In sports, there are various halls of fame. And within those halls are those athletes, the cream of the crop, who would ultimately fine their place within that hall the very second they became eligible. Well, if there were a hall of fame for filmmakers, Criterion’s March 2013 lineup comes to us from a handful of auteurs who would likely take their places as the first entrants. It’s one hell of a lineup.
Starting off is the biggest reveal, Terrence Malick’s Badlands. Rumored for a while now, the film finally comes to Criterion via a new 4k transfer, and alongside a making of documentary (a new one at that), interviews with the editor, Billy Weber, about his work with Malick, and producer Edward Pressman. Now, despite a really mediocre (dare I say poor) piece of artwork adorning the cover, this is likely the month’s biggest and most sought after release.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRf0PTy1qEw&version=3&hl=en_US]
But it may not be as big a lead as one would think. Another film hinted at (this time thanks to Criterion’s Hulu Plus page), Criterion releases Robert Bresson’s A Man Escaped. Bresson’s masterpiece is getting the release it truly deserves with a recording of Bresson’s first on-camera interview, a documentary from 2010 about the filmmaker, and even a visual essay from scholars David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson. The artwork is fantastic, and this is easily this month’s most important, if not it’s most widely sought after, release.
Continuing their run of Chaplin releases, the company confirms Monsieur Verdoux as the icon’s next Criterion release. Possibly my favorite artwork of the month, the classic film comes stacked with a look at the film’s production and release, a documentary on Chaplin and his relationship with the press, and advertisements and an interview with actress Marilyn Nash that will play as part of a lengthy video essay. Oh, and the booklet even features writing from legendary critic Andre Bazin. It is also available on Hulu Plus.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRf0PTy1qEw&version=3&hl=en_US]
Finally, the last new release is Fritz Lang’s Ministry Of Fear and it is yet another superb film that will come to Blu-ray, but without anything really supplemental. Part of Criterion’s series of releases that are lower priced, the film is a classic film from one of the greatest director’s of all time, and while it may not hit with many supplements, it’s going to be wonderful to see on Blu-ray. Toss in a Blu-ray upgrade of The Blob and yes, finally, The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp, and you have a month that may very well be the best in recent memory for the company.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82WmdT76Cpc&version=3&hl=en_US]
Personally, I think I’m most excited for Ministry and Escaped. Both films are going to be truly impressive on Blu-ray, for video and audio reasons respectively. Most will point to the Malick and the Chaplin as the stronger films, but this is easily one of the company’s deepest releases in some time. Hell, who was expecting a Blob Blu-grade along with a Colonel Blimp upgrade? Talk about an amazing pairing. Top to bottom, this slate is a killer. Check out the artwork over at our Tumblr page.