WSR Detailed LaserDisc Review

French Connection Collection, The: The French Connection II

Reviewed In Issue 08 Of Widescreen Review® Stars:
Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Bernard Fresson.

WSR Review Scores
Picture Rating: 3
Sound Rating: 1
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Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score:
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DVD General Information
(Studio/Distributor): 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
(Catalog Number): 8508-85
(MPAA Rating): R
(Retail Price): $79.98
(Running Time In Minutes): 119
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): Yes
(Theatrical Release): 1975
(LD Release Date): 11/01/93
(THX® Digitally Mastered): No

Credits Information
(Director): John Frankenheimer
(Screenplay/Written By): Alexander Jacobs, Robert Dillon & Laurie Dillon
(Story): Robert Dillon & Laurie Dillon
(Music): Don Ellis
(Director Of Photography):
(Production Designer): Jacques Saulnier
(Visual Effects):
(Costume Designer):
(Editor): John Rolf, ACE
(Supervising Sound Editors):
(Re-Recording Mixers):
(Executive Producers): NA
(Co-Producers): NA
(Producers): Robert L. Rosen

DVD Picture Information
(Principal Photography): Academy Standard Flat
(Theatrical Aspect Ratio): 1.85:1
(Measured LaserDisc Aspect Ratio): 1.85:1

DVD Sound Information
(DVD Soundtrack): Mono Sound
(Theatrical Sound): Optical Mono
(Theatrical Re-Issue Soundtrack):
(Remastered Dolby Digital): No
(Remastered DTS Digital Surround): No
(Additional Languages):

WSR Narrative Review
Story Synopsis:
French Connection II is a companion piece to the original, but directed by John Frankenheimer. Fernando Rey reprises his role as drug kingpin Alain Charnier who escaped the clutches of the police in a raid at the conclusion of the first film. Hackman’s Popeye also is back in pursuit, this time to Marseilles to smash the origins of the heroin traffic with a personal vendetta to get his man. But Charnier has plans of his own for Popeye who he has assaulted and subjected to the personal and near-death ravages of drug addiction as his payback for the detective’s annoyance.

LaserDisc Picture:
Overall, the 1.85:1 picture is film like, with generally sharp images, but with dark hues and film grain apparent.

LaserDisc Soundtrack:
The most disappointing aspects of the transfers are the soundtracks. The French Connection was produced in stereo yet it is almost impossible to ascertain. The sequel was never released in stereo. At the time of the first film, I had produced and engineered concert recordings for Don Ellis whose jazz orchestral music is featured on both editions. The original master musical score was extremely dynamic, and rich in resolution. The music scores, as are the rest of the soundtrack elements, sound extremely compressed and low-fi, and do not even come close to the presence of the original recordings. Obviously, the original stems were not used which would have dramatically enhanced the sound quality.
(Surround Bass Below 50Hz): No
(Aggressive System Surround): No
(Intense 25Hz Bass): No
(Deep Bass Challenging): No
(Aggressive 0.1 LFE):
(Holosonic Soundfield): No
(Aggressive Split Surround): No
(Center Back Surround Imaging): No
(Directionalized Dialogue): No
Superb Sound Effects Recording Quality:
Superb Music Score Recording Quality:
Superb Special Visual Effects Quality:
Superb Color Fidelity:
Superb Cinematography:
Reference LaserDisc:
Collector Edition: