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Delon, Schneider and Ronet are a love triangle that leads to disaster.
For more about La Piscine and the La Piscine Blu-ray release, see La Piscine Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on January 5, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Alain Delon, Romy Schneider, Maurice Ronet, Jane Birkin, Paul Crauchet
Director: Jacques Deray
» See full cast & crew
La Piscine Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, January 5, 2012
French director Jacques Deray's sexy "La piscine" a.k.a "The Swimming Pool" (1969) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Park Circus. The supplemental features on the disc include the film's original theatrical trailer; a gallery of stills; alternative ending; and an alternative English-language version of the film. In French, with optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
Jean-Paul (Alain Delon, L' Eclisse, Un Flic) and Marianne (Romy Schneider, L' important c'est d'aimer, Le trio infernal) are on vacation in beautiful St. Tropez. They are residing in a luxurious villa with a large private pool perched on a hill overlooking the ocean. Jean-Paul loves the area. He hopes that one day he and Marianne can afford to have a similar place which they can call home.
Marianne's ex-lover, Harry (Maurice Ronet, Elevator to the Gallows, The Bitch Wants Blood), who is in the area, phones and asks if he could stop by and see her. He is also an old friend of Jean-Paul, who has not seen him in years. Marianne immediately invites Harry and tells Jean-Paul that they are expecting a very special guest.
A few hours later, Harry arrives in the villa with his daughter Penelope (Jane Birkin, Je Taime Moi Non Plus, Slogan), a beautiful eighteen year old girl, who immediately catches Jean-Paul's interest. After a few drinks, Marianne asks Harry if he would be interested in staying for a couple of days before he heads back to Milan. At first, Harry is unsure, but Marianne insists and he agrees.
Jean-Paul begins to flirt with Penelope. At first, she is unsure how to react, but then her curiosity leads her straight into Jean-Paul's hands. Marianne begins suspecting that there might be something going on between the two. Meanwhile, Harry and Jean-Paul get drunk and fight. Shortly after, a dead body is discovered in the large private pool.
Delon and Schneider reunited on the set of La piscine in 1969, after their highly publicized breakup in 1964. Jacques Deray and Jean-Claude Carrière's adaptation of Jean-Emmanuel Conil's screenplay seemed like the perfect opportunity for the former lovers to appear once again in front of the camera. They did and the press loved it.
La piscine is about a classic foursome affair with all sorts of predictable twists that should not surprise those of you familiar with the films of French director Claude Chabrol. Temptation, jealousy and murder are the three key themes in it, and they are blended into what could best be described as crime melodrama.
The first half of La piscine is the better one. It is deliciously elegant – with some truly beautiful panoramic vistas from St. Tropez - and fresh. The subversive elements from the second half of the film are nowhere to be found and, for the most part, the dialog is convincing. Delon's flirtations with the young Birkin in particular are very entertaining.
The second half has a darker, more intense tone. Director Deray focuses on the main protagonists' inability to control their emotions and consequently the murder case, which changes the entire complexion of the film. The dialog, especially on the English version of La piscine, is also notably rougher.
I cannot imagine too many people enjoying this film without being at least partially fascinated with Delon and Schneider. There is a very subtle sense of nostalgia the film evokes that brings back memories of a time when movie stars were truly beautiful and elegant. Naturally, the story is practically unimportant because the film simply celebrates an era and two iconic European actors who were an inseparable part of it.
La Piscine Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.64:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Jacques Deray's La piscine arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Park Circus.
I like this release more than then French release we reviewed back in 2009. Aside from the insignificant framing discrepancy (1.66:1 vs 1.64:1), the Park Circus release boasts stronger organic look - it is marginally grainier, though some of the grain is also mixed with light noise - and lusher color scheme. The blues, greens, and especially the yellows are far richer and better saturated. The contrast levels are also marginally elevated. During close-ups, the French release looks slightly softer, and at least some of the softness is due to the very careful denoising that has been performed. This isn't to say that the French release looks compromised, but to clarify why the Park Circus release has a more appealing organic look. This being said, the Park Circus release has some extremely small artifacts popping up here and there, but the untrained eyes will more than likely miss them. All in all, if you are yet to add La piscine to your collection, I recommend picking up the Park Circus release. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
La Piscine Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: French LPCM 2.0 and English LPCM 2.0 (for the alternative English-language version of the film, which is offered as a bonus in the supplemental features section of the disc). For the record, Park Circus have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature.
Michel Legrand's music score benefits the most from the loseless upgrade (the French release has only a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 track). The guitar solos and the bass, in particular, now sound richer and fuller. The Maserati sequences are also a lot more intense. The dialog, however, does not benefit much from the loseless upgrade, though there are a couple of scenes (including the murder scene) where clarity is slightly improved. For the record, there are no sync issues or audio dropouts to report in this review. The English translation is excellent.
La Piscine Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
La Piscine Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Jacques Deray's La piscine is a lovely little film that should appeal to fans of classic '60s and '70s European cinema and especially fans of two of its biggest stars, Alain Delon and Romy Schneider. Recently restored, the film looks beautiful on Blu-ray. If you have not already obtained the French Blu-ray release, consider getting the Park Circus release. It is better. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
La Piscine Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Swimming Pool Blu-ray - August 9, 2011
Independent British distributors Park Circus have announced that they will release on Blu-ray Jacques Deray's Italian-French classic La piscine a.k.a The Swimming Pool, starring Alain Delon, Romy Schneider, Jane Birkin, and Maurice Ronet. Street date is November ...
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