Random Films: Two From France I Can’t Watch…

made in franceOK, some stuff from the vaults with a goofy story behind them. My late dad gave me a box of VHS tapes around 15 or 20 years back and these two were ones that I couldn’t play on my NTSC tape player (they’re both SEACAM format). I recall telling him this later when he called to ask if I liked the movies and he said he’d “get back to me” later on this. I knew what that meant, so I told him he didn’t have to go looking for a player here at all because even if he DID find one, I’d still need a TV that could play it. If you ever knew my dad long enough, you’d know he had a sort of single-minded pursuit of the great deal mindset to him that was fascinating and slightly pesky once in a while when he’d end up with multiples of some items if you’d simply asked for one. I had to stop him from looking for a VCR and TV on that occasion because I knew he’d somehow find both in his travels and I really didn’t want him to spend that money just so I could watch two movies, one of which I’d already seen…

Jean Cocteau’s 1946 classic La Belle et La Bête (Beauty and the Beast) was a film that scared the hell out of me the first time I saw it because for some bizarre reason, the grade school I went to had a copy they screened to an auditorium full of kids probably expecting something a great deal more cute and cuddly. I think the teachers who sat us all down and left (save for whatever monitors they left to watch over us) saw that title on the can and thought it was a children’s film (it’s not quite one and this was many years before Disney trotted its musical version out to popular and critical acclaim). Then again, this is also the same bunch of adults who thought showing us assorted safety videos from the 1950’s and 60’s was a grand idea. there’s nothing like a bunch of wide-eyed kids freaking out at old driver’s ed films and (yikes!) nuclear bomb drills. “Duck and Cover!” indeed.

made in france 2 made in france 3

Anyway, I’ve never seen Les Orgueilleux (The Proud and the Beautiful) before or since I’ve gotten these tapes (at least I don’t think I have), but it sure sounds depressing as hell and I need to check it out at some point. A French-Mexican co-production about a plague in a small run-down border town? Count me in. That and it’s got Luis Buñuel in a small part, which means it MUST be seen. The tapes are in great shape (although the Cocteau film has a chipped case) and even come with cool little catalogs that show off a bunch of other French films I’ve never seen. I have no idea what to do with these two tapes as I’ve sold off my stupidly massive VHS collection a long while back save for this pair. Feel free to make me an offer if you can run these – I won’t ask for much and yes, I can always use the closet space (for more games, of course!).


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