A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.
Paul Javal is a writer who is hired to make a script for a new movie about Ulysses more commercial, which is to be directed by Fritz Lang and produced by Jeremy Prokosch. But because he let his wife Camille drive with Prokosch and he is late, she believes, he uses her as a sort of present for Prokosch to get get a better payment. So the relationship ends.Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
It is possible that all "mistakes" in the film that involve visible equipment are intentional, or at least intentionally uncorrected: the film, after all, is about the artificiality of making a film, and the initial credit sequence shows filmmakers shooting the film itself. See more »
I want you to write some new scenes for "The Odyssey." Not just sex, but more - more...
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The opening cast credits are read, without titles See more »
I have not seen the Criterion DVD of this film, but after reading many positive reviews I was looking forward to seeing the film on Turner Classic Movies' Sunday night import series. I've seen a few of Godard's early movies, but CONTEMPT was new to me. On TCM every movie always looks so pristine, but I was shocked by the horrible quality of the print. Another user posted here claiming the screwy colors and poor dubbing was some sort of arty inside joke by Godard, but other reviews indicate otherwise. Let me tell you what I saw that made me give up seven minutes into the film.
Pan and scan. CONTEMPT is constantly referred to as an excellent widescreen movie with great cinematography, but this was the worst pan and scan job I've ever seen. The opening credits sequence was stretched vertically to fit the screen, causing that "tall skinny" effect. If the whole film had been this way, I could have corrected it by switching the TV to 16x9 enhanced mode. But the following scene--of Bardot's butt--switches from stretched to cropped. And poorly cropped at that. The next scene is worse. As the characters move across the widescreen, instead of the usual "panning" effect, we get a splice every time someone steps out of the frame--then bang! they're back in the frame. If a cropped-off character speaks, we suddenly get a clumsy splice to fit them in the frame. Surely Godard didn't intend to have his film edited this way.
The picture. People keep describing the rich colors and picturesque camera work. All I got was washed-out images, grainy, suddenly switching to bright and clear, then going dark and murky. The picture is full of holes and scratches.
Poor dubbing. This film should be subtitled. The dubbing of foreign characters is nearly incomprehensible. Also, it's clear that while Jack Palance speaks English the other characters are supposed to be speaking French. The dubbing makes everything English and destroys the whole point of the language barrier.
All of these aspects made the film uniquely unwatchable. It looked like the work of a disreputable distributor, the kind that makes those DVDs you see for three dollars at K-mart. I know that poor film-to-video transfers have survived the switch from VHS to DVD, but I didn't expect to see such a mess on TCM. Be warned.
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