Criterion Announces 'King of the Hill' and 'Tess' for Blu-ray

Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 08:00 AM PST by

More Steven Soderbergh and Roman Polanski films will join the Criterion Collection in February.

In an early announcement to retailers, Criterion has revealed Soderbergh's 'King of the Hill' for Blu-ray on February 25.

For his first Hollywood studio production, Steven Soderbergh (whose independent debut, 'Sex, Lies, and Videotape,' had won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival a few years earlier) crafted this small jewel of a growing-up story. Set in St. Louis during the Depression, 'King of the Hill' follows the daily struggles of a resourceful and imaginative adolescent (Jesse Bradford) who, after his tubercular mother is sent to a sanatorium, must survive on his own in a run-down hotel during his salesman father's long business trips. This evocative period piece, faithfully adapted from the memoir by the novelist A. E. Hotchner, is among the ever versatile Soderbergh's most touching and surprising films.

The Blu-ray will feature a new high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Steven Soderbergh and supervising sound editor and rerecording mixer Larry Blake, a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack, and supplements will include: New interviews with Soderbergh and A. E. Hotchner, author of the memoir on which the film is based; Against Tyranny, a new video essay by ::kogonada in which he explores Soderbergh's unique approach to character subjectivity; The Underneath (1995), Soderbergh's follow-up feature to King of the Hill, with an interview with the director; Trailers; and a booklet featuring an essay by critic Peter Tonguette, a 1993 interview with Soderbergh, and an excerpt from Hotchner's 1972 memoir.

Criterion will also be bringing 'Tess' to Blu-ray on the same date.

This multiple-Oscar-winning film by Roman Polanski is an exquisite, richly layered adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles. A strong-willed peasant girl (Nastassja Kinski, in a gorgeous breakthrough) is sent by her father to the estate of some local aristocrats to capitalize on a rumor that their families are from the same line. This fateful visit commences an epic narrative of sex, class, betrayal, and revenge, which Polanski unfolds with deliberation and finesse. With its earthy visual textures, achieved by two world-class cinematographers—Geoffrey Unsworth and Ghislain Cloquet—'Tess' is a work of great pastoral beauty as well as vivid storytelling.

The Blu-ray will feature a new 4K digital restoration supervised by director Roman Polanski, a lossless 5.1 soundtrack, and supplements will include: Once Upon a Time . . . "Tess," a 2006 documentary on the film; Three programs on the making of the film—From Novel to Screen, Filming "Tess," and "Tess": The Experience—featuring interviews with Polanski, actors Nastassja Kinski and Leigh Lawson, producer Claude Berri, costume designer Anthony Powell, composer Philippe Sarde, and others; Interview with Polanski from a 1979 episode of The South Bank Show; Forty-five-minute documentary shot on location for French television during the making of the film; Trailer; and a booklet featuring an essay by critic Colin MacCabe.

Suggested list price for each Blu-ray is $39.95.

You can find the latest specs for 'King of the Hill' and 'Tess' linked from our Blu-ray Release Schedule, where they're indexed under February 25.

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Discs mentioned in this article: (Click for specs and reviews)
King of the Hill (Criterion) (Blu-ray)
Tess (Blu-ray)
Tags: Disc Announcements, Criterion (all tags)