The Criterion Collection announced its line up of DVD and Blu-ray product offerings for the month of May this past week and, as always, there is bound to be something among the selections that will catch the eye of film buff, collectors and connoisseurs.
Leading the charge is director John Schlesinger’s 1969 Best Picture-winner, Midnight Cowboy. A new 4K restoration (source elements are not specified) is in the works for this double-disc DVD and Blu-ray release on May 29.
In addition to the Oscar win for Best Picture, director John Schlesinger won Best Director (he was also nominated for Darling and Sunday Bloody Sunday) and former blacklisted writer Waldo Salt won for his screenplay adaptation of James Leo Herlihy’s 1965 novel.
Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight found themselves competing against each other in the Best Actor category, losing out to John Wayne for his performance in True Grit … it was Hoffman’s second nomination, having been nominated for his performance as Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate (his first of seven Best Actor nominations, with wins for Kramer vs. Kramer and Rain Man), and Jon Voight’s first of four Oscar nominations (he would win Best Actor for his performance as writer Waldo Salt’s disabled Vietnam veteran Luke Martin in Coming Home).
As to bonus goodies, there is a vintage commentary from 1991 (laserdisc) featuring director John Schlesinger and producer Jerome Hellman, a newly prepared selected scene commentary featuring cinematographer Adam Holender and vintage interview sessions with Jon Voight (The David Frost Show, 1970) and John Schlesinger (circa 2000).
Additionally, there is the short film titled “The Crowd Around the Cowboy” (shot on location during the filming of Midnight Cowboy), a pair of making-of documentaries from 2004 and the 1990 Oscar-nominated documentary by Eugene Corr and Robert Hillmann titled Waldo Salt: A Screenwriter’s Journey.
Other May DVD and Blu-ray selections from The Criterion Collection include a 4K restoration of director Frank Borzage’s 1948 noirish crime drama Moonrise (May 8), starring Dane Clark, Gail Russell and Lloyd Bridges and two Romanian-language imports from director Cristian Mungiu on May 22 — Beyond the Hills (released theatrically in 2013 — ARR of 1,901 days; box office: $109,248) and Graduation (released theatrically in April of last year — ARR of 410 days; box office: $175,975).
Lastly, writer/director Aki Kaurismäki’s The Other Side of Hope (May 15 … opened theatrically in December of 2017 — ARR of 165 days; box office: $183,583), director Paul Schrader’s Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (May 22) and French New Wave filmmaker Robert Bresson’s 1966 film, Au Hasard Balthazar (May 29) round out the May selections.