Outside the sun may not have it’s hat on, when August arrives it will need it. The Criterion Collection with help from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment August will be a poignant month.
Things kick-off on 15th August with two releases. First up is the neorealist masterpiece UMBERTO D. directed by Vittorio De Sica (Bicycle Thieves) is released. This classic film follows the daily life of an elderly pensioner as he struggles to make ends meet during Italy’s post-war economic recovery.
The next release is THE BREAKING POINT. The thrilling story of an honest charter-boat captain who, facing hard times, takes on dangerous cargo to save his boat, support his family, and preserve his dignity.
The final release will be on 29th August THE BIG CHILL arrives. Poignant and warmly humorous in equal measure, this 1983 baby boomer milestone is perhaps the decade’s defining ensemble film.
UMBERTO D.(1952) DRAMA
This neorealist masterpiece by VITTORIO DE SICA (Bicycle Thieves) follows the daily life of an elderly pensioner as he struggles to make ends meet during Italy’s postwar economic recovery. Alone except for his dog, Flike, Umberto is determined to maintain his dignity in a city where human kindness seems to have been swallowed up by the forces of modernization. His simple quest to satisfy his most fundamental needs—food, shelter, companionship—makes for one of the most heart-breaking stories ever filmed, and an essential classic of world cinema.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
- High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
- That’s Life: Vittorio De Sica, a fifty-five-minute documentary made for Italian television in 2001
- Video interview with actress Maria Pia Casilio from 2003
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Stuart Klawans and reprinted recollections by De Sica and Carlo Battisti, who plays Umberto D.
ITALY | 1952 | 89 MINUTES | BLACK & WHITE | 1.37:1 | ITALIAN
THE BREAKING POINT (1950) THRILLER, CRIME, FILM-NOIR
MICHAEL CURTIZ (Mildred Pierce) brings a master skipper’s hand to the helm of this thriller, Hollywood’s second crack at Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not. JOHN GARFIELD (The Postman Always Rings Twice) stars as Harry Morgan, an honest charter-boat captain who, facing hard times, takes on dangerous cargo to save his boat, support his family, and preserve his dignity. Left in the lurch by a freeloading passenger, Harry starts to entertain the criminal propositions of a sleazy lawyer (Harvey’s WALLACE FORD), as well as the playful comeons of a cheeky blonde (A Face in the Crowd’s PATRICIA NEAL), making a series of compromises that stretch his morality—and his marriage—farther than he’ll admit. Hewing closer to Hemingway’s novel than Howard Hawks’s Bogart-Bacall vehicle, The Breaking Point charts a course through daylight noir and working-class tragedy, guided by Curtiz’s effortless visual fluency and a stoic, career-capping performance from Garfield.
- New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- New interview with biographer and film historian Alan K. Rode (Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film)
- New piece featuring actor and acting instructor Julie Garfield speaking about her father, actor John Garfield
- New video essay by filmmakers Tony Zhou and Taylor Ramos, analysing Curtiz’s directorial techniques
- Excerpts from a 1962 episode of the Today show showing contents of the Ernest Hemingway House in Key West, Florida, including items related to To Have and Have Not, the novel on which The Breaking Point is based
- PLUS: An essay by critic Stephanie Zacharek
UNITED STATES | 1950 | 97 MINUTES | BLACK & WHITE | 1.37:1 | ENGLISH
THE BIG CHILL (1983) COMEDY, DRAMA
After the shocking suicide of their friend, a group of thirtysomethings reunite for his funeral and end up spending a weekend together, reminiscing about their shared pasts as children of the sixties and confronting the uncertainty of their lives as adults of the eighties. Poignant and warmly humorous in equal measure, this 1983 baby boomer milestone made a star of writer-director LAWRENCE KASDAN (Body Heat) and is perhaps the decade’s defining ensemble film, featuring memorable performances by TOM BERENGER (Platoon), GLENN CLOSE (Fatal Attraction), JEFF GOLDBLUM (The Fly), WILLIAM HURT (Broadcast News), KEVIN KLINE (The Ice Storm), MARY KAY PLACE (Being John Malkovich), MEG TILLY (Agnes of God), and JOBETH WILLIAMS (Poltergeist). And with its playlist of hit songs from the sixties, The Big Chill all but invented the consummately curated soundtrack.
DIRECTOR APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
- New, restored 4K digital film transfer, supervised by cinematographer John Bailey and approved by director Lawrence Kasdan, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
- Alternate remastered 5.1 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio
- Reunion with cast and crew, including Kasdan, actors Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, Meg Tilly, and JoBeth Williams, from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival
- Documentary from 1998 on the making of the film
- Deleted scenes
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by writer, director, and actor Lena Dunham
UNITED STATES | 1983 | 105 MINUTES | COLOUR | 1.85:1 | ENGLISH