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Quiet Days in Clichy

Quiet Days in Clichy on DVD

It’s borderline porn (if not completely over the line), but it’s also such a fascinating experience it’s hard to turn off.

That’s Quiet Days in Clichy, Jens Jorgen Thorsen’s adaptation of Henry Miller’s novel about an American in Paris who resembles Gene Kelly not a whit. This American isn’t there to dance, he’s apparently there to write, though it also appears he’s really there to envelope himself in a hedonistic lifestyle the type of which adolescent boys can only dream.

It doesn’t take long for this movie to set the scene. Within the first couple of minutes the coupling begins, via a very explicit scene that’ll separate the men from the boys when it comes to tolerance of sex on screen. It almost seems as if the first half of the movie is sex, then it slows down a bit so that the second half of the film is probably only half sex.

Yessirree, there’s a lot of sex in this movie, and if you have gentle sensitivities when it comes to this sort of thing on film you’ll probably want to give this movie a pass.

That said, when they aren’t having sex they’re more or less talking about sex or trying to track down some sex, so there really isn’t a lot here besides the raunch.

It’s well done, in an arty film kind of way, with nice black and white cinematography and enthusiastic performances (hey, they might as well look like they’re enjoying it!) and as mentioned above there’s something voyeuristic about watching the action unfold that makes it difficult to turn it off and head for something like “Finding Nemo.”

The movie was apparently seized when it hit American shores in 1970 and it isn’t hard to see why. Today it would probably play on cable…

The musical score is performed by Country Joe McDonald, of the 1960’s band Country Joe and the Fish, whose main clam to fame was the famous “Fish Cheer” at Woodstock. It’s pretty well him and his guitar, but some of McDonald's bawdy lyrics are quite funny

The DVD is presented in anamorphic widescreen, 16x9 TV compatible, and the black and white picture – while grainy – is actually pretty good. The graininess adds to the "artiness" mood and the image is sharp enough that you’ll never be in doubt about which body parts you’re seeing.

Audio is Dolby Digital mono and it’s unremarkable.

Extras include “Dirty Books, Dirty Movies: Barney Rosset on Henry Miller. This is an interview with the author’s editor and publisher. You also get “Songs of Clichy,” an interview with Country Joe McDonald, a poster and stills gallery, and a DVD ROM component of court documents from Miller’s infamous past.

If Quiet Days in Clichy or its genre are your cup of tea (and they won’t be for many people), Blue Underground has released a number of soft hardcore sex titles, as well as some others that do for violence what Clichy does for sex. The titles include Marquis de Sade's Justine, Eugenie, Fight For Your Life, Sadomania, The Girl from Rio, Revolver, and Grand Slam.

As for us, we’re glad we saw Clichy – our first meeting with Henry Miller – but we can’t see spending a lot of time on the rest of these titles when there are so many greater movies available or becoming available on DVD.

But to each his own, of course….

Quiet Days in Clichy, from Blue Underground Home Entertainment
91 min. anamorhpic widescreen (1.66:1, 16x9 TV compatible), Dolby Digital mono
Starring Louise White, Paul Valjean, Wayne Rodda
Written and directed by Jens Jorgen Thorsen


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