QUAI DES ORFÈVRES: A Clouzot Caper With a New 4K Restoration

French noir master H.G. Clouzot’s suspenseful, surprisingly funny film makes a Blu debut stateside courtesy of Kino Lorber Studio Classics

Kino Lorber Studio Classics has been on a delightful noir kick as of late, releasing packed, informative restorations of classics by Marcel Carne and Henri-Georges Clouzot. As a fan of such films as Daybreak and the recently-reviewed Port of Shadows, I eagerly snapped up a copy of Clouzot’s Quai des Orfèvres, a gritty little piece of work that, like the preceding titles, has gone out of print stateside.

Quai des Orfèvres takes an unusual structural approach to the policier; focusing on the hunt for the murderer of local wealthy lothario Brignon, Clouzot’s film opens with a clear reveal of who the killer is: nightclub singer Jenny Lamour, eager to advance her career at all costs. Her husband, Maurice, also had plans to off Brignon in a fit of jealous rage — but once he finds out someone’s beat him to the punch, Maurice must discover who the killer is as the evidence starts piling up against him. Quai des Orfèvres is a delightfully gritty piece of work, especially as the husband/wife duo of Jenny and Maurice play with the audience’s expectations as they navigate an unwitting Coen-esque game of cat and mouse with each other. It’s a weird combination that feels like the best of French film noir while also retaining grim slapstick qualities like a much bleaker version of The Thin Man, or a noir It Happened One Night.

While I do prefer Clouzot’s other, unabashedly bleak films more, it was refreshing to watch a French noir with as infectious of a sense of humor as Quai des Orfèvres, as well as its intriguing spin on a genre whose tropes have become so influential worldwide.

In keeping with its other recent Studiocanal titles, Kino Lorber Studio Classics has debuted a 4K restoration of Quai des Orfèvres, providing a new opportunity for noir fans to get a glimpse at another classic title in stellar A/V quality.


Kino presents Quai des Orfèvres in a 2018 4K restoration from Studiocanal making its stateside debut. While the Blu-ray is noticeably darker than previous releases, it’s overall a more nuanced and textured presentation of the film, allowing for more complex grays and shadows in the black and white cinematography. The audio shows more of its age than the video, with a healthy amount of scratch and white noise that has been cleaned up and equalized in a 2.0 DTS-HD Master audio track. While the subtitles are well-timed and convey the everyman slang of the film’s characters, it’s disappointing that Jenny Lamour’s musical numbers go untranslated for this release.

Special Features:

Kino’s Blu-ray ports over the biggest special feature from past iterations of Quai des Orfèvres — interviews from a 1971 episode of Au Cinema Ce Soir — and also includes a new commentary by critic Nick Pinkerton. Both supplements provide informative glimpses into the production of Clouzot’s film, as well as its larger themes that thankfully made it past the overly judicious post-WWII censors.

  • Audio Commentary by Film Critic Nick Pinkerton
  • Au Cinema Ce Soir: Interviews with Director Henri-Georges Clouzot and Actors Bernard Blier, Suzy Delair and Simone Renant, from the 1971 French TV program.
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Trailers for other Kino releases: Port of Shadows, Touches Pas Au Grisbi, Bob Le Flambeur, Le Doulos, La Prisonnière.

Quai des Orfèvres hits Blu-ray and DVD from Kino Lorber Studio Classics on February 25th, 2020.

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Quai des Orfèvres[Blu-ray] | [DVD]

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