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Children of Paradise Blu-ray

United States
Les Enfants du Paradis / The Criterion Collection Criterion | 1945 | 190 min | Not rated | Sep 18, 2012

Children of Paradise (Blu-ray)

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.37:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.37:1

French: LPCM Mono


50GB Blu-ray Disc
Two-disc set (2 BDs)

Region A (locked)

List price: $39.95, Price history

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Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Blu-ray rating
Video 1.9 of 51.9
Audio 4.2 of 54.2
Extras 4.2 of 54.2
Based on 2 user reviews

Movie appeal


Children of Paradise


Children of Paradise Blu-ray features mediocre video and superb audio in this enjoyable Blu-ray release

This tragic tale centers around the ill-fated love between Baptiste, a theater mime, and Claire Reine, an actress and otherwise woman-about-town who calls herself Garance. Garance, in turn, is loved by three other men: Frederick, a pretentious actor; Lacenaire, a conniving thief; and Count Eduard of Monteray. The story is further complicated by Nathalie, an actress who is in love with Baptiste. Garance and Baptiste meet when Garance is falsely accused of stealing a man's watch. Garance is forced to enter the protection of Count Eduard when she is innocently implicated in a crime committed by Lacenaire. In the intervening years of separation, both Garance and Baptiste become involved in loveless relationships with the Count and Nathalie, respectively.

For more about Children of Paradise and the Children of Paradise Blu-ray release, see Children of Paradise Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.

Director: Marcel Carné
Writer: Jacques Prévert
Starring: Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Brasseur, Pierre Renoir, María Casares, Gaston Modot

» See full cast & crew

Children of Paradise Blu-ray, Video Quality

  2.5 of 5

Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.37:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Marcel Carne's Children of Paradise arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.

The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:

"The digital restoration of Children of Paradise presented in this edition was performed by the legendary film company Pathe in 2011. Made by Pathe during the German occupation of France in World War II, Children of Paradise was shot on whatever types of scrap storck the filmmakers could their hands on. That original nitrate camera negative was the main source of the restoration, but it was in poor condition, with significant damage from scratches, dirt, and mold., as well as some tape residue from old splices, all of which had to be digitally removed. Also, in several instances, frames were missing from the original negative. These were reconstructed from multiple sources, including two 35mm nitrate fine-grain positives.

Before digitization, all elements were ultrasonically cleaned. The reels of the original camera negative and the selected parts of the fine-grain positives were then scanned at 4K resolution on an ARRISCAN film scanner at L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in Bologna, Italy. The 4K data was sent to Eclair Laboratories in Paris for reconstruction and picture restoration. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitter, and flicker were manually removed using MTI, Image Systems, Da Vinci, and Cinnafilm restoration software. The poor state of certain shots could not be improved; characteristics of other shots, including soft focus and shadow effects in the theater scenes (typical of nineteenth-century stage lighting), were maintained in order to remain faithful to the film.

The original monaural soundtrack, restored by L.E. Diapason in Epinay-sur-Seine, France, is a patchwork of the best available sources, including a new preservation positive made from the original sound negative. Clicks and crackle were removed with a Cedar Cambridge workstation, while taking care to preserve the tone and texture of the original sound; remaining imperfections were removed manually.

Image restoration supervision: Xavier Loutreuil, Charlotte Quemy/Eclair, Epinay-sur-Seine, France.
Colorist: Isabelle Julien.
Scanning: L'Immagine Ritrovata, Cineteca di Bologna, Italy.
Sound restoration supervisor: Leon Rousseau/L.E. Diapason, Epinay-sur-Seine.
Blu-ray mastering: CMC, Malakoff, France; Radius60, Los Angeles."


Criterion's Blu-ray release of Children of Paradise uses a high-definition transfer from Pathe's 2011 4K restoration of the film. Before the film's opening credits appear, Pathe have included the following information:

"Pathe presents the restored Les Enfants du paradis. This involved 4K digital scanning of the original nitrate negative and two nitrate fine grain masters. Refurbishing of elements and 4K scans were done at Immagine Ritrovata (Bologna). Reconstruction and picture restoration were done by Eclair Laboratories (Paris). Sound was restored from the original sound negative scan by L.E. Diapason (Paris). Theatre scenes include shadow effects typical of 19th century stage lighting. Other scenes respect the soft-focus effects of the cinematography."

While Pathe's restoration and reconstruction of this classic French film might well be very impressive, their high-definition transfer is disappointing. Traces of moderate to very heavy filtering corrections are easily noticeable throughout the entire film. Unsurprisingly, detail and clarity are seriously compromised. During many sequences colors and contrast also collapse, especially when light is restricted, and large blocks of gray become prominent. Because of the excessive filtering there is virtually no depth, while at times definition is so poor that it is absolutely impossible to see the fine details a 4K restoration should expose (see how in screencapture #20 the face of the man in the lower left corner is essentially filtered out). Additionally, Pathe's text description mentions the soft-focus effects of the original cinematography, but more often than not what is present here is an entirely different type of softness, one that is undoubtedly accomplished with the help of powerful digital tools (see screencaptures #10 and 11). Occasionally, there are even some halo effects/anomalies that pop up here and there (see screencapture #23). This being said, there are some portions of the film where one could get a basic idea of what could have been, mostly during the daylight sequences where there is an abundance of light and contrast levels are relatively stable (see screencapture #25), but even then often there is heavy smearing that tends to overwhelm the image. All in all, as far as I am concerned Children of Paradise's transition to Blu-ray is every bit as frustrating as Pathe's presentation of Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Samouraï. Obviously, there are other issues here, but the final result is undoubtedly disappointing. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).

Children of Paradise Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  4.5 of 5

There is only one audio track on this release: French LPCM 1.0. For the record, Criterion have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature.

Generally speaking, the sound is stable and well rounded. Hiss and other background heavy noise have been eliminated as best as possible. There are no serious distortions or audio dropouts out either. This being said, overall dynamic activity is quite limited. The English translation is very good.

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Children of Paradise Blu-ray, News and Updates

Criterion Blu-ray in September: De Sica, Carné, Fincher, Bartel - June 15, 2012

After much speculation, the Criterion Collection has posted their full roster of Blu-ray releases for September 2012. Titles include Vittorio De Sica's Umberto D., Marcel Carné's Les visiteurs du soir & Children of Paradise, David Fincher's The Game, and Paul ...

Children of Paradise Blu-ray, Forum Discussions

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