Criterion Announces July 2020 Releases

Celebrate United States independence and movies this July.
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With no sports this summer, folks will have more time to watch movies at home, so it's a good thing Criterion has some titles coming to the collection in July. They are the previously reported Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits, Byron Haskin's The War of the Worlds, and Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story. Also given Blu-ray upgrades are Preston Sturges’s The Lady Eve and Abbas Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry. Read on to learn more about them.

The War of the Worlds (#1037) out Jul 7

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. The special features are:

  • 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

Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits (#1036) out Jul 14

cc Bruce Lee Greatest Hits.jpgIn 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. The special features are:

  • 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

The Lady Eve (#103) out Jul 14

cc The Lady Eve.jpgBarbara 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. The special features are:

  • 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

Taste of Cherry (#45) out Jul 21

cc Taste of Cherry.jpgThe 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. The special features are:

  • 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

Marriage Story (#1038) out Jul 21

cc Marriage Story.jpgA 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. The directir-approved special features are:

  • 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

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