The Criterion Collection
This September, two of the greatest, as well as the most unorthodox, films about World War II will come to the Criterion Collection, in both Blu-ray and DVD editions. Terrence Malick's star-studded (Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Woody Harrelson), multiple-Oscar-nominated James Jones adaptation The Thin Red Line is a staggering accomplishment, a profoundly moving, existential trip to war's heart of darkness, set during the battle for Guadalcanal. And Nagisa Oshima's extraordinarily bold Japanese POW camp drama Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, starring David Bowie as a mysterious prisoner targeted by an obsessive camp commander, is one of the controversial director's most acclaimed and beloved films. Plus, two jazzy sixties hits—Godard's Breathless, with Jean-Paul Belmondo, celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, and Stanley Donen's Charade, starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant—come out in new Criterion Blu-ray editions.
Criterion Collection September Titles
September will also bring a new set from Eclipse. You may not have heard of Canadian director Allan King, but once you witness his amazing documentaries, you'll never forget him. One of the most overlooked filmmaking geniuses of all time, King was, like the Maysles Brothers and D. A. Pennebaker, a master of direct cinema, or, as he called his films, "actuality dramas." These gripping fly-on-the-wall studies of troubled lives, from children to the elderly, are some of the most searing works of art ever made. See why none other than Jean Renoir called King "a great artist."
BREATHLESS - BD
There was before Breathless, and there was after Breathless. Jean-Luc Godard (Band of Outsiders, Masculin féminin) burst onto the film scene in 1960 with this jazzy, free-form, and sexy homage to the American film genres that inspired him as a writer for Cahiers du cinéma. With its lack of polish, surplus of attitude, anything-goes crime narrative, and effervescent young stars Jean-Paul Belmondo (Classe tous risques, Pierrot le fou) and Jean Seberg (Saint Joan, Bonjour tristesse), Breathless helped launch the French New Wave and ensured that cinema would never be the same.
1960 • 90 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • In French with English subtitles • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• Restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by director of photography Raoul Coutard, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
• Archival interviews with director Jean-Luc Godard and actors Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, and Jean-Pierre Melville
• Video interviews with Coutard, assistant director Pierre Rissient, and filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker
• Video essays: one on Jean Seberg and one on Breathless as film criticism
• Chambre 12, Hôtel du suède, an eighty-minute documentary about the making of Breathless
• Charlotte et son Jules, a 1959 short by Godard starring Belmondo
• French theatrical trailer
• PLUS: A booklet featuring writings by Godard and film historian Dudley Andrew, François Truffaut's original film treatment, and Godard's scenario
TITLE: Breathless (BLU-RAY EDITION)
CAT. NO: CC1939BD
CHARADE - BD
In this deliciously dark comedic thriller, a trio of crooks relentlessly pursue a young American, played by Audrey Hepburn (Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany's), outfitted in gorgeous Givenchy, through Paris in an attempt to recover the fortune her dead husband stole from them. The only person she can trust is a suave, mysterious stranger, played by Cary Grant (Bringing Up Baby, North by Northwest). Director Stanley Donen (On the Town, Singin' in the Rain, Two for the Road) goes splendidly Hitchcockian for Charade, a glittering emblem of sixties style and macabre wit.
1963 • 113 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.85:1 aspect ratio
BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• Restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
• Audio commentary featuring director Stanley Donen and screenwriter Peter Stone
• Original theatrical trailer
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film historian Bruce Eder
TITLE: Charade (BLU-RAY EDITION)
CAT. NO: CC1925BD
MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE – DVD & BD
In this captivating, exhilaratingly skewed World War II drama from Nagisa Oshima (In the Realm of the Senses, Empire of Passion), David Bowie (The Man Who Fell to Earth, Basquiat) regally embodies the character Celliers, a high-ranking British officer interned by the Japanese as a POW. Music star Ryuichi Sakamoto (who also composed this film's hypnotic score) plays the camp commander, who becomes obsessed with the mysterious blond major, while Tom Conti (The Duellists; Reuben, Reuben) is British lieutenant colonel Mr. Lawrence, who tries to bridge the emotional and language divides between his captors and fellow prisoners. Also featuring actor-director Takeshi Kitano (Sonatine, Fireworks) in his first dramatic role, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence is a multilayered, brutal, at times erotic tale of culture clash that was one of Oshima's greatest successes.
1983 • 124 minutes • Color • Stereo • In English and Japanese with English subtitles • 1.78:1 aspect ratio
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• New, restored high-definition master (with DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition)
• The Oshima Gang, an original making-of featurette
• New video interviews with producer Jeremy Thomas, screenwriter Paul Mayersberg, actor Tom Conti, and actor-composer Ryuichi Sakamoto
• Hasten Slowly, an hour-long documentary about author and adventurer Laurens van der Post, whose autobiographical novel is the basis for the film
• Original theatrical trailer
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film writer Chuck Stephens and a 1983 interview with director Nagisa Oshima by Japanese film writer Tadao Sato
TITLE: Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (2-DISC DVD EDITION)
CAT. NO: CC1928D
TITLE: Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (BLU-RAY EDITION)
CAT. NO: CC1929BD
THE THIN RED LINE – DVD & BD
After directing two of the most extraordinary movies of the 1970s, Badlands and Days of Heaven, American artist Terrence Malick disappeared from the film world for twenty years, only to resurface in 1998 with this visionary adaptation of James Jones's 1962 novel about the World War II battle for Guadalcanal. A big-budget, spectacularly mounted epic, The Thin Red Line is also one of the most deeply philosophical films ever released by a major Hollywood studio, a thought-provoking meditation on man, nature, and violence. Featuring a cast of contemporary cinema's finest actors—Sean Penn (Dead Man Walking, Milk), Nick Nolte (The Prince of Tides, Affliction), Elias Koteas (Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), and Woody Harrelson (Natural Born Killers, The People vs. Larry Flynt) among them—The Thin Red Line is a kaleidoscopic evocation of the experience of combat that ranks as one of cinema's greatest war films.
1998 • 170 minutes • Color • Surround • 2.35:1 aspect ratio
DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• New, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by director Terrence Malick and cinematographer John Toll (with DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition)
• New audio commentary featuring Toll, production designer Jack Fisk, and producer Grant Hill
• Outtakes from the film
• Video interviews with several of the film's actors, including Jim Caviezel, Elias Koteas, and Sean Penn; composer Hans Zimmer; editors Billy Weber, Leslie Jones, and Saar Klein; and writer James Jones's daughter Kaylie Jones
• New video interview with casting director Dianne Crittenden, featuring original audition footage
• World War II newsreels featuring footage from Guadalcanal
• Original theatrical trailer
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic David Sterritt and a 1963 essay by James Jones on war films
TITLE: The Thin Red Line (2-DISC DVD EDITION)
CAT. NO: CC1932D
TITLE: The Thin Red Line (BLU-RAY EDITION)
CAT. NO: CC1933BD
ECLIPSE SERIES 24: THE ACTUALITY DRAMAS OF ALLAN KING
Canadian director Allan King is one of cinema's best-kept secrets. Over the course of fifty years, King shuttled between features and shorts, big-screen cinema and episodic television, comedy and drama, fiction and nonfiction. Within this remarkably varied career, it was with his cinema-verité-style documentaries—his "actuality dramas," as he called them—that he left his greatest mark on film history. These startlingly intimate studies of lives in flux—emotionally troubled children, warring spouses, and the terminally ill—are riveting, at times emotionally overwhelming, and always depicted without narration or interviews. Humane, cathartic, and important, Allan King's spontaneous portraits of the everyday demand to be seen.
FIVE-DVD BOX SET INCLUDES:
For his enthralling first feature, Allan King brought his cameras to a home for psychologically disturbed young people. Situated inside the facility like flies on the wall, we get full access to the wide spectrum of emotions displayed by twelve
fascinating children and the caregivers trying to nurture and guide them. The
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stunning Warrendale won the Prix d'art et d'essai at Cannes and a special docu¬mentary award from the National Society of Film Critics.
1967 • 101 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
A Married Couple
Billy and Antoinette Edwards let it all hang out for Allan King and crew in this jaw-dropping documentary of a marriage gone haywire that "makes John Cassavetes's Faces look like early Doris Day" (Time). Intense and hectic, frightening and funny, A Married Couple is ultimately about the eternal power struggle in romantic relationships, as well as entrenched gender roles on the cusp of change.
1969 • 96 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
Come On Children
In the early 1970s, ten teenagers (five boys and five girls) leave behind parents, school, and all other authority figures to live on a farm for ten weeks. What emerges in front of Allan King's cameras is the fears, hopes, and alienation of a disillusioned generation. Come On Children is a swiftly paced, vivid rendering of one of the twentieth century's most remarkable—and ultimately directionless—countercultures.
1972 • 95 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.66:1 aspect ratio
Dying at Grace
An extraordinary, transformative experience, Allan King's Dying at Grace is quite simply unprecedented: five terminally ill cancer patients allowed the director access to their final months and days inside the Toronto Grace Health Care Center. The result is an unflinching, enormously empathetic contemplation of death, featuring a handful of the most memorable people ever captured on film.
2003 • 143 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.77:1 aspect ratio
Memory for Max, Claire, Ida and Company
Allan King brings us close to the people who reside and work in a home for geriatric care in this beautifully conceived, powerful documentary. For four months, King follows the daily routines of eight patients suffering from dementia and memory loss; the result is searing, compassionate drama that can bring to the viewer a greater understanding of his or her loved ones.
2005 • 112 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.78:1 aspect ratio
TITLE: Eclipse Series 24: The Actuality Dramas of Allan King
CAT. NO: ECL109
Eclipse presents a selection of lost, forgotten, or overshadowed films in simple, affordable editions. Each series is a brief cinematheque retrospective for the adventurous home viewer.
Attention Canada: Eclipse Series 24: The Actuality Dramas of Allan King is US only. BREATHLESS BD is English Speaking Canada only. CHARADE BD, MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE DVD & BD & THE THIN RED LINE DVD & BD, are available in all Canada.
The Criterion Collection
June 22, 2010, 5:48 pm - PR
Keywords: criterion, dvd, blu-ray