Criterion Announces March 2020 Releases

Spring brings four additions and two HD upgrades.
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March Madness happens for movies in addition to basketball as Criterion releases six titles.  The four new additions to the collection are Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, John M. Stahl's Leave Her to Heaven, James Whale's Show Boat, and Barbra Streisand's The Prince of Tides.  Also available will be Blu-ray upgrades of Mikhail Kalatozov's The Cranes Are Flying and David Maysles, Albert Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin's Salesman. Read on to learn more about them.

Salesman (#122) out Mar 10

This radically influential portrait of American dreams and disillusionment from Direct Cinema pioneers David Maysles, Albert Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin captures, with indelible humanity, the worlds of four dogged door-to-door Bible salesmen as they travel from Boston to Florida on a seemingly futile quest to sell luxury editions of the Good Book to working-class Catholics. A vivid evocation of midcentury malaise that unfolds against a backdrop of cheap motels, smoky diners, and suburban living rooms, Salesman assumes poignant dimensions as it uncovers the way its subjects’ fast-talking bravado masks frustration, disappointment, and despair. Revolutionizing the art of nonfiction storytelling with its nonjudgmental, observational style, this landmark documentary is one of the most penetrating films ever made about how deeply embedded consumerism is in America’s sense of its own values. The special features are:

  • DVD: High-definition digital transfer, with restored picture and sound
  • Blu-ray: New, restored 4K digital transfer, undertaken by the Academy Film Archive, The Film Foundation, and the George Lucas Family Foundation, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Audio commentary from 2001 featuring directors Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin
  • Television interview from 1968 with directors David and Albert Maysles, conducted by critic Jack Kroll
  • New appreciation of the film by actor Bill Hader (Blu-ray only)
  • “Globesman,” a 2016 episode of the television series Documentary Now! that parodies the film, starring Hader and Fred Armisen (Blu-ray only)
  • Audio excerpt from a 2000 episode of NPR’s Weekend Edition profiling James Baker, one of the salesmen featured in the film
  • Behind-the-scenes photographs (DVD only)
  • Trailer

Bamboozled (#1019) out Mar 17

cc Bamboozled.jpgWith this blisteringly funny, unapologetically confrontational satire, writer-director Spike Lee examined the past, present, and future of racism in American popular culture, issuing a daring provocation to creators and consumers alike. Under pressure to help revive his network’s low ratings, television writer Pierre Delacroix (Damon Wayans) hits on an explosively offensive idea: bringing back blackface for a “new-millennium minstrel show.” The white network executives love it, and so do audiences, forcing Pierre and his collaborators to confront their public’s insatiable appetite for dehumanizing stereotypes. Shot primarily on unvarnished digital video and boasting spot-on performances from Savion Glover, Tommy Davidson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Michael Rapaport, Mos Def, and Paul Mooney, Bamboozled is a stinging indictment of mass entertainment at the turn of the twenty-first century that looks more damning with each passing year.The director-approved special features are:

  • New 2K digital restoration, supervised by director of photography Ellen Kuras and approved by director Spike Lee, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 2001 featuring Lee
  • New conversation between Lee and film programmer and critic Ashley Clark
  • New interviews with choreographer and actor Savion Glover, actor Tommy Davidson, and costume designer Ruth E. Carter
  • On Blackface and the Minstrel Show, a new interview program featuring film and media scholar Racquel Gates
  • The Making of “Bamboozled” (2001), a documentary featuring members of the cast and crew
  • Deleted scenes, music videos for the Mau Maus’ “Blak Iz Blak” and Gerald Levert’s “Dream with No Love,” and alternate parody commercials created for the film
  • Poster gallery and trailer

The Cranes Are Flying (#147) out Mar 24

cc The Cranes Are Flying.jpgThis landmark film by the virtuosic Mikhail Kalatozov was heralded as a revelation in the post-Stalin Soviet Union and the international cinema community alike. It tells the story of Veronica and Boris, a couple who are blissfully in love until the eruption of World War II tears them apart. With Boris at the front, Veronica must try to ward off spiritual numbness and defend herself from the increasingly forceful advances of her beau’s draft-dodging cousin. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival, The Cranes Are Flying is a superbly crafted drama with impassioned performances and viscerally emotional, gravity-defying cinematography by Kalatozov’s regular collaborator Sergei Urusevsky. The director-approved special features are:

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with scholar Ian Christie on why the film is a landmark of Soviet cinema
  • Audio interview from 1961 with director Mikhail Kalatozov
  • Hurricane Kalatozov, a documentary from 2009 on the Georgian director’s complex relationship with the Soviet government
  • Segment from a 2008 program about the film’s cinematography, featuring original storyboards and an interview with actor Alexei Batalov
  • Interview from 2001 with filmmaker Claude Lelouch on the film’s French premiere at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival
  • New English subtitle translation

Leave Her to Heaven (#1020) out Mar 24

cc Leave Her to Heaven.jpgNovelist Richard Harland (Cornel Wilde) seems to have found the perfect woman in Ellen (Gene Tierney), a beautiful socialite who initiates a whirlwind romance and steers him into marriage before he can think twice. Yet the glassy surface of Ellen’s devotion soon reveals monstrous depths, as Richard comes to realize that his wife is shockingly possessive and may be capable of destroying anyone who comes between them. A singular Hollywood masterpiece that draws freely from the women’s picture and film noir alike, Leave Her to Heaven boasts elegant direction by melodrama specialist John M. Stahl, blazing Technicolor cinematography by Leon Shamroy, and a chilling performance by Tierney, whose Ellen is a femme fatale unlike any other: a woman whose love is as pure as it is poisonous. The special features are:

  • New 2K digital restoration by Twentieth Century Fox, the Academy Film Archive, and The Film Foundation, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with critic Imogen Sara Smith
  • Trailer

Show Boat (#1021) out Mar 31

cc Show Boat.jpgJerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s immortal musical adaptation of Edna Ferber’s sprawling novel receives its most faithful and enduring cinematic adaptation under the elegant direction of James Whale. A rich portrait of changing American entertainment traditions and race relations, Show Boat spans four decades and three generations as it follows the fortunes of the stage-struck Magnolia (Irene Dunne), an aspiring actor whose journey takes her from her family’s humble floating playhouse in the 1880s South to the height of fame in the 1930s North. The cast of show-business legends includes Helen Morgan, Hattie McDaniel, Charles Winninger, and the great Paul Robeson, whose iconic, soul-shaking rendition of “Ol’ Man River” is one of the crowning glories of the American stage and screen. The special features are:

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 1989 featuring American-musical historian Miles Kreuger
  • New interview with James Whale biographer James Curtis
  • Recognizing Race in “Show Boat,” a new interview program featuring professor and author Shana L. Redmond
  • Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist (1979), an Academy Award-winning short documentary by Saul J. Turell, newly restored
  • Two performances from the sound prologue of the 1929 film version of Show Boat, plus twenty minutes of silent excerpts from the film, with audio commentary by Kreuger
  • Two radio adaptations of Show Boat, featuring stage and screen cast members Allan Jones, Helen Morgan, and Charles Winninger; actor Orson Welles; and novelist Edna Ferber

The Prince of Tides (#1022) out Mar 31

cc The Prince of Tides.jpgFor her acclaimed second feature as a director, Barbra Streisand crafted a sumptuous, emotionally wrenching adaptation of Pat Conroy’s best-selling novel—which she also produced and starred in. Summoned to New York after his sister attempts suicide, Tom Wingo (Nick Nolte) must serve as her memory, reckoning with the traumas of their southern childhood so that her psychiatrist, Dr. Susan Lowenstein (Streisand), can help her recover. But Tom’s sessions with Lowenstein will plunge him into the depths of his own long-repressed pain—and reawaken the possibility of love within him. Nominated for seven Academy Awards, including best picture and best actor for Nolte’s soulful performance, The Prince of Tides is a life-affirming tale of healing and renewal from a triple-threat filmmaker with a keen and humane insight into her characters’ sorrows, joys, and yearnings. The director-approved special features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Barbra Streisand, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring Streisand, recorded in 1991 and updated in 2019
  • Making-of featurette from 1991
  • Excerpt from a 2018 interview with Streisand, conducted by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez on El Rey Network’s The Director’s Chair
  • Audition and rehearsal footage
  • Deleted scenes and alternate takes
  • Costume and makeup tests
  • Alternate end credits with vocal performance by Streisand
  • Behind-the-scenes footage
  • Gag reel
  • Production-stills gallery and other archival materials
  • Interview with author Pat Conroy from a 1992 episode of Cinema Showcase with Jim Whaley
  • Interview with Streisand from a 1992 episode of the British television show Aspel & Company with Michael Aspel
  • Trailers

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