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Koch Lorber presents
A Slightly Pregnant Man (1973)

Soumain: Then something is wrong.
Marco: Of course there is.
Soumain: Serious.
Marco: Unusual. Don't try. You'll never guess.

- Claude Melki, Marcello Mastroianni

Review By: Jeff Wilson   
Published: February 06, 2006

Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve
Other Stars: Micheline Presle, Claude Melki, Raymond Gerome, Mireille Mathieu
Director: Jacques Demy

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for adult themes
Run Time: 01h:35m:25s
Release Date: February 07, 2006
UPC: 741952305798
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ C+B-B+ D-

DVD Review

Jacques Demy's previous films often had a fairy tale quality about them, whether more in a thematic sense (Young Girls of Rochefort) or a literal one (Donkey Skin, The Pied Piper). His first comedy feature, 1973's A Slightly Pregnant Man (L'Événement le plus important depuis que l'homme a marché sur la lune or, The Most Important Event Since Man Walked on the Moon) is a modern fairy tale of sorts, starring Marcello Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve as an unmarried but longterm couple whose lives are disrupted when Marco, Mastroianni's character, is determined to be pregnant. The film is a fairly gentle satire of sorts on modern life, but it's too low key for its own good, leaving the viewer somewhat stranded in the mundane.

Marco and Irene (Deneuve) are a standard working couple in Paris, where Marco runs a small driving school and Irene a beauty salon. As the film opens, Marco is suffering from a headache, and then nausea and back pain. Irene, worried he might be very ill, sends him to the doctor (Micheline Presle), who examines him and comments that he almost seems to be four months pregnant. So she of course sends him to a noted gynecologist, Chaumont (Raymond Gerome), who concludes that he is the world's first pregnant man. It's all so easy to see, Chaumont says: hormones in food (like chicken, which Marco and Irene seem to have every night) are causing drastic changes in normal physiology, and this is the result. Marco takes all of this rather well, with Mastroianni acting more stupified than anything else. Offers of endorsements and interviews natually follow, and as the day of birth approaches, an exam reveals something that comes as a bit of a shock.

Given the material here, there would be plenty of elements to mine for comedic situations and such. But Demy seems content to let the time idle by, and the cast carry on pleasantly enough, but there's never any kind of dramatic bite to the proceedings to make us care that much. And when the final revelation comes, it's again handled a largely cool and detached fashion. For something ostensibly a comedy, there's precious little to laugh at here (though Marco's scary orange pajamas provide some chuckles). It's all a bit of disappointment, really. Audiences were similarly unimpressed at the time; the film's dismal reception led Demy to retreat from filmmaking for several years.

Still, the cast remain fun to watch, with Mastroianni and Deneuve the chief pleasures. The remainder of the cast have roles of varying eccentricity, which they perform admirably. Michel Legrand's score doesn't reach the heights of his previous work with Demy, but it's equally nice. Then-popular singer Mireille Mathieu makes a brief appearance and also sings the title theme.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.66:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The transfer for A Slightly Pregnant Man is fine, albeit a little too soft and hazy. I didn't notice any glaring deficiencies in the picture. The yellow English subtitles are free of mistakes.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0French, Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The original French track was the one I watched, and it's a solid track. Also on hand is an English dub track, which I sampled, and it seemed okay in terms of performance and technical quality.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring 301/302, Donkey Skin, Girl From Paris
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The French theatrical trailer is the only extra, and it's nothing special. Some skippable trailers precede the film.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

An overly subdued fantasy of sorts from Jacques Demy results in a similarly so-so viewing experience. Koch Lorber's DVD is a decent if unspectacular presentation of the film.

 


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