Several years ago, an anonymous donor contacted Scarecrow and asked if we could use funding for specific rental items that might be too costly for Scarecrow’s budget. Out of that came the first iteration of our Wish List Collection, and accordingly, a bunch of upgraded titles previously only on DVD, as well as some higher priced, English-friendly, Blu-rays and DVDs imported from France. More recently, a different anonymous donor came forward and asked the same question, and again, we were able to bring in another generous helping of French imports to add to our collection. Over the next month, we’ll be introducing these to you via our blog and newsletter.
The Voyage Of Captain Fracassa / Le Voyage Du Capitaine Fracasse (Ettore Scola, 1990) (All-region Blu-ray)
Previously adapted by Abel Gance, Cavalcanti, and others, Daniel Perez, Emmanuelle Beart, Ornella Muti, and Massimo Troisi star in the seventh adaptation of Theophile Gautier’s 19th century adventure novel Captain Fracasse, and by the end of a thrilling 137 minutes, it’s easy to see why so many filmmakers wanted to adapt the novel. The story of a destitute, 17th century nobleman who runs away with a theatrical troupe because he falls in love with an actress is a road movie, a swashbuckler, a love story, and a valentine to the enduring passion of those who dedicate their lives to the performing arts. Perez shines in the title role, as a young baron who doesn’t know how to do much, yet learns about swordfighting, bravery, and honor through his performances as the character Captain Fracasse, and Scola, along with legendary cinematographer Luciano Tovoli brings the tale to life as the troupe travels by wagon through a (seemingly) never ending, fog-filled forest.
The Female/La Femme et la Pantin (Julien Duvivier, 1959) (All-region Blu-ray/ PAL Code 2 DVD)
This bizarre tale of sexual obsession, adapted from Pierre Louys’ 19th century novel The Woman and the Puppet, was also adapted multiple times for cinema. Most notably, Josef Von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich turned it into 1935’s dizzyingly decadent The Devil Is A Woman, and Luis Bunuel put a surrealist spin on it with 1977’s That Obscure Object Of Desire. For this 1959 effort, Duvivier and Brigitte Bardot, two years into her meteoric rise to international stardom, mostly play it straight to tell the tale of a wealthy man’s eternal obsession with an untouchable waif who is far from the helpless victim she originally appears to be.