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The Body of My Enemy (1976) - Blu-ray Review

The Body of My Enemy (1976)

It is not your average revenge flick. Nor is it what you would expect from director Henri Verneuil and star Jean-Paul Belmondo for what was their seventh picture together. There are no jaw-dropping stunts from the screen legend, and in fact there is hardly any exciting action in this picture at all. All of the action in The Body of My Enemy is completely emotional. Making this quite the departure from their previous films together, Verneuil and Belmondo, along with the help of co-writer Michel Audiard, take us through François Leclercq’s (Belmondo) rise and fall in the corrupt world of the upper-class that leaves the ambitious and audacious Leclercq paying a heavy price when he oversteps his bounds.

"With a good restoration from Kino Lorber and Studio Canal, you can check out this deep-cut of French cinema in great 2K fashion"


He is sentenced to ten years in prison, but Leclercq is out in seven for good behavior. But how does someone who absolutely oozes a trifecta of cool, confidence, and calm end up in prison? (And for murder, no less). Well, once released, Leclercq returns home, but he doesn’t take memory lane, but rather…revenge alley (I’m sorry). In a series of flashbacks and flashbacks within flashbacks, the puzzle pieces of the story, as Leclercq remembers them, slowly come together while executing his quiet and clever vengeance against Jean-Baptiste Beaumont-Liégard (Bernard Blier). 

After quite easily seducing the beautiful and apathetic Gilberte Beaumont-Liégard (Marie-France Pisier), Leclercq quite quickly gets used to the life and work of the upper-class that Gilberte introduces him to. In no time, he is made a manger of a popular nightclub, but little does he know that he is only given the illusion of power and respect. Once Leclercq learns of an illegal drug trade happening right underneath his nose, in the one place he is supposed to be in charge, that power he was given is quickly stripped away when he refuses to allow the operation to continue. Jean-Baptiste wastes no time putting Leclercq in his place, framing him for an abhorrent crime.The Body of My Enemy (1976)

The non-linear style is a character in and of itself and serves the film in both an engaging, but at times, also a confusing way. Jumping back and forth between past and present, the audience is kept in a constant state of low-key suspense while trying to keep up with it all. Through this constant jumping, the film also offers great comparisons to the France that Leclercq was forced to leave to the new France that he is unfamiliar with, making for very interesting commentary in a time when France itself was undergoing many cultural changes. But as mentioned, the flashbacks and flashbacks within flashbacks do allow for the audience to get the plot jumbled up easily, leaving many unfortunate opportunities to miss certain plot elements or nuances. A proper second viewing is not necessarily required, but is certainly advantages for those wanting to fully appreciate this French neo-noir.

While it is not the most exciting revenge, neo-noir film, The Body of My Enemy does have its moments of intrigue and Belmondo is as cool and charming as always. With a good restoration from Kino Lorber and Studio Canal, you can check out this deep-cut of French cinema in great 2K fashion.

3/5 stars

 

The Body of My Enemy (1976)

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- April 5, 2022
Screen Formats: 1.66:1
Subtitles
: English
Audio:
French: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Screen legend Jean-Paul Belmondo (Le Doulos, The Hunter Will Get You) teams up with director Henri Verneuil (The Sicilian Clan, The Night Caller) and co-writer Michel Audiard (Le Professionnel, Le Marginal) for this stylish revenge drama. François Leclercq (Belmondo) once romanced the beautiful Gilberte Liégard (Marie-France Pisier, Trans-Europ-Express), daughter of a powerful textile baron (Bernard Blier, Buffet Froid). Now only hatred holds them together. Framed for murder and imprisoned for seven years, François returns to his hometown seeking vengeance. He needs friends. And friends are hard to come by in his town. Featuring masterful cinematography by Jean Penzer (The Inheritor) and a rousing score by Francis Lai (Love Story), The Body of My Enemy is a unique, twist-filled neo-noir that offers a sharp critique of the French upper classes—with the ultra-suave Belmondo in top form.

Video

No tears, scratches, or imperfections to be found on this restoration! Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1, this new 2K transfer by Kino Lorber and Studio Canal is great. Grain amount is appropriate for the picture, and the color balance gives the film a great natural look. It is an excellent transfer.

Audio

The French 2.0 monoaural DTS Master audio track is great. All the dialogue and ambient sounds of the picture all come in crystal clear. Plus, Francis Lai’s score shines throughout the whole of this film.

Supplements:

With only the commentary track and quite a few trailers included on this release, the extras are a bit underwhelming. However, the commentary track done by the three very enthusiastic film historians is very informative and interesting and enhances the viewing experience and understanding of the non-linear film.

Commentary:

Special Features:

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 3/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 2/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

3/5 stars


Film Details

The Body of My Enemy (1976)

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
116 mins
Director
: Henri Verneuil
Writer:
Michel Audiard
Cast:
Jean-Paul Belmondo; Bernard Blier; Marie-France Pisier
Genre
: Drama | Crime
Tagline:

Memorable Movie Quote: "Never under-estimate the Germans when they are on their field."
Theatrical Distributor:

Official Site:
Release Date:
October, 1976
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 5, 2022.
Synopsis: François Leclercq (Belmondo) once romanced the beautiful Gilberte Liégard (Marie-France Pisier, Trans-Europ-Express), daughter of a powerful textile baron (Bernard Blier, Buffet Froid). Now only hatred holds them together. Framed for murder and imprisoned for seven years, François returns to his hometown seeking vengeance. He needs friends. And friends are hard to come by in his town.

Art

The Body of My Enemy (1976)

 

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