Surprising me, today The Criterion Collection announced their January 2017 line-up. On the docket we have some highly anticipated releases (though no upgrades of DVD-only titles).

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


January 10, 2017

His Girl Friday (1940)
d. Howard Hawks

For years I’ve been hoping that someone (preferably Criterion) would restore and release this brilliant film. Even though Criterion has been releasing more Howard Hawks, I didn’t quite believe this one was coming until rumors started swirling a few months ago and it became clear it was on its way.

From The Criterion Collection:

One of the fastest, funniest, and most quotable films ever made, His Girl Friday stars Rosalind Russell as reporter Hildy Johnson, a standout among cinema’s powerful women. Hildy is matched in force only by her conniving but charismatic editor and ex-husband, Walter Burns (played by the peerless Cary Grant), who dangles the chance for her to scoop her fellow newswriters with the story of an impending execution in order to keep her from hopping the train that’s supposed to take her to Albany and a new life as a housewife. When adapting Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s smash hit play The Front Page, director Howard Hawks had the inspired idea of turning star reporter Hildy Johnson into a woman, and the result is an immortal mix of hard-boiled newsroom setting with remarriage comedy. Also presented here is a brand-new restoration of the 1931 The Front Page, the famous pre-Code adaptation of the same material, directed by Lewis Milestone.


January 17, 2017

Fox and His Friends (1975)
d. Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Since my first encounter with his films a couple of summers ago, I’ve come to admire and love Fassbinder’s work. I haven’t seen this one yet, but I’m excited more of his work is on the way.

From The Criterion Collection:

A lottery win leads not to financial and emotional freedom but to social captivity in this wildly cynical classic about love and exploitation by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Casting himself against type, the director plays a suggestible working-class innocent who lets himself be taken advantage of by his bourgeois new boyfriend (Peter Chatel) and his circle of materialistic friends, leading to the kind of resonant misery that only Fassbinder could create. Fox and His Friends is unsparing social commentary, an amusingly pitiless and groundbreaking if controversial depiction of a gay community in 1970s West Germany.


January 17, 2017

Something Wild (1961)
d. Jack Garfein

From The Criterion Collection:

A complex exploration of the physical and emotional effects of trauma, Something Wild stars Carroll Baker, in a layered performance, as a college student who attempts suicide after a brutal sexual assault but is stopped by a mechanic played by Ralph Meeker—whose kindness, however, soon takes an unsettling turn. Startlingly modern in its frankness and psychological realism, the film represents one of the purest on-screen expressions of the sensibility of the intimate community of artists around New York’s Actors Studio, which transformed American cinema in the mid-twentieth century. With astonishing location and claustrophobic interior photography by Eugene Schüfftan, an opening-title sequence by the inimitable Saul Bass, and a rhythmic score by Aaron Copland, this film by Jack Garfein is a masterwork of independent cinema.


January 24, 2017

Black Girl (1966)
d. Ousmane Sembène

From The Criterion Collection:

Ousmane Sembène was one of the greatest and most groundbreaking filmmakers who ever lived, as well as the most internationally renowned African director of the twentieth century—but his name deserves to be better known in the rest of the world. He made his feature debut in 1966 with the brilliant and stirring Black Girl. Sembène, who was also an acclaimed novelist in his native Senegal, transforms a deceptively simple plot—about a young Senegalese woman who moves to France to work for a wealthy white couple and finds that life in their small apartment becomes a prison, both figuratively and literally—into a complexly layered critique of the lingering colonialist mind-set of a supposedly postcolonial world. Featuring a moving central performance by M’Bissine Thérèse Diop, Black Girl is a harrowing human drama as well as a radical political statement—and one of the essential films of the 1960s.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Mookse and the Gripes on Patreon!