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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 4/29/99

The 400 Blows
1959 (1998) - Les Films du Carrosse/SEDIF (Criterion)

review by Todd Doogan of The Digital Bits

Criterion's The 400 Blows Film Rating: A+

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/A/A+

Specs and Features

94 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), single-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, theatrical trailer, shot-for-shot audio essay by Professor Brian Stonehill, commentary by Robert Lachenay (a friend of Francois Truffaut) and cowriter Marcel Moussey, film-themed menu screens with animation, scene access (23 chapters), languages: French (DD mono), subtitles: English

Truffaut might just be responsible for the style of most of the independent films coming out today. His films were edgy, natural and very human. Tarantino, Altman, and even Scorsese, were all greatly influenced by his filmatic style and storytelling. The 400 Blows is easily Truffaut's most personal work.

It's the story of Antoine Doinel; a fictionalized character based on Truffaut himself. At the age of 27, this was Truffaut's first film -- a film made after his tenure as a film critic. Like Tarantino, watching movies proved to be his personal film school. In fact, watching The 400 Blows is like watching a Tarantino film -- references to other films are all over the place. Each scene can be broken down and if you look hard enough, you'll realize where he lifted the scene from. The magic in a Truffaut film, is that he makes it his own, and he makes it work. If you can't already tell, I love this movie. I love everything about it.

The disc is a great way to enjoy The 400 Blows. Not only do you get wonderful video and audio, you get some spectacular extras. As is the case with most of the earlier Criterion's, there's a short clip on the before-and-after effects of the remastering of the film. It's short and neat. The crème de la crème is a commentary track featuring Professor Brian Stonehill, an expert on Truffaut and someone I want to invite over to my house sometime. His insight into the film is backed up with additional commentary by Robert Lachenay (a friend of Francois Truffaut), and the film's cowriter Marcel Moussey - it's all nothing short of magic. I could listen to this disc over and over everyday, and that's no joke. The track even comes in French, but I couldn't tell you a thing about it. Pick this disc up now.

Todd Doogan
[email protected]


400 Blows (Fox Lorber)

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