Believe it or not, I do stray from puppet programs, cartoons and comic book movies. Criterion recently announced some great new releases that I thought I should point out. Details, videos and ordering info below (no, I do not get a referral cut).
Don’t Look Now is one of the most intense and unsettling films I have ever seen and Sullivan’s Travels an iconic and integral Hollywood masterpiece in my opinion. Sword of Doom is a great samurai flick starring Toshirô Mifune of Seven Samurai and Yojimbo fame.
Don’t Look Now (directed by Nicolas Roeg)
Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie mesmerize as a married couple on an extended trip to Venice following a family tragedy. While in that elegantly decaying city, they have a series of inexplicable, terrifying, and increasingly dangerous experiences. A masterpiece from Nicolas Roeg, Don’t Look Now,adapted from a story by Daphne du Maurier, is a brilliantly disturbing tale of the supernatural, as renowned for its innovative editing and haunting cinematography as its naturalistic eroticism and unforgettable climax and denouement, one of the great endings in horror history.
New 4K digital restoration, approved by director Nicolas Roeg, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New conversation between editor Graeme Clifford and film writer and historian Bobbie O’Steen
“Don’t Look Now,” Looking Back, a short 2002 documentary featuring Roeg, Clifford, and cinematographer Anthony Richmond
Death in Venice,, a 2006 interview with composer Pino Donaggio
Something Interesting, a new piece on the writing and making of the film, featuring recent interviews with Richmond, actors Julie
Christie and Donald Sutherland, and coscreenwriter Allan Scott
Nicolas Roeg: The Enigma of Film, a new piece on Roeg’s style, featuring recent interviews with filmmakers Danny Boyle and Steven Soderbergh
Q&A with Roeg from 2003 at London’s Ciné Lumière
PLUS: An essay by film critic David Thompson
Sword of Doom
Black and White
Tatsuya Nakadai and Toshiro Mifune star in the story of a wandering samurai who exists in a maelstrom of violence. A gifted swordsman plying his craft during the turbulent final days of shogunate rule in Japan, Ryunosuke (Nakadai) kills without remorse or mercy. It is a way of life that ultimately leads to madness. Kihachi Okamoto’s swordplay classic is the thrilling tale of a man who chooses to devote his life to evil.
New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
Audio commentary featuring film historian Stephen Prince
PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien
Black and White
Tired of churning out lightweight comedies, Hollywood director John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea) decides to make O Brother, Where Art Thou?—a serious, socially responsible film about human suffering. After his producers point out that he knows nothing of hardship, Sullivan hits the road disguised as a hobo. En route to enlightenment, he meets a lovely but no-nonsense young woman (Veronica Lake)—and more trouble than he ever dreamed of. This comic masterpiece by Preston Sturges is among the finest Hollywood satires and a high-water mark in the career of one of the industry’s most revered funnymen.
New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Audio commentary from 2001 by filmmakers Noah Baumbach, Kenneth Bowser, Christopher Guest, and Michael McKean
Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of an American Dreamer (1990), a 76-minute documentary made by Bowser for PBS’s American Masters series
New video essay by film critic David Cairns, featuring filmmaker Bill Forsyth
Interview from 2001 with Sandy Sturges, the director’s widow
Interview with Sturges by gossip columnist Hedda Hopper from 1951
Archival audio recordings of Sturges
PLUS: An essay by critic Stuart Klawans