Criterion Announces April 2015 Releases

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In April, Criterion offers six releases. Three are new to the Collection. Those titles are Carol Reed's Odd Man OutJean-Pierre Melville's Le silence de la merand Eclipse Series 42: Silent Ozu—Three Crime Dramas. Also scheduled are three high-definition digital restorations: Preston Sturges' Sullivan's Travels, Jean Renoir's The River, and Peter Yates' The Friends of Eddie Coyle.  

Odd Man Out (#754) out Apr 14 in Blu-ray & DVD Editions 

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Taking place largely over the course of one tense night, Carol Reed’s psychological noir, set in an unnamed Belfast, stars James Mason as a revolutionary ex-con leading a robbery that goes horribly wrong. Injured and hunted by the police, he seeks refuge throughout the city, while the woman he loves (Kathleen Ryan) searches for him among the shadows. Reed and cinematographer Robert Krasker (who would collaborate again on The Fallen Idol and The Third Man) create images of stunning depth for this intense, spiritual depiction of a man’s ultimate confrontation with himself. The special edition features are:

  • New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Postwar Poetry, a new short documentary about the film
  • New interview with British cinema scholar John Hill
  • New interview with music scholar Jeff Smith about composer William Alwyn and his score
  • Home, James, a 1972 documentary featuring actor James Mason revisiting his hometown
  • Radio adaptation of the film from 1952, starring Mason and Dan O’Herlihy
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Imogen Sara Smith

Sullivan's Travels (#118) out Apr 14 in Blu-ray & DVD Editions 

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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. The special edition features are:

  • 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

The River (#276) out Apr 21 in Blu-ray & DVD Editions 

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This entrancing first color feature from Jean Renoir—shot entirely on location in India—is a visual tour de force. Based on the novel by Rumer Godden, the film eloquently contrasts the growing pains of three young women with the immutability of the holy Bengal River, around which their daily lives unfold. Enriched by Renoir’s subtle understanding of and appreciation for India and its people, The River gracefully explores the fragile connections between transitory emotions and steadfast creation. The special edition features are:

  • High-definition digital transfer from the 2004 Film Foundation restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Archival introduction to the film by director Jean Renoir
  • Around the River, a 60-minute 2008 documentary by Arnaud Mandagaran about the making of the film
  • Interview from 2004 with Martin Scorsese
  • Audio interview from 2000 with producer Ken McEldowney
  • New visual essay by film writer Paul Ryan, featuring rare behind-the-scenes stills
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by film scholar Ian Christie and original production notes by Renoir

Eclipse Series 42: Silent Ozu—Three Crime Dramas out Apr 21 in DVD Edition 

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The great Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu is best known for the stately, meditative domestic dramas he made after World War II. But during his first decade at Shochiku studios, where he dabbled in many genres, he put out a trio of precisely rendered, magnificently shot and edited silent crime films about the hopes, dreams, and loves of small-time crooks. Heavily influenced in narrative and visual style by the American films that Ozu adored, these movies are revelatory early examples of his cinematic genius, accompanied here by new piano scores by Neil Brand.  The set includes:

In Yasujiro Ozu’s Walk Cheerfully, which gracefully combines elements of the relationship drama and the gangster story, small-time hood Kenji, a.k.a. Ken the Knife, wants to go straight for good girl Yasue but finds that starting over isn’t as simple as it sounds. This was the Japanese master’s first true homage to American crime movies, and it is a fleetly told, expressively shot work of humor and emotional depth.

In noirish darkness, a man commits a shocking robbery. But, as we soon learn, this seeming criminal mastermind is actually a sensitive everyman driven to commit desperate deeds for the sake of his family. Unfolding over the course of one night, Yasujiro Ozu’s That Night’s Wife combines suspense with the emotional domestic drama one associates with the filmmaker’s later masterpieces and employs beautifully evocative camera work.

Le silence de la mer (#755) out Apr 28 in Blu-ray & DVD Editions 

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Jean-Pierre Melville began his superb filmmaking career with this powerful adaptation of an influential underground novel written during the Nazi occupation of France. An idealistic, naive German officer is assigned to the home of a middle-aged man and his grown niece; their response to his presence—their only form of resistance—is complete silence. Constructed with elegant minimalism and shot, by the legendary Henri Decaë, with hushed eloquence, Le silence de la mer is a fascinating tale of moral ambiguity that points the way toward Melville’s later films about resistance and the occupation (Léon Morin, Priest; Army of Shadows) yet remains a singularly eerie masterwork in its own right. The special edition features are:

  • New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • 24 Hours in the Life of a Clown (1946), Melville’s seventeen-minute first film
  • New interview with film scholar Ginette Vincendeau
  • Interview with Melville from 1959
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (#475) out Apr 28 in Blu-ray & DVD Editions 

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In one of the best performances of his legendary career, Robert Mitchum plays small-time gunrunner Eddie “Fingers” Coyle in an adaptation by Peter Yates of George V. Higgins’s acclaimed novel The Friends of Eddie Coyle.World-weary and living hand to mouth, Coyle works on the sidelines of the seedy Boston underworld just to make ends meet. But when he finds himself facing a second stretch of hard time, he’s forced to weigh loyalty to his criminal colleagues against snitching to stay free. Directed with a sharp eye for its gritty locales and an open heart for its less-than-heroic characters, this is one of the true treasures of 1970s Hollywood filmmaking—a suspenseful crime drama in stark, unforgiving daylight. The director-approved special edition features are:

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by director Peter Yates, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring Yates
  • Stills gallery
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Kent Jones and a 1973 on-set profile of actor Robert Mitchum from Rolling Stone

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