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Catherine Deneuve perfected the Ice Princess. The French actress knew how to play the elusive woman that men strived so hard to please. She toyed with lovers as if they had cranks in their backs. She used and abused lovers and tossed them into the gutter. But instead of being bitter, they smiled. These men acted as if they were bullriders who knew their brief affair with her would be the greatest thrill of their lives. Catherine Deneuve 5-Film Collection has plenty of men joyfully getting bucked by her.
Manon 70 (1968 – 101 minutes) pushes Deneuve’s ice princess persona to an arctic extreme. She’s a model who supplements her posing income by bagging a series of wealthy men. Her brother pimps her out. She’s not above shagging a poor boy. She has an affair with a reporter (Sami Frey), but he knows that he’s a side meal while she dines on a lover with deep pockets. Serge Gainsbourg contributed to the soundtrack so the movie gets bonus points. There’s a great scene in a tub between Deneuve that’s sensual without being revealing. Fans of Sixties fashions will delight in the wardrobe.
Le Sauvage (1975 – 106 minutes) sees if Yves Montand and Tony Roberts (Annie Hall) can melt her heart in a screwball comedy. She and Montand hook up as they escape bad relationships. Complications ensue when she steals a Toulouse-Lautrec painting. Tony Roberts has to hunt her down to get back the masterpiece. It’s a goofy French mess. It just seems unnatural for Deneuve to elicit laughter.
Hotel des Ameriques (1981 – 93 minutes) is a lethargic romance. Deneuve is an anesthesiologist that accidentally hits a pedestrian (Patrick Dewaere). After she realizes Patrick isn’t injured, they strike up a relationship. She’s not ready to date since her old lover has recently died. Patrick’s a slacker living at his parents’ hotel and doing next to nothing. She wants to go slow. This guy turns into a complete sloth. He likes it when she drops by his bedroom cause he doesn’t have to get dressed. Their relationship is based on them having nothing better to do at the moment. He’s not quite Mr. Excitement. How long can this affair last before she realizes she can do better than a man who lives for naptime?
Le Choc (1982 – 98 minutes) serves up a hit man tale with the ultimate French assassin: Alain Delon. The star of Le Samouri wants to get out of the game, but the players won’t let him quit. He hides out on a turkey farm and falls for the farmer’s wife (Deneuve). Think of this as a gangster version of The Bridges of Madison County. She’s ready to run off with the stranger since her husband is certifiable. He blasts free jazz records during dinner. Delon and Deneuve make a great screen couple since neither play emotional characters. Their passionate romance has a manipulative nature at its core. If you enjoyed the recent Alain Delon boxset, you should make an effort to see Le Choc.
Fort Saganne (1984 – 181 minutes) is an epic about Charles Saganne’s (Gerard Depardieu) rise from peasant to French Legion of Honor winner. He’s a big time war hero in the Sahara that marries Sophie Marceau (Braveheart). Deneuve has a very small role in the middle of the film. She’s a journalist who seduces the Saganne and then freezes him out. Be warned that you see a lot of Depardieu’s exposed rump. This film should be on a Depardieu collection.
For folks who don’t watch many French movies, you might remember Deneuve from Nip/Tuck‘s “Diana Lubay” episode. She was the patient who wanted more than saline inside her breast implants. Catherine Deneuve 5-Film Collection shows a woman who is an expert in manipulating men. She twists and yanks them until they give everything as alms to the blond beauty. You should watch these films with a cup of hot chocolate since you’re going to feel the chill from the ultimate Ice Princess as she works her magic.
The aspect ratios on the films vary. Manon 70 is 1.78:1 anamorphic. Le Choc and Le Sauvage are 1.66:1 anamorphic. Hotel des Ameriques and Fort Saganne are 2.35:1 anamorphic. The transfers for all five films are clean and detailed. Nothing looks worn and torn on the screen. The audio is French Dolby Digital mono. The sound is smooth. You’ll hear the chill crackle from Deneuve’s lips. The subtitles are in English and Spanish.
Catherine Deneuve 5-Film Collection reminds me why you can’t trust a blond French woman. You’re helpless against such a seductive creature. Even if you can realize that she’s taking you for a ride, it’s going to be the best ride of your life. Think any of the characters regret their time in Manon 70? The five films are a good selection of her lesser known films.
Lionsgate presents Catherine Deneuve 5-Film Collection.. Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Gerard Depardieu, Sophie Marceau, Yves Montand. Boxset Contents: 5 Movies on 3 DVDs. Rating: Unrated. Released on DVD: June 10, 2008. Available at Amazon.com