Modesty Forbids…

…but if someone out there would like to head over to the Criterion Collection Forum and put in a mention of my Great Duvivier Giveaway, maybe we can promote the idea of a Criterion release for LA FIN DU JOUR.

It has been pointed out to me that the G.D.G. kinda-sorta violates international copyright law, but (a) I will stop giving away free DVDs if somebody releases the film on DVD with subtitles and (b) if I get people excited about this film, maybe it can get an official release and the copyright holder can make some money out of it. Pleasingly, none of the film enthusiasts I’ve heard from via the blog give two figs for international copyright law.

Criterion seems like a good bet because they’re really good, and they also released Duvivier’s PEPE LE MOKO, the only one of his French films to really have a profile and reputation at present (in substantial part due to their making it available). They’ve also released several Clouzots and are bringing out Christian-Jaque’s FANFAN LA TULIPE, a riproaring swashbuckling comedy that’s a great deal of fun. So they seem to have the right mind-set.

One of the things we lose out on by not having films from this period in abundance is the ability to enjoy gorgeous actors of genius like Gerard Philippe (how much of his oeuvre is out on disc? Very little, I fear) and Micheline Presle, and character stars like Louis Jouvet and Michel Simon. Even much of Brigitte Bardot’s best work is impossible to see, although one would think that would be commercial enough.

Oh, and if everybody with a blog or discussion board or e-zine could mention this fabulous free offer too, that’d be nice.

Some of you in the UK should have your discs by now — sign in below and let me know if you have. We’ll have another post later where we can discuss the appalling quality of the DVD and the excellent quality of the film…

14 Responses to “Modesty Forbids…”

  1. Matthew Flanagan Says:

    Heeded your request and added a link in the Duvivier thread at (which contains plenty of information about the availability of DVDs – definitely worth a look):

    The other Criterion forum (the one you linked to) is an unmitigated embarassment.


    That shot of Michel Simon brought his amazing performance in Guitry’s Le Poison to mind. I don’t believe it was ever released to the English-speaking market.

  3. Yes, received my copy! Thanks very much – I’m looking forward to watching and discussing it with the group!

  4. barry alpert Says:

    Mike Grost posted about your Duvivier giveaway on the listserv “a film by”. I have been intrigued by this director’s work for more than 40 years, and may have first witnessed “Pepe le Moko” at the Circle Theatre in Washington DC during the sixties. The Criterion re-release was screened as part of a two-part Criterion series relatively recently at the American Film Institute in Silver Spring MD. It was dazzling. Believe I’ve seen a few other films by Duvivier, but not for a long time. Am certain I haven’t been able to view “Le Fin du jour”, so would appreciate receiving a copy. I know the French cultural attache here, but am not sure whether he would show it for those amongst the 4000 + individuals on his email list who might be interested. The embassy does have a rather nice theatre. And there are a number of semi-public screening situations within the greater Wash DC area.


    Barry Alpert

  5. I received the disc this morning, along with VAMPYR and FORCE OF EVIL! I’m a happy man, thank you.

  6. Matthew — thanks! And thanks for pointing out the better forum.

    David — never seen ANY Guitry, although I think I may have missed the chance to see one, once. He definitely needs to be seen and appraised.

    Barry — love the idea of high-toned Washingtonians sitting down in an opulent theatre to watch a DVD-R of a 20-yr old VHS recording of a TV transmission of a 1939 movie, but I have a feeling the picture quality won’t be up to that. Although if it served to bring about a proper DVD release that’d be great.

    Glad to hear the UK discs are starting to arrive.

  7. Nathan Letore Says:

    Hey, don’t know if the offer still stands, but if it does, any way I can be among the happy few (or hopefully many)? I saw the comments on the earlier post and guess I wait for an e-mail, but if not, or if the offer doesn’t stand anymore, oh well, at least we saw an example of film-going community at its best! And that alone is pretty good…

  8. I’ll email you shortly!

  9. Yes! It arrived this morning, with my copy being subtitled “Three Strangers.”
    Quite looking forward to watching it tomorrow evening.

    Incidentally, doesn’t the gentleman in the first image look a tad like Boris Johnson?

  10. He has the same bountiful wavy locks, but Simon in action is something else: his cheeks have JOINTS in them. A legacy of his brief and unsuccessful boxing career — each part of his visage pursues its own, independent existance.

  11. Hello,

    I received my prizes from you and La fin du jour is the only one I haven’t seen yet. I hope to watch it this weekend as I’m sure it’ll be raining and then I’ll be back with my essential knee jerk reactions. I’m in full support of your efforts.

  12. Maybe we should all watch La Fin Du Jour at once and cause the earth to shift off its axis.

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