Spring officially is only a few weeks away, The Criterion Collection have revealed their May UK titles. A trio of Blu-ray titles that promise to be Jazzy, Satirical and wicked.
First up on 9th May is Bertrand Tavernier‘s ‘Round Midnight. The film, with its Oscar-winning jazz score, is a bittersweet opus that glows with lived in, soulful authenticity.
Following this will be the other two titles both set for release on 30th May. The Funeral directed by Juzo Itami, is a fearless satire of the clash between old and new in Japanese society in which nothing, not even the finality of death, is off-limits.
Finally the same day comes Billy Wilder’s classic film noir Double Indemnity. One of the most wickedly perverse stories ever told and the cynical standard by which all noir must be measured.
‘ROUND MIDNIGHT (1986) DRAMA, MUSIC
’Round Midnight is a love letter from director BERTRAND TAVERNIER (Coup de torchon) to the heyday of bebop and to the Black American musicians who found refuge in the smoky underground jazz clubs of 1950s Paris. In a miraculous, sui generis fusion of performer and character, legendary saxophonist DEXTER GORDON plays Dale Turner, a brilliant New York jazz veteran whose music aches with beauty but whose personal life is ravaged by addiction. Searching for a fresh start, Turner relocates to Paris, where he strikes up an unlikely friendship with a struggling single father and ardent jazz fan (The Intouchables’ FRANÇOIS CLUZET) who finds his life transformed as he attempts to help the self-destructive musician. HERBIE HANCOCK’s evocative, Oscar-winning score sets the mood for this definitive jazz film, a bittersweet opus that glows with lived in, soulful authenticity.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
-New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack
-Alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack, supervised by composer Herbie Hancock and presented in DTS-HD Master Audio
-New interview with jazz critic Gary Giddins
-New conversation with music producer Michael Cuscuna and author Maxine Gordon, widow of musician Dexter Gordon
-Behind-the-scenes documentary from 19TK[ck]
-Panel discussion from 2014 featuring director Bertrand Tavernier, Cuscuna, Maxine Gordon, and jazz scholar John Szwed, moderated by jazz critic and broadcaster Mark Ruffin
-Performance from 1969 of “Fried Bananas” by Dexter Gordon, directed by Teit Jørgensen[ck]
-Excerpt from the 1996 documentary Dexter Gordon: More Than You Know, by Don McGlynn ck]
-New English subtitle translation and English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by scholar Mark Anthony Neal
FRANCE | 1986 | 131 MINUTES | COLOUR | 2.35:1 | IN FRENCH & ENGLISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
THE FUNERAL (1984) COMEDY
It’s death, Japanese style, in the rollicking and wistful first feature from maverick writer-director JUZO ITAMI (Tampopo). In the wake of her father’s sudden passing, a successful actor (Itami’s wife and frequent collaborator, NOBUKO MIYAMOTO) and her lascivious husband (Kagemusha’s TSUTOMU YAMAZAKI) leave Tokyo and return to her family home to oversee a traditional funeral. Over the course of three days of mourning that bring illicit escapades in the woods, a surprisingly materialistic priest (Yasujiro Ozu regular CHISHU RYU), and cinema’s most epic sandwich handoff, the tensions between public propriety and private hypocrisy are laid bare. Deftly weaving dark comedy with poignant family drama, The Funeral is a fearless satire of the clash between old and new in Japanese society in which nothing, not even the finality of death, is off-limits.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
-High-definition restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
-New interviews with actors Nobuko Miyamoto and Manpei Ikeuchi
-Creative Marriages: Juzo Itami & Nobuko Miyamoto, a short program produced by the Criterion Channel
-Commercials for Ichiroku Tart by director Juzo Itami
-New English subtitle translation
PLUS: An essay by author Pico Iyer and, for the Blu-ray, excerpts from Itami’s 1985 book Diary of “The Funeral” and from a 2007 remembrance of Itami by actor Tsutomu Yamazaki
JAPAN | 1984 | 124 MINUTES | COLOUR | 1.33:1 | IN JAPANESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
DOUBLE INDEMINITY (1944) CRIME, DRAMA, FILM-NOIR
Has dialogue ever been more perfectly hard-boiled? Has a femme fatale ever been as deliciously evil as BARBARA STANWYCK (The Lady Eve)? And has 1940s Los Angeles ever looked so seductively sordid? Working with cowriter RAYMOND CHANDLER, director BILLY WILDER (Ace in the Hole) launched himself onto the Hollywood A-list with this paragon of film-noir fatalism from JAMES M. CAIN’s pulp novel. When slick salesman Walter Neff (The Caine Mutiny’s FRED MACMURRAY) walks into the swank home of dissatisfied housewife Phyllis Dietrichson (Stanwyck), he intends to sell her insurance, but he winds up becoming entangled with her in a far more sinister way. Featuring scene-stealing supporting work from EDWARD G. ROBINSON and the chiaroscuro of cinematographer JOHN F. SEITZ (Sunset Blvd.), Double Indemnity is one of the most wickedly perverse stories ever told and the cynical standard by which all noir must be measured.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
-New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
-Audio commentary featuring film critic Richard Schickel
-New interview with film scholar Noah Isenberg, editor of Billy Wilder on Assignment
-New conversation between film historians Eddie Muller and Imogen Sara Smith
-Billy, How Did You Do It?, a 1992 film by Volker Schlöndorff and Gisela Grischow featuring interviews with director Billy Wilder
-Shadows of Suspense, a 2006 documentary on the making of Double Indemnity
-Audio excerpts from 1971 and 1972 interviews with cinematographer John F. Seitz
-Radio adaptations from 1945 and 1950
-English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
USA | 1944 | 108 MINUTES | BLACK & WHITE | 1.37:1 | ENGLISH