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"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Apr 152020
 
This July, Byron Haskin’s genre-defining sci-fi classic The War of the Worlds, an Oscar-winning adaptation of H. G. Wells’s influential novel, will join the Criterion Collection in a new 4K restoration. One of the most acclaimed films of 2019, Noah Baumbach’s bittersweet Marriage Story will make its home-video debut in an edition featuring behind-the-scenes footage and extensive interviews with the cast and crew. The battle of the sexes takes a breezier turn in Preston Sturges’s screwball classic The Lady Eve, starring Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck, which will appear on Blu-ray for the first time. Also making its Blu-ray debut is Abbas Kiarostami’s Palme d’Or-winning masterpiece Taste of Cherry, a gorgeously complex meditation on mortality. And that’s not all: our previously announced Blu-ray box set Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits will collect five kung-fu classics starring the international martial-arts legend, along with a dizzying array of supplemental features.

July 7: The War of the Worlds
July 14: Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits
July 14: The Lady Eve
July 21: Marriage Story
July 21: Taste of Cherry

 

The Lady Eve
Barbara Stanwyck sizzles, Henry Fonda bumbles, and Preston Sturges runs riot in one of the all-time great screwballs, a pitch-perfect blend of comic zing and swoonworthy romance. Aboard a cruise liner sailing up the coast of South America, Stanwyck’s conniving card sharp sets her sights on Fonda’s nerdy snake researcher, who happens to be the heir to a brewery fortune. But when the con artist falls for her mark, her grift becomes a game of hearts-and she is determined to win it all. One in a string of matchless comedic marvels that Sturges wrote, directed, and produced as part of a dazzling 1940s run, this gender-flipped battle-of-wits farce is perhaps his most emotionally satisfying work, tempering its sparkling wit with a streak of tender poignancy supplied by the sensational Stanwyck at her peak.

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
* New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
* Audio commentary from 2001 featuring film professor Marian Keane
* Introduction from 2001 by filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich
* Interview from 2020 with writer-director Preston Sturges’s biographer and son Tom Sturges and friends
* New video essay by film critic David Cairns
* Costume designs by Edith Head
* Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the film from 1942 featuring Barbara Stanwyck and Ray Milland
* Audio recording of “Up the Amazon,” a song from an unproduced stage musical based on the film
* English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
* PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien and a 1946 profile of Preston Sturges from LIFE magazine

1941 * 93 minutes * Black & White * Monaural * 1.37:1 aspect ratio

July 14

 

Marriage Story
A love story about divorce. A marriage coming apart and a family coming together. Marriage Story is a hilarious and harrowing, sharply observed, and deeply compassionate film from the acclaimed writer-director Noah Baumbach. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson deliver tour-de-force performances as Charlie, a charismatic New York theater director wedded to his work, and Nicole, an actor who is ready to change her own life. Their hopes for an amicable divorce fade as they are drawn into a system that pits them against each other and forces them to redefine their relationship and their family. Featuring bravura, finely drawn supporting turns from Alan Alda,Ray Liotta, and Laura Dern-who won an Academy Award for her performance here-as the trio of lawyers who preside over the legal battle, Marriage Story (nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture) is a work of both intimacy and scope that ultimately invokes hope amid the ruins.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
* New 4K digital transfer, supervised by director Noah Baumbach, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
* New interview with Baumbach
* The Players, a new program featuring interviews with actors Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Julie Hagerty, and Ray Liotta
* The Filmmakers, a new program about the production of the film, featuring interviews with Baumbach, editor Jennifer Lame, production designer Jade Healy, costume designer Mark Bridges, and producer David Heyman
* The Making of “Marriage Story,” a new program featuring behind-the-scenes footage
* New interviews with composer Randy Newman and Baumbach about the film’s score
* New program featuring Baumbach walking the viewer through a key location from the film
* Trailers
* English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
* PLUS: Notes on the film by novelist Linn Ullmann

2019 * 137 minutes * Color * 5.1 surround * 1.66:1 aspect ratio

July 21

 

Taste of Cherry
The first Iranian film to win the Palme d’Or, this austere, emotionally complex drama by the great Abbas Kiarostami follows the middle-aged Mr. Badii (Homayoun Ershadi) as he drives around the hilly outskirts of Tehran looking for someone who will agree to dispose of his body after he commits suicide, a taboo under Islam. Extended conversations with three passengers (a soldier, a seminarian, and a taxidermist) elicit different views of mortality and individual choice. Operating at once as a closely observed, realistic story and a fable populated by archetypal figures, Taste of Cherry challenges the viewer to consider what often goes unexamined in everyday life.

BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
* New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
* Project, Abbas Kiarostami’s 39-minute 1997 sketch film for Taste of Cherry, made with the director’s son Bahman Kiarostami
* New interview with Iranian film scholar Hamid Naficy
* Rare 1997 interview with Abbas Kiarostami, conducted by Iranian film scholar Jamsheed Akrami
* Trailer
* New English subtitle translation
* PLUS: An essay by critic A. S. Hamrah

1997 * 99 minutes * Color * Monaural * In Persian with English subtitles * 1.66:1 aspect ratio

BLU-RAY EDITION

July 21

 

The War of the Worlds
A mysterious, meteorlike object has landed in a small California town. All clocks have stopped. A fleet of glowing green UFOs hovers menacingly over the entire globe. The Martian invasion of Earth has begun, and it seems that nothing-neither military might nor the scientific know-how of nuclear physicist Dr. Clayton Forrester (Gene Barry)-can stop it. In the expert hands of genre specialists George Pal and Byron Haskin, H. G. Wells’s end-of-civilization classic receives a chilling Cold War-era update, complete with hallucinatory Technicolor and visionary, Oscar-winning special effects. Emblazoned with iconographic images of 1950s science fiction, The War of the Worlds is both an influential triumph of visual imagination and a still-disquieting document of the wonder and terror of the atomic age.

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
* New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
* New alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack, created by sound designer Ben Burtt and presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray
* Audio commentary from 2005 featuring filmmaker Joe Dante, film historian Bob Burns, and author Bill Warren
* Movie Archaeologists, a new program on the visual and sound effects in the film featuring Burtt and film historian Craig Barron
* From the Archive, a new program about the film’s restoration featuring Barron, Burtt, and Paramount Pictures archivist Andrea Kalas
* Audio interview with producer George Pal from 1970
* The Sky Is Falling, a 2005 documentary about the making of the film
* The Mercury Theatre on the Air radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds from 1938, directed and narrated by Orson Welles
* Radio program from 1940 featuring a discussion between Welles and H. G. Wells, author of the 1897 novel The War of the Worlds
* Trailer
* English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
* PLUS: An essay by film critic J. Hoberman

1953 * 85 minutes * Color * Monaural * 1.37:1 aspect ratio

July 7

 

Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits

In the early 1970s, a kung-fu dynamo named Bruce Lee side-kicked his way onto the screen and straight into pop-culture immortality. With his magnetic screen presence, tightly coiled intensity, and superhuman martial-arts prowess, Lee was an icon who conquered both Hong Kong and Hollywood cinema, and transformed the art of the action film in the process. This collection brings together the five films that define the Lee legend: furiously exciting fist-fliers propelled by his innovative choreography, unique martial-arts philosophy, and whirlwind fighting style. Though he completed only a handful of films while at the peak of his stardom before his untimely death at age thirty-two, Lee left behind a monumental legacy as both a consummate entertainer and a supremely disciplined artist who made Hong Kong action cinema a sensation the world over. Due July 14.

Films In This Set

The Big Boss

The Big Boss

1971

Enter a legend. Bruce Lee’s return to the Hong Kong film industry after a decade in America proved to be his big breakthrough, launching him to superstardom and setting a new standard for kung-fu heroics. In The Big Boss, he commands the screen with his gravitas and explosive physicality in the role of a Chinese immigrant working at a Thai ice factory and sworn to an oath of nonviolence. When he discovers that the factory’s ruthless higher-ups are running a secret heroin ring and offing their own workers, his commitment to pacifism is put to the test. With his undeniable charisma and fluid, lightning-fast martial-arts style, Lee is a revelation, blazing across the screen with a speed and power the likes of which had never been seen before.

    • Fist of Fury

      Fist of Fury

      1972

      Bruce Lee is at his most awe-inspiringly ferocious in this blistering follow-up to his star-making turn in The Big Boss, which turned out to be an even greater success than its predecessor. Set in 1910s Shanghai, Fist of Fury casts Lee as a martial-arts student who, after his revered master is murdered by a rival dojo of Japanese imperialists, sets out to defend the honor of both his school and the Chinese people, with his fatal fists as his weapon of choice. Elevating Lee to a hero of near folkloric proportions, this historical revenge fantasy blends its stunning action set pieces with a strong anticolonialist statement and a potent dose of the fierce cultural pride that the actor embodied.

    • The Way of the Dragon

      The Way of the Dragon

      1972

      After the back-to-back triumphs of The Big Boss and Fist of Fury, Bruce Lee was given the chance to write, produce, and direct his third outing as a martial-arts superstar. He used the opportunity to add a touch of goofily entertaining comedy to the typically action-driven proceedings in The Way of the Dragon, which finds him playing a rigorously trained martial artist who travels from Hong Kong to Rome to help his cousin, whose restaurant is being threatened by a gang of thugs. Reaching new heights of physical virtuosity, Lee unleashes an astonishing display of nunchuck-swinging, fly-kicking mayhem, all culminating in one of his most breathtaking fights: an epic gladiatorial death match with Chuck Norris in the Roman Colosseum.

    • Enter the Dragon

      Enter the Dragon

      1973

      At the height of his stardom in Hong Kong, Bruce Lee was called to Hollywood to make the film that, perhaps more than any other, defines his legacy. His electrifying fighting style and the deeply personal philosophy that guided it received their fullest expression yet in this thrilling tale of a Shaolin fighter who goes undercover to infiltrate a treacherous island presided over by a renegade monk turned diabolical criminal mastermind. Released just days after Lee’s tragic death, Enter the Dragon went on to become his greatest international success and one of the most influential action movies ever made, with its famed hall-of-mirrors finale bringing together the physical and intellectual dimensions of his artistry in one dazzling set piece.

    • Game of Death

      Game of Death

      1978

      Released five years after Bruce Lee’s death, this eccentrically entertaining kung-fu curio combines footage from an unfinished project directed by and starring Lee with original material shot by Enter the Dragon director Robert Clouse to create an entirely new work that testifieTs to the actor’s enduring place in the pop-culture imagination. Using stand-ins, doubles, and archival footage to compensate for Lee’s absence, Game of Death follows a martial-arts movie star who, when he is threatened by a cutthroat crime syndicate intent on controlling his career, must take his skills from the soundstage to the streets. It all builds to an exhilarating climax that is pure Lee: a tour de force of martial-arts mastery in which the legend himself, clad in an iconic yellow jumpsuit, fights his way up a multilevel pagoda, with the towering Kareem Abdul-Jabbar among his formidable opponents.

      SEVEN-DISC SPECIAL EDITION Blu-ray FEATURES

      • 4K digital restorations of The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, Game of Death, and The Way of the Dragon, with uncompressed original monaural soundtracks
      • New 2K digital restoration of the rarely-seen 99-minute 1973 theatrical version of Enter the Dragon, with uncompressed original monaural soundtrack
      • 2K digital restoration of the 102-minute “special-edition” version of Enter the Dragon
      • Alternate audio soundtracks for the films, including original English-dubbed tracks and a 5.1 surround soundtrack for the special-edition version of Enter the Dragon
      • Six audio commentaries: on The Big Boss by Bruce Lee expert Brandon Bentley; on The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, Game of Death, and The Way of the Dragon by Hong Kong–film expert Mike Leeder; and on the special-edition version of Enter the Dragon by producer Paul Heller
      • High-definition presentation of Game of Death II, the 1981 sequel to Game of Death
      • Game of Death Redux, a new presentation of Lee’s original Game of Death footage, produced by Alan Canvan
      • New interviews on all five films with Lee biographer Matthew Polly
      • New interview with producer Andre Morgan about Golden Harvest, the company behind Hong Kong’s top martial-arts stars, including Lee
      • New program about English-language dubbing with voice performers Michael Kaye (the English-speaking voice of Lee’s Chen Zhen in Fist of Fury) and Vaughan Savidge
      • New interview with author Grady Hendrix about the “Bruceploitation” subgenre that followed Lee’s death, and a selection of Bruceploitation trailers
      • Blood and Steel, a 2004 documentary about the making of Enter the Dragon
      • Multiple programs and documentaries about Lee’s life and philosophies, including Bruce Lee: The Man and the Legend (1973) and Bruce Lee: In His Own Words (1998)
      • Interviews with Linda Lee Cadwell, Lee’s widow, and many of Lee’s collaborators and admirers, including actors Jon T. Benn, Riki Hashimoto, Nora Miao, Robert Wall, Yuen Wah, and Simon Yam and directors Clarence Fok, Sammo Hung, and Wong Jing
      • Promotional materials
      • New English subtitle translations and subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
      • PLUS: An essay by critic Jeff Chang

 

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