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Hôtel du Nord & Manon on Arrow Academy Blu-ray in February

16 November 2019

Arrow Academy’s Blu-ray releases for February are two superb films from celebrated French auteurs – a beautiful Gallic romance, and a stunning crime drama. The films have never looked better, and have certainly never been released with such a wealth of fascinating extras, including archive interviews and documentaries, video appreciations and trailers.

First in February is Hôtel du Nord (1938), directed by Marcel Carné, the master of poetic realism. This haunting, fatalistic melodrama sits alongside Le Quai des brumes and Le Jour se lève as one of the auteur’s greatest pre-war works. Adapted from the acclaimed novel by Eugène Dabit, Hôtel du Nord is noteworthy for its assured ensemble performances (including Jean-Pierre Aumont from Day for Night, Louis Jouvet from Quai des Orfèvres, and Arletty from Les Enfants du paradis), remarkably authentic studio sets, and compelling Bastille Day street-celebration finale. Now one of Carné’s most underrated films makes a welcome High Definition debut, looking and sounding better than ever before.

Also in February comes Manon (1949), a masterful adaptation of Prévost’s 1731 novel Manon Lescaut, that marks quite a departure for Henri-Georges Clouzot, the French director lauded for his acclaimed thrillers The Wages of Fear and Les Diaboliques. Clouzot’s astute portrayal of doomed young lovers caught in the disarray of post-war France wowed the jury of the 1949 Venice Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion award. Unjustly overshadowed ever since by the director’s suspense films, Manon now returns to screens in glorious High Definition with a selection of elucidating extras.

 

Hôtel du Nord Blu-ray cover art

Hôtel du Nord (1938) | Blu-ray | 10 February 2020 | £24.99

Adapted from the acclaimed novel by Eugène Dabit, the son to the proprietors of the real Hôtel du Nord (situated on the banks of the Canal St. Martin in Paris), Carné’s film tells of Renée (Annabella) and Pierre (Jean-Pierre Aumont, Day for Night), doomed lovers who plan to end their lives at the humble guesthouse. When Pierre shoots Renée but can’t pull the trigger on himself, he flees with the help of a seedy criminal, Edmond (Louis Jouvet, Quai des Orfèvres) and his mistress Raymonde (Arletty, Les Enfants du paradis). Renée makes a surprise recovery and returns to the hotel to work as a maid, but when Edmond falls in love with her and Pierre returns from prison, the stage is set for tragedy.

Hôtel du Nord is noteworthy for its assured ensemble performances, remarkably authentic studio sets and compelling Bastille Day street-celebration finale. Now one of Carné’s most underrated films makes a welcome High Definition debut, looking and sounding better than ever before.

Special Edition Blu-ray contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original 1.0 mono audio
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Au cinéma ce soir: Marcel Carné on Hôtel du Nord, an in-depth archival interview with the legendary director from 1972 in which he talks at length about the film
  • Introduction to Hôtel du Nord by Paul Ryan, the film historian revisits Carné’s classic film
  • Image gallery
  • Original trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Peter Strain

 

Manon Blu-ray cover art

Manon (1949) | Blu-ray | 24 February 2020 | £24.99

A classical tragic romance transposed to a World War II setting, Clouzot’s film follows the travails of Manon (Cécile Aubry), a village girl accused of collaborating with the Nazis who is rescued from imminent execution by a former French Resistance fighter (Michel Auclair). The couple move to Paris, but their relationship turns stormy as they struggle to survive, resorting to profiteering, prostitution and even murder. Eventually escaping to Palestine, the pair attempt a treacherous desert crossing in search of the happiness which seems to forever elude them...

Clouzot’s astute portrayal of doomed young lovers caught in the disarray of post-war France wowed the jury of the 1949 Venice Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion award. Unjustly overshadowed ever since by the director’s suspense films, Manon now returns to screens in glorious High Definition with a selection of elucidating extras.

Special Edition Blu-ray contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original 1.0 mono audio
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Bibliothèque de poche: H.G. Clouzot, an archival documentary from 1970 in which Clouzot talks of his love of literature and the relationship between the page and the screen
  • Woman in the Dunes, a newly filmed video appreciation by film critic Geoff Andrew
  • Image gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring two artwork options