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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Romance > Family > Marriage > Comedy > Melodrama > New Wave > Death > Acting > France > Teens > Independ > Cesar Et Rosalie (1972) + Les Choses De La Vie (1970/Claude Sautet & Romy Schneider*)/L'Important c'est d'Aimer... (1975/*all Film Movement Blu-rays)/Sixteen Candles (1984/Universal/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray)

Cesar Et Rosalie (1972) + Les Choses De La Vie (1970/Claude Sautet & Romy Schneider*)/L'Important c'est d'Aimer... (1975/*all Film Movement Blu-rays)/Sixteen Candles (1984/Universal/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray)/Spring Night Summer Night (1967/Flicker Alley Blu-ray w/DVD)

Picture: B/B/B-/B+/B & C+ Sound: B-/B-/B-/B+/B- & C+ Extras: C/C+/C+/B+/B Films: B-/B-/B-/B/C+

Now for some dramas that sometimes offer comedy and sometimes, a slice of life...

We start with a double feature, both directed by Claude Sautet and with the great Romy Schneider in the lead. Cesar Et Rosalie (1972) and Les Choses De La Vie (1970 aka The Things Of Life) are both romance films with unexpected amounts of somewhat dark comedy in the former and drama in the latter. She more than handles her own, explaining why she became such a big star.

In Cesar, she is a married woman whose marriage is not what it used to be and her husband (the great Yves Montand) knows it and is older than her. His solution is a combination of crazy behavior and humor, but this is all a front, shaken when an old, younger love of hers (Sami Frey) who is interested despite the marriage and Cesar knows it. This has a funny opening and some great moments, though it can have some off moments too and I will always have mixed thoughts on the conclusion, but it is a fine film and worth seeing. Glad it is available again.

Choses is more serious, starting with Michel Piccoli as a married man (his wife Catherine is played by Lea Massari) who is in a serious car crash, which we see in slow motion, reverse and flashback, established strongly in the opening. The film then works its way from the beginning to recent events that lead up to this tragic turn, as he keeps waking up, then falling asleep, including his other love Helene (played by Schneider) and tells its story well enough from there. I liked much of it, though again, a few moments did not work as well for me, but it is smart, ambitious and the kind of film they do not try to make enough.

Obviously, it has some French New Wave influence going for it in a good way and that is a plus, so it makes for a great companion with Cesar and you should see both films if you are serious about film or its stars.

Extras include a high quality booklet with new essay by author David N Meyer, with the Cesar et Rosalie documentary "Symphonie Metallique" and Les Choses De La Vie featurette, "Serenade for Three" appearing on their respective discs.

Andrzej Zulawski's L'Important c'est d'Aimer... (1975 aka That Most Important Thing: Love, sold separately) is our third and final Romy Schneider film, this time playing an actress who feels she is getting old and not having the critical or commercial success she desires. Working on a filmed scene, an ambitious photographer Servais (Fabio Testi, outside of his usual Italian gangster film cycle) sneaks in illegally to get photos for a tabloid, but quickly falls for his subject. She is married and her husband is not helping matters.

Servais is already dealing with a long line of shady characters (we get to meet many of them) and decides to take a crazy risk and get money he does not have to back a stage production of Shakespeare's Richard III to help her career, but it does not go as well either and might not have been the best choice of material. It gets crazier quickly when one of the actors is a little out of his mind, played no less by the ever-controversial Klaus Kinski. Yes, you have to see this one to believe it.

The actors are good here (Kinski easily convincing) but the two big issues I had were that all the gay/transgendered characters were not the most positive you would have seen then or now, plus a later scene involving gangsters is so dated, it is not even as convincing as those in Testi's best known films let alone in the genre or any genre in general. Still, the film is still worth a look and the actors are good here, along with some decent directing. Testi and Schneider are paired well too.

Extras include its own high quality booklet with a new essay by film critic Kat Ellinger, while the disc adds an interview with director Andrzej Zulawski and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

Next, the feature debut of John Hughes, Sixteen Candles (1984), starring the one and only Molly Ringwald (The Breakfast Club), gets an ultimate edition on Blu-ray disc courtesy of Arrow Video. This version has two versions of the film, theatrical (92 mins) and extended (94 minutes), and a very nice new HD restoration. This is a Blu-ray world premiere of the Extended Version, which includes the additional 'cafeteria' scene newly remastered in high definition.

Molly stars as Samantha Baker, a teenager that's having the worst sixteenth birthday of her life. Facing every high school obstacle you can think of. She's in love with a hunky senior (Michael Schoeffling), but is stuck with a complete dork (Anthony Michael Hall) that she can't get rid of. There are plenty of colorful and fun teenage characters throughout the film in this, which might be one of the most quintessential films of 1980s.

The teen classic also stars Justin Henry, Haviland Morris, Joan Cusack, Gedde Watanabe, and John Cusack to name a few.

Special Features are vast and include:

Alternate home video soundtrack prepared for VHS and laserdisc releases

Option to watch additional scene from the Extended Version separately

Casting Sixteen Candles, an all-new audio interview with casting director Jackie Burch

When Gedde Met Deborah, a newly filmed conversation between actors Gedde Watanabe and Deborah Pollack

Rudy the Bohunk, a newly filmed interview with supporting actor John Kapelos

The In-Between, a newly filmed interview with camera operator Gary Kibbe

The New Wave Nerd, a newly filmed interview with filmmaker Adam Rifkin, who shadowed John Hughes while working as an extra on set

Music for Geeks, a newly filmed interview with composer Ira Newborn

A Very Eighties Fairytale, an all-new video essay written and narrated by writer Soraya Roberts, looking at the film from a contemporary feminist perspective

Celebrating Sixteen Candles, an archive documentary featuring interviews with cast, crew and admirers, including stars Anthony Michael Hall, Paul Dooley, Justin Henry, Haviland Morris and

Gedde Watanabe

Theatrical trailers, TV spots and radio spots

Image galleries

BD-ROM: PDF of the original shooting script

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sara Deck

and First Pressing Only: Illustrated collectors booklet featuring new writing on the film by Nikki Baughan and Bryan Reesman.

Sixteen Candles is a classic and this restoration is top notch. If you're a fan you're going to want to pick up this worthwhile new release!

Finally, a lost film saved through serious reconstruction and some luck, Joseph L. Anderson's Spring Night Summer Night (1967) only survived in an exploitation cut until filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn and a group of equally concerned movie lovers and archivists were able to get involved and save the film as originally made. Taking place in a small, isolated Ohio town (where the film was shot on location), Jessie (Larue Hall) has to deal with living in a dysfunctional, somewhat toxic household that includes her family, her miserable father and half-brother Carl (Ted Heimerdinger) that all feels like a dead end.

In this, Carl and Jessie start to get involved in an ill-advised relationship and eventually, she gets pregnant! The relationship she has with Carl is not always great either, but is somehow better than everything else... sort of. The film is also about the way of life in this post-WWII world and is all too predictable, which is the point, but can also be sad and problematic to watch. Anderson had to choose ironic distance or documentary-like realism and he goes for the latter at the risk of wallowing in it. The saddest part in watching any story like this (and I have seen this in real life as often as on the big screen) is if someone just had the courage or even thought to do something different or try something different, things might not have to be so bad for all concerned.

Also, it reminds us that despite breakthroughs like Roe V. Wade and other women's rights, women still get treated badly in societies that are regressive or stuck, socio-economically and otherwise. Such breakthroughs also take much longer to reach such smaller towns if they ever do. These non-professional actors are effective enough and this may seem like a time capsule, but over a half-century later, these bad things have not changed and even worse recently, a certain group of individuals want it to go back to this and worse. The release of this film could not be better timed.

Extras (which are numerous, extrapolating from the press release) include another high quality Collector's Edition Souvenir Booklet exclusive booklet with a new essay by Ian Mantgani, Glenn Litton's memories of director Joseph Anderson, Peter Conheim on the film's restoration, a look at the career of distributor Joseph L. Brenner, an overview of critical responses, and film credits. Then both discs add...

The Bluegrass Trilogy - Three early short films from director J.L. Anderson and Franklin Miller: Football As It Is Played Today (1961), How Swived (1962), and Cheers (1963), The Making of Spring Night Summer Night - Over an hour of behind-the-scenes footage, documenting the production of Spring Night Summer Night, In the Middle of the Nights: From Arthouse to Grindhouse and Back Again - Ross Lipman presents Spring Night Summer Night in contrast to the recut exploitation film, Miss Jessica Is Pregnant, I'm Goin' to Straitsville - Peter Conheim explores the locations of Spring Night Summer Night fifty years later, Spring Night Summer Night: 50 Years Later - Glenn Litton interviews cast and crew of Spring Night Summer Night, discussing the legacy of the film and the challenges it faced theatrically and The Cleveland Assembly - A panel discussion with original cast and crew before its 2016 Cleveland, Ohio screening.

Now for playback performance. The Blu-ray discs here pretty much look as good as can be expected, with all three full color Romy Schneider films presented in 1080p 1.66 X 1 digital High Definition images, all apparently shot on Eastman Kodak 35mm color negative film. They all really kick in after the opening credits, though color can be off in a few shots, but L'Important has a few more flaws than the others for whatever reasons, but they are all very watchable otherwise. All three offer French PCM 2.0 Mono sound and sound as good as we are likely ever to hear each film, though I like some of the music here and wish it were in stereo somehow.

Sixteen Candles is presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and an original lossless mono audio, plus a 5.1 DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless surround option. This is from a new 4K restoration from the original negative by Arrow Video and better looking than the previous release from Universal in 2015.

Finally we have Night in 1080p 1.66 X 1 black and white digital High Definition image transfer from a recent restoration which makes this look really, really good, especially when you consider some key negative was in canisters for a half-century or more. Cheers to the restoration team, the Video Black is rich, Video White just fine and grey scale impressive. The old monophonic sound has been restored in a PCM 1.0 Mono track that also sounds just fine, but shows the films age, as expected. An anamorphically enhanced DVD with lossy Dolby Digital Mono is also included, which plays fine, but is not as rich or naturalistic as the Blu-ray.

- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (Candles)



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