Set in 1927, The Artist tells the story of film superstar George Valentin (Dujardin), who is about to be banished from the movie business by the advent of talking pictures. With the introduction of "The Talkies," as movies with sound were known at their onset, came the abrupt end to the careers of many silent film stars, including George's screen persona, which soon falls into oblivion. For young movie extra Peggy Miller (Bejo), the sky's the limit, and major movie stardom awaits. Both destinies are interlinked. (Gary Reber)
Special features include a blooper reel (HD 02:14), the featurette The Making Of An American Romance (HD 21:56), a Q&A with filmmakers and cast (HD 44:57), Hollywood As A Character: The Locations (HD 05:10), the Artisans behind The Artist (HD 11:30), up-front previews, and an UltraViolet digital copy.
The 1080p AVC picture is pretty undistinguished black and white, with limited dynamic range. The imagery is softly focused as well, for an overall mediocre appearance. But then this was the intended look. (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1 channel soundtrack is absent dialogue throughout. The soundfield is filled with a compressed orchestral music score that is generally subdued, though, present throughout. The music is simply not striking in terms of recording and dynamic intensity, though nicely recorded overall. The music effectively supports the storytelling. As"the transition dream to "The Talkies" takes place, atmospherics and sound effects occur, which liven up the affair with even brief laughter. And in the ending segment the sound of tapping shoes energizes as well as the on-set talking. Still, the overall impact is daunted and limiting. And this was the intended sound design. It's no wonder silent films could not compete with "The Talkies." (Gary Reber)