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Feb 152021
 

January 2021 | February 2021 | March 2021 | April 2021 | May 2021
 

January 5

• Captain Newman, M.D.

(1963) From David Miller, the director of “Sudden Fear,” “Midnight Lace,” “Lonely Are the Brave” and” Executive Action,” comes this realistic look at life and love inside a stateside military hospital’s psychiatric ward during World War II, starring screen great Gregory Peck. This classic comedy-drama follows the affable Captain Newman (Peck) as he uses both humor and compassion to reach patients whose wartime injuries plague their minds instead of their bodies. Co-starring Tony Curtis, Angie Dickinson, Eddie Albert, Robert Duvall, Dick Sargent and Bobby Darin, this critically acclaimed film is just what the doctor ordered. Captain Newman, M.D. was nominated for three Oscars: Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Darin), Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Richard L. Breen, Phoebe Ephron, Henry Ephron) and Best Sound (Waldon O. Watson). Extras: new audio commentary by film historian Samm Deighan, theatrical trailer. (Kino Lorber Studio Classics).

• Three Films By Luis Buñuel

More than four decades after he took a razorblade to an eyeball and shocked the world with “Un chien andalou,” arch-iconoclast Luis Buñuel capped his astonishing career with three final provocations — “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie,” “The Phantom of Liberty” and “That Obscure Object of Desire” — in which his renegade, free-associating surrealism reached its audacious, self-detonating endgame. Working with such key collaborators as screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière and his own frequent on-screen alter ego Fernphoto for Three Films By Luis Buñuelando Rey, Buñuel laced his scathing attacks on religion, class pretension, and moral hypocrisy with savage violence to create a trio of subversive, brutally funny masterpieces that explore the absurd randomness of existence. Among the director’s most radical works as well as some of his greatest international triumphs, these films cemented his legacy as cinema’s most incendiary revolutionary. THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE (1972): Buñuel’s deliciously satiric masterpiece, an upper-class sextet sits down to a dinner that is continually delayed, their attempts to eat thwarted by vaudevillian events both actual and imagined, including terrorist attacks, military maneuvers, and ghostly apparitions. Stringing together a discontinuous, digressive series of absurdist set pieces, Buñuel and his screenwriting partner Jean-Claude Carrière send a cast of European-film greats — including Fernando Rey, Stéphane Audran, Delphine Seyrig, and Jean-Pierre Cassel — through a maze of desire deferred, frustrated, and interrupted. THE PHANTOM OF LIBERTY (1974): Buñuel’s vision of the inherent absurdity of human social rituals reaches its taboo-annihilating extreme in what may be his most morally subversive and formally audacious work. Zigzagging across time and space, from the Napoleonic era to the present day, “The Phantom of Liberty” unfolds as a picaresque, its main character traveling between tableaux in a series of Dadaist non sequiturs. Unbound by the laws of narrative logic, Buñuel lets his surrealist’s id run riot in an exuberant revolt against bourgeois rationality that seems telegraphed directly from his unconscious to the screen. THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE (1977): Buñuel’s final film brings full circle the director’s lifelong preoccupation with the darker side of desire. Buñuel regular Fernando Rey plays Mathieu, an urbane widower, tortured by his lust for the elusive Conchita. With subversive flair, Buñuel uses two different actors in the latter role — Carole Bouquet, a sophisticated French beauty, and Ángela Molina, a Spanish coquette. Drawn from the surrealist favorite Pierre Louÿs’s classic erotic novel “La femme et le pantin (The Woman and the Puppet,” 1898), “That Obscure Object of Desire” is a dizzying game of sexual politics punctuated by a terror that harks back to Buñuel’s avant-garde beginnings. Formats: Blu-ray, with new high-definition digital restorations of all three films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks. Extras: “The Castaway of Providence Street,” a 1971 homage to Luis Buñuel made by his longtime friends and fellow filmmakers Arturo Ripstein and Rafael Castanedo; “Speaking of Buñuel,” a documentary from 2000 on Buñuel’s life and work; “Once Upon a Time: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie,” a 2011 television program about the making of the film; interviews from 2000 with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière on “The Phantom of Liberty” and “That Obscure Object of Desire”; archival interviews on all three films featuring Carrière, actors Stéphane Audran, Muni, Michel Piccoli, and Fernando Rey, and other key collaborators; documentary from 1985 about producer Serge Silberman, who worked with Buñuel on five of his final seven films; “Analysis of The Phantom of Liberty” from 2017 by film scholar Peter William Evans; “Lady Doubles,” a 2017 documentary featuring actors Carole Bouquet and Ángela Molina, who share the role of Conchita in “That Obscure Object of Desire”; “Portrait of an Impatient Filmmaker, Luis Buñuel,” a 2012 short documentary featuring director of photography Edmond Richard and assistant director Pierre Lary; excerpts from Jacques de Baroncelli’s 1929 silent film “La femme et le pantin,” an adaptation of Pierre Louÿs’s 1898 novel of the same name, on which “That Obscure Object of Desire” is also based; alternate English-dubbed soundtrack for “That Obscure Object of Desire”; trailers; essays by critic Adrian Martin and novelist and critic Gary Indiana, along with interviews with Buñuel by critics José de la Colina and Tomás Pérez Turrent. (The Criterion Collection).

January 26

• The Court Jester 65th Anniversary Edition

(1956) The outrageous comedy was originally shot in Paramount’s trademark “VistaVision” widescreen format, capturing a grander scope of information on the film negative. For this new restoration, the original negative was scanned at 6K photo for The Court Jester 65th Anniversary Edition BLU-RAY DEBUT and one of the “separation masters” was also scanned and recombined with the negative scans to address color fading in the negative. The result is an incredibly vibrant picture that faithfully captures the colors and textures of Edith Head’s sensational costumes and Hal Pariera’s sparkling art direction. Danny Kaye earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor – Comedy or Musical for his leading role in this comic farce, which was added to the National Film Registry in 2004 and included on the AFI’s list of the 100 Funniest American Movies of All Time. The limited-edition Paramount Presents Blu-ray is presented in collectible packaging that includes a foldout image of the film’s theatrical poster, and an interior spread with key movie moments. Danny Kaye is the kind-hearted entertainer Hawkins who disguises himself as the legendary king of court jesters, Giacomo, to help a Robin-Hood-like The Fox unseat an evil ruler who has overthrown the rightful King. Hawkins infiltrates the usurper’s court, headed up by an evil villain (Basil Rathbone), but when a sorceress hypnotizes him, royal chaos ensues. Alternating identities at the snap of a finger, between swordplay and wordplay, Kaye’s comic genius shines through. The stellar supporting cast includes Glynis Johns, Angela Lansbury, Mildred Natwick, Cecil Parker, and John Carradine. Formats: Blu-ray, Digital copy. Extras: “Filmmaker Focus” with film historian Leonard Maltin, theatrical trailer. (Paramount Presents).

February 9

• Elizabethtown

(2005) Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin, Judy Greer, Jessica Biel. The limited-edition Paramount Presents Blu-ray Disc includes the film newly remastered from a 4K transfer supervised by Cameron Crowe. The disc is presented in collectible packaging that includes a foldout image of the film’s theatrical poster, and an interior spread with key movie moments. A heartfelt romance set against a fantastic rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack. Hot-shot designer Drew Baylor’s (Bloom) life becomes completely unraveled when he loses his father and his job on one fateful day. En route to Elizabethtown to visit his family, Drew meets Claire (Dunst). She’s beautiful, unstoppably positive, and just the gal to guide Drew on his journey back home and to teach him what it means to live and love along the way. Extras: New “Filmmaker Focus” with Crowe, never-before-seen deleted scenes, an alternate ending with an introduction by Crowe, deleted and extended scenes with an introduction by Crowe, “On the Road to Elizabethtown,” “The Music of Elizabethtown,” “Meet the Crew” featurette, “Training Wheels” featurette, photo gallery, more. (Paramount Presents).

• The Parallax View

(1974) Perhaps no director tapped into the pervasive sense of dread and photo for The Parallax Viewmistrust that defined the 1970s more effectively than Alan J. Pakula, who, in the second installment of his celebrated Paranoia Trilogy (after “Klute,” 1971 and before “All the President’s Men, 1976), offers a chilling vision of America in the wake of the assassinations of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King Jr. and about to be shocked by Watergate. Three years after witnessing the murder of a leading senator atop Seattle’s Space Needle, reporter Joseph Frady (Warren Beatty) begins digging into the mysterious circumstances surrounding the killing — and stumbles into a labyrinthine conspiracy far more sinister than he could have imagined. “The Parallax View’s” coolly stylized, shadow-etched compositions by acclaimed cinematographer Gordon Willis give visual expression to a mood that begins as an anxious whisper and ends as a scream into the void. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray, with new, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras: New introduction by filmmaker Alex Cox; interviews with director Alan J. Pakula from 1974 and 1995; new program on cinematographer Gordon Willis featuring an interview with Willis from 2004; new interview with Jon Boorstin, assistant to Pakula on “The Parallax View”; an essay by critic Nathan Heller and a 1974 interview with Pakula. (The Criterion Collection).

March 16

• Céline and Julie Go Boating

(1974) Whiling away a summer in Paris, director Jacques Rivette, working in photo for Céline and Julie Go Boatingclose collaboration with his stars and co-conspirators Juliet Berto and Dominique Labourier, set out to rewrite the rules of cinema in the spirit of pure play—moviemaking as an anything-goes romp through the labyrinths of imagination. The result is one of the most exuberantly inventive and utterly enchanting films of the French New Wave, in which Julie (Labourier), a daydreaming librarian, meets Céline (Berto), an enigmatic magician, and together they become the heroines of a time-warping adventure involving a haunted house, psychotropic candy, and a murder-mystery melodrama. Incorporating allusions to everything from Lewis Carroll to Louis Feuillade, “Céline and Julie Go Boating” is both one of the all-time-great hangout comedies and a totally unique, enveloping cinematic dream space that delights in the endless pleasures and possibilities of stories. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray, with new 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras: Audio commentary from 2017 featuring critic Adrian Martin; “Jacques Rivette: Le veilleur,” a 1994 two-part feature documentary by Claire Denis, featuring an extensive interview with Rivette by film critic Serge Daney; new interviews with actor Bulle Ogier and producer and actor Barbet Schroeder; new conversation between critic Pacôme Thiellement and Hélène Frappat, author of “Jacques Rivette, secret compris”; archival interviews with Rivette, Ogier, and actors Juliet Berto, Dominique Labourier, and Marie-France Pisier; an essay by critic Beatrice Loayza and a 1974 piece by Berto. (The Criterion Collection).

March 23

• World of Wong Kar Wai

With his lush and sensual visuals, pitch-perfect soundtracks, and soulful romanticism, Wong Kar Wai has established himself as one of the defining auteurs photo for World of Wong Kar Waiof contemporary cinema. Joined by such key collaborators as cinematographer Christopher Doyle; editor and production and costume designer William Chang Suk Ping; and actors Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Maggie Cheung Man Yuk, Wong (or WKW, as he is often known) has written and directed films that have enraptured audiences and critics worldwide and inspired countless other filmmakers with their poetic moods and music, narrative and stylistic daring, and potent themes of alienation and memory. Whether they’re tragically romantic, soaked in blood, or quirkily comedic, the seven films collected here are an invitation into the unique and wistful world of a deeply influential artist. Seven Blu-ray Special Edition Collector’s Set features new 4K digital restorations of “As Tears Go By” (1998) and “Days of Being Wild” (1990) with uncompressed monaural soundtracks, and 4K digital restorations of “Chungking Express” (1994), “Fallen Angels” (1995), “Happy Together” (1997), “In the Mood for Love” (2000) and “2046” (2004), approved by director Wong Kar Wai, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks. Extras: New program in which Wong answers questions submitted, at the invitation of the director, by authors André Aciman and Jonathan Lethem, filmmakers Sofia Coppola, Rian Johnson, Lisa Joy, and Chloé Zhao, cinematographers Philippe Le Sourd and Bradford Young, and filmmakers and founders/creative directors of Rodarte Kate and Laura Mulleavy; alternate version of “Days of Being Wild” featuring different edits of the film’s prologue and final scenes, on home video for the first time; “Hua yang de nian hua,” a 2000 short film by Wong; extended version of “The Hand,” a 2004 short film by Wong, available in the U.S. for the first time; interview and “cinema lesson” with Wong from the 2001 Cannes Film Festival; three making-of documentaries, featuring interviews with Wong, actors Maggie Cheung Man Yuk, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Chang Chen, Faye Wong, and Ziyi Zhang, and others; episode of the television series “Moving Pictures” from 1996 featuring Wong and cinematographer Christopher Doyle; interviews from 2002 and 2005 with Doyle; excerpts from a 1994 British Film Institute audio interview with Cheung on her work in “Days of Being Wild”; program from 2012 on “In the Mood for Love’s” soundtrack; press conference for “In the Mood for Love” from the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival; deleted scenes, alternate endings, behind-the-scenes footage, a promo reel, music videos, and trailers; deluxe packaging, including a perfect-bound, French-fold book featuring lavish photography, an essay by critic John Powers, a director’s note, and six collectible art prints. Read more on each film here. (The Criterion Collection).

March 30

• Defending Your Life

(1991) Is there love after death? Acerbic everyman Albert Brooks finds a perfect photo for Defending Your Lifebalance between satirical bite and romantic-comedy charm as the writer, director, and star of this wonderfully warm and imaginative existential fantasy. After he dies suddenly, the hapless advertising executive Daniel Miller (Brooks) finds himself in Judgment City, a gleaming way station where the newly deceased must prove they lived a life of sufficient courage to advance in their journey through the universe. As the self-doubting Daniel struggles to make his case, a budding relationship with the uninhibited Julia (Meryl Streep) offers him a chance to finally feel alive. Buoyed by a brilliant supporting cast that includes Rip Torn, Lee Grant, and Buck Henry, “Defending Your Life” is a rare feat of personal, philosophical filmmaking that happens to also be divinely entertaining. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Albert Brooks, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras: New conversation between Brooks and filmmaker Robert Weide; new interview on the afterlife with theologian and critic Donna Bowman; new program featuring excerpts from 1991 interviews with Brooks and actors Lee Grant and Rip Torn; trailer; an essay by filmmaker Ari Aster. (The Criterion Collection).

• The Greatest Show On Earth

(1952) Cecil B. DeMille’s Academy Award-winning film captures the thrills, chills and exhilaration of the circus. Featuring three intertwining plotlines filled with romance and rivalry, the film includes spectacular action sequences, including a show-stopping train wreck, and boasts a sensational cast, including Betty Hutton, Cornel Wilde, Charlton Heston, Dorothy Lamour, Gloria Grahame, and James Stewart. Newly restored from a 4K scan of the original negative, in collectible packaging with a foldout image of the film’s theatrical poster and an interior spread with key movie moments. Extras: New Filmmaker Focus with film historian Leonard Maltin, exploring the making of the film and its reception; Digital copy of the film. (Paramount).

• Secrets & Lies

(1996) Writer-director Mike Leigh reached new levels of expressive power and intricacy in his ongoing contemplation of unembellished humanity with this photo for Secrets & Liesresonant exploration of the deceptions, small and large, that shape our relationships to those we love. When Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), a black optometrist who was adopted as a child, begins the search for her birth mother, she doesn’t expect that it will lead her to Cynthia (Brenda Blethyn), a desperately lonely white factory worker whose tentative embrace of her long-lost daughter sends shock waves through the rest of her already fragile family. Born from a painstaking process of rehearsal and improvisation with a powerhouse ensemble cast, “Secrets & Lies” is a Palme d’Or–winning tour de force of sustained tension and catharsis that lays bare the emotional fault lines running beneath the surface of everyday lives. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray, with new 2K digital restoration, supervised by director Mike Leigh and director of photography Dick Pope, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras: New conversation with Leigh and composer Gary Yershon; new interview with actor Marianne Jean-Baptiste; audio interview with Leigh from 1996 conducted by film critic Michel Ciment; trailer. (The Criterion Collection).

April 20

• The Furies

(1950) Barbara Stanwyck and Walter Huston are at their fierce finest in this crackling western melodrama by master Hollywood craftsman Anthony Mann. In 1870s photo for The Furies BLU-RAY DEBUTNew Mexico Territory, megalomaniacal widowed ranch owner T. C. Jeffords (Huston, in his final role) butts heads with his firebrand of a daughter, Vance (Stanwyck), over her dowry, choice of husband, and, finally, ownership of the land itself. Sophisticated in its view of frontier settlement and ablaze with searing domestic drama, The Furies is an often-overlooked treasure of American filmmaking, boasting Oscar–nominated cinematography and vivid supporting turns from Judith Anderson, Wendell Corey, and Gilbert Roland. With high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. Extras: Audio commentary from 2008 featuring film historian Jim Kitses; new program featuring critic Imogen Sara Smith; “The Movies: Action Speaks Louder Than Words,” a 1967 television interview with director Anthony Mann; rare on-camera interview with actor Walter Huston, made for the movie-theater series “Intimate Interviews” in 1931; interview from 2008 with Nina Mann, the director’s daughter; trailer; an essay by critic Robin Wood and a 1957 “Cahiers du cinéma” interview with Mann, as well as a new printing of the 1948 novel by Niven Busch on which the film is based. (The Criterion Collection).

April 27

• Irma Vep

(1996 — France) The live-wire international breakthrough of Olivier Assayas stars a magnetic Maggie Cheung as a version of herself: a Hong Kong action-movie photo for Irma Vepstar who arrives in Paris to play the latex-clad lead in a remake of Louis Feuillade’s classic silent crime serial “Les vampires.” What she finds is a behind-the-scenes tangle of barely controlled chaos as egos clash, romantic attractions simmer, and an obsessive director (a cannily cast Jean-Pierre Léaud) drives himself to the brink to realize his vision. Blending blasts of silent cinema, martial-arts flicks, and the music of Sonic Youth and Luna into a hallucinatory swirl of postmodern cool, Assayas composes a witty critique of the nineties French film industry and the eternal tension between art and commercial entertainment. With New 2K digital restoration from the original camera negative, approved by director Olivier Assayas, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Extras: New interview with Assayas; “On the Set of Irma Vep,” a behind-the-scenes featurette; interview from 2003 with Assayas and critic Charles Tesson; interview from 2003 with actors Maggie Cheung and Nathalie Richard; “Musidora, the Tenth Muse” (2013), a documentary on the actor who originated the role of “Irma Vep”; “Les vampires: Hypnotic Eyes” (1916), the sixth episode in Louis Feuillade’s silent-film serial; “Man Yuk: A Portrait of Maggie Cheung,” a 1997 short film by Assayas; black-and-white rushes for the film; an essay by critic Aliza Ma. (The Criterion Collection).

• Masculin féminin

(1966 — France) With “Masculin féminin,” the ruthless stylist and iconoclast Jean-Luc Godard introduces the world to “the children of Marx and Coca-Cola,” photo for Masculin féminin BLU-RAY DEBUTthrough a gang of restless youths engaged in hopeless love affairs with music, revolution, and one another. French New Wave icon Jean-Pierre Léaud stars as Paul, an idealistic would-be intellectual struggling to forge a relationship with the adorable pop star Madeleine (real-life yé-yé girl Chantal Goya). Through their tempestuous affair, Godard fashions a candid and wildly funny free-form examination of youth culture in pulsating 1960s Paris, mixing satire and tragedy as only Godard can. With new 4K digital restoration, approved by cinematographer Willy Kurant, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. Extras: Interview from 1966 with actor Chantal Goya; interviews from 2004 and 2005 with Goya, Kurant, and Jean-Luc Godard collaborator Jean-Pierre Gorin; discussion of the film from 2004 between film critics Freddy Buache and Dominique Païni; footage from Swedish television of Godard directing the “film within the film” scene; trailers; an essay by film critic Adrian Martin and a reprint of a report from the set by French journalist Philippe Labro. (The Criterion Collection).

May 4

• Trances

(1981 — Morocco/France) The groundbreaking Moroccan band Nass El Ghiwane is the dynamic subject of this captivating, one-of-a-kind documentary by Ahmed El photo for TrancesMaanouni, who filmed the four musicians during a series of electrifying live performances in Tunisia, Morocco, and France; on the streets of Casablanca; and in intimate conversations. Storytellers through song and traditional instruments, and with connections to political theater, the band became a local phenomenon and an international sensation, thanks to its rebellious lyrics and sublime, fully acoustic sound, which draws on Berber rhythms, Malhun sung poetry, and Gnawa dances. Both a concert movie and a free-form audiovisual experiment, bolstered by images of the band’s rapt audience.
Formats: DVD, Blu-ray, with 2K digital restoration courtesy of The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project in collaboration with the Cineteca di Bologna, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras: Introduction from 2013 by The Film Foundation’s founder and chair, Martin Scorsese; interview program from 2013 featuring director Ahmed El Maanouni, producer Izza Génini, musician Omar Sayed, and Scorsese; an essay by film scholar Sally Shafto. (The Criterion Collection).

May 11

• Merrily We Go to Hell

(1932) Addiction, nonmonogamy, and female sexual liberation: decades before such ideas were widely discussed, Dorothy Arzner, the only woman to work as a photo for Merrily We Go to Hell director in 1930s Hollywood, brought them to the screen with striking frankness, sophistication, and wit — a mature treatment that stands out even in the pre-Code era. Fredric March (in one of four collaborations with Arzner) and Sylvia Sidney turn in extraordinary performances as the urbane couple whose relationship is pushed to the breaking point by his alcoholism and wandering eye — leading them into an emotionally explosive experiment with an open marriage. Exposing the hypocrisies and petty cruelties simmering beneath the surface of high-society elegance, “Merrily We Go to Hell” is a scathing early-feminist commentary on modern marriage. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray, with new, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras: “Dorothy Arzner: Longing for Women,” a 1983 documentary by Katja Raganelli and Konrad Wickler; new video essay by film historian Cari Beauchamp; an essay by film scholar Judith Mayne. (The Criterion Collection).

May 18

• Flowers of Shanghai

(1998 — China) An intoxicating, time-bending experience bathed in the golden glow of oil lamps and wreathed in an opium haze, this gorgeous period reverie by photo for Flowers of ShanghaiHou Hsiao-hsien traces the romantic intrigue, jealousies, and tensions swirling around four late-19-century Shanghai “flower houses,” where the courtesans live confined to a gilded cage, ensconced in opulent splendor but forced to work to buy back their freedom. Among the regular clients is the taciturn Master Wang (Tony Leung Chiu-wai), whose relationship with his longtime mistress (Michiko Hada) is roiled by a perceived act of betrayal. Composed in a languorous procession of entrancing long takes, “Flowers of Shanghai” evokes a vanished world of decadence and cruelty, an insular universe where much of the dramatic action remains tantalizingly offscreen — even as its emotional fallout registers with quiet devastation. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray, with new, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by director Hou Hsiao-hsien and director of photography Mark Lee Ping-bing, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras: New introduction by critic Tony Rayns; “Beautified Realism,” a new documentary by Daniel Raim and Eugene Suen on the making of the film, featuring behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Lee, producer and editor Liao Ching-sung, production designer Huang Wen-ying, and sound recordist Tu Duu-chih; excerpts from a 2015 interview with Hou, recorded for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Oral History Project; trailer; an essay by film scholar Jean Ma and a 2009 interview with Hou conducted by scholar Michael Berry. (The Criterion Collection).

May 25

• Nightmare Alley

(1947) Darkness lurks behind the bright lights of a traveling carnival in one of the most haunting and perverse film noirs of the 1940s. Adapted from the photo for Nightmare Alleyscandalous best seller by William Lindsay Gresham, “Nightmare Alley” gave Tyrone Power a chance to subvert his matinee-idol image with a ruthless performance as Stan Carlisle, a small-time carny whose unctuous charm propels him to fame as a charlatan spiritualist, but whose unchecked ambition leads him down a path of moral degradation and self-destruction. Although its strange, sordid atmosphere shocked contemporary audiences, this long difficult-to-see reflection of postwar angst has now taken its place as one of the defining noirs of its era — a fate-fueled downward slide into existential oblivion. Co-stars Joan Blondell and Coleen Gray. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras: Audio commentary from 2005 featuring film historians James Ursini and Alain Silver; new interview with critic Imogen Sara Smith; new interview with performer and historian Todd Robbins; interview from 2007 with actor Coleen Gray; audio excerpt of a 1971 interview with Henry King in which the filmmaker discusses actor Tyrone Power; trailer; an essay by film critic and screenwriter Kim Morgan. (The Criterion Collection).

 

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