The Criterion Collection announced its April DVD and Blu-ray release selections this past week, and as always, there is something for everyone among the six-strong array of new 2K and 4K restorations … so let us get right to it (with our personal choice, among several).
The one that caught our eye this month is the Apr. 18 double-disc DVD and Blu-ray releases of director George Stevens’ 1942 romantic comedy, Woman of the Year, teaming Katharine Hepburn with Spencer Tracy in their first of nine films together.
The film is also noted as ground zero for a 25-year long romance between the two iconic actors that lasted until his death in 1967 (their last film together was Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, which was released theatrically six months after Tracy’s passing).
The Criterion Collection has a new high-def transfer of the film and a trio of newly-prepared video sessions featuring: George Stevens Jr.; writer Marilyn Ann Moss — the author of “Giant: George Stevens, a Life on Film” — and writer and The New Yorker magazine contributor, Claudia Roth Pierpont (her piece on Hepburn in The New Yorker appeared in July of 2003 and was titled “Born for the Part” … just days after Hepburn’s death at 96 years of age).
There is also director David Heeley’s 1986 feature-length documentary, The Spencer Tracy Legacy: A Tribute by Katharine Hepburn, included in the list of bonus goodies.
Other films getting the Criterion treatment during the month of April are two of French New Wave filmmaker Jacques Demy’s mid-sixties works (at the height of his filmmaking career) — The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) and The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967) — both street as newly minted 2K digital restorations as either DVD or Blu-ray product offerings on Apr. 11.
Included with The Young Girls of Rochefort is award-winning filmmaker Agnès Varda’s 1993 documentary on her husband’s early work, The Young Girls Turn 25. Varda and Demy were married for 28 years until his death in 1990.
Rounding-out the selections are a new 4K restoration of auteur filmmaker Francis Ford Rumble Fish (streets on Apr. 25 — complete with commentary from Coppola, Chilean filmmaker Alberto Fuguet’s 2013 feature-length documentary tribute to the film, Locations: Looking for Rusty James, and much more), Japanese filmmaker 1985 award-winning comedy, Tampopo (available on Apr. 25) and Wim Wenders’ 1999 Oscar-nominated documentary, Buena Vista Social Club (Apr. 18).Coppola’s 1983 film release of