Well, now it's on DVD with the original French track and subtitles in English, and it's just as great as i've been remembering it from the last chance i had to see it theatrically.
The video transfer looks excellent, the sound is good, and the film is the film.
And there are goodies galore on the DVD as well; i haven't finished all of them yet.
If you haven't seen this film, now is the time to do so.
((The dubbed track is included for people who simply can't deal with subtitles.))
I am not a cinema expert by any means, but I have seen the subtitled version and I have seen the dubbed version, and the subtitled version is much funnier and more enjoyable. So you have to read a little, so what? I am curious why they chose to release the dubbed version on video and not the subtitled one. Probably thinking that, since it is such an immediate and enjoyable movie about movies, it might actually sell to English-speaking audiences as a "Player"-esque comedy, romp, etc.
I can understand this, but can we please please see a release with subtitles?
I know a lot of information gets lost in the subtitling, so it's far from perfect either, but at least it's not actively disturbing, like when hackneyed American voices with little (or the wrong) feeling come out of mouths that are moving completely differently. Also, I like hearing the language be spoken. I like the sound of French voices in French movies. It's what the movie is supposed to sound like. Just as westerns sound right with American voices.
Maybe I'm weird, but I can barely watch the subtitled version. Therefore, I wouldn't recommend it (2 stars perhaps). But the movie itself is wonderful! Don't buy the video, but do go see it in the theater if you get the chance.
Apparently Warner had the rights to the film for 30 years, which ended May 24, 2003. Warner released this DVD in the US on March 18, 2003, and the Truffaut heirs say this was knowingly done to get in before the deadline. Apparently excess stocks of books and movies are usually allowed to be sold even after rights have been lost. However, the Truffaut estate claims Warner released this DVD so close to the expiration of their rights that they are abusing this. They want a large amount of money and for the DVD to be pulled from stores, because they say Truffaut and his estate never got much if any money from Warner Bros.
However this gets resolved, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see this well made DVD, which finally offers the film in the original French, just quietly disappear from the market at some point soon. If you want it, pick it up now, before it's going for $100 at ebay.