Noteworthy film-related artifacts released last month
Blu-rays– It was a long time coming, but Warners finally did it right with Tom & Jerry Golden Collection Volume One, 37 cartoons from the classic series presented chronologically in remastered and unexpurgated versions. Another eagerly awaited title, the exceedingly perverse Island of Lost Souls (1932), had the good fortune of falling in Criterion’s hands, as did the Technicolor adventure The Four Feathers (1939), Masaki Kobayashi’s Harakiri (1962), Kaneto Shindo’s Kuroneko (1968), and Michelangelo Antonioni’s Identification of a Woman (1982). Other U.S. releases: The Bad Seed (1956), The Guns of Navarone (1961), Scrooge (1970), and Francis Ford Coppola’s seminal The Conversation (1974). In the UK, Masters of Cinema returned to Shohei Imamura’s peculiar universe with A Man Vanishes (1967) and The Ballad of Narayama (1983); plus two new volumes in BFI’s adventurous Flipside (Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs/1974 and Voice Over/1981), and a dual-format edition of Andrzej Wajda’s Ashes and Diamonds (1958). In France, Night Porter (1974), Le sauvage (1975), and a trio from the recently retired glory of the Italian cinema, Ettore Scola (Splendor/1989, Che ora e?/1989 and Il viaggio di Capitan Francassa/1990). In Germany, Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962), Dear Brigitte (1965), and a pairing of both versions of Cape Fear (1962, 1991).
DVDs– In the U.S., a Jean Arthur Comedy Collection (The Public Menace/1935, Adventure in Manhattan/1936, More Than a Secretary/1936, The Impatient Years/1944), and Gordon Douglas’ remake of Stagecoach (1966). In the UK, Grigori Kozintsev’s impressive adaptations of Hamlet (1964) and King Lear (1971), Life at the Top (1965), and Miklos Jancso’s Red Psalm (1971). In France, a new Sacha Guitry box set. In Italy, Alberto Lattuada’s Don Giovanni in Sicilia (1967).
MODs– From Columbia Classics by Request: American Madness (1932), The Black Room (1935), Before I Hang (1940), The Night Holds Terror (1955), Edge of Eternity (1959), 13 West Street (1962), and the musical version of Lost Horizon (1973). From Warner Archive: a Jean Harlow 100th Anniversary Collection (including Bombshell/1933, The Girl from Missouri/1934, Reckless/1935, Riffraff/1935, Suzy/1936, Personal Property/1936 and Saratoga/1937), The Falcon Mystery Movie Collection Volume 1, five films starring Bette Davis (The Rich Are Always with Us/1932, Housewife/1934, Fashions of 1934/1934, The Sisters/1938, Juarez/1939), four with Elizabeth Taylor (Julia Misbehaves/1948, The Big Hangover/1950, The Last Time I Saw Paris/1954 and The Night Watch/1973), The Student Prince (1954), Death of a Scoundrel (1956), Light in the Piazza (1962), Robert Aldrich’s outrageous The Legend of Lylah Clare (1968), The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969), Start the Revolution Without Me (1970), The Traveling Executioner (1970), Richard Fleischer’s The Last Run (1971), Blake Edwards’ The Carey Treatment (1972), George Cukor’s Travels with My Aunt (1972), and James Toback’s Fingers (1978). From MGM: Fashion Model (1945), Behind the Mask (1946), The Bandits of Corsica (1953), Fort Yuma (1955), Dr. Blood’s Coffin (1961), Devil’s Angels (1967), Welcome to L.A. (1976), and five titles from the prolific Edward L. Cahn (Gunfighters of Abilene/1960, Cage of Evil /1960, The Boy Who Caught a Crook/1961, Gun Street/1961 and Incident in an Alley/1962). From Gaumont: Georges Lacombe’s Florence est folle (1944), Les truands (1956), and the Jean Gabin version of Crime et chatiment (1958).
CDs– Absent in 2010, greatly represented in 2011. In October alone, three new CDs featuring Elmer Bernstein’s music: an expansion of Summer and Smoke (1961), and the first-ever releases of Rampage (1963) and Trading Places (1983). Fans of Dimitri Tiomkin’s epic scores also had cause for celebration: the original tracks from 55 Days at Peking (1963) and a brand new recording of The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964). The Verese Sarabande CD Club brought out John Williams’ Midway (1976) and the concluding volume of Bernard Herrmann’s scores for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Taken together, the five CDs that comprise the anthology offer an exceptional amount of great music. One of the unexpected delights in the year of Herrmann’s centenary.