Quiet Days in Clichy

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Joey (Paul Valjean) and his friend Carl (Wayne Rodda) aren’t out there working all time, contributing to society, and starting families, but to them, life is not about these things, it is about passion, love, and of course, as much sex as possible. Joey is a writer by trade, but his work isn’t selling at all and in truth, his mind hasn’t been giving much to work with of late, leaving him with little to no money, though the latter is often the case. Carl, on the other hand, isn’t interested in much aside from women and the pleasures they can offer him and in his case, his tastes fall in with the younger ladies. Both men have dreams that extend well beyond their basic, limited reaches in life, but that’s about all they have, at least on most days. So they focus on the elements which make them happy, so they indulge in the pleasures of the flesh often, with different girls as luck allows, while Joey also tries to explore his interest in writing. As time passes, the two find themselves in all kinds of erotic adventures, but will the carnival of carnal indulgence sustain them forever, or will something or someone cause them to crave something more?

Although Quiet Days in Clichy is no by no means an erotic cinema masterpiece, it is an important film and this release is a most welcome one, to be sure. As stated on the case, the government took control of all the English language prints of the film, citing it as a violation of obscenity laws, rendering it a rare picture. Even after the charges were cleared, the movie seemed to have almost vanished and in most instances, it was shown in a truncated, censored edition. But in this edition from Blue Underground, we can see Quiet Days in Clichy in its intended form, without any cuts, trims, or censorship of any kind. Based on Henry Miller’s controversial novel of the same name, the movie has some great moments of writing, but the cast isn’t always up to excellence, so the performances dull the material at times. Even so, the humor and emotion comes through well in most scenes and if nothing else, the erotic sequences carry the poorer segments. The sex scenes pack a punch and the cameras never shy from the explicit, so if you’re offended by graphic sexual imagery, then you’ll want to cover your eyes here. But if you’re interested in erotic cinema, Quiet Days in Clichy is more than worth a look, especially in this uncut version. I commend Blue Underground for their work here, as this disc is excellent and well worth a purchase.

Video: How does it look?

Quiet Days in Clichy is presented in a 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. As the film has been through numerous trials & tribulations, I had minimal expectations in this area, but Blue Underground has delivered a terrific visual presentation. The print is clean, aside from some grain that establishes tone and visual style, so aside from a few marks here and there, this is a great looking print. The black & white image is smooth and sharp, with no signs of contrast problems to mention, which is vital in this case. All in all, a top notch visual effort on a movie once thought lost, another superb treatment from Blue Underground.

Audio: How does it sound?

The mono option found here won’t raise many eyebrows, but it is a solid track and given the film’s history, I think it sounds terrific. The years haven’t taken too much of a toll on the materials, as hiss and distortion never prove to be an issue. This means the dialogue is allowed to come through in clean and easy to understand form, no volume or clarity problems to report. The music in this movie is quite good and it sounds great here, or at least as great as an older mono soundtrack allows. In short, I was very pleased with the audio treatment here and given all the hassles the movie has been through, we should be thrilled it sounds this good.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The main extra here is an interview with Barney Rosset, who published a number of Henry Miller’s works. Rosset speaks at length about his thoughts on Miller, the process of getting the works published, and the aftermath of publication. A nice companion piece it turns out to be, as it helps shed some light on the issue of censorship, since Miller’s work was often banned. Another interview is included with Country Joe McDonald, who discusses the creation of the music heard in this motion picture, quite an interesting piece. This disc also includes some talent files, a selection of poster artwork & still photos, and if you pop it into a DVD-ROM, you can read the court documents, detailing the seizure of the English language prints.

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