Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 27th, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: France / Italy / Japan / Netherlands, 1964
Directors: Hiromichi Horikawa (segment Les Cinq Bienfaiteurs de Fumiko), Ugo Gregoretti (segment La Feuille du Route), Claude Chabrol(segment L’Homme qui vendit la Tour Eiffel), Jean-Luc Godard (segment Le Grand escroc)
Cast: Mie Hama, Ken Mitsuda, Gabriella Giorgelli, Guido Giuseppone, Giuseppe Mannajuolo, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Catherine Deneuve, Francis Blanche, Charles Denner, Jean Seberg, László Szabó
BluRay released: April 25th, 2017
Approximate running time: 95 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Japanese / Italian / French / German / English
BluRay Release: Olive Films
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.95
Les Cinq Bienfaiteurs de Fumiko: Looking for an easy way to raise a large sum of money, a young woman who works as a geisha at bar pretends to be interested in a composer who carries a bag filled with money.
Les Cinq Bienfaiteurs de Fumiko was directed by Hiromichi Horikawa who’s other notable films include, Contract Killer, The Militarists and The Alaska Story. Key collaborators on Les Cinq Bienfaiteurs de Fumiko include, cinematographer Asakazu Nakai (Seven Samurai, High and Low) and composer Keitaro Miho (Everything Goes Wrong, Man with the Funky Hat).
At the heart of this film is a tale about greed and how a moment of indiscretion ends in disaster for a young woman who thought she had just pulled off the perfect crime. The characters are well defined and the performances are very good, especially Mie Hama (King Kong vs. Godzilla, You Only Live Twice) in the role of the young woman who works as a geisha. The visually do a superb job reinforcing the mood and this tale’s ending provides a very satisfying conclusion.
La Feuille du Route was directed by Ugo Gregoretti who’s other notable films include, Omicron and Le belle famiglie. Key collaborators on La Feuille du Route include, cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli (Mamma Roma, Once Upon a Time in the West) and composer Piero Umiliani (5 Dolls for a August Moon, Baba Yaga).
At the heart of this film is a tale about virtue and the lengths that the lengths a young woman goes through to be with the man she loves. There is a tongue and cheek approach the story at hand. And nowhere is more evident, than how the pimp exploits elderly men into marrying the women who work for him. The entire cast are all very good in their respective roles. With the standout performance being Giuseppe Mannajuolo (Murder Rock) in the role of a lawyer who comes up with the idea of having prostitutes marry elderly men to avoid the stigmata that usually befalls those who work in this profession.
L’Homme qui vendit la Tour Eiffel was directed by Claude Chabrol, who’s other notable films include, Les Bonnes Femmes, Les Biches, La Rupture, Juste avant la nuit and Les noces rouges. Key collaborators on L’Homme qui vendit la Tour Eiffel include, cinematographer Jean Rabier (Cleo from 5 to 7) and and composer Pierre Jansen (Le Boucher).
At the heart of this film is a tale about obsession and how a gang of thieves uses one man’s obsession to deceive him into buying The Eiffel Tower. Though Claude Chabrol is predominately known for directing suspense films. This tale is played strictly for laughs and no moment is more humorous, then this film’s absurd ending. And when it comes to the performances, the entire cast are very good in their respective roles. Standout performances include, Jean-Pierre Cassel (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie) in the role of the ringleader of a gang of swindling thieves and Francis Blanche (Belle de Jour) in the role of L’Allemand, the man conned into buying The Eiffel Tower.
Le Grand escroc: An American reporter on assignment in Marrakech tracks down and interviews a counterfeiter for a documentary that she is working on.
Le Grand escroc was directed by Jean-Luc Godard who’s other notable films include, Breathless, Contempt, Bande à part, Alphaville, Pierrot le Fou and Weekend. Key collaborators on Le Grand escroc cinematographer Raoul Coutard (Shoot the Piano Player, The Bride Wore Black) and composer Michel Legrand (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg).
Content wise, out the four tales, this one is by far and away the most political. The narrative explores morality and how there is a fine that divides what is and what is not morally acceptable. Needless to say, the tone of this tale is in direct contrast to the other three tales which all have a sense of irony to their conclusions. Notable cast members include, László Szabó (Made in U.S.A) in the role of a police inspector, Charles Denner (Z) in the role of the counterfeiter and Jean Seberg (Who’s Got the Black Box) in the role of an American reporter named Patricia Leacock.
Besides the aforementioned composers this film also features music that was composed by Serge Gainsbourg (Slogan).
The World’s Most Beautiful Swindlers comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Details look crisp, there are no issues with compression and contrast and black remain strong throughout.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mix in mono and the following languages are spoken in this film, Japanese, Italian, French, German and English. The dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced throughout. Subtitle options for this release include, English subtitles for all foreign languages or English subtitles for all non-English language dialog.
Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film (2 minutes 56 seconds). It should be noted that the trailer contains footage from Roman Polanski’s segment La Rivière de Diamants.
Overall The World’s Most Beautiful Swindlers get a solid audio / video presentation from Olive Films.
Note: Olive Films are also releasing this film on DVD.