15 May 2010
Criterion in August
Criterion's newly announced titles for August range from "well, finally" to "thanks, but..." The most obvious "finally" is a three-film set of Josef von Sternberg silents–Underworld, The Last Command and The Docks of New York–which had been speculated to be on their way for years. Still under the "finally" category is Maurice Pialat's L'enfance nue. After Criterion released Pialat's amazing À nos amours in 2006, we might have expected a number of the director's other films to surface, but so far only a crummy disc of Loulou and an out-of-print one for Van Gogh are the only other Pialat's on home video in the US (Masters of Cinema in the UK have been putting out most of his oeuvre on DVD over the past couple years). While I wouldn't necessarily throw Terry Zwigoff's Crumb or his first film, a documentary called Louie Bluie, into the "no thanks" category, as long as these releases don't lead to Criterion putting out any of his fiction features. And, well, as there's only one other title left (on the main line), you can guess my feelings toward Marcel Camus' Black Orpheus [Orfeu Negro], which will get a remastered reissue DVD release as well as a Blu-ray on the 17th. The Eclipse set will be the First Films of Akira Kurosawa–Sanshiro Sugata, Sanshiro Sugata 2, The Most Beautiful and The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail–all four of which were first issued last December in the AK 100 box set. Aside from Black Orpheus, Crumb will be the only other Blu-ray release in August. I have a non-Criterion DVD update coming up soon.