The Criterion Collection announced its slate of DVD and Blu-ray product offerings for the month of May this past week … and there are some real treasures to be found here.
Indeed, there is something planned for each and everyone of the five street-date Tuesdays during the month, but the real kingpin of the group will arrive on the fourth Tuesday of the month, May 24, and that would be auteur filmmaker Robert Altman’s 1992 film industry tell-all masterpiece, The Player.
A new 4K restoration is planned. Bonus goodies for both the DVD (a double-disc affair) and Blu-ray editions kick-off with a vintage 1992 commentary track featuring director Robert Altman (who was nominated for Best Director for his work here … five Best Director nominations and he didn’t win a single one), writer Michael Tolkin (also nominated for the Oscar in adapting his own novel for the screen … his only nomination) and cinematographer Jean Lépine. The film’s brilliant opening sequence (which clocks in at around eight minutes) also features a commentary option delivered by Altman, Tolkin and Lépine.
There is a vintage interview session with director Robert Altman and a newly-minted video session with writer Michael Tolkin and production designer Stephen Altman (Robert Altman’s son, who was nominated for Best Art Director/Set Direction for his work on Gosford Park).
Not done yet, The Criterion Collection also has deleted scenes, outtakes, a short documentary titled “The Player at LACMA” and a featurette titled “Map to the Stars” which details the numerous cameo appearances contained within the film.
As to other gems on the May release calendar, the month opens on May 3 with a restored HD transfer (supervised by László Kovács) of Dennis Hopper’s 1969 breakthrough film, Easy Rider.
Bonus features include two vintage commentary options, two short documentaries — “Born to be Wild” and “Easy Rider: Shaking the Cage” — TV clips from 1969 at the Cannes Film Festival featuring Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda and more.
Arriving on May 10 is a new 2K restoration of director Nicholas Ray’s 1950 film noir entry, In a Lonely Place, teaming Humphrey Bogart with Gloria Grahame in a pulp fiction tale of Hollywood wheelings and dealings … drip by drip love turns to hate; trust devolves to absolute terror!
Bonus features include a newly prepared commentary track by film scholar and professor of Department of Cinema Studies at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, Dana Polan, and a 1948 radio adaptation of Dorothy B. Hughes novel, upon which the film was based.
Rounding out the May release selections from The Criterion Collection are the May 17 release of director Kaneto Shindo’s 1960 film release of The Naked Island and the May 31 collection titled Wim Wenders: The Road Trilogy, which features Alice in the Cities, Wrong Move and Kings of the Road.