The Claude Chabrol Collection DVD Review
PictureRight across the board, the four movies here offer a reasonably clear image, with adequate colour fidelity for the most part, though the spectrum does come across a little flat and lifeless. The 1.85:1 images are stable but offer up an expected amount of print damage, with lots of flickers, scratches and lines evident. However, grain was surprisingly low, considering the age and relative lack of pedigree for restoration, with Nada suffering the worst in this regard. Close-ups always manage to look respectable with a nice level of detail on show. Backgrounds, however, are often murky and indistinct, fuzzing up in some of the landscape shots. Black levels are quite strong on all four titles, with Les Noces Rouges benefiting the most with its atmospheric roadside murder. Chabrol utilises a lot of rural settings and, although pretty enough, these transfers ensure that they are hardly picture postcard.
On the digital front all four, but especially Que La Bete Meure, suffer from compression problems, with motion drag, blocking and shimmering on distant objects. Que La Bete Meure also has some terribly apparent edge-enhancement during the beach scenes that, on larger screens, will certainly be distracting. Not the best transfers then.
SoundAll titles carry a French Dolby Digital 2.0 mix that is fairly robust for dialogue and score purposes, but sounds very contained and underwhelming with regards to filling the room with sound. Pumping up with Pro-Logic does nothing to alter the flat and decidedly un-dynamic soundscape, either. The gunshots and tear-gas explosions of Nada feel dull and empty and the atmospherics of Que La Bete Meure and Les Noces Rouges stumble without any resonance or depth. We can hardly expect full-blown surround mixes to have been supplied - they would have sounded fake, anyway - but, across the board, these transfers are underwhelming.
ExtrasAboslutely nothing on these check discs.
VerdictIt's always nice to discover something for the first time and the Claude Chabrol Collection certainly was something new to me. But, barring the clever plot of Que La Bete Meure and the japes of Nada, I can't really see what the appeal is of this highly regarded filmmaker. The much-touted suspense is practically non-existent and the insistence on slow, protracted character disassembly soon begins to grate. In his extensive canon of work, there may be some genuinely classic films, but I fear that none of them reside in this meandering collection. If you must dip in for a taster then obviously I recommend Que La Bete Meure though, sadly, the transfer is possibly the worst of the bunch.An acquired taste, perhaps. But Chabrol has yet to convince me.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £15.99
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