The Blu-ray Disc
Criterion presents Les visiteurs du soir in 1080p high definition in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. This is a gorgeous transfer, rich with texture, fine detail and superb grayscale separation. Nearly every frame is sharp and crisp, with elements-related softness only creeping in for very brief periods several times. Even the film’s soft focus shots have a pleasing crispness to them. Damage has been impressively eradicated, with only a few vertical lines and some print wear popping up from time to time. The clarity of the image and the intact gain structure are frequently stunning. The uncompressed monaural soundtrack has a tendency to sound a little hollow, but it’s in generally good, intelligible shape.
The only major extra is a 40-minute making-of, produced in 2009 and featuring interviews with archivists, historians and Carné’s friend Dider Decon. In addition to providing excellent background information on the film, it gives us a look at how impressive this restoration is, as the film clips in the featurette come from a terrible, soft, damaged source.
The theatrical trailer and a booklet with an essay by critic Michael Atkinson are also included.
The Bottom Line
A fascinating, bewitching work is given a superb transfer. Highly recommended.