Criterion Announces May Titles

     February 23, 2008

Criterion has just announced their May 2008 titles, and the three releases are “The Lovers,” “The Fire Within” and “The Thief of Bagdad.”

The first two films are part of the French New Wave and they’re directed by Louis Malle, and the other, “The Thief of Bagdad,” was done by British filmmakers Alexander Korda and Michael Powell.

“The Thief of Bagdad” was an important film because it influenced people like Scorsese and Coppola, and special-effects pioneers Ray Harryhausen and Dennis Muren. In fact, Scorsese and Coppola have done an audio commentary for the movie, and Ray Harryhausen and Dennis Muren have done new video interviews. Pretty cool stuff.

Here are the details and the cover art.

date: 5/13/08
SRP: $29.95

Louis Malle unveiled the natural beauty of Jeanne Moreau in his breakthrough, Elevator to the Gallows. With his follow-up, the scandalous smash The Lovers (Les amants), he made her a star once and for all. A deeply felt and luxuriously filmed fairy tale for grown-ups, perched on the edge between classical and New Wave cinemas, The Lovers presents Moreau as a restless bourgeois wife whose eye wanders from both her husband and her lover to an attractive passing stranger (Jean-Marc Bory). Thanks to its frank sexuality, The Lovers caused quite a stir, being censored and attacked for obscenity around the world. If today its shock has worn off, its glistening sensuality and seductive storytelling haven’t aged a day.

-Directed by Louis Malle (Elevator to the Gallows, The Fire Within, Au revoir les enfants)
-Starring Jeanne Moreau (Elevator to the Gallows, Jules and Jim, Bay of Angels)

-New, restored high-definition digital transfer of the complete, uncensored version
-Selection of archival interviews with Louis Malle, actors Jeanne Moreau and José
Luis de Villalonga, and writer Louise de Vilmorin
-Gallery of promotional material from the U.S. theatrical release

-New and improved English subtitle translation
-PLUS: A new essay by film historian Ginette Vincendeau


Street date: 5/13/08

SRP: $29.95

After rising to international stardom with such seminal crowd-pleasers as The Lovers and Zazie dans le métro, Louis Malle gave his fans a shock with The Fire Within (Le feu follet), a penetrating study of individual and social inertia. Maurice Ronet (Elevator to the Gallows), in an implosive, haunted performance, plays Alain Leroy, a self-destructive writer who resolves to kill himself and spends the next twenty-four hours trying to reconnect with a host of wayward friends. Unsparing in its portrait of Alain’s inner turmoil and shot with remarkable clarity, The Fire Within is one of Malle’s darkest and most personal films.

-Directed by Louis Malle (My Dinner with Andre, Atlantic City, Au revoir les enfants)
-Starring Maurice Ronet (Elevator to the Gallows, Purple Noon, The Swimming Pool)
-Starring Jeanne Moreau (The Lovers, Jules and Jim, Bay of Angels)

-New, restored high-definition digital transfer
-Archival interviews with director Louis Malle and actor Maurice Ronet
Malle’s Fire Within, a new video program featuring interviews with actor Alexandra Stewart and filmmakers Philippe Collin and Volker Schlöndorff
-Jusqu’au 23 Juillet, a 2005 documentary short about Pierre Drieu la Rochelle’s novel Le feu follet and dadaist writer Jacques Rigaut (the inspiration for the main character), featuring actor Mathieu Amalric, writer Didier Daeninckx, and Cannes festival curator Pierre-Henri Deleau
-New and improved English subtitle translation
-PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by critic Michel Ciment and historian Peter Cowie


Street date: 5/27/08

SRP: $39.95

The Thief of Bagdad, legendary producer Alexander Korda’s Arabian Nights marvel, is one of the most spectacular fantasy films ever made, an eye-popping effects pioneer brimming with imagination and technical wizardry. When Prince Ahmad (John Justin) is blinded and cast out of Bagdad by the nefarious Jaffar (Conrad Veidt), he joins forces with the scrappy thief Abu (the incomparable Sabu, in his definitive role) to win back his royal position, as well as the heart of a beautiful princess (June Duprez). With its luscious Technicolor, vivid sets, and unprecedented visual wonders, The Thief of Bagdad has charmed viewers of all ages for decades.

-Codirected by Michael Powell (49th Parallel, The Red Shoes, Peeping Tom)
-Produced by Alexander Korda (Things to Come, That Hamilton Woman, Jungle Book)
-Starring Conrad Veidt (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Spy in Black, Casablanca)
-Starring Sabu (Elephant Boy, Jungle Book, Black Narcissus)
-Music by Miklós Rósza (Double Indemnity, Spellbound, Ben-Hur)

-Restored digital transfer
-Two audio commentaries: one featuring renowned directors Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese, and one with film and music historian Bruce Eder
-New interviews with special-effects experts Ray Harryhausen, Dennis Muren, and Craig Barron about the technical achievements of The Thief of Bagdad
-The Lion Has Wings (1940), Alexander Korda’s propaganda film for the English war effort, made during The Thief of Bagdad’s production hiatus
-Excerpts from codirector Michael Powell’s audio dictations for his autobiography
-Selections of music by composer Miklos Rózsa not used in the final film
-Stills gallery featuring rare Dufaycolor images of the film’s production
-Theatrical trailer
-PLUS: a booklet featuring new essays by critics Andrew Moor and Ian Christie

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