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October Criterions & Eclipse - Melville, Costa-Gravas, Mizoguchi


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#1 of 16 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted July 15 2008 - 10:22 PM

No word of Blu-ray Disc releases yet. All info from criterion.com:

Le doulos (1962) - Spine #447
Jean-Pierre Melville

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The backstabbing criminals in the shadowy underworld of Jean-Pierre Melville's Le doulos have only one guiding principle: “Lie or die.” A stone-faced Jean-Paul Belmondo stars as enigmatic gangster Silien, who may or may not be responsible for squealing on Faugel (Serge Reggiani), just released from the slammer and already involved in what should have been a simple heist. By the end of this brutal, twisty, and multilayered policier, who will be left to trust? Shot and edited with Melville’s trademark cool and featuring masterfully stylized dialogue and performances, Le doulos (slang for an informant) is one of the filmmaker’s most gripping crime dramas.

Special Features

* - New, restored high-definition digital transfer
* - Selected-scene audio commentary by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau, author of Jean-Pierre Melville: An American in Paris
* - Video interviews with directors Volker Schlöndorff and Bertrand Tavernier, who served as assistant director and publicity agent, respectively, on the film
* - Archival interviews with Melville and actors Jean-Paul Belmondo and Serge Reggiani
* - Original theatrical trailer
* - New and improved subtitle translation
* - PLUS: A new essay by film critic Glenn Kenny

Film Info
1962
109 minutes
Black and white
1.66:1
Dolby Digital Mono 1.0
Anamorphic
French
Single Disc
SRP: $39.95

Le deuxieme souffle (1966) - Spine #448
Jean-Pierre Melville

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With his customary restraint and ruthless attention to detail, director Jean-Pierre Melville follows the parallel tracks of French underworld criminal Gu (the inimitable Lino Ventura), escaped from prison and roped into one last robbery, and the suave inspector, Blot (Paul Meurisse), relentlessly seeking him. The implosive Le deuxième souffle captures the pathos, loneliness, and excitement of a life in the shadows with methodical suspense and harrowing authenticity, and contains one of the most thrilling heist sequences Melville ever shot.

Special Features

* - New, restored high-definition digital transfer
* - Audio commentary by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau, author of Jean-Pierre Melville: An American in Paris, and film critic Geoff Andrew of the British Film Institute
* - New video interview with director Bertrand Tavernier, who served as publicity agent on the film
* - Archival footage featuring interviews with Melville and Lino Ventura
* - Original theatrical trailer
* - New and improved subtitle translation
* - PLUS: A new essay by film critic Adrian Danks

Film Info
1966
144 minutes
Black and white
1.66:1
Dolby Digital Mono 1.0
Anamorphic
French
Single Disc
SRP: $39.95

Missing (1982) - Spine #449
Costa-Gavras

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Missing is political filmmaker extraordinaire Costa-Gavras's compelling, controversial dramatization of the search for American journalist Charles Horman, who mysteriously disappeared during the 1973 coup in Chile. Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek give magnetic, emotionally commanding performances as Horman’s father and wife, who are led by U.S. embassy and consulate officials through a series of bureaucratic dead-ends before eventually uncovering the terrifying facts about Charles’s fate and disillusioning truths about their government. Written and directed with clarity and conscience, the Academy Award–winning Missing is a testament to Costa-Gavras's daring.

Special Features

* - New, restored high-definition digital transfer
* - Video interviews with Costa-Gavras, Joyce Horman (wife of Charles Horman), producers Edward and Mildred Lewis and Sean Daniel, and Thomas Hauser, author of Missing, the film’s source
* - Interviews from the 1982 Cannes Film Festival with Costa-Gavras, Jack Lemmon, Ed Horman (father of Charles), and Joyce Horman
* - New video essay with Peter Kornbluh, author of The Pinochet File, examining declassified documents concerning the 1973 military coup in Chile and the case of Charles Horman
* - Video highlights from the 2002 Charles Horman Truth Project event honoring the twentieth anniversary of Missing, with actors Sissy Spacek, John Shea, and Melanie Mayron
* - Theatrical trailer
* - PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Michael Wood, an interview with Costa-Gavras, the U.S. State Department’s official response to Missing, and an open letter from Horman family friend Terry Simon

Film Info
1982
122 minutes
Color
1.85:1
Dolby Digital Mono 1.0
Anamorphic
English & Spanish
2-Disc Set
SRP: $39.95

Eclipse Series 13: Kenji Mizoguchi's Fallen Women

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Over the course of a three-decade, more than eighty film career, master cineaste Kenji Mizoguchi (Ugetsu, Sansho the Bailiff) would return again and again to one abiding theme: the plight of women in male-dominated Japanese society. In these four lacerating works of socially conscious melodrama—two prewar (Osaka Elegy, Sisters of the Gion), two postwar (Women of the Night, Street of Shame)—Mizoguchi introduces an array of compelling female protagonists, crushed or resilient, who are economically and spiritually deprived by their nation’s customs and traditions. With Mizoguchi’s visual daring and eloquence, these films are as cinematically thrilling as they are politically rousing.

Film Info
Black and white
1.33:1
Dolby Digital Mono 1.0
Not Anamorphic
Japanese
4-Disc
Box Set
SRP: $59.95

Osaka Elegy (1936)

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A critical and popular triumph, Osaka Elegy established Mizoguchi as one of Japan’s major filmmakers. Mizoguchi’s often-used leading actress Isuzu Yamada stars as Ayoko, a switchboard operator trapped in a compromising, ruinous relationship with her boss, who promises her recompense for her indebted, wastrel father. With its fluid cinematography and deft storytelling, Osaka Elegy ushered in a new era of sound melodrama for Mizoguchi.

Sisters of the Gion (1936)

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Sisters of the Gion, cited by preeminent Japanese film scholar Donald Richie as "the best Japanese prewar sound film," follows the parallel paths of the independent, unsentimental Omocha (Isuzu Yamada) and her sister, the more tradition-minded Umekichi (Yoko Umemura), both geishas in the working-class district of Gion. Mizoguchi's film is a brilliantly shot, uncompromising look at the mechanisms that keep many women at the bottom rung of the social ladder.

Women of the Night (1948)

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After World War II, Mizoguchi felt compelled to make a film inspired by the current vogue of Italian neorealism, and he turned up with one of the most emotionally and visually raw films of his career. Filmed on location in Osaka, Women of the Night concerns two sisters, a widow and the wife of a narcotics smuggler, whose precipitous descent into prostitution and moral chaos evokes the postwar degradation surrounding them.

Street of Shame (1956)

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For his final film, Mizoguchi brought a lifetime of experience to bear on the poignant, heartbreaking tale of a brothel full of women whose dreams and aspirations are constantly shattered by the socioeconomic realities surrounding them. Set in Tokyo’s Red Light District (the literal translation of the Japanese title), Street of Shame was so cutting and its popularity so great that when antiprostitution laws were passed in Japan just one year later, the film was deemed a catalyst.

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Short Cuts is also getting a re-release at a lower price point:

Short Cuts (1993) - Spine #265
Robert Altman

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NOW AVAILABLE FOR ONLY $29.95!

The visions of two great American artists merge in Short Cuts, maverick director Robert Altman’s kaleidoscopic adaptation of Raymond Carver short stories. Epic in scale yet meticulously observed, the film interweaves the lives of twenty-two characters struggling to find solace and meaning in contemporary Los Angeles. The extraordinary ensemble cast includes Tim Robbins, Julianne Moore, Robert Downey, Jr., Jack Lemmon, and Jennifer Jason Leigh—all giving fearless performances in one of Altman’s most compassionate creations.

Special Features

* - DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET FEATURES:
* - DISC ONE
* - Restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by editor Geraldine Peroni and approved by director Robert Altman
* - Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack mix
* - Isolated music track
* - English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
* - DISC TWO
* - Video conversation between Robert Altman and Tim Robbins
* - Luck, Trust and Ketchup: Robert Altman in Carver Country, a feature-length documentary on the making of Short Cuts
* - To Write and Keep Kind, a PBS documentary on the life of Raymond Carver
* - A segment from BBC Television’s Moving Pictures tracing the development of the screenplay
* - One-hour 1983 audio interview with Carver, conducted for the American Audio Prose Library
* - Original demo recordings of the Doc Pomus–Mac Rebennack songs, performed by Dr. John
* - Deleted scenes
* - A look inside the marketing of Short Cuts
* - PLUS: An essay by film critic Michael Wilmington

Film Info
1993
183 minutes
Color
2.35:1
Dolby Digital 5.1
Anamorphic
English
2-Disc Set
SRP: $29.95

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Two films from the John Cassavettes set are gonna be made for available for individual release:

A Woman Under the Influence (1974) - Spine #253
John Cassavettes

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John Cassavetes’ devastating drama details the emotional breakdown of a suburban housewife and her family’s struggle to save her from herself. Starring Peter Falk and Gena Rowlands (in two of the most harrowing screen performances of the 1970s) as a married couple, deeply in love, yet unable to express their love in terms the other can understand, the film is an uncompromising portrait of domestic turmoil. The Criterion Collection is proud to present one of the benchmark films of American independent cinema—a heroic document from a true maverick director.

Special Features

* - Restored high-definition digital transfer
* - Audio commentary by longtime John Cassavetes collaborators Mike Ferris (camera operator) and Bo Harwood (sound recordist/composer)
* - Video conversation between actors Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk
* - Audio interview with Cassavetes by film historians Michel Ciment and Michael Wilson, conducted in 1975
* - Theatrical trailer
* - Stills gallery featuring rare behind-the-scenes production photos

Film Info
1974
147 minutes
Color
1.85:1
Dolby Digital Mono 1.0
Anamorphic
English
Single Disc
SRP: $39.95

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976) - Spine #254
John Cassavettes

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John Cassavetes engages film noir in his own inimitable style with The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Ben Gazzara brilliantly portrays gentlemen’s club owner Cosmo Vitelli, a man dedicated to pretenses of composure and self-possession. When he runs afoul of a small-time gangster, Cosmo is forced to commit a horrible crime in a last-ditch effort to save his beloved club and his way of life. Suspenseful, mesmerizing, and idiosyncratic, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie is a thought-provoking examination of desperation and masculine identity.

Special Features

* - Restored high-definition digital transfer of John Cassavetes’ original 1976, 135-minute edit of the film
* - Restored high-definition digital transfer of Cassavetes’ 108-minute edit from the 1978 theatrical rerelease
* - Video interviews with star Ben Gazzara and producer Al Ruban Audio interview with Cassavetes by film historians Michel Ciment and Michael Wilson, conducted after the film’s release
* - Stills gallery featuring rare, behind-the-scenes production photos

Film Info
1976
135 minutes
Color
1.85:1
Dolby Digital Mono 1.0
Anamorphic
English
2-Disc Set
SRP: $39.95

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#2 of 16 OFFLINE   Shawn.F

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Posted July 15 2008 - 11:09 PM

Missing! I can't believe they are putting that out. I LOVE that film!

C'mon Criterion, give me a BD release asap!

#3 of 16 OFFLINE   Jim_K

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Posted July 15 2008 - 11:49 PM

Looking forward to seeing the Melville and Mizoguchi titles via Netflix. Posted Image
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#4 of 16 OFFLINE   Richard--W

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Posted July 16 2008 - 02:37 AM

I have MGM's DVD of Missing, so a Criterion edition is unexpected but most welcome. I hope this is an indication that Costa-Gavras' other political thrillers, Z (oop) and State of Siege (mia), might also receive Criterion's attention in the near or immediate future.

#5 of 16 OFFLINE   oscar_merkx

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Posted July 16 2008 - 02:45 AM

Truly mind boggling what C is releasing.

I never knew that Missing was based on real events
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#6 of 16 OFFLINE   Ben Silva

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Posted July 16 2008 - 02:56 AM

I saw Le Doulos at the Film Forum last year and I loved it. Its funny because just the other day I was wondering if Criterion would be releasing it.
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#7 of 16 OFFLINE   Richard--W

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Posted July 16 2008 - 03:25 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by oscar_merkx
I never knew that Missing was based on real events
Is it ever!
Costa-Gavra pioneered the political docudrama with three films about social injustice: Z (1969), State of Siege (1973), and Missing (1981). He was a keen observer of his times, much admired by audiences and critics, and the release of one of his docudramas was quite an event. I hope Criterion's edition of Missing will draw attention to the relevance of Costa-Gavras' work today.

#8 of 16 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted July 16 2008 - 03:37 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard--W
I have MGM's DVD of Missing

Apologies in advance for being picky, but it was a Universal release; I bitched at the time about there being no fanfare, but if Criterion can get hold of this, then there's hope for Charley Varrick.

Those Melville's look scrumptious.
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#9 of 16 OFFLINE   Thomas T

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Posted July 16 2008 - 03:44 AM

The Mizoguchi box set from Eclipse has me grinning from ear to ear. What a treat! Can't wait.

#10 of 16 OFFLINE   Richard--W

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Posted July 16 2008 - 04:35 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Hodson
Apologies in advance for being picky, but it was a Universal release; I bitched at the time about there being no fanfare, but if Criterion can get hold of this, then there's hope for Charley Varrick.
I can't always keep track of who releases what. I had no complaints about the transfer but I know Criterion's transfer will be something special. With regard to Charley Varrick, don't count it, nor Colossus the Forbin Project in widescreen, for that matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Hodson
Those Melville's look scrumptious.
I just bought Le doulos and Le deuxieme souffle in region 2 editions because I finally gave up on Criterion ever releasing them. A month later, Criterion announces them. I cannot let a Criterion edition of a Melville go by, even if they are more expensive than the region 2's.

Criterion has been on a roll the past two year or so.

#11 of 16 OFFLINE   PaulP

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Posted July 16 2008 - 05:05 AM

Too bad nothing on that Missing release is about the unreleased (save one track) Vangelis score.

#12 of 16 OFFLINE   JulianK

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Posted July 16 2008 - 06:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard--W
don't count it, nor Colossus the Forbin Project in widescreen, for that matter.

Colossus TFP was recently released in the UK in widescreen format (with a director's commentary, to boot!), if that's any use to you>

#13 of 16 OFFLINE   Adam_S

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Posted July 16 2008 - 09:52 AM

The Mizoguchi release is the best news out of Criterion since they announced the silent Ozu set. I've been waiting for Osaka Elegy and Sisters of Gion for around four years now! Posted Image
 

#14 of 16 OFFLINE   Richard--W

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Posted July 16 2008 - 05:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JulianK
Colossus TFP was recently released in the UK in widescreen format (with a director's commentary, to boot!), if that's any use to you>
I've thought about buying the region 2, but lately I've found the PAL speed-up more distracting than I used to. It doesn't bother me so much in foreign-language films. Thanks for the reminder.

#15 of 16 OFFLINE   Kris Z.

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Posted July 17 2008 - 02:24 AM

Oh man, I would have bought both Melville films and Missing if they had just been on Blu-ray.

#16 of 16 OFFLINE   Bradley-E

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Posted July 17 2008 - 07:14 AM

Nice to see Universal is continuing to license Universal films. I'd like to see them add films like Sorcerer, Slap Shot, The Seven Per Cent Solution, They Might Be Giants, The List of Adrian Messenger and Lonely are the Brave to the Criterion family some day.


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