The Criterion Collection has announced five titles for Blu-ray release in May. On May 7th, the studio will release Jean-Luc Godard's Band of Outsiders (1964). On My 14th, it will release Delmer Daves' Jubal (1956) and 3:10 to Yuma (1957). A week later, it will release Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool (1969). And on May 28th, it will release Mike Leigh's Life is Sweet (1990).
Four years after Breathless, Jean-Luc Godard reimagined the gangster film even more radically with Band of Outsiders. In it, two restless young men (Sami Frey and Claude Brasseur) enlist the object of both of their fancies (Anna Karina) to help them commit a robbery—in her own home. This audacious and wildly entertaining French New Wave gem is at once sentimental and insouciant, effervescently romantic and melancholy, and it features some of Godard's most memorable set pieces, including the headlong race through the Louvre and the unshakeably cool Madison dance sequence.
New digital master of Gaumont's recent high-definition restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
Visual glossary of references and wordplay found in Band of Outsiders
Exclusive interviews with cinematographer Raoul Coutard and actor Anna Karina
Excerpts from a 1964 interview with director Jean-Luc Godard, including rare behind-the-scenes footage from the film
Filmmaker Agnès Varda's 1961 silent comedy Les fiancés du pont Mac Donald, starring Godard and Karina and featuring other members of the Band
of Outsiders cast
Godard's original theatrical trailer and the 2001 U.S. rerelease trailer
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by poet and critic Joshua Clover, Godard's character descriptions for the film's 1964 press book, and an interview with the director from the same year
A trio of exceptional performances from Glenn Ford, Ernest Borgnine, and Rod Steiger form the center of Jubal, an overlooked Hollywood treasure from genre master Delmer Daves. In this Shakespearean tale of jealousy and betrayal, Ford is an honorable itinerant cattleman, befriended and hired by Borgnine's bighearted ranch owner despite his unwillingness to talk about his past. When the new hand becomes the target of the flirtatious attentions of the owner's bored wife (Valerie French) and is entrusted by the boss with a foreman's responsibilities, his presence at the ranch starts to rankle his shifty fellow cowhand, played by Steiger. The resulting emotional showdown imparts unparalleled psychology intensity to this western, a vivid melodrama featuring expressive location photography in Technicolor and CinemaScope.
New high-definition digital restoration, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Kent Jones
In this beautifully shot and acted, psychologically complex western, Van Heflin is a mild-mannered cattle rancher who takes on the task of shepherding a captured outlaw, played with cucumber-cool charisma by Glenn Ford, to the train that will take him to prison. This apparently simple plan turns into a nerve-racking cat-and-mouse game that will test each man's particular brand of honor. Based on a story by Elmore Leonard, 3:10 to Yuma is a thrilling, humane action movie, directed by the supremely talented studio filmmaker Delmer Daves with intense feeling and precision.
New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
Alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition
New interviews with author Elmore Leonard and Glenn Ford's son and biographer, Peter Ford
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Kent Jones
It's 1968, and the whole world is watching. With the U.S. in social upheaval, famed cinematographer Haskell Wexler decided to make a film about what the hell was going on. His debut feature, Medium Cool, plunges us into that moment. With its mix of scripted fiction and seat-of-the-pants documentary technique, this story of the working world and romantic life of a television cameraman (Robert Forster) is a visceral, lasting cinematic snapshot of the era, climaxing with an extended sequence shot right in the middle of the riots surrounding the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. An inventive commentary on the pleasures and dangers of wielding a camera, Medium Cool is as prescient a political film as Hollywood has ever produced.
New 4K digital restoration, approved by director Haskell Wexler, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
Two audio commentaries, one featuring Wexler, actor Marianna Hill, and editor Paul Golding, the other featuring historian Paul Cronin
New interview with Wexler
Look Out Haskell, It's Real!, a fifty-five-minute documentary about the making of Medium Cool, produced by Cronin and featuring interviews with Wexler, Golding, actors Verna Bloom, Peter Bonerz, and Robert Forster, Chicago historian Studs Terkel, and others
Excerpts from Sooner or Later, a documentary by Cronin about Harold Blankenship, who plays the adolescent Harold in the film
Original theatrical trailer
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic and programmer Thomas Beard
This moving film from Mike Leigh is an intimate, invigorating, and amusing portrait of a working-class family in a suburb just north of London—an irrepressible mum and dad (Alison Steadman and Jim Broadbent) and their night-and-day twins, a bookish good girl and a sneering layabout (Claire Skinner and Jane Horrocks). In it, Leigh and his typically brilliant cast create, with extraordinary sensitivity and craft, a vivid, lived-in story of ordinary existence, in which even modest dreams (such as the father's desire to open a food truck) carry enormous weight. Perched on the line between humor and melancholy, Life Is Sweet is captivating, and it was Leigh's first international sensation.
New high-definition digital restoration, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
New audio commentary featuring director Mike Leigh
Audio recording of a 1991 interview with Leigh at the National Film Theatre in London
PLUS: A booket featuring an essay by critic David Sterritt
Looks as if Criterion is delving more and more into Westerns. In my book, that's a good thing.
Especially intriguing from this latest lineup are 3:10 to Yuma (1957; an upgrade from my existing DVD and a surprise for me) Band of Outsiders (more Godard is always a good thing) and Medium Cool (I love when films blur genre lines and conventions) but, really, all five of them interest me.
So down for 3:10 to Yuma. One of the best westerns ever.
Might check out Medium Cool as theres been quite a bit of talk about it and if the restoration is actually good then Im totally in for upgrading my copy of Band Of Outsiders.
Richard Graham: Those two were originally Laserdisc and DVD too. Tons of other films which were on Laserdisc through Criterion you'd honestly be scratching your head at if they released them now on Blu-ray disc.
3:10 to Yuma and Jubal for me. Glenn Ford is a great actor. Still waiting on an announcement when they'll release 4K remastered for SPARTACUS and other titles they've released on both Laserdisc and DVD.
I am not really sure about it, but I think the reason for this might be that they have to re-negotiate distribution rights for Blu-ray. They do not automatically inherit distribution rights for BR because they had them for DVD.
Somebody more in the know (Pro-B?) might be able to verify if it is like that or not.
To anyone thinking that Criterion will ever release The Rock or Armageddon on Blu-ray: it's never going to happen. They only released the DVDs to save themselves from going under. They are not going to remind people they released them, trust me.
I develop rights management systems for the industry and DVD rights do not automatically mean BD rights unless the contract had language like "DVD and all other media, including that existing today and that which will exist in the future" which most old contracts did not have because content owners are usually unwilling to include such terms because they don't know what the not-yet-existing delivery format is going to be worth. It would be like negotiating now for a holographic version of the movie.
People on this site seem to think that Criterion just needs to push a button and the product magically appears on the shelf. It's a lot of work to get a title ready for release and Criterion is a much smaller company than the big movie studios. Some also seem to think that Criterion can publish any title they want - that they can buy the rights to anything. That's simply not the way the industry works.
It makes me laugh when anyone writes, "Well where's (insert title here)?"
I was hoping for The Lord of the Flies upgrade so I'm a little disappointed. I'll still probably p/u 3:10 to Yuma, Band of Outsiders, and Medium Cool at some point but nothing here is a day 1 purchase.
Can't believe that someone made the comment that "Life is Sweet does not need blu-ray treatment." Putting aside the absurd notion that only certain types of films "need" Blu-ray releases, Life as Sweet has never been released on *any* disc format in the U.S. It's essential.
The 4K scan for Medium Cool is nice, but I don't know how much better it would make it look. I've seen the film on VHS, laserdisc, DVD, and on TV, and it never looked really nice and crisp, befitting the look of a docudrama.
Great titles! How about "The Hidden Fortress" blu-ray upgrade for once?! I wish Criterion would release Lindsay Anderson's "O Lucky Man!" and "Britannia Hospital" in a trilogy set with "If..." - one can only dream!