Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Criterion Collection Sets March Release Package

DVD & Blu-ray Release ReportThe Criterion Collection, with sales and distribution support provided by Image Entertainment, announced a six-strong slate of new Blu-ray and DVD film product offerings for the month of March this past week.

As with all of Criterion’s eclectic monthly product selections, the front-runner is always a matter of personal taste.  With that said, one would be relatively safe is selecting the Blu-ray and DVD debut of filmmaker Fritz Lang’s 1944 film noir thriller, Ministry of Fear, as the one selection that the majority of film affectionados will be looking forward to.  Street date is Mar. 12.

Ray Milland is the least likely to be believed when he uncovers, quite by accident, what he believes to be a nest of Nazi spies.   After all, he just got out of mental hospital, so who in authority is going to believe him?   

That lack of creditability only adds to his own panic and confusion … why is the blind man on the train trying to kill me over a slice of cake?   Nevertheless, Ministry of Fear works both as a film noir and as a straight wartime thriller … but for it to have been a real “super nova” film noir — one that would have just knocked your socks — Lang needed to have Carla (Marjorie Reynolds) double cross Milland in the big showdown! 

The only bonus nugget is a newly minted video interview with Fritz Lang scholar Joe McElhaney (“The Death of Classical Cinema,” “Vincente Minnelli: The Art of Entertainment,” etc.).

Also streeting on Mar. 12 is a Blu-ray edition of the Steve McQueen sci-fi gem from 1958, The Blob.  Bonuses include two commentary options — one with producer Jack H. Harris and film historian Bruce Eder; the second teams director Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr. with actor Robert Fields (as Tony) — and a collection of a stills, posters, etc. in a featurette titled “Blobabilia!”

Director Terrence Malick’s 1973 film, Badlands, teaming Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek  — “inspired” by the life of notorious spree killer Charles Starkweather and his 14 year-old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate — has been restored for a Blu-ray and DVD push on Mar. 19.

There’s a new documentary on the making of the film included as a bonus nugget, plus there are a pair of newly prepared video interviews with film editor Billy Weber and producer Edward Pressman.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Also on Mar. 19 are Blu-ray and DVD (a double-disc set) editions of The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp.   Bonuses include commentary from director Michael Powell, who is joined by auteur Martin Scorsese, plus Scorsese hosts a restoration demonstration.

The last street-date Tuesday of the month, Mar. 26, sees Blu-ray and DVD editions of French filmmaker Robert Bresson’s 1956 World War II prison escape thriller, A Man Escaped, starring François Leterrier as the man with the plan.  Bonuses here include a 45-minute documentary titled “The Essence of Forms.”

Also heading home on Mar. 26 are Blu-ray and DVD editions of the new film restoration for Charlie Chaplin’s 1947 film, Monsieur Verdoux.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

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