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Les Parents Terribles Blu-ray Review

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“Les Parents Terribles” will appeal to fans of Jean Cocteau and French farces.

Adapted from Jean Cocteau’s own stage play of the same name, 1948’s “Les Parents Terribles” (AKA “The Storm Within”) revolves around a warped family household comprised of a married couple George and Yvonne, their 22 year old son Michel, and Yvonne’s sister Leo. Yvonne is an ill overbearing mother (to say the least), Leo is a bitter old maid who loves George, Michel is a mamma’s boy who has found a new lover named Madeleine, and George has a mistress who happens to be Madeleine. As you can probably guess, the family dynamic is a powder keg waiting to explode.

Like many of director Jean Cocteau’s works, “Les Parents Terribles” (which is celebrating its 70th anniversary) is a well regarded film, but, personally, it’s not my cup of tea. While I am a fan of some of Cocteau’s other works ala “Beauty and the Beast” and “Orpheus,” ‘Terribles’ is basically a stagy soap opera tragicomedy without the laughs. Writer/director Cocteau clearly designed this to be a French Farce, but, truth be told, it’s an exhausting family drama that is extremely dialogue heavy (that is not an exaggeration).

What is really off-putting about ‘Terribles’ is the characters themselves even if that’s the point. By the time the end rolls around, you will have had spent 100 minutes in essentially 2 flat locations with these largely insufferable characters. Now, that’s no fault of the cast. Marcel Andre (George), Yvonne de Bray (Yvonne), Gabrielle Dorziat (Leo), Jean Marais (Michel) and Josette Day (Madeleine) are simply playing their parts. It’s Cocteau’s dialogue and scenarios which are maddening to absorb for such an extended period of time. The screwed up family dynamic simply overstays its welcome.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: Fullscreen 1080p. How does it look? The Cohen Film Collection has released a brand new Blu-ray of this film with a crisp 2K restoration of this B&W classic. Fans are bound to be overjoyed by this transfer.

Audio Track: French Mono. How does it sound? It’s a little soft but it does the job.

Extras: * Original trailer and a re-release trailer * Cohen Media Group trailers * Camera tests * A new intro by Richard Pena * The self-explanatory “Learning To Direct: An Interview With Assitant Director Claude Pinoteau” * A booklet containing credits and photos

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October 26, 2018 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , ,

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