutes. The Liquorice Kid for instance when he looks at the photgraph and recognizes the "Nun" as the Governess, but why on earth would he have a photo of this family grouping in any event?

I'm not bothered by the cuts but it is intriguing to say the least. Given there are no subs on the footage as Brad says were the shots indeed edited in from an unreleased print?

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#67 Post by Yojimbo » Sat Sep 06, 2008 11:20 am

I loved both films, 'Judex' probably marginally the better of two, and not just because of Francine Berge.
Although I haven't yet watched 'Fantomas' or seen any Feuillades, I suspect 'Judex' is well-in tune with the inspiration/source.
At no time, though, did I ever get the impression of pastiche, and the innocence and charm always struck me as genuine.

In 'Nuits' early stages I got the horrible feeling that it was nothing more than an 'Avengers/Mission Impossible' clone but Franju's inventiveness and Gallic charm gradually elevated it to a higher plane.

For sheer fun I think this release ranks right up there with Lang's 'Spionen' as one of the most wholly enjoyable of the MoC sets. :D

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#68 Post by BradStevens » Sun Sep 07, 2008 7:58 am

My guess is that JUDEX's negative was damaged at some point (which would explain why all the cuts appear within a few minutes of each other), and that any prints subsequently struck from it will be missing the material I mentioned. The damage must have occurred prior to 1992, when the film was shown on SBS. Sinister's tape was made from an ancient US release print.

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david hare
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#69 Post by david hare » Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:22 pm

Brad, that's certainly plausible but all the remaining footage from the episode looks quite pristine! Still....

I think it would be worthwhile scouring for copies of old French TV broadcast sources, preferably pre 92. Oddly enough I'm able to look into this next month while we are in Paris as Knappen and I both know a couple of collectors there. Certainly no burden, in fact it would be fun to "play" Concantin and act the detective! With the Liquorice kid snapping at the heels!

Maybe Knapp's already started to snoop?

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#70 Post by What A Disgrace » Fri Sep 19, 2008 2:52 pm

I was very pleased to find that, non-anamorphic though it was, Nuits rouges's subtitles were still fully visible when I used my player's 'ZOOM' setting to view non-anamorphic widescreen films. This is something that doesn't happen on most of my other non-anamorphic releases, where the subtitles are cut off. Nick, had the subtitles on this disc been prepared for this? Or am I making a lot out of nothing?

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#71 Post by peerpee » Sat Sep 20, 2008 5:50 am

The subs placement on NUITS ROUGES was specifically set to account for viewing like that, yes.

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#72 Post by peerpee » Wed Sep 24, 2008 2:41 pm

Mr. Champreux's response, reprinted here with his permission:
Dear Mr. Wrigley,

I'm very surprised by your mail. I've never heard about another version of « JUDEX » with a different cut like this.
I can affirm that the French DVD and MoC DVD is absolutely conformable to the original negative as cut by Georges Franju himself and Gilbert Natot and kept in the lab Eclair.
The version of « JUDEX » you can see in the DVD is exactly the same as the one that Franju approved and saw in 1963 at the Cinémathèque Française, at the time of the first official screening in the world of that film.
Since, nothing has been changed.
I suppose that, before this official screening, a print was normally established and next after seeing it, a refining out of the cutting of some sequences was decided. And then that refused print has been commercially exploited, without Franju's knowledge. There are no neglectable savings for the producers
It seems to me that the result of the cuts you indicate is to improve the rhythm of the concerned sequences.

With my best regards
Jacques CHAMPREUX

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#73 Post by Narshty » Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:09 am

I haven't seen Nuits rouges yet, but Judex is one of the two or three best films I've seen all year. Utterly exhilirating, it's film poetry of the highest order; that is, its very unfussiness is what allows the whole pulp world of elegant villainy mingled with the supernatural to be that much more vivid and enchanting. It's one of the year's totally essential releases. There's a lovely charcoal-sketch quality to the transfer too - a splendid presentation all round.

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Re: 49-50 Judex and Nuits rouges

#74 Post by patricio00 » Sat Nov 28, 2009 9:08 pm

I started watching Nuits Rouges after having seen Judex and Les Yeux sans visage (I've also seen the Feuillade films). It started not really working for me. The sets just had something wrong about them, they seemed cheaply made, like mexican wrestling films from the 70s. So I did a weird thing... I turned the color off the tv and saw it in B&W. I guess it's not what the director intended but to me It looks so much better! The cheapness is stripped off, the relationship to the Feuillade films (and Judex) becomes stronger. Otherwise the color is just too distracting.

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Re: 49-50 Judex and Nuits rouges

#75 Post by tartarlamb » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:57 pm

I enjoyed the color, if only because it reminded me of the wonderful, campy world of late-60s and early 70s low-budget genre films, the stuff churned out by AIP, Hammer, etc. Aside from the cheap sets, bad 70s fashion, and piss-poor acting, I thought Nuits rouges was superb. The rooftop sequence is purest Franju magic. Its not Judex by any measure, but its worthy in its own way.

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