The editor-in-chief (Dayle Haddon) of a New York women’s magazine is organizing the “Last Romantic Lover” contest to find out if men still have a sense of romance. One of the winners is a circus lion-tamer (Gérard Ismaël), whose’s prize is to spend 10 days with her. Cult Epics presents Just Jaeckin’s The Last Romantic Lover in a brand new 4K transfer, supervised by Oscar-nominated cinematographer Robert Fraisse, fully loaded with a plethora of new bonus features.
For thoughts on The Last Romantic Lover, please check out our discussion on The Video Attic:
The Last Romantic Lover comes to Blu-Ray with a new digital AVC encoded 1080p transfer in its original aspect ratio derived from a 4K restoration of the original 35mm camera negative supervised by cinematographer Robert Fraisse. The new restoration looks really excellent throughout, and is sure to be considered a treat for new and established fans alike. Occasional minor specks of print damage pop up, but overall clarity and detail is outstanding and more than makes up for it. Skin tones are natural and consistent with distinct facial features easily noticeable in closeup. The shots inside the circus wagon are packed with little details in the production design that are easily noticeable thanks to this transfer. Black levels hold up well with strong details in the shadow and next to nothing in the way of crush. You are also unlikely to experience digital noise here. The picture can be a touch soft in long shots, but colors are nicely saturated in a way that makes landscapes really pop. This new presentation is stunning and likely looks better than it ever has before. Cult Epics has done a fantastic job with this one.
The Blu-Ray disc comes with a very capable LPCM 2.0 in the original French mono, along with a new DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track in the original French with optional English subtitles. The dialogue is the standout aspect here as it stays firmly planted in the mix without threat of being overwhelmed by competing sounds. Environmental sounds such as animal noises or pouring rain are rendered well alongside everything else. There does not seem to be any major instances of age-related wear and tear detected here. The sumptuous score sounds wonderful throughout the duration of the film, as it settles you into the romantic tone of the narrative. This audio presentation does everything that is asked of it.
- Audio Commentary: Jeremy Richey (Author of the book Sylvia Kristel: from Emmanuelle to Chabrol) provides a very thorough and enjoyable commentary track in which he discusses where this film falls in the career of Just Jaeckin, how it stands apart from the type of films that were being made in France at this time, the backgrounds of the talent involved on screen and behind the camera, some of the themes on display and more. The overall audio quality of this track is not the best, but it is listenable.
- Interview with Just Jaeckin: An 18-minute conversation with the writer/director from 2020 in which he discusses the process of getting his story made, his relationship with critics, his feelings about this film and what it means in his career, the legacy of the feature and more.
- Interview with Dayle Haddon: A nearly 24-minute interview with star from 2022 in which she discusses her beginnings as a model, being accepted by the French, her feelings about nudity on film, her collaborations with Just Jaeckin, experiences she had during production and more.
- Presentation at Cinematheque Francaise: A 15-minute presentation from March 2022 in which Just Jaeckin, Dayle Haddon, Philippe Labro and more come together to reflect on the movie after a screening which provides some nice anecdotes.
- Promotional Gallery: A collection of posters and stills from the movie are provided here.
- Cult Epics Trailers: There are trailers provided for Madame Claude, Playing With Fire, Naked Over The Fence, Frank & Eva, The Cool Lakes Of Death, and A Woman Like Eve.
The Last Romantic Lover is a genuinely heartwarming and, yes, romantic movie which unfolds its narrative with a gentle precision. What could be a somewhat tawdry affair is given more humor and emotion which allows for a bit of levity during some of the more questionable developments. The chemistry between the core duo is palpable with Dayle Haddon especially radiating off the screen. This is among the best discoveries in international cinema we have found this year. Cult Epics has delivered a Blu-Ray that knocks it out of the park with the A/V presentation and an impressive array of special features. If you are a fan of French cinema or romantic features, this film is definitely worth your time. Highly Recommended
The Last Romantic Lover is currently available to purchase on Blu-Ray.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.
Disclaimer: Cult Epics has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.