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La Cage aux Folles(1978)
Two gay men living in St. Tropez have their lives turned upside down when the son of one of the men announces he is getting married. They try conceal their lifestyle...
For more about La Cage aux Folles and the La Cage aux Folles Blu-ray release, see La Cage aux Folles Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on August 17, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Ugo Tognazzi, Michel Serrault, Claire Maurier, Carmen Scarpitta, Michel Galabru, Venantino Venantini
Director: Edouard Molinaro
» See full cast & crew
La Cage aux Folles Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, August 17, 2013
Nominated for three Oscar Awards, including Best Director and Best Costume Design, Edouard Molinaro's "La Cage aux Folles" a.k.a "Birds of a Feather" (1978) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc include original trailers for the the film; exclusive new video interview with director Edouard Molinaro; archival television footage from three plays featuring Jean Poiret and Michel Serrault; and an exclusive new video interview with professor Laurence Senelick. The release also arrives with an illustrated booklet featuring an essay by critic David Ehrenstein. In French, with optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
Renato (Ugo Tognazzi, La grande bouffe, L'udienza), the owner of La Cage aux Folles, the wildest drag club in St. Tropez, and his partner Albin (Michel Serrault, Une hirondelle a fait le printemps, Mortelle randonnée), the club's flamboyant star, are presented with a difficult dilemma when the former's son (Remi Laurent) announces that he is going to marry a beautiful girl (Luisa Maneri) – be themselves when the girl's parents meet them or assume new identities and act like 'normal people'.
Renato quickly comes to the conclusion that the 'normal people' option would be the more appropriate one since the girl's father (Michel Galabru, Subway, Belle Epoque) happens to be the outspoken leader of a very popular party called the Union of Moral Order. Renato also realizes that it is probably best if Albin's place is taken by his former wife, Madame Deblon (Claire Maurier, The 400 Blows), even though she has not seen her son in years. Albin is deeply disappointed by Renato's decision to replace him, but still proceeds to help with the redecorating of their place – the provocative paintings and statuettes, the plush pillows, and even the colorful bed covers are quickly replaced with more 'respectable' items. Finally, the couple's unusually playful black butler is instructed to watch his voice and talk like a real man.
When the girl's parents eventually arrive in St. Tropez they are surprised to discover that a respected diplomat – which is how the girl has described Renato to impress her father – has chosen to live right next to a disrespectful place like La Cage aux Folles. By the end of the important meeting, the girl's father also discovers that he has been followed by a group of reporters from a newspaper affiliated with his political opponents who have besieged Renato's home.
Based on the popular play by Jean Poiret, La Cage aux Folles employs a tremendous amount of cliches but with a relaxed attitude that immediately wins the viewer's sympathy. The lack of vulgarity also helps tremendously.
In an exclusive new video interview included on this release director Molinaro recalls that Tognazzi was not particularly comfortable playing the owner of the club, but he is magnificent. In fact, his better balanced reactions to the riskiest scenes in the film are far more effective than Serrault's. Serrault's performance gives the film its exotic flavor, but is also responsible for the few misfires that occur during the second half.
The film's message is about acceptance and tolerance. It is delivered with plenty of humor, but it would be a mistake to think that it was meant to be taken lightly. The film's unprecedented success, and especially here in America, clearly proves that its message was both timely and relevant.
La Cage aux Folles was lensed by cinematographer Armando Nannunzzi (Luchino Visconti's Ludwig, Vaghe stelle dell'Orsa...(Sandra)). The film's lighthearted soundtrack was composed by the legendary Ennio Morricone.
In 1996, Mike Nichols directed The Birdcage, an English-language remake of La Cage aux Folles, starring Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, Diane West, and Nathan Lane. Hollywood-produced remakes of French films are rarely good, but this one was just as hilarious as the original film.
La Cage aux Folles Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.67:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Edouard Molinaro's La Cage aux Folles arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray release:
"This new digital transfer was created in 2K resolution on a Spirit 4K film scanner from a 35mm interpositive. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, and warps were manually removed using MTI's DRS, while Image Systems' Phoenix was used for small dirt, grain, noise management, jitter, and flicker.
Transfer supervisor: Maria Palazzola.
Colorist: Gregg Garvin/Modern VideoFilm, Burbank, CA."
The Blu-ray release represents a massive upgrade in quality over the old R1 non-anamorphic DVD release which MGM produced many years ago. The film has the intended by director Molinaro soft and warm look with a wide range of natural colors. The footage from inside the club, in particular, is quite subdued. Image depth and clarity, however, are consistently pleasing. Contrast levels are also stable. Sharpness does fluctuate, but the fluctuations are directly linked to the original photography (compare screencaptures #3 and 5). There are no traces of problematic filtering corrections. Compromising sharpening adjustments have not been performed either. Predictably, from start to finish the film has a solid organic look. Lastly, it is obvious that debris, scratches, cuts, and damage marks have been removed as best as possible. All in all, excluding a few scattered light compression artifacts, this is indeed a fabulous presentation of La Cage aux Folles which is guaranteed to please fans of the film. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray release. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
La Cage aux Folles Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one standard audio track on this Blu-ray release: French LPCM 1.0. For the record, Criterion have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature.
The lossless track has a good range of nuanced dynamics. In sequences where Ennio Morricone's score becomes prominent, depth is especially good. The dialog is clean, stable, dynamically well-balanced, and easy to follow. For the record, there are no pops, cracks, problematic background hiss, or audio distortions to report in this review. The English translation is excellent.
La Cage aux Folles Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
La Cage aux Folles Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Edouard Molinaro's charming and very important comedy "La Cage aux Folles" has never looked this good before. Criterion's Blu-ray release truly allows one to experience the film in an entirely new way. Also included on the Blu-ray are two outstanding new video interviews, one with director Molinaro, and another with professor Laurence Senelick. Buy with confidence, folks. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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La Cage aux Folles Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Criterion Announces September Titles - June 17, 2013
The Criterion Collection has announced seven titles for Blu-ray release in September. On September 10th, the studio will release Edouard Molinaro's La Cage aux Folles and Martin Ritt's The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. On September 17th, the studio will release ...
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