Joy House (Blu-ray)

Pleasure Home (Blu-ray Evaluation)

  • Reviewed by: Stuart Galbraith IV
  • Evaluation Date: Aug 04, 2023
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc

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Joy House (Blu-ray Review)


René Clément

Launch Date(s)

1964 (Might 30, 2023)


Cité Movies/CIPRA/MGM (Kino Lorber Studio Classics)

  • Movie/Program Grade: B-
  • Video Grade: A-
  • Audio Grade: A-
  • Extras Grade: B

Joy House (Blu-ray)

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Pleasure Home (Les félins, “Felines,” 1964) is an uncommon manufacturing. Although it stars French actor Alain Delon, and was made in France by French director René Clément, 95% of the dialogue is in English, and a lot of the talking components are performed by native-English talking actors, together with co-leads Jane Fonda and Lola Albright, in addition to supporting gamers together with George Gaynes, Sorrell Brooke and English character actor Arthur Howard. MGM had beforehand offered financing on Clément’s The Day and the Hour, one other such manufacturing with Simone Signoret and Stuart Whitman in trade for distribution rights, and signed a five-picture cope with Delon round this time. Presumably an incentive for this association was to make use of funds MGM had tied up in France.

The movie is a visually trendy however finally wearying mystery-thriller. It begins with a bang however is overloaded with double-crosses to the purpose the place all credibility goes out the window and has no likeable characters. It’s the form of film the place each character is conscious of everybody else’s secret motives but every coyly feigns ignorance.

The story opens with an American mobster (Gaynes) and his gang kidnapping and torturing a confession out of Marc (Delon), after studying the gangster’s spouse had been having an affair with the French playboy. Moments earlier than they plan to kill him and dump his physique, Marc manages to flee. The gangsters (together with Brooke) scatter about Monte Carlo on the lookout for him, however Marc hides out at a Christian mission for the homeless, the place rich widow Barbara (Lola Albright) and her niece, Melinda (Jane Fonda), volunteer.

Vaguely conscious that the gangsters are after Marc, icy magnificence Barbara provides him a job as her chauffeur—she owns a swell limousine with a neat-o plexiglass high. There’s one thing off about their relationship: he’s insolent but she mysteriously places up along with his impolite conduct. Melinda is extra brazenly pleasant but additionally a bit unusual, and really rapidly she falls in love with him, although he secretly plans to flee to Paris on the earliest alternative. In the meantime, it quickly turns into clear Barbara is speaking via a wall-mounted mirror with Vincent (André Oumansky), a saved man, actually, residing in secret rooms accessible solely via hidden panels.

Marc’s kidnapping and escape is excitingly realized, staged in a means that Marc’s possibilities look awfully bleak, and when he seizes a second to get away, for a very long time it positive appears to be like like he’s going to be recaptured and murdered. Right here, Delon is athletic like Jean-Paul Belmondo in these scenes, together with collaborating in what appears to be like like a harmful stunt: the gangsters’ automotive skidding sideways to a cease, virtually hitting him.

The movie clearly performs on Marc’s similarity to Tom Ripley in Clément’s celebrated Purple Midday (Plein soleil, 1960) however right here Delon’s harmful beauty are compromised a bit by having to talk virtually everything of the movie in English. He’s not as stiff as, say, Toshiro Mifune was in his English-speaking components. Mifune clearly discovered these roles phonetically, whereas Delon clearly does converse the language, albeit with a thick French accent. Nonetheless, his efficiency is barely halting and fewer assured and thus a notch under his regular talents talking his native French.

The larger downside is that Melinda and particularly Barbara are all too clearly as much as no good themselves, every behaving eccentrically whereas concurrently interested in him. His rising desperation to get away from each them and the gangsters on his path helps make the character a bit extra sympathetic, however the film viewers can’t actually determine with any of the characters and the truth that all the most important gamers are attempting to control and double-cross each other turns into a bit of exasperating, particularly by the ironic but utterly predictable “twist” ending.

This was Jane Fonda’s first French movie; she additionally appeared in Roger Vadim’s Circle of Love / La ronde later that very same 12 months and married Vadim in 1965, Fonda showing in a variety of European productions into the Nineteen Seventies. In Pleasure Home she doesn’t actually have a agency grasp of the half, naturalistic in some scenes, manipulative and maybe loopy in a really actorly means in others. She admitted later that her French was not that good—I believe that’s her American-accented voice within the French-dubbed model—and he or she had some issues with director Clément, who she says sexually harassed her by making an attempt to lure her into mattress for “rehearsals.”

Extra memorable is Lola Albright who, at 40 a dozen years Fonda’s senior, had been in Hollywood movies since 1947. Nevertheless, she’s finest remembered as profoundly horny nightclub singer Edie Hart in Peter Gunn. When that present ended Albright continued to stretch as an actress, significantly in A Chilly Wind in August (1961), during which she performed an getting old burlesque stripper. Pleasure Home was one other apparent stretch, and one can’t assist however surprise if Albright was an early affect on Fonda, who at this level in her profession was very a lot the place Albright had been a decade earlier than.

Pleasure Home was simply Lalo Schifrin’s second movie rating. It’s impressively brassy, assured and even experimental at instances, if a bit of overemphatic in a few scenes.

Kino’s Blu-ray retains MGM’s emblem from the interval (that includes its rattiest-looking Leo the Lion) however sources a 2K restoration by France’s Gaumont. Filmed in black-and-white (2.35:1) Franscope by Henri Decaë (Le Samourai), the picture is a bit of washed out however usually appears to be like nice, the DTS-HD Grasp Audio (mono) supported by good English subtitles.

The French-dubbed model is included, with Delon and Fonda, however presumably not Albright, lending their very own voices, although their lip actions don’t match. The audio is a bit of higher on the French observe however first-time viewers are suggested to look at the English-language model anyway. Additionally included is a brand new audio commentary observe that includes movie historians and Kino regulars Howard S. Berger and Nathaniel Thompson, in addition to a longish (3:21) French trailer.

Although finally disappointing, I used to be delighted by the chance to see this uncommon manufacturing, which is undeniably visually trendy and intelligent at instances. Beneficial.

– Stuart Galbraith IV



1964, Alain Delon, André Oumansky, Arthur Howard, black and white, black-and-white, Blu-ray, Blu-ray Disc, Carl Studer, CIPRA, Cité, Cité Movies, Compagnie Internationale de Productions Cinématographiques, Day Keene, Del Negro, Fedora Zincone, France, Francscope, French, Henri Decaë, Howard S Berger, Jacques Bar, Jane Fonda, Pleasure Home, Kino Lorber, Kino Lorber Studio Classics, Lalo Schifrin, Les félins, Lola Albright, Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, MGM, thriller, Nathaniel Thompson, René Clément, assessment, Sorrell Booke, Stuart Galbraith IV, The Digital Bits, The Love Cage, thriller

Author: ZeroToHero

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