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DVD Review
Children of Paradise

Guide Rating -  
Pros  •  Large cast of fascinating characters -- mimes, actors, assassins, counts, and harlots -- in a tightly wound plot.
•  Criterion release with splendid restoration, insightful commentary, and an introduction by Terry Gilliam.
•  Possibly the greatest French film ever made.
Cons  •  If you don't like intruiging stories, artful visuals, rich writing, and fine acting, this is not for you.
•  Some people hate mimes. Get over it.
The Bottom Line - A classic that lives up to all the hype it has received over the years, looking as good as it hasn't in decades.
Product Description
•  Two-disc Criterion Collection release of the 1945 classic, directed by Marcel Carné and written by Jacques Prévert.
•  Fully restored audio and video, commentary by film scholars, introduction by Terry Gilliam.
•  Expansive booklet with interviews, analysis, and history about the making of the film during German occupation.
Guide Review

Every Word of Praise You Ever Heard About This Film is True
If you're anything like me, you have a list of "must-see" movies that you somehow never got around to, either because you couldn't get a hold of them, or because their status as "classics" always scared you away at the crucial moment. If all those stuffy critics thinks it's great, the reasoning goes, it must be good for you -- but how much fun will it be? You'll understand my delight, then, when this new Criterion release finally left me no excuse not to watch Marcel Carné's "Children of Paradise," long hailed as the greatest French film ever made -- just to find out that all the praise lavished on it is well-deserved. Over the last week, I have watched the 3 1/2 hour film no less than five times, falling in love with it more and more as it slowly worked its way into my all-time top ten list.

"Children of Paradise" tells the gripping story of Garance (played by Arletty), and the four men (a mime, an actor, a thief and assassin, and a duke) who love her in very different ways. The tight and unabashedly romantic plot, is set in the theatrical milleu of 1820s Paris, a magical world full of monkeys on stilts, deceptive blind men, and side-show oddities that provide visual pleasures to make the lush black-and-white photography sparkle. The expertly crafted script, by surrealist poet Jacques Prévert, gains depth with every viewing. This DVD, splendidly restored and packaged as well as we've come to expect from Criterion, is a must-own for any serious collector of foreign film.

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