Yesterday, Criterion announced their October 2013 releases:
I Married a Witch – October 8
Veronica Lake casts a seductive spell as a charmingly vengeful sorceress in this supernatural screwball classic. Many centuries after cursing the male descendants of the Salem puritan who sent her to the stake, this blonde bombshell with a broomstick finds herself drawn to one of them—a prospective governor (Fredric March) about to marry a spoiled socialite (Susan Hayward). This most delightful of the films the innovative French director René Clair made in Hollywood is a comic confection bursting with playful special effects and sparkling witticisms.
- New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
- Audio interview with director René Clair
- Original Trailer
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by filmmaker Guy Maddin and a 1970 interview with Clair
Eyes Without a Face – October 15
At his secluded chateau in the French countryside, a brilliant, obsessive doctor (Pierre Brasseur) attempts a radical plastic surgery to restore the beauty of his daughter’s disfigured countenance—at a horrifying price. Eyes Without a Face, directed by the supremely talented Georges Franju, is rare in horror cinema for its odd mixture of the ghastly and the lyrical, and it has been a major influence on the genre in the decades since its release. There are images here—of terror, of gore, of inexplicable beauty—that once seen are never forgotten.
- New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
- Blood of the Beasts, Georges Franju’s 1949 documentary about the slaughterhouses of Paris (new high-definition digital restoration on the Blu-ray edition)
- Archival interviews with Franju on horror, cinema, and the making of Blood of the Beasts
- New interview with actor Edith Scob (Blu-ray only)
- Excerpt from Les Grands-pères du crime, a 1985 documentary about Eyes Without a Face writers Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac
- Stills gallery of rare production photos and promotional material (DVD only)
- Plus: A booklet featuring essays by novelist Patrick McGrath and film historian David Kalat
The Uninvited – October 22
A pair of siblings (Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey) from London purchase a surprisingly affordable, lonely cliff-top house in Cornwall, only to discover that it actually carries a ghostly price; soon they’re caught up in a bizarre romantic triangle from beyond the grave. Rich in atmosphere, The Uninvited, directed by Lewis Allen, was groundbreaking for the seriousness with which it treated the haunted-house genre, and it remains an elegant and eerie experience, featuring a classic score by Victor Young. A tragic family past, a mysteriously locked room, cold chills, bumps in the night—this gothic Hollywood classic has it all.
- New 2K digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
- New visual essay by filmmaker Michael Almereyda
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme
John Cassavetes: Five Films – October 22
Includes: Shadows, Faces, A Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Opening Night, and A Constant Forge—The Life and Art of John Cassavetes
- New high-definition digital restorations of all five films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray editions
- New high-definition digital restoration of Cassavetes’s 108-minute 1978 version of The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
- A Constant Forge: The Life and Art of John Cassavetes (2000), a 200-minute documentary by Charles Kiselyak
- New interviews with actor Lelia Goldoni and associate producer Seymour Cassel about Shadows
- Silent footage from the Cassavetes-Lane Drama Workshop, from which Shadows emerged
- Restoration demonstration for Shadows
- Alternate eighteen-minute opening sequence for Faces
- Episode of the French television series Cinéastes de notre temps from 1968, dedicated to Cassavetes
- Making “Faces,” a new documentary featuring interviews with actors Cassel, Lynn Carlin, and Gena Rowlands and director of photography Al Ruban
- Al Ruban on Lighting and Shooting “Faces,” a new video program featuring commentary by Ruban (Blu-ray); Lighting and Shooting the Film, an on-screen essay by Ruban, illustrated with video clips, that discusses the techniques and equipment used on Faces (DVD)
- Audio commentary for A Woman Under the Influence by sound recordist and composer Bo Harwood and camera operator Mike Ferris
- New conversation between Rowlands and actor Peter Falk about A Woman Under the Influence
- New interviews with actor Ben Gazzara and Ruban on The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
- New conversation between Rowlands and Gazzara about Opening Night
- New interview with Ruban about Opening Night
- Audio interviews with Cassavetes from the 1970s about A Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, and Opening Night
- Trailers for Shadows, A Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, and Opening Night
- Stills and poster galleries
- Biographical sketches of the actors Cassavetes frequently cast in his films, written by Tom Chartity (John Cassavetes: Lifeworks) (DVD only)
- PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by Gary Giddins, Kent Jones, Charles Kiselyak, Stuart Klawans, Dennis Lim, and Phillip Lopate; writings by and interviews with Cassavetes; and tributes to the filmmaker by director Martin Scorsese; actor and writer Elaine Kagan, Cassavetes’s former secretary; and novelist Jonathan Lethem
La Notte – October 29
This psychologically acute, visually striking modernist work was director Michelangelo Antonioni’s follow-up to the epochal L’avventura. Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau star as a novelist and his frustrated wife who, over the course of one night, confront their alienation from each other and the achingly empty bourgeois Milan circles in which they travel. Antonioni’s muse Monica Vitti smolders as an industrialist’s tempting daughter. Moodily sensual cinematography and subtly expressive performances make La Notte an indelible illustration of romantic and social deterioration.
- New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
- New interview with film critic Adriano Aprà and film historian Carlo Di Carlo
- New interview with professor Giuliana Bruno on the role of architecture in La notte
- New and improved English subtitle translation
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Richard Brody and a 1961 article by director Michelangelo Antonioni
Information courtesy of Criterion.com and Blu-ray.com
Out of these releases, I’ve only ever seen I Married a Witch, which is quite a fun film (though, for a Criterion release, it seems rather light on bonus features). Georges Franju’s Eyes Without a Face looks really intriguing, and I’ve already placed a hold on the DVD from my local library. I have yet to see any Antonioni, but perhaps I should watch L’avventura before I see La Notte, since both are part of a trilogy (ending with L’eclisse). I haven’t seen any of the Cassavetes films or The Uninvited (which looks like a pretty great ghost/horror film). I was suspecting some more horror films for October, but these releases look pretty great (though I Married a Witch and The Uninvited are lacking extras). I absolutely love the covers of I Married a Witch, The Uninvited, and La Notte!
Unfortunately, I don’t have any money for these releases (schade…); but, luckily, Barnes & Noble will be having another half off sale in November, so hopefully I’ll have some money by then.
Until next time!