Eclipse Series 44 Julien Duvivier in the Thirties
Julien Duvivier in the Thirties collects four films by the French filmmaker, once a giant of French cinema with a string of popular and critical hits in the thirties and a successful foray into Hollywood in the forties. He’s been largely forgotten as filmmaker even with though one of his biggest hits, Pepe le Moko (1937), remains a revered (and oft-revived) classic of gangster romanticism and a precursor to film noir.

He was an innovator in the silent and early sound eras and helped create the poetic realist style that defined the great French cinema of the late 1930s and influenced American film noir. He was championed by the likes of Jean Renoir and Ingmar Bergman and Orson Welles, but in the 1950s, as the young film critics who would drive the nouvelle vague in France developed their auteur approach to cinema, Duvivier was branded as part of the old “tradition of quality,” “le cinema de papa” that the aspiring filmmakers fought against.

This set of four films, all starring actor Harry Baur, may not lift his reputation back up to heights of his success, but they do show that he was a versatile, creative filmmaker who, at his best, found innovative and expressive ways to tell moving and entertaining stories.

4 x DVD | NTSC 4:3 | 407 minutes | 20.6 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Francais
Subtitles: English
Genre: Drama, Crime, Mystery, Thriller

Like many others, Duvivier was skeptical about the idea of talkies, but his first sound film, David Golder (1930), was well received on its release and still stands as one of his great achievements.
Golder (Harry Baur) is a ruthless banker who climbed to the top by destroying his enemies—his backstabbing partner is the latest victim of his vindictive dealings—but has no life outside of business, and certainly no joy. He dotes on his daughter, a spoiled heiress who simply loves his money, and ignores his wife, who spends his fortune as quickly as he makes it and would prefer he not actually show up to the country manor he purchased for her.

Poil de Carotte (1932), which translates to “Carrot Top,” is a remake of his 1925 silent success, a mix of comedy and near-tragedy in the story of a sweet, spirited kid (Robert Lynen, superb) bullied by his mother, who favors the boy’s teenage brother and sister, and ignored by his disconnected father (Harry Baur), who has checked out of the family completely. It inspires the defining line in his school essay: “A family is a group of people forced to live together under one roof who can’t stand each other.”

An image of a guillotine looms under the opening credits. And indeed, La tete d'un homme (1933) was Julien Duvivier’s darkest work to that point. Based on a book by Georges Simenon, the film stars Harry Baur as the great French author’s iconic sleuth, Inspector Jules Maigret, investigating the murder of an elderly American woman in Paris’s Montparnasse. As the viewer is aware from the film’s detailed setup, the death has links to the woman’s nephew, the sole beneficiary of her fortune; a sinister, tubercular medical student; and a petty thief. It’s up to Maigret, inhabited by Baur with his customary sly restraint, to unravel these various threads.

Un Carnet de Bal (1937), the story of Christine (Marie Bell), a recently widowed heiress who tracks down the young men who courted her 20 years ago at her first society ball, is one of the director’s most beloved films, a melancholy meditation on memory and loss and disappointment. The title translates to “Dance Card,” the object that launches her from her lavish but remote country manor on an odyssey around France, and she gets glimpses of what her life might have been had she married another.

Download Eclipse Series 44: Julien Duvivier in the Thirties: David Golder (1931), Poil de carotte / The Red Head (1932), La tete d'un homme / A Man's Neck (1933), Un carnet de bal / Dance Program (1937) 4 x DVD Criterion Collection:

Eclipse.Series44.1931.David.Golder.U.rar

Eclipse.Series44.1932.Poil.de.carotte.U.rar

Eclipse.Series44.1933.La.Tete.dun.Homme.U.rar

Eclipse.Series44.1937.Un.Carnet.de.Bal.U.part1.rar
Eclipse.Series44.1937.Un.Carnet.de.Bal.U.part2.rar

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