With no end in sight for the end of lockdown, what better time to enjoy isolation in style. The Criterion Collection have got your back this July with a trio of Blu-ray’s. The summer will heat up with ‘female troubles’, classic Buster Keaton and classic Japanese outlaws.
On 13 July comes FEMALE TROUBLE. Glamour has never been more grotesque than in this decadent melodrama starring Divine and directed by JOHN WATERS.
Following on 20 July THE CAMERAMAN stars Buster Keaton at the peak of his slapstick powers – the first film that the silent-screen legend made after signing with MGM, and his last great masterpiece.
Also on 20 July THREE OUTLAW SAMURAI arrives, the first film by the legendary HIDEO GOSHA, the film is an origin-story offshoot of a Japanese television series phenomenon of the same name, and a classic in its own right.
FEMALE TROUBLES (1974) 13JULY
Glamour has never been more grotesque than in Female Trouble, which injects the Hollywood melodrama with anarchic decadence. DIVINE, the larger-than-life muse of director JOHN WATERS (Multiple Maniacs), engulfs the screen with charisma as Dawn Davenport—who progresses from a teenage nightmare hell-bent on getting cha-cha heels for Christmas to a fame monster whose egomaniacal impulses land her in the electric chair—in the ultimate expression of the film’s lurid mantra, “Crime is beauty.” Shot in Baltimore on 16 mm, with a cast drawn from Waters’ beloved troupe of regulars, the Dreamlanders (including MINK STOLE, DAVID LOCHARY, MARY VIVIAN PEARCE, EDITH MASSEY, and COOKIE MUELLER), this film, the director’s favourite of his work with Divine, comes to life through the tinsel-toned vision of production designer VINCENT PERANIO and costume designer/makeup artist VAN SMITH. An endlessly quotable fan favourite, Female Trouble offers up perverse pleasures that never fail to satisfy.
DIRECTOR APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director John Waters, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Audio commentary from 2004 featuring Waters
New conversation between Waters and critic Michael Musto
New and archival interviews with cast and crew members Mink Stole, Pat Moran, Vincent Peranio, Susan Lowe, Mary Vivian Pearce, and more
Deleted scenes and alternate takes
Rare on-set footage
PLUS: An essay by film critic Ed Halter
USA | 1974 | 97 MINUTES | COLOUR | 1.66:1 | ENGLISH
THE CAMERAMAN (1928) 20 JULY
BUSTER KEATON (The General) is at the peak of his slapstick powers in The Cameraman—the first film that the silent-screen legend made after signing with MGM, and his last great masterpiece. The final work over which he maintained creative control, this clever farce is the culmination of an extraordinary, decadelong run that produced some of the most innovative and enduring comedies of all time. Keaton plays a hapless newsreel cameraman desperate to impress both his new employer and his winsome office crush as he zigzags up and down Manhattan hustling for a scoop. Along the way, he goes for a swim (and winds up soaked), becomes embroiled in a Chinatown Tong War, and teams up with a memorable monkey sidekick (the famous Josephine). The marvellously inventive film-within-a-film setup allows Keaton’s imagination to run wild, yielding both sly insights into the travails of moviemaking and an emotional payoff of disarming poignancy.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
New 4K digital restoration undertaken by the Cineteca di Bologna, the Criterion Collection, and Warner Bros.
New score by composer Timothy Brock, conducted by Brock and performed by the orchestra of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna in 2020, presented in uncompressed stereo on the Blu-ray
Audio commentary from 2004 featuring Glenn Mitchell, author of A–Z of Silent Film Comedy: An Illustrated Companion
Spite Marriage (1929), Buster Keaton’s next feature for MGM following The Cameraman, in a new 2K restoration, with a 2004 commentary by film historians John Bengtson and Jeffrey Vance
Time Travelers, a new documentary by Daniel Raim featuring interviews with Bengtson and film historian Marc Wanamaker
So Funny It Hurt: Buster Keaton & MGM, a 2004 documentary by film historians Kevin Brownlow and Christopher Bird
New interview with James L. Neibaur, author of The Fall of Buster Keaton: His Films for MGM, Educational Pictures, and Columbia
PLUS: An essay by film critic Imogen Sara Smith
USA | 1928 | 69 MINUTES | BLACK & WHITE | 1.33:1 | SILENT
THREE OUTLAW SAMURAI (1964) 20JULY
This first film by the legendary HIDEO GOSHA (Sword of the Beast) is among the most canonized chambara (sword-fighting) films. An origin-story offshoot of a Japanese television series phenomenon of the same name, Three Outlaw Samurai is a classic in its own right. In it, a wandering, seen-it-all ronin (TETSURO TAMBA) becomes entangled in the dangerous business of two other samurai (ISAMU NAGATO and MIKIJIRO HIRA), hired to execute a band of peasants who have kidnapped the daughter of a corrupt magistrate. With remarkable storytelling economy and thrilling action scenes, this is an expertly mounted tale of revenge and loyalty.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
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 critic Bilge Ebiri
JAPAN | 1964 | 93 MINUTES | BLACK & WHITE | 2.35:1 | JAPANESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES