Two Men in Manhattan Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Jean-Pierre Melville, Pierre Grasset
  • Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
  • Format: Blu-ray, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: Cohen Media Group
  • Release Date: September 17, 2013
  • Run Time: 84 minutes

  • This lesser known classic from Jean-Pierre Melville was a turning point in the career of the famed French New Wave filmmaker. Although Two Men in Manhattan (Deux Hommes dans Manhattan) was considered a failure at the time, it must have been one which had a great impact on the filmmaker because he was met with intense national success in the films that followed this one. At the time Two Men in Manhattan may not have been widely appreciated, but it is one of those buried gems that now appear ahead of their time.


            The film takes place over the course of a night in Manhattan as a journalist searches for a missing French diplomat. Melville stars as Moreau, the man given the task of hunting down French UN delegate Fèvre-Berthier, a man infamous for his many extramarital affairs. Utilizing the seedy nature of his photographer friend, Delmas (Pierre Grasset), Moreau is able to track down each of the delegate’s mistresses.


            Much of the film is Melville and Grasset driving around a beautifully photographed New York City, all the while making clever conversation with each other. As they drive from beautiful woman to the next, they are followed by a mysterious car. The end result of this evening search provides an opportunity which may be too tempting for the bottom-feeder photographer, a type which would later come to be known as paparazzi.


            Two Men in Manhattan is significant because of the manner in which it was filmed, with many real locations and on a low budget. This style would come to be defined as French New Wave, but Melville was more than just a footnote in film history’s stylistic approaches; he was a lover of cinema and Two Men in Manhattan is an entertaining movie, first and foremost.


            The Blu-ray features include a conversation between critics Jonathan Rosenbaum and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky and the booklet has a new essay from Melville scholar, Ginette Vincendeau.


    Entertainment Value: 7/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 8.5/10

    Historical Significance: 8/10

    Disc Features: 7/10




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