The Chase (Arthur Ripley, 1946)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents The Chase.

criterion logoA broken-down ex-GI, Chuck Scott (Robert Cummings), returns a wallet to a Miami racketeer (Steve Cochran) and lands a job as his chauffeur, only to find himself in love with his boss’s wife (Michèle Morgan) and planning their escape to Cuba.  Yet however familiar its plot may seem, Arthur Ripley’s The Chase, based on Cornell Woolrich’s The Black Path of Fear, is no conventional crime melodrama and Scott is quickly ensnared in the movie’s nightmarish logic and the unreliability of its surrealist narrative, taking him and audiences on a wild ride out of film noir and into even darker reaches.  Co-starring Peter Lorre (doing a favor for producer Seymour Nebenzal), The Chase is an idiosyncratic crime classic boasting expressionistic cinematography, a desperately haunted atmosphere, and one the most audacious twists in American cinema.

Disc Features:

  • New digital master from the Film Foundation’s 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary by film noir scholar Eddie Muller
  • Woolrich’s World, an interview with film critic Richard Corliss on novelist Cornell Woolrich
  • The Philip Yordan Story, an interview with film historian Alan K. Rode on the screenwriter of The Chase
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by filmmaker Guy Maddin and a new paperback edition of Woolrich’s source novel, The Black Path of Fear

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Please Stand By

Simpsons Technical DifficultiesThe flu has cut through MMC! headquarters like German strikers through the Brazilian defence.  It’s a sweaty, sleepy, sore-throated battle that we are fighting and, thankfully, slowly winning.  We hope to bring our next post on a film noir favourite (at least to us) as soon as possible.

Please stand by, film fans!

A Pure Formality (Giuseppe Tornatore, 1994)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents A Pure Formality.

criterion logoAfter the success of Cinema Paradiso, Giuseppe Tornatore abandoned the sweetly sentimental in a favor of this darkly tense mind-game starring two icons of European cinema.  Gérard Depardieu claims to be Onoff, a reclusive writer who is apprehend by local police after he is caught running through the woods during a torrential storm.  The author is questioned as a suspect in a murder investigation by the police station’s chief inspector (Roman Polanski) who is unconvinced by Onoff’s semi-amnesiac state.  What results is a cat-and-mouse battle of wits that gradually assumes metaphysical consequences, making A Pure Formality an underrated thriller that anticipates the mind-bending films made popular by Hollywood in the years that followed.

Disc Features:

  • New 4K digital restoration approved by director Giuseppe Tornatore, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary by Tornatore
  • Commercials for Dolce & Gabbana
  • Extended interview with Tornatore
  • Theatrical trailer
  • PLUS:  New essays by theological scholar David S. Cunningham and film scholar William Hope

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Kiss Me, Stupid (Billy Wilder, 1964)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Kiss Me, Stupid.

criterion logoWhen singer, celebrity, and notorious womanizer Dino (Dean Martin) passes through Climax, Nevada, he doesn’t count on meeting two would-be songwriters with a plan to strand him there and serenade him with their songs.  But then again, they weren’t counting on Dino’s obsessive pursuit of wine and women!  And when one of the men, Orville J. Spooner (Ray Walston) learns that his own wife (Felicia Farr) was once president of Dino’s fan club, he hires Polly the Pistol (Kim Novak) as his replacement wife to help lure the carousing celebrity into a song-buying mood.  Beset by a troubled production and condemned on release by the Catholic League of Decency, Billy Wilder’s Kiss Me, Stupid was a staggering box-office flop, proving to be too frank, too lurid, and too coarse for audiences and authorities alike.

Disc Features:

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring film scholar Ken Feil
  • Wilder’s Anti-Climax, a new documentary on the making of Kiss Me, Stupid, its release and reception
  • Behind the scenes footage from Hollywood Backstage
  • Video afterword with director Mick Garris
  • Wife for a Night, Mario Camerini’s 1952 feature starring Gina Lollobrigida and based on the same stage play as Kiss Me, Stupid
  • Alternate scene originally present in the theatrical version
  • Stills gallery
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: New essays by film scholar Michael Koresky and reporter and columnist John Leland

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In Bruges (Martin McDonagh, 2008)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents In Bruges.

criterion logoIrish hit men Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) have been ordered to cool their heels in the storybook city of Bruges (it’s in Belgium) after a big job goes wrong.  While veteran killer Ken is happy to spend his days sightseeing and his nights waiting for instructions from their boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes), newbie trigger-man Ray quickly grows anxious amid the canals and cobblestones of Belgium’s best-preserved medieval town and finds himself caught in the middle of surreal exchanges between hostile tourists, a beautiful drug-dealer, a skinhead robber, and a heavily drugged little person actor.  And when yet another of Harry’s assignments fails to proceed according to plan, the angry crime boss makes his way to Bruges to sort out Ray and Ken’s mess.  Playwright Martin McDonagh’s first feature is an equally poignant, hilarious, and hard-bitten tale of penance and redemption that has grown into a contemporary cult classic.

Disc Features:

  • New, restored 4K digital film transfer, approved by writer and director Martin McDonagh, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary with McDonagh and actor Colin Farrell
  • Deleted and extended scenes, with optional audio commentary by McDonagh
  • Six Shooter, McDonagh’s Oscar-winning 2004 short film
  • Within Bruges, a new interview and video piece with McDonagh on the film’s influences and references
  • When in Bruges, cast and crew interviews on the making of In Bruges
  • Strange Bruges, interviews with the cast on the film’s historic location
  • F*****g Bruges, a collection of the film’s vulgar exclamations and reactions
  • A Boat Trip Around Bruges, a tranquil point-of-view tour through the canals of Bruges
  • Gag reel
  • Trailer
  • Stills Gallery
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by cult film scholar Ernest Mathijs

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