The Criterion Memorandum For June 2017.
Criterion, the esteemed US-based boutique home video label, are on a real roll of late. Following an impressive May line-up one would have forgiven them for taking June easy. Alas, that ain’t the case…
Headlining the month is the long-awaited Marseille Trilogy, from Marcel Pagnol (though directed in part by Alexander Korda and Marc Allégret). Consisting of Marius, Fanny and Cesar, the whole thing has been restored to exacting standards by Criterion’s parent company, Janus Films.
Just as exciting a prospect is They Live By Night, by Nicholas Ray. The iconic noir picture is supported by a range of interesting looking supplements from genre experts such as Alain Silver and Imogen Sara Smith. Often considered to be Alfred Hitchcock’s first “proper” film, The Lodger: A Story Of The London Fog marks a rare silent entry for the Criterion Collection. Neil Brand provides a brand-new score for the movie, while the likes of Francois Truffaut and Peter Bogdanovich feature in the supplements, amongst which also sits Downhill, another early Hitch film.
A couple of reissues from Criterion’s past round out the month. Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs is a title long out of print from the label’s archives, so this ought to be a very impressive upgrade. A 4K restoration heads up a release filled with extra features. Kenji Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu is a grade-A piece of the canon, and this update long-awaited. The existing Masters Of Cinema release is impressive but the new Criterion disc promises a new 4K restoration and Kaneto Shindo’s 150-minute long documentary, Kenji Mizoguchi: The Life of a Film Director.
Artwork is below (I do wish Criterion would send out higher resolution artwork; apologies for the quality).