In September, Criterion Cages Les Folles, A Spy Comes In, Austin Slacks, and Ingrid Bergman Shines

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Cinephiles the world 'round are no doubt familiar with the mission of The Criterion Collection to preserve culturally significant classic and modern films, and so each month's release of 5 such films on Blu-ray offers movie-lovers a chance to add some of history's most enduring films to their collection. This September, The Criterion Collection has a number of recognizable titles debuting in HD, including the beloved La Cage Aux Folles, John Le Carre's The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, the singular collaboration between Ingmar Bergman and Ingrid Bergman Autumn Sonata, Richard Linklater's Austin, Texas tribute Slacker, and a collection of 3 films by Roberto Rossellini starring Ingrid Bergman (Stromboli, Journey to Italy, Europe '51). For details on all of the above and the custom made extras Criterion commissioned for them, read on.

cage_folles_bluLa Cage Aux Folles

Renato (La grande bouffe’s Ugo Tognazzi) and Albin (Diabolique’s Michel Serrault)—a middle-aged gay couple who are the manager and star performer at a glitzy drag club in St. Tropez—agree to hide their sexual identities, along with their flamboyant personalities and home decor, when the ultraconservative parents of Renato’s son’s fiancée come for a visit. This elegant comic scenario kicks off a wild and warmhearted farce about the importance of nonconformity and the beauty of being true to oneself. A modest French comedy that became a breakout art-house smash in America, Edouard Molinaro’s La Cage aux Folles inspired a major Broadway musical and the blockbuster remake The Birdcage. But with its hilarious performances and ahead-of-its-time social message, there’s nothing like the audacious, dazzling original movie.

1978 • 96 minutes • Color • Monaural • In French with English subtitles • 1.66:1 aspect ratio

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• New 2K digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
• New interview with director Edouard Molinaro
• Archival footage featuring actor Michel Serrault and Jean Poiret, writer and star of the original stage production of La Cage aux Folles
• New interview with Laurence Senelick, author of The Changing Room: Sex, Drag and Theatre
• French and U.S. trailers
• New English subtitle translation
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic David Ehrenstein

SRP - $39.5

spy_came_cold_bluThe Spy Who Came in From the Cold

The acclaimed, best-selling novel by John le Carré (The Tailor of Panama), about a Cold War spy on one final dangerous mission in East Germany, is transmuted by director Martin Ritt (Hud) into a film every bit as precise and ruthless as the book. Richard Burton (Becket) is superb as Alec Leamas, whose relationship with a beautiful librarian, played by Claire Bloom (Richard III), puts his assignment in jeopardy. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is a hard-edged and tragic thriller, suffused with the political and social consciousness that defined Ritt’s career.

1965 • 112 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • 1.85:1 aspect ratio

BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• High-definition digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
• Exclusive, wide-ranging interview with author John le Carré
• Selected-scene commentary featuring director of photography Oswald Morris
The Secret Centre: John le Carré, a 2000 BBC documentary on the author’s life and work
• Interview with actor Richard Burton from a 1967 episode of the BBC series Acting in the ’60s, conducted by critic Kenneth Tynan
• Audio conversation from 1985 between director Martin Ritt and film historian Patrick McGilligan
• Gallery of set designs
• Trailer
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Sragow

SRP - $39.95

autumn_sonata_bluAutumn Sonata

Autumn Sonata was the only collaboration between cinema’s two great Bergmans—Ingmar, the iconic director of The Seventh Seal, and Ingrid, the monumental star of Casablanca. The grand dame, playing an icy concert pianist, is matched beat for beat in ferocity by the filmmaker’s recurring lead Liv Ullmann (Scenes from a Marriage) as her eldest daughter. Over the course of a long, painful night that the two spend together after an extended separation, they finally confront the bitter discord of their relationship. This cathartic pas de deux, evocatively shot in burnished harvest colors by the great Sven Nykvist (Fanny and Alexander), ranks among Ingmar Bergman’s major dramatic works.

1978 • 93 minutes • Color • Monaural • In Swedish with English subtitles • 1.66:1 aspect ratio

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• New 2K digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
• Introduction by director Ingmar Bergman from 2003
• Audio commentary featuring Bergman expert Peter Cowie
The Making of “Autumn Sonata,” a three-and-a-half-hour program examining every aspect of the production
• New interview with actor Liv Ullmann
• A 1981 conversation between actor Ingrid Bergman and critic John Russell Taylor at the National Film Theatre in London
• Trailer
• English-dubbed track
• New English subtitle translation
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme

SRP - $39.95

slacker_bluSlacker

Slacker, directed by Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused), presents a day in the life of a loose-knit Austin, Texas, subculture populated by eccentric and overeducated young people. Shooting on 16 mm for a mere $3,000, writer-producer-director Linklater and his crew of friends threw out any idea of a traditional plot, choosing instead to create a tapestry of over a hundred characters, each as compelling as the last. Slacker is a prescient look at an emerging generation of aggressive nonparticipants, and one of the key films of the American independent film movement of the 1990s.

1991 • 100 minutes • Color • 2.0 surround • 1.33:1 aspect ratio

BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• High-definition restored digital film transfer, supervised by director Richard Linklater and director of photography Lee Daniel, featuring 2.0 surround DTS-HD
Master Audio soundtrack
• Three audio commentaries, featuring Linklater and members of the cast and crew
It’s Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books (1988), Linklater’s first full-length feature, with commentary by the director
Woodshock, a 1985 16 mm short by Linklater and Daniel
• Casting tapes featuring select “auditions” from the more-than-100-member cast
• Footage from the Slacker tenth-anniversary reunion
• Early film treatment
• Home movies
• Ten-minute trailer for a 2005 documentary about the landmark Austin café Les Amis
• Deleted scenes and alternate takes
• Original theatrical trailer
• PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by author and film­maker John Pierson and Michael Barker, as well as reviews, production notes, and an introduction to It’s Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books by director Monte Hellman

SRP - $39.95

3films_robross_ingber_blu3 Films by Roberto Rossellini Starring Ingrid Bergman

In the late 1940s, the incandescent Hollywood star Ingrid Bergman (Casablanca) found herself so moved by the revolutionary neorealist films of Roberto Rossellini (Rome Open City) that she sent the director a letter, introducing herself and offering her talents. The resulting collaboration produced a series of films that are works of both sociopolitical concern and metaphysical melodrama, each starring Bergman as a woman experiencing physical dislocation and psychic torment in postwar Italy. It also famously led to a scandalous affair and eventual marriage between filmmaker and star, and the focus on their personal lives in the press unfortunately overshadowed the extraordinary films they made together. Stromboli, Europe ’51, and Journey to Italy are intensely personal portraits that reveal the director at his most emotional and the glamorous actor at her most anguished, and that capture them and the world around them in transition.

SPECIAL EDITION COLLECTOR’S SET FEATURES
• New digital film restorations of the English- and Italian-language versions of Stromboli and Europe ’51 and the English-language version of Journey to Italy, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray editions
• Archival television introductions by director Roberto Rossellini to all three films
• Audio commentary for Journey to Italy featuring scholar Laura Mulvey
Rossellini Through His Own Eyes, a 1992 documentary on the filmmaker’s approach to cinema, featuring archival interviews with Rossellini and actor Ingrid Bergman
• New visual essays about Rossellini by scholars Tag Gallagher and James Quandt
Rossellini Under the Volcano, a 1998 documentary that returns to the island of Stromboli fifty years after the making of Stromboli
• New interview with critic Adriano Aprà about each of the films
• New interview with Fiorella Mariani, Rossellini’s niece, featuring home movies shot by Bergman
• New interview with film historian Elena Degrada about the different versions of Europe ’51
• New interviews with Isabella Rossellini and Ingrid Rossellini, daughters of Rossellini and Bergman
• Ingrid Bergman Remembered, a 1996 documentary on the actor’s life, narrated by her daughter Pia Lindstrom
My Dad Is 100 Years Old, a 2005 short film, directed by Guy Maddin and starring Isabella Rossellini
The Chicken, a 1952 short film by Roberto Rossellini, starring Bergman
A Short Visit with the Rossellini Family, a six-minute film shot on Capri while the family was there during the production of Journey to Italy
• New English subtitle translation for Stromboli and Europe ’51
• PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by critics Richard Brody, Fred Camper, Dina Iordanova, and Paul Thomas; letters exchanged by Rossellini and Bergman; “Why I Directed Stromboli,” a 1950 article by Rossellini; a 1954 interview with Rossellini conducted by Eric Rohmer and François Truffaut forCahiers du cinéma; and excerpts from a 1965 interview with Rossellini conducted by Aprà and Maurizio Ponzi for Filmcritica

STROMBOLI

The first collaboration between Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman is a devastating portrait of a woman’s existential crisis, set against the beautiful and forbidding backdrop of a volcanic island. After World War II, a Lithuanian refugee (Bergman) marries a simple Italian fisherman (Mario Vitale) she meets in a prisoner of war camp and accompanies him back to his isolated village on an island off the coast of Sicily. Cut off from the world, she finds herself crumbling emotionally, but she is destined for a dramatic epiphany. Balancing the director’s trademark neorealism (exemplified here in a remarkable depiction of the fishermen’s lives and work) with deeply felt melodrama, Stromboli is a revelation.

English-language version: 1950 · 106 minutes · Black & White · Monaural · 1.37:1 aspect ratio
Italian-language version: 1950 · 100 minutes · Black & White · Monaural · In Italian with English subtitles · 1.37:1 aspect ratio

EUROPE ’51

Ingrid Bergman plays a wealthy, self-absorbed socialite in Rome racked by guilt over the shocking death of her young son. As a way of dealing with her grief and finding meaning in her life, she decides to devote her time and money to the city’s poor and sick. Her newfound, single-minded activism leads to conflicts with her husband and questions about her sanity. The intense, often unfairly overlooked Europe ’51 was, according to Rossellini, a retelling of his own The Flowers of St. Francis from a female perspective. This unabashedly political but sensitively conducted investigation of modern sainthood was the director’s favorite of his films.

English-language version: 1952 · 114 minutes · Black & White · Monaural · 1.33:1 aspect ratio
Italian-language version: 1952 · 116 minutes · Black & White · Monaural · In Italian with English subtitles · 1.33:1 aspect ratio

JOURNEY TO ITALY

Among the most influential dramatic works of the postwar era, Roberto Rossellini’s Journey to Italy charts the declining marriage of a couple (Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders) from England while on a trip in the countryside near Naples. More than just an anatomy of a relationship, Rossellini’s masterpiece is a heartrending work of emotion and spirituality. Considered a predecessor to the existentialist films of Michelangelo Antonioni; hailed as a groundbreaking modernist work by the legendary film journal Cahiers du cinéma; and named by director Martin Scorsese as one of his favorite films, Journey to Italy is a breathtaking cinematic benchmark.

1954 · 85 minutes · Black & White · Monaural · 1.37:1 aspect ratio

SRP - $99.95

Aug
21
2013
Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.

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