Posted Tue Jun 21, 2016 at 12:00 PM PDT by Steven Cohen
The distributor has revealed its upcoming slate of September releases, including the Coen Brothers' 'Blood Simple' and Mark Robson's 'Valley of the Dolls.'
In an early announcement to retailers, Criterion is preparing 'Night Train to Munich,' 'The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum,' 'Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (Reissue),' 'Blood Simple,' 'Cat People,' 'Dekalog,' 'Valley of the Dolls,' and 'Beyond the Valley of the Dolls' for Blu-ray throughout the month of September.
'Night Train to Munich' (September 6) - Night Train to Munich, from writers Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat and director Carol Reed, is a twisting, turning, cloak-and-dagger delight. Paced like an out-of-control locomotive, this gripping, occasionally comic confection takes viewers on a World War II–era journey from Prague to England to the Swiss Alps, as Nazis pursue a Czech scientist and his daughter (Margaret Lockwood), who are being aided by a debonair British undercover agent, played by Rex Harrison. This captivating adventure—which also featuresCasablanca’s Paul Henreid—mixes comedy, romance, and thrills with enough skill and cleverness to give the Master of Suspense himself pause.
The Blu-ray will feature 1080p video, an uncompressed English mono soundtrack, and supplements will include: Conversation from 2010 between film scholars Peter Evans and Bruce Babington about director Carol Reed, screenwriters Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat, and the social and political climate in which Night Train to Munich was made; PLUS: An essay by film critic Philip Kemp.
'The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum' (September 13) - This heartrending masterpiece by Kenji Mizoguchi about the give-and-take between life and art marked the director’s first use of the hypnotic long takes and eloquent camera movements that would come to define his films. The adopted son of legendary kabuki actor Kikunosuke (Shotaro Hanayagi), who is striving to achieve stardom by mastering female roles, turns to his infant brother’s wet nurse (Kakuko Mori) for support and affection—and she soon gives up everything for her beloved’s creative glory. Featuring fascinating glimpses behind the scenes of kabuki theater in the late nineteenth century,The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum is a critique of the oppression of women and the sacrifices required of them, and the pinnacle of Mizoguchi’s early career.
The Blu-ray will feature 1080p video, an uncompressed Japanese mono soundtrack, and supplements will include: New interview with critic Phillip Lopate about the evolution of director Kenji Mizoguchi’s style; PLUS: An essay by film scholar Dudley Andrew.
'Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (Reissue)' (September 13) - The colossally popular Zatoichi films make up the longest-running action series in Japanese history and created one of the screen’s great heroes: an itinerant blind masseur who also happens to be a lightning-fast swordsman. As this iconic figure, the charismatic and earthy Shintaro Katsu became an instant superstar, lending a larger-than-life presence to the thrilling adventures of a man who lives staunchly by a code of honor and delivers justice in every town and village he enters. The films that feature him are variously pulse-pounding, hilarious, stirring, and completely off-the-wall. This deluxe set features the string of twenty-five Zatoichi films made between 1962 and 1973, collected in one package for the first time.
The Blu-ray will feature 1080p video, an uncompressed Japanese mono soundtrack, and supplements will include: The Blind Swordsman, a 1978 documentary about Zatoichi portrayer and filmmaker Shintaro Katsu, along with a new interview with its director, John Nathan; New interview with Asian-film critic Tony Rayns; Trailers; PLUS: A book featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien; synopses of the films by critic, novelist, and musician Chris D.; “The Tale of Zatoichi,” the original short story by Kan Shimozawa; and twenty-five new illustrations inspired by the films, by twenty-five different artists.
'Blood Simple' (September 20) - Joel and Ethan Coen’s career-long darkly comic road trip through misfit America began with this razor-sharp, hard-boiled neonoir set somewhere in Texas, where a sleazy bar owner sets off a torrent of violence with one murderous thought. Actor M. Emmet Walsh looms over the proceedings as a slippery private eye with a yellow suit, a cowboy hat, and no moral compass, and Frances McDormand’s cunning debut performance set her on the road to stardom. The tight scripting and inventive style that have marked the Coens’ work for decades are all here in their first film, in which cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld abandons the black-and-white chiaroscuro of classic noir for neon signs and jukebox colors that combine with Carter Burwell’s haunting score to lurid and thrilling effect. Blending elements from pulp fiction and low-budget horror flicks, Blood Simplereinvented the film noir for a new generation, marking the arrival of a filmmaking ensemble that would transform the American independent cinema scene.
The Blu-ray will feature 1080p video, an English DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, and supplements will include: New conversation between Sonnenfeld and the Coens about the film’s look, featuring Telestrator video illustrations; New conversation between author Dave Eggers and the Coens about the film’s production, from inception to release; New interviews with composer Carter Burwell, sound mixer Skip Lievsay, and actors Frances McDormand and M. Emmet Walsh; Trailers; PLUS: An essay by novelist and critic Nathaniel Rich.
'Cat People' (September 20) - The first of the horror films producer Val Lewton made for RKO Pictures redefined the genre by leaving its most frightening terrors to its audience’s imagination. Simone Simon stars as a Serbian émigré in Manhattan who believes that, because of an ancient curse, any physical intimacy with the man she loves (Kent Smith) will turn her into a feline predator. Lewton, a consummate producer-auteur who oversaw every aspect of his projects, found an ideal director in Jacques Tourneur, a chiaroscuro stylist adept at keeping viewers off-kilter with startling compositions and psychological innuendo. Together, they eschewed the canned effects of earlier monster movies in favor of shocking with subtle shadows and creative audio cues. One of the studio’s most successful movies of the 1940s, Cat People raised the creature feature to new heights of sophistication and mystery.
The Blu-ray will feature 1080p video, an uncompressed English mono soundtrack, and supplements will include: Audio commentary from 2005 featuring film historian Gregory Mank, with excerpts from an audio interview with actor Simone Simon; Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows, a 2008 feature-length documentary that explores the life and career of the legendary Hollywood producer; Interview with director Jacques Tourneur from 1977; New interview with cinematographer John Bailey about the look of the film; Trailer; PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien.
'Dekalog' (September 27) - This masterwork by Krzysztof Kieslowski is one of the twentieth century’s greatest achievements in visual storytelling. Originally made for Polish television, Dekalog focuses on the residents of a housing complex in late-Communist Poland, whose lives become subtly intertwined as they face emotional dilemmas that are at once deeply personal and universally human. Using the Ten Commandments for thematic inspiration and an overarching structure, Dekalog’s ten hour-long films deftly grapple with complex moral and existential questions concerning life, death, love, hate, truth, and the passage of time. Shot by nine different cinematographers, with stirring music by Zbigniew Preisner and compelling performances from established and unknown actors alike, Dekalog arrestingly explores the unknowable forces that shape our lives. Also presented are the longer theatrical versions of Dekalog's fifth and sixth films: A Short Film About Killing and A Short Film About Love.
The Blu-ray will feature 1080p video, an uncompressed Polish mono soundtrack, and supplements will include: New high-definition digital restorations of A Short Film About Killing and A Short Film About Love, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays; Selection of archival interviews with director Krzysztof Kieslowski, culled from footage from the 1987 production of Dekalog: Two, excerpts from the 1995 documentary A Short Film About “Dekalog,” and a 1990 audio recording from the National Film Theatre in London; New program on the visual rhyming of Dekalog by film studies professor Annette Insdorf; New and archival interviews with Dekalog cast and crew, including cowriter Krzysztof Piesiewicz, thirteen actors, three cinematographers, editor Ewa Smal, and Kieslowski’s confidante Hanna Krall; Trailers; PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay and film analyses by film scholar Paul Coates and excerpted reprints from Kieslowski on Kieslowski.
'Valley of the Dolls' (September 27) - Cutthroat careerism, wild sex, and fierce female protagonists are all on offer in this adaptation of Jacqueline Susann’s sensational and wildly popular novel. Patty Duke, Barbara Parkins, and Sharon Tate star as three friends attempting to navigate the glamorous, pressurized world of big-time show business—the “valley” is not a place but a narcotized state of mind, and the “dolls” are the pills that rouse them in the morning and knock them out at night. Blending old-fashioned gloss with Madison Avenue grooviness, this slick look by director Mark Robson at the early days of sexual liberation and an entertainment industry coming apart was a giant box-office hit and has become an unforgettably campy time capsule of the 1960s.
The Blu-ray will feature 1080p video, an English 3.0 LCR DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, and supplements will include: Audio commentary from 2006 featuring actor Barbara Parkins and journalist Ted Casablanca; New interview with author Amy Fine Collins about author Jacqueline Susann and the film; New video essay by critic Kim Morgan; Footage of Marc Huestis Presents Sparkle Patty Sparkle!, a 2009 gala tribute to actor Patty Duke at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco; A World Premiere Voyage and Jacqueline Susann and “Valley of the Dolls,” two promotional films from 1967; Archival interviews; Trailers and TV spots; PLUS: An essay by film critic Glenn Kenny.
'Beyond the Valley of the Dolls' (September 27) - In 1970, 20th Century-Fox, impressed by the visual zing "King of the Nudies" Russ Meyer brought to bargain-basement exploitation fare, handed the director a studio budget and the title to one of its biggest hits, Valley of the Dolls. With a satirical screenplay by Roger Ebert, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls follows three young female rockers going Hollywood in hell-bent sixties style under the spell of a flamboyant producer—whose decadent bashes showcase Meyer’s trademark libidinal exuberance. Transgressive and outrageous, this big-studio version of a debaucherous midnight movie is an addictively entertaining romp from one of the movies’ great outsider artists.
The Blu-ray will feature 1080p video, an uncompressed English mono soundtrack, and supplements will include: Audio commentary from 2003 featuring screenwriter Roger Ebert; Audio commentary from 2006 featuring actors Dolly Read, Cynthia Myers, Harrison Page, John La Zar, and Erica Gavin; New interview with filmmaker John Waters; Archival interviews with writer, director, and producer Russ Meyer; Q&A about the film from 1992 featuring Meyer, Ebert, La Zar, Read, and actors David Gurian, Charles Napier, Michael Blodgett, and Edy Williams; Above, Beneath, and Beyond the Valley; Look On Up at the Bottom; The Best of Beyond; Sex, Drugs, Music and Murder; and Casey & Roxanne, five documentaries from 2006 about the making of the film, featuring the cast and crew; Trailers and TV spots; PLUS: An essay by film critic Glenn Kenny.
Suggested list price for each single disc Blu-ray is $39.95. Suggested list price for the 9-Disc 'Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman' box-set is $199.95, and suggested list price for the 4-Disc 'Dekalog' box-set is $99.95.
You can find the latest specs for all of the titles listed above linked from our Blu-ray Release Schedule, where they're indexed throughout September.
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