Today The Criterion Collection announced their September line-up, which includes six new releases, including the long awaited Dekalog by Krzysztof Kie?lowski. Along with the new entries into the collection, they are also upgrading their DVD release of Carol Reed’s Night Train to Munich to Blu-ray and releasing a Blu-ray only edition of the 25-film strong Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman.

The blurbs are from The Criterion Collection’s website (so are the links) — go there to see the details on the supplements.


Night Train to MunichSeptember 6, 2016

Night Train to Munich (1940)
d. Carol Reed

From The Criterion Collection:

Night Train to Munich, from writers Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat and director Carol Reed, is a twisting, turning, cloak-and-dagger delight. Paced like an out-of-control locomotive, this gripping, occasionally comic confection takes viewers on a World War II–era journey from Prague to England to the Swiss Alps, as Nazis pursue a Czech scientist and his daughter (Margaret Lockwood), who are being aided by a debonair British undercover agent, played by Rex Harrison. This captivating adventure—which also features Casablanca’s Paul Henreid—mixes comedy, romance, and thrills with enough skill and cleverness to give the Master of Suspense himself pause.


The Story of the Last ChrysanthemumSeptember 13, 2016

The Story of the Last Chyrsanthemum (1939)
d. Kenji Mizoguchi

From The Criterion Collection:

This heartrending masterpiece by Kenji Mizoguchi about the give-and-take between life and art marked the director’s first use of the hypnotic long takes and eloquent camera movements that would come to define his films. The adopted son of legendary kabuki actor Kikunosuke (Shotaro Hanayagi), who is striving to achieve stardom by mastering female roles, turns to his infant brother’s wet nurse (Kakuko Mori) for support and affection—and she soon gives up everything for her beloved’s creative glory. Featuring fascinating glimpses behind the scenes of kabuki theater in the late nineteenth century, The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum is a critique of the oppression of women and the sacrifices required of them, and the pinnacle of Mizoguchi’s early career.


ZatoichiSeptember 13, 2016

Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

From The Criterion Collection:

The colossally popular Zatoichi films make up the longest-running action series in Japanese history and created one of the screen’s great heroes: an itinerant blind masseur who also happens to be a lightning-fast swordsman. As this iconic figure, the charismatic and earthy Shintaro Katsu became an instant superstar, lending a larger-than-life presence to the thrilling adventures of a man who lives staunchly by a code of honor and delivers justice in every town and village he enters. The films that feature him are variously pulse-pounding, hilarious, stirring, and completely off-the-wall. This deluxe set features the string of twenty-five Zatoichi films made between 1962 and 1973, collected in one package for the first time.


Blood SimpleSeptember 20, 2016

Blood Simple (1984)
d. Joel and Ethan Coen

From The Criterion Collection:

Joel and Ethan Coen’s career-long darkly comic road trip through misfit America began with this razor-sharp, hard-boiled neonoir set somewhere in Texas, where a sleazy bar owner sets off a torrent of violence with one murderous thought. Actor M. Emmet Walsh looms over the proceedings as a slippery private eye with a yellow suit, a cowboy hat, and no moral compass, and Frances McDormand’s cunning debut performance set her on the road to stardom. The tight scripting and inventive style that have marked the Coens’ work for decades are all here in their first film, in which cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld abandons the black-and-white chiaroscuro of classic noir for neon signs and jukebox colors that combine with Carter Burwell’s haunting score to lurid and thrilling effect. Blending elements from pulp fiction and low-budget horror flicks, Blood Simple reinvented the film noir for a new generation, marking the arrival of a filmmaking ensemble that would transform the American independent cinema scene.


Cat PeopleSeptember 20, 2016

Cat People (1942)
d. Jacques Tourneur

From The Criterion Collection:

The first of the horror films producer Val Lewton made for RKO Pictures redefined the genre by leaving its most frightening terrors to its audience’s imagination. Simone Simon stars as a Serbian émigré in Manhattan who believes that, because of an ancient curse, any physical intimacy with the man she loves (Kent Smith) will turn her into a feline predator. Lewton, a consummate producer-auteur who oversaw every aspect of his projects, found an ideal director in Jacques Tourneur, a chiaroscuro stylist adept at keeping viewers off-kilter with startling compositions and psychological innuendo. Together, they eschewed the canned effects of earlier monster movies in favor of shocking with subtle shadows and creative audio cues. One of the studio’s most successful movies of the 1940s, Cat People raised the creature feature to new heights of sophistication and mystery.


Valley of the DollsSeptember 27, 2016

Valley of the Dolls (1967)
d. Mark Robson

From The Criterion Collection:

Cutthroat careerism, wild sex, and fierce female protagonists are all on offer in this adaptation of Jacqueline Susann’s sensational and wildly popular novel. Patty Duke, Barbara Parkins, and Sharon Tate star as three friends attempting to navigate the glamorous, pressurized world of big-time show business—the “valley” is not a place but a narcotized state of mind, and the “dolls” are the pills that rouse them in the morning and knock them out at night. Blending old-fashioned gloss with Madison Avenue grooviness, this slick look by director Mark Robson at the early days of sexual liberation and an entertainment industry coming apart was a giant box-office hit and has become an unforgettably campy time capsule of the 1960s


Beyond the Valley of the DollsSeptember 27, 2016

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970)
d. Russ Meyer

From The Criterion Collection:

In 1970, 20th Century-Fox, impressed by the visual zing “King of the Nudies” Russ Meyer brought to bargain-basement exploitation fare, handed the director a studio budget and the title to one of its biggest hits, Valley of the Dolls. With a satirical screenplay by Roger Ebert, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls follows three young female rockers going Hollywood in hell-bent sixties style under the spell of a flamboyant producer—whose decadent bashes showcase Meyer’s trademark libidinal exuberance. Transgressive and outrageous, this big-studio version of a debaucherous midnight movie is an addictively entertaining romp from one of the movies’ great outsider artists.


DekalogSeptember 27, 2016

Dekalog (1988)
d. Krzysztof Kie?lowski

From The Criterion Collection:

This masterwork by Krzysztof Kie?lowski is one of the twentieth century’s greatest achievements in visual storytelling. Originally made for Polish television, Dekalog focuses on the residents of a housing complex in post-Communist Poland, whose lives become subtly intertwined as they face emotional dilemmas that are at once deeply personal and universally human. Using the Ten Commandments for thematic inspiration and an overarching structure, Dekalog’s ten hour-long films deftly grapple with complex moral and existential questions concerning life, death, love, hate, truth, and the passage of time. Shot by nine different cinematographers, with stirring music by Zbigniew Preisner and compelling performances from established and unknown actors alike, Dekalog arrestingly explores the unknowable forces that shape our lives. Also presented are the longer theatrical versions of Dekalog’s fifth and sixth films: A Short Film About Killing and A Short Film About Love.

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