Criterion New Release Tuesday – March 23, 2010 – Bigger than Life, Kurosawa and Malick on Blu-ray! [Criterion Collection New Releases]

Ah Tuesdays, when our new release thirst is quenched yet again.

This week from Criterion we get some more Akira Kurosawa on Blu-ray, in the form of the re-released Yojimbo and Sanjuro, in both boxed, and non-boxed form. Also receiving a re-release on Blu-ray is Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven. We recently reported a rumor that The Thin Red Line would be receiving the Criterion Blu-ray treatment, and I can safely say that after overhearing some chatter at SXSW, it’s more than just a rumor. Finally, we’re treated to an incredible performance by James Mason in Nicholas Ray’s Bigger than Life, on both DVD and Blu-ray.

All of these releases are packed with supplemental materials, showing the DVD and Blu-ray world that Criterion will remain a name to be reckoned with, no matter how much online streaming increases.

You can find our initial post, announcing these March Releases here.


Yojimbo & Sanjuro Set Blu-ray
Buy the Yojimbo / Sanjuro Blu-ray Box Set from Amazon

Yojimbo Blu-ray
Buy the Yojimbo Blu-ray from Amazon

Sanjuro Blu-ray
Buy the Sanjuro Blu-ray from Amazon

Yojimbo & Sanjuro

Akira Kurosawa, 1961 & 1962

March 23rd, 2010. Blu-ray. Criterion # 052-053.

Yojimbo:

Read James McCormick’s review of the Yojimbo Blu-ray for CriterionCast.

The incomparable Toshiro Mifune stars in Akira Kurosawa’s visually stunning and darkly comic Yojimbo. To rid a terror-stricken village of corruption, wily masterless samurai Sanjuro turns a range war between two evil clans to his own advantage. Remade twice, by Sergio Leone and Walter Hill, this exhilarating genre-twister remains one of the most influential and entertaining films of all time.

Disc Features

  • Restored high-definition digital transfer (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Optional Dolby Digital 3.0 soundtrack, preserving the original Perspecta simulated-stereo effects (DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Audio commentary by film historian and Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince
  • A 45-minute documentary on the making of Yojimbo, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create, featuring Kurosawa, actor Tatsuya Nakadai, production designer Yoshiro Muraki, and longtime Kurosawa collaborator Teruyo Nogami
  • Theatrical teaser and trailer
  • Stills gallery of behind-the-scenes photos
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Alexander Sesonske and comments from Kurosawa and his cast and crew

Sanjuro:

Toshiro Mifune swaggers and snarls to brilliant comic effect in Akira Kurosawa’s tightly paced, beautifully composed Sanjuro. In this sly companion piece to Yojimbo, jaded samurai Sanjuro helps an idealistic group of young warriors weed out their clan’s evil influences, and in the process turns their image of a ‘proper’ samurai on its ear. Less brazen in tone than its predecessor but equally entertaining, this classic character’s return is a masterpiece in its own right.

Disc Features

  • Restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Optional Dolby Digital 3.0 soundtrack, preserving the original Perspecta simulated-stereo effects (DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Audio commentary by film historian and Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince
  • A 35-minute documentary on the making of Sanjuro, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create, featuring Kurosawa, actor Tatsuya Nakadai, production designer Yoshiro Muraki, and longtime Kurosawa collaborator Teruyo Nogami
  • Theatrical teaser and trailer
  • Stills gallery of behind-the-scenes photos
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Michael Sragow and comments from Kurosawa and his cast and crew

Days of Heaven Blu-ray 409_BD_box_348x490
Buy the Days of Heaven Blu-ray from Amazon

Days of Heaven

Terrence Malick, 1978

March 23rd, 2010. Blu-ray. Criterion # 409

One-of-a-kind filmmaker-philosopher Terrence Malick has created some of the most visually arresting films of the twentieth century, and his glorious period tragedy Days of Heaven, featuring Oscar-winning cinematography by Nestor Almendros, stands out among them. In 1910, a Chicago steelworker (Richard Gere) accidentally kills his supervisor, and he, his girlfriend (Brooke Adams), and his little sister (Linda Manz) flee to the Texas panhandle, where they find work harvesting wheat in the fields of a stoic farmer (Sam Shepard). A love triangle, a swarm of locusts, a hellish fire’”Malick captures it all with dreamlike authenticity, creating a timeless American idyll that is also a gritty evocation of turn-of-the-century labor.

Disc Features

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Terrence Malick, editor Billy Weber, and camera operator John Bailey
  • New Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack (with DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Audio commentary featuring Weber, art director Jack Fisk, costume designer Patricia Norris, and casting director Dianne Crittenden
  • Audio interview with actor Richard Gere
  • Video interviews with Bailey, cinematographer Haskell Wexler, and actor Sam Shepard
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Adrian Martin and a chapter from director of photography Nestor Almendros’s autobiography

 


Buy the Bigger than Life DVD from Amazon

Buy the Bigger than Life Blu-ray from Amazon

Bigger Than Life

Nicholas Ray, 1956

March 23rd, 2010. DVD and Blu-ray. Criterion # 507

Read James McCormick’s review of the Bigger than Life Blu-ray for CriterionCast.

Though ignored at the time of its release, Nicholas Ray’s Bigger Than Life is now recognized as one of the great American films of the 1950s. When a friendly, successful suburban teacher and father (James Mason, in one of his most indelible roles) is prescribed cortisone for a painful, possibly fatal affliction, he grows dangerously addicted to the experimental drug, resulting in his transformation into a psychotic and ultimately violent household despot. This Eisenhower-era throat-grabber, shot in expressive CinemaScope, is an excoriating take on the nuclear family. That it came in the day of Father Knows Best makes it all the more shocking’”and wildly entertaining.

Disc Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary featuring critic Geoff Andrew (The Films of Nicholas Ray)
  • Profile of Nicholas Ray (1977), a half-hour television interview with the director
  • New video appreciation of Bigger Than Life with author Jonathan Lethem (Chronic City)
  • New video interview with Susan Ray, widow of the director and editor of I Was Interrupted: Nicholas Ray on Making Movies
  • Theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic and video maker B. Kite

More from Ryan Gallagher

Watch Gareth Evans’ Samurai Short Film

A fun short full of suspense, swords and style.
Read More