Criterion Announces November 2018 Releases

Cinephiles will be getting quite a bounty of choices this month.
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In November, Criterion is releasing a few titles to be thankful for.  They are Kenji Mizoguchi's A Story from Chikamatsu, Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot, David Byrne's True Stories, Orson Welles’s The Magnificent Ambersons and Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema, which contains 39 films.  Read on to learn more about them.

A Story from Chikamatsu (#949) out Nov 6

One of a string of late-career masterworks made by Kenji Mizoguchi in the early 1950s, A Story from Chikamatsu (a.k.a. The Crucified Lovers) is an exquisitely moving tale of forbidden love struggling to survive in the face of persecution. Based on a classic of eighteenth-century Japanese drama, the film traces the injustices that befall a Kyoto scroll maker’s wife and his apprentice after each is unfairly accused of wrongdoing. Bound by fate in an illicit, star-crossed romance, they go on the run in search of refuge from the punishment prescribed them: death. Shot in gorgeous, painterly style by master cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa, this subtly sensuous indictment of societal oppression was heralded by Akira Kurosawa as a “great masterpiece that could only have been made by Mizoguchi.” The special features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with actor Kyoko Kagawa
  • Mizoguchi: The Auteur Behind the “Metteur-en-scène,” a new illustrated audio essay by film scholar Dudley Andrew
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by film scholar Haden Guest

Some Like It Hot (#950) out Nov 13

cc Some Like It Hot.jpgOne of the most beloved films of all time, this sizzling masterpiece by Billy Wilder set a new standard for Hollywood comedy. After witnessing a mob hit, Chicago musicians Joe and Jerry (Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, in landmark performances) skip town by donning drag and joining an all-female band en route to Miami. The charm of the group’s singer, Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe, at the height of her bombshell powers) leads them ever further into extravagant lies, as Joe assumes the persona of a millionaire to woo her and Jerry’s female alter ego winds up engaged to a tycoon. With a whip-smart script by Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond, and sparking chemistry among its finely tuned cast, Some Like It Hot is as deliriously funny and fresh today as if it had just been made. The special features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 1989 featuring film scholar Howard Suber
  • New program on Orry-Kelly’s costumes for the film, featuring costume designer and historian Deborah Nadoolman Landis and costume historian and archivist Larry McQueen
  • Three making-of documentaries
  • Appearance from 1982 by director Billy Wilder on The Dick Cavett Show
  • Conversation from 2001 between actor Tony Curtis and film critic Leonard Maltin
  • French television interview from 1988 with actor Jack Lemmon
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by author Sam Wasson

True Stories (#951) out Nov 27

cc True Stories.jpgMusic icon David Byrne was inspired by tabloid headlines to make this sole foray into feature film directing, an ode to the extraordinariness of ordinary American life and a distillation of what was in his own idiosyncratic mind. Byrne plays a visitor to Virgil, Texas, who introduces us to the citizens of the town during preparations for its Celebration of Specialness. As shot by cinematographer Ed Lachman, Texas becomes a hyperrealistic late-capitalist landscape of endless vistas, shopping malls, and prefab metal buildings. In True Stories, Byrne uses his songs to stitch together pop iconography, voodoo rituals, and a singular variety show—all in the service of uncovering the rich mysteries that lurk under the surface of everyday experience. The director-approved special features are:

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by director David Byrne and cinematographer Ed Lachman, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, supervised by Byrne, on the Blu-ray
  • New documentary about the film’s production, featuring Byrne, Lachman, writer Stephen Tobolowsky, executive producer Ed Pressman, coproducer Karen Murphy, fashion-show costume designer Adelle Lutz, consultant Christina Patoski, actor Jo Harvey Allen, and musician Terry Allen
  • CD with 23 songs, containing the film’s complete soundtrack, compiled here for the first time (Blu-ray only)
  • Real Life (1986), a short documentary by Pamela Yates and Newton Thomas Sigel made on the set of the film
  • No Time to Look Back, a new homage to Virgil, Texas, the fictional town where True Stories is set
  • New program about designer Tibor Kalman and his influence on Byrne and role in the film, featuring Byrne and Kalman’s wife, artist Maira Kalman
  • Deleted scenes
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Rebecca Bengal, along with, for the Blu-ray edition, new pieces by journalist and author Joe Nick Patoski and Byrne, a 1986 piece by actor Spalding Gray on the film’s production, some of the tabloid stories that inspired the film, and a selection of Byrne’s preproduction photography and writing about the film’s visual motifs

The Magnificent Ambersons (#952) out Nov 27

cc The Magnificent Ambersons.jpgOrson Welles’ beautiful, nostalgia-suffused second feature—the subject of one of cinema’s greatest missing-footage tragedies—harks back to turn-of-the-twentieth-century Indianapolis, chronicling the inexorable decline of the fortunes of an affluent family. Adapted from an acclaimed Booth Tarkington novel and characterized by restlessly inventive camera work and powerful performances from a cast including Joseph Cotten, Tim Holt, and Agnes Moorehead, the film traces the rifts deepening within the Amberson clan—at the same time as the forces of progress begin to transform the city they once ruled. Though RKO excised over forty minutes of footage, now lost to history, and added an incongruously upbeat ending, The Magnificent Ambersons is an emotionally rich family saga and a masterful elegy for a bygone chapter of American life. The special features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Two audio commentaries, featuring film scholars Robert Carringer and James Naremore and critic Jonathan Rosenbaum
  • New interviews with scholars Simon Callow and Joseph McBride
  • New video essay on the film’s cinematographers by scholar François Thomas
  • New video essay on the film’s score by scholar Christopher Husted
  • Welles on The Dick Cavett Show in 1970
  • Segment from Pampered Youth, a 1925 silent adaptation of The Magnificent Ambersons
  • Audio from a 1979 AFI symposium on Welles
  • Two Mercury Theatre radio plays: Seventeen (1938), an adaptation of another Booth Tarkington novel by Welles, and The Magnificent Ambersons (1939)
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Molly Haskell and (Blu-ray only) essays by authors and critics Luc Sante, Geoffrey O’Brien, Farran Smith Nehme, and Jonathan Lethem, and excerpts from an unfinished 1982 memoir by Welles

Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema (#415) out Nov 20

Bergman Cinema.jpgIn honor of Ingmar Bergman’s one-hundredth birthday, the Criterion Collection is proud to present the most comprehensive collection of his films ever released on home video. One of the most revelatory voices to emerge from the postwar explosion of international art-house cinema, Bergman was a master storyteller who startled the world with his stark intensity and naked pursuit of the most profound metaphysical and spiritual questions. The struggles of faith and morality, the nature of dreams, and the agonies and ecstasies of human relationships—Bergman explored these subjects in films ranging from comedies whose lightness and complexity belie their brooding hearts to groundbreaking formal experiments and excruciatingly intimate explorations of family life.

Arranged as a film festival with opening and closing nights bookending double features and centerpieces, this selection spans six decades and thirty-nine films—including such celebrated classics as The Seventh Seal, Persona, and Fanny and Alexander alongside previously unavailable works like Dreams, The Rite, and Brink of Life. Accompanied by a 248-page book with essays on each program, as well as by more than thirty hours of supplemental features, Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema traces themes and images across Bergman’s career, blazing trails through the master’s unequaled body of work for longtime fans and newcomers alike.

 The special features are:

  • Thirty-nine films, including eighteen never before released by Criterion
  • Digital restorations of the fi lms, including a new 4K restoration of The Seventh Seal and new 2K restorations of Crisis, Persona, Fanny and Alexander, and many others, with uncompressed monaural and stereo soundtracks
  • Eleven introductions by director Ingmar Bergman
  • Six audio commentaries
  • Over five hours of interviews with Bergman
  • Interviews with Bergman’s collaborators, including actors Bibi Andersson, Harriet Andersson, Ingrid Bergman, Erland Josephson, Gunnel Lindblom, Liv Ullmann, and Max von Sydow and cinematographer Sven Nykvist
  • Daniel and Karin’s Face, two rarely seen documentary shorts by Bergman
  • Documentaries about the making of Autumn Sonata, Fanny and Alexander, The Magic Flute, The Serpent’s Egg, The Touch, and Winter Light
  • Extensive programs about Bergman’s life and work, including Bergman Island, . . . But Film Is My Mistress, Laterna Magica, Liv & Ingmar, and others
  • Behind-the-scenes footage, video essays, trailers, stills galleries, and more
  • PLUS: A lavishly illustrated 248-page book, featuring essays on the films by critics, scholars, and authors including Cowie, Alexander Chee, Molly Haskell, Karan Mahajan, Fernanda Solórzano, and many others, along with selections from remarks and texts by Bergman himself

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