Berlin Alexanderplatz, The Lady Vanishes, Sawdust and Tinsel and Drunken Angel

     August 19, 2007

Criterion has announced their November titles and we’re getting special editions of classic films from the late, great Ingmar Bergman to Alfred Hitchcock, Akira Kurosawa, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. The latter’s fifteen-and-a-half hour Berlin Alexanderplatz is one of their biggest releases ever as it has a never been released on DVD in the U.S. amd it’s on 7 discs!

Take a look at the cover art and info.

SRP: $124.95
Street date: 11/13/07

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s wildly controversial fifteen-hour-plus Berlin Alexanderplatz, based on Alfred Döblin’s great modernist novel, was the crowning achievement of a prolific director who, at age thirty-four, had already made forty films. Fassbinder’s immersive epic, restored in 2006 and available on DVD in this country for the first time, follows the hulking, violent, yet strangely childlike ex-convict Franz Biberkopf (Günter Lamprecht) as he attempts to “become an honest soul” amidst the corrosive urban landscape of Weimar-era Germany. With equal parts cynicism and humanity, Fassbinder details a mammoth portrait of a common man struggling to survive in a viciously uncommon time.


€ Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Fox and His Friends, The Marriage of Maria Braun)
€ Starring Hanna Schygulla (Effi Briest, The Marriage of Maria Braun, Dead Again)
€ Starring Barbara Sukowa (Zentropa, M Butterfly, Cradle Will Rock)
€ Music by Peer Raben (The Third Generation, Lola, Querelle)

€ New high-definition digital transfer, from the 2006 restoration by the Fassbinder Foundation and Bavaria Media, and supervised and approved by director of photography Xaver Schwarzenberger
€ Two new documentaries by Fassbinder Foundation president Juliane Lorenz: one featuring interviews with the cast and crew, the other on the restoration
€ Hans Dieter Hartl’s 1980 documentary The Making of “Berlin Alexanderplatz”
€ Phil Jutzi’s 1931, ninety-minute film of Alfred Döblin’s novel, from a screenplay cowritten by Döblin himself
€ New video interview with Peter Jelavich, author of Berlin Alexanderplatz: Radio, Film, and the Death of Weimar Culture
€ New and improved English subtitle translation
€ PLUS: An essay by filmmaker Tom Tykwer, reflections from Fassbinder, an interview with Schwarzenberger, and German author Thomas Steinfeld on the novel


SRP: $39.95
Street date: 11/20/07

In Alfred Hitchcock’s most quick-witted and devilish comic thriller, the beautiful Margaret Lockwood, traveling across Europe by train, meets Dame May Whitty’s charming old spinster, who seemingly disappears into thin air. Soon enough, the young woman turns investigator and finds herself drawn into a complex web of mystery and high adventure. The Lady Vanishes, now in an all-new digital transfer, remains one of the master filmmaker’s purest delights.


€ Directed by Alfred Hitchcock (The 39 Steps, Rebecca, Vertigo)
€ Starring Michael Redgrave (The Browning Version, Dead of Night, The Importance of Being Earnest)
€ Starring Dame May Whitty (Mrs. Miniver, Suspicion, Gaslight)
€ Starring Margaret Lockwood (The Stars Look Down, Night Train to Munich)

€ New, restored high-definition digital transfer
€ Audio commentary by film historian Bruce Eder
€ Crook’s Tour, a 1941 feature-length Charters and Caldicott adventure available for the first time on home video, with Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne reprising their beloved The Lady Vanishes roles
€ Excerpts from François Truffaut’s legendary 1962 audio interview with Hitchcock
€ “Mystery Train,” a new video essay about Hitchcock and The Lady Vanishes by scholar Leonard Leff (Hitchcock and Selznick: The Rich and Strange Collaboration of Alfred Hitchcock and David O. Selznick in Hollywood)
€ Stills gallery of behind-the-scenes photos and promotional art
€ PLUS: New essays by critic Geoffrey O’Brien and Hitchcock scholar Charles Barr


SRP: $39.95
Street date: 11/20/07

Ingmar Bergman presents the battle of the sexes as a ramshackle, grotesque carnival in this, one of the late master’s most vivid early works. The story of the twisted relationship between a turn-of-the-century traveling circus owner (Ake Grönberg) and his performer girlfriend (Harriet Andersson), Sawdust and Tinsel features dreamlike detours and twisted psychosexual power play that presage the director’s Smiles of a Summer Night and The Seventh Seal, works that would soon change the landscape of art cinema forever.


€ Directed by Ingmar Bergman (Smiles of a Summer Night, The Seventh Seal, The Virgin Spring)
€ Starring Harriet Andersson (Through a Glass Darkly, Cries and Whispers, Dogville)
€ Cinematography by Sven Nykvist (Cries and Whispers, Fanny and Alexander, Crimes and Misdemeanors)

€ New, restored high-definition digital transfer
€ Audio commentary by Bergman scholar Peter Cowie
€ Video introduction by Ingmar Bergman from 2003
€ New and improved English subtitle translation
€ PLUS: A new essay by critic John Simon and an appreciation by filmmaker Catherine Breillat


SRP: $39.95
Street date: 11/27/07

In this powerful early noir from the great Akira Kurosawa, Toshiro Mifune bursts onto the screen as a volatile, tuberculosis-infected criminal who strikes up an unlikely, unhealthy relationship with Takashi Shimura’s jaded physician. Set in and around the muddy swamps and back alleys of postwar Tokyo, Drunken Angel is an evocative, moody snapshot of a volatile time and place, featuring one of the director’s most memorably violent climaxes.


€ Directed by Akira Kurosawa (Rashomon, Ikiru, Seven Samurai)
€ Starring Toshiro Mifune (Stray Dog, Yojimbo, Red Beard)
€ Starring Takashi Shimura (Rashomon, Seven Samurai, The Hidden Fortress)


€ New, restored high-definition digital transfer
€ New audio commentary featuring Japanese-film scholar Donald Richie
€ A 30-minute documentary on the making of Drunken Angel
€ A new video piece that looks at the challenges Kurosawa faced in making Drunken Angel
€ PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by cultural historian Ian Buruma and a reprint from Kurosawa’s Something Like an Autobiography

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