This DVD marks the first appearance of Rene Clement's critically-acclaimed Gervaise in any high-end video format outside of France (where it was released several years ago). The Essential Art House Collection is a creation of Janus Films, the company behind The Criterion Collection, and the name "essential art house" actually carries two meanings -- yes, every film represented in it was an art-house cinema staple of the 1940's, 1950's, 1960's, or 1970's; and the presentation takes the movie down to its essentials -- there are none of the frills, whistles or bells that one associates with Criterion Collection DVDs, such as commentary tracks, outtakes, unmixed music tracks etc.; just, as in this case, a well-nigh perfect print of the film in question. And in this case, as with most of the films in this series, the movie is more than enough, especially presented in the manner it is -- this reviewer has known Gervaise since it first turned up (dubbed into English) on WOR-Channel 9's "Million Dollar Movie" in the mid-1960's, and this is easily the best looking presentation of this that we've ever seen. The full-screen image (1.33-to-1) is crisp, rich in contrast, and razor-sharp. Earlier presentations made the film look much older than it actually was, even in the early 1960's. And the sound is unexpectedly loud and robust, which delineates the dialogue far better as well as giving Georges Auric's score better play than ever before. Additionally, the 21 chapters are just right for the highly literate script in this 117 minute movie. And, finally, with that running time of 117 minutes, this marks the first time that Gervaise has been presented in the United States its uncut form. There are, in keeping with Essential Art House's underlying policy, no bonus features, but for those who've long wished for a proper presentation of this movie, none are essential.