March 2012 Announcements

Criterion announced their March 2012 slate today and it’s a pretty great  line-up in my opinion.  Some great blu-ray upgrades to be had and another box-set that will be acquired during a 50% sale.

The first of the month is an upgrade for one of Scorcese’s better films in my opinion.  A brand new HD transfer and upgraded 5.1 HD sound make this a must buy.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION:

Restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by cinematographer Michael Ballhaus and editor Thelma Schoonmaker, with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack by supervising sound editor Skip Lievsay
Audio commentary featuring director Martin Scorsese, actor Willem Dafoe, and writers Paul Schrader and Jay Cocks
Galleries of production stills, research materials, and costume designs
Location production footage shot by Scorsese
Interview with composer Peter Gabriel, with a stills gallery of traditional instruments used in the score
PLUS: An essay by film critic David Ehrenstein

The War Room is new to the collection. Not my favorite of covers but it gets the job done.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:

New, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by directors D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
Return of the War Room, a 2008 documentary in which advisers James Carville, George Stephanopoulos, and Paul Begala and others reflect on the effect the Clinton war room had on the way campaigns are run
Making “The War Room,” a conversation between the filmmakers about the difficulties of shooting in the campaign’s fast-paced environment
Panel discussion hosted by the William J. Clinton Foundation and featuring Carville, Clinton adviser Vernon Jordan, journalist Ron Brownstein, and surprise guest Bill Clinton
Interview with strategist Stanley Greenberg on the increasing importance of polling
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by writer Louis Menand

Letter Never Sent looks to be the single release of the month. Oh wait, no special features, never mind. A cool movie that gets a spine number and a new transfer but otherwise fails the Criterion treatment. Seems like we are getting a lame release once a month now. I would rather they hold them back a month to get some good original content to add to the disc.

DISC FEATURES

New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
New English subtitle translation
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Dina Iordanova

And the big whole box set that comes out is of course a must buy. David Lean/Noel Coward box set for the win!

SYNOPSIS: In the 1940s, the wit of playwright Noël Coward and the craft of filmmaker David Lean melded harmoniously in one of cinema’s greatest writer-director collaborations. With the wartime military drama sensation In Which We Serve, Coward and Lean (along with producing partners Ronald Neame and Anthony Havelock-Allan) embarked on a series of literate, socially engaged, and enormously entertaining pictures that ranged from domestic epic (This Happy Breed) to whimsical comedy (Blithe Spirit) to poignant romance (Brief Encounter). These films created a lasting testament to Coward’s artistic legacy and introduced Lean’s visionary talents to the world.

BRIEF ENCOUNTER
After a chance meeting on a train platform, a married doctor (Trevor Howard) and a suburban housewife (Celia Johnson) enter into a muted but passionate, ultimately doomed, love affair.

IN WHICH WE SERVE
In the midst of World War II, the renowned playwright Noël Coward engaged a young film editor named David Lean to help him realize his vision for an action drama about a group of Royal Navy sailors (roles that would be filled by Coward himself, Bernard Miles, and John Mills, among others) fighting.

THIS HAPPY BREED
David Lean brings to vivid emotional life Noël Coward’s epic chronicle of a working-class family in the London suburbs over the course of two decades.

BLITHE SPIRIT
David Lean’s delightful film version of Noël Coward’s theater sensation stars Rex Harrison as a novelist who cheekily invites a medium to his house to conduct a séance, hoping the experience will inspire a book he’s working on.

The last release of the month is an upgrade of spine #7, A Night to Remember. Pretty cool.

DISC FEATURES

New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
Audio commentary by Don Lynch and Ken Marschall, author and illustrator of “Titanic:” An Illustrated History
The Making of “A Night to Remember” (1993), a sixty-minute documentary featuring William MacQuitty’s rare behind-the-scenes footage
Archival interview with Titanic survivor Eva Hart
En natt att minas, a forty-five-minute Swedish documentary from 1962 featuring interviews with Titanic survivors
Trailer
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Michael Sragow

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