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November Criterion releases

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#1 of 90 Brian PB

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Posted August 23 2005 - 05:38 AM

Release dates, specs, and prices are available on the Image website (but no artwork yet):

Ugetsu 11/08/05 $39.95
The great Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi draws on sources from both East and West for this, his crowning achievement. Set in sixteenth-century Japan, a period of bloody civil war, the film is equally rooted in the postwar psyche of 1950s Japan. Focusing on an ambitious potter haunted by a beautiful ghost and a farmer who dreams of becoming a samurai, the film offers a commentary on the delusions of lust and power, the folly of war, and the stoic suffering of women. Renowned cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa helps Mizoguchi seamlessly interweave the supernatural with reality, resulting in one of the most beautiful films of all time.

Criterion's double-disc edition will feature audio commentary by critic Tony Rayns, a two-and-a-half hour documentary on Mizoguchi by Kaneto Shindo, a new interview with director Masahiro Shinoda on the film, new interviews with first assistant director Tokuzo Tanaka and Miyagawa on their work on the film, trailers, a booklet featuring the original stories on which the film was based, and more.

Ran 11/22/05 $39.95
Legendary director Akira Kurosawa re-imagines Shakespeare's tragic King Lear as a singular historical epic set in sixteenth-century Japan. Tatsuya Nakadai (The Sword of Doom, Kagemusha) stars as Lord Hidetora, a warlord who cedes authority over his vast dominion to his eldest son, setting off a familial power struggle for control of his kingdom. Majestic in scope, Ran is a visual masterpiece in which Kurosawa contrasts the immensity of war with the crumbling of one family under the weight of betrayal, greed, and the insatiable thirst for power.

Criterion's magnificent two-disc edition will include not only a newly-restored transfer, but also A.K., Chris Marker's 74-minute documentary on Kurosawa's craft in making the film; an introduction by filmmaker Sidney Lumet; a half-hour Toho documentary on the making of the film; a half-hour video piece reconstructing the film through Kurosawa's paintings and sketches; a new interview with star Tatsuya Nakadai; and more.

Tales of Hoffmann 11/22/05 $39.95
In Jacques Offenbach's fantasy opera, the poet E.T.A. Hoffmann dreams of three women - a mechanical performing doll, a bejeweled siren who steals his reflection, and the consumptive daughter of a famous composer - all of whom break his heart in different ways. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger create a phantasmagoric marriage of cinema and opera in their one-of-a-kind take on this classic story. Feverishly romantic, The Tales of Hoffmann is a feast of music, dance, and visual effects - one of the most exhilarating film adaptations of an opera ever produced.

Criterion's long-awaited DVD (one of our most requested titles) will feature audio commentary by Martin Scorsese & film historian Bruce Eder, a new introduction to the film by director and fan George A. Romero, Michael Powell's short musical film The Sorcerer's Apprentice, a rare collection of production design sketches and paintings, the trailer, and more.

#2 of 90 Gordon McMurphy

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Posted August 23 2005 - 06:39 AM

Yeah, I heard about this over at the Criterion Forums. An amazing line up and, hopefully, Bresson's, Pickpocket will also be part of the November line-up.

#3 of 90 Haggai



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Posted August 23 2005 - 06:39 AM

Great news! Ran is certainly a favorite, and I'm definitely excited to get to see Ugetsu and Tales of Hoffman.

I wonder what commentary track(s) they'll have on Ran. The Wellspring edition (which I never saw) had a couple, including one by Stephen Prince. I guess it remains to be seen if they'll get either of those?

#4 of 90 Brook K

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Posted August 23 2005 - 08:30 AM

I'll be buying all 3. Great to hear they're including Marker's documentary as well.
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#5 of 90 Jim_K


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Posted August 23 2005 - 10:14 AM

I'll be picking up Ran for sure. Posted Image Now where's that Seven Samurai redux?!!

As much as I liked Ugetsu I don't know if I'll be shelling out the big Criterion bucks for it. Especially with so much other stuff coming out in the fall.

Don't think Tales of the Hoffmann would be my cup 'o tea even though I'm a big fan of the Archer's. Definitely a rental.
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#6 of 90 PaulP



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Posted August 23 2005 - 10:16 AM


Man, this fall is EXPENSIVE...

#7 of 90 oscar_merkx


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Posted August 23 2005 - 10:42 AM

Ran is the one that springs to mind so far
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#8 of 90 george kaplan

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Posted August 23 2005 - 10:58 AM

"Movies should be like amusement parks. People should go to them to have fun." - Billy Wilder

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"My films are not slices of life, they are pieces of cake." - Alfred Hitchcock"My great humility is just one of the many reasons that I...

#9 of 90 Tim_C


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Posted August 23 2005 - 11:55 AM

Wow, best month for Criterion releases I've seen in quite awhile. All three of these are definite buys for me.

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#10 of 90 Damin J Toell

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Posted August 23 2005 - 01:29 PM

Tales of Hoffman is a spectacular announcement, and I'm very pleased that they've gotten George Romero to participate, as this is his favorite film.


#11 of 90 Adam_S



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Posted August 23 2005 - 02:13 PM

oh man am I excited, I could only be happier if they'd also announced A Matter of Life and Death, but I saw Ugetsu and let out a whoop of joy. Ran I'm not as excited about but both those titles just hopped to the top of my fall list, it's a shame I can't get them all, damn this fall will be hard with all the great releases coming out... I may have to knock off Ben Hur from my christmas list in favor of Ugestsu since it's technically half a double dip (I don't have the silent, but I have the regular release). Tales of Hoffman I really want to see, but I think I'll netflix it or catch it on TCM's michael powell tribute (if it plays) first.

wow, after months of 'eh' titles (see George's sigh) a really incredible lineup!

Now where's those Ozu and Mizoguchi thirties films, Sisters of Gion and I was Born But... please please criterion?

#12 of 90 Steve Y

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Posted August 23 2005 - 03:14 PM

Wow, am I glad I sold both my versions of Ran! The first was horrendous and the "remastered" was mediocre. Here's hoping for the third-time charm -- we are talking about Criterion, after all.

I haven't seen "Ugetsu" but it comes highly recommended. "Tales of Hoffman" is also a must-buy ... especially if you liked "The Red Shoes". Damn, this is going to be an expensive Fall. This happens to me every year...


#13 of 90 Lord Dalek

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Posted August 23 2005 - 03:46 PM

I wonder how Ran's color pallet will turn out this time seeing as all other releases look quite different from each other.

#14 of 90 David Jay

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Posted August 23 2005 - 04:01 PM

I was hoping for more, like the Pickpocket that was announced on the Bresson site for November. I saw Ugetsu on IFC a while back and wasn't too impressed, but maybe I need to see it again because I barely remember anything about it. I just sold my Ran Masterworks disc to a friend, so it's nice to know I can replace it soon. Haven't seen many Powell and Pressburger films, but Tales of Hoffman sounds good, so I may give it a spin.

November is right before Christmas, I hope that they have more than 3 titles lined up. (Wow, am I a Criterion whore or what?)

#15 of 90 Jeff Newcomb

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Posted August 25 2005 - 02:21 PM

Posted Image

Posted Image

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#16 of 90 Brian PB

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Posted August 25 2005 - 04:00 PM

November is right before Christmas, I hope that they have more than 3 titles lined up. (Wow, am I a Criterion whore or what?)
In addition to the posted artwork for Ugetsu (Spine #309), Ran (#316), and The Tales of Hoffmann (#317), there is a generic "Artwork Coming Soon" image for Spine #314 (though not for #315).

Speculation is that #314 will be either Pickpocket or Louis Malle's Au Revoir les enfants though, personally, I'm hoping for Tati's Playtime (if not in November, then as a bonus December release).

#17 of 90 Gordon McMurphy

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Posted August 25 2005 - 06:06 PM

WOW! Love the covers for Ugetsu and The Tales of Hoffmann. Not so sure about Ran, though.

#18 of 90 Brian PB

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Posted August 25 2005 - 07:25 PM

I have to say that I love all three covers. The Ugetsu artwork may just displace my all-time favorite Criterion cover, for Kurosawa's The Lower Depths. Extraordinarily beautiful.

As for the Ran cover, I find it very inventive. Yes, it has that Jackson Pollack-cum-Rorschach vibe, but the way the red Kanji characters of the title (which means "Chaos") emerge from within the 'chaotic' splatters of paint is quite creative. The paint blobs are also suggestive of the splattering of blood through war, while using the three primary colors represents the three sons of the story. Give it a while, Gordon: it'll grow on you.

#19 of 90 Kirk Tsai

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Posted August 25 2005 - 08:42 PM

Fantastic news. The Ran cover is my favorite in a long time.

#20 of 90 MarcoBiscotti



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Posted August 25 2005 - 11:18 PM

Brian, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for "Au Revor Les Enfants"!

And I think all the covers look fantastic as usual!