Dead of Night (Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Robert Hamer, and Basil Dearden, 1945)

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

criterion logoFive tales of the macabre interwoven by four master directors of British cinema, Dead of Night is the prototypical example of the heritage horror film and cinema’s finest achievement in anthology filmmaking.  Architect Walter Craig arrives at an all-too-familiar country home convinced he’s dreamt of the visit before and that it concludes in a terrible, violent end.  Guests of the home seek to reassure Craig by recounting their own brushes with the supernatural, offering tales of phantoms and madness.  Basil Dearden, Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton and Robert Hamer combine their efforts to produce this chilling collection of stories, including standout sequences “The Haunted Mirror” and “The Ventriloquist’s Dummy.”  A perfect compliment to a dark and stormy night, Dead of Night‘s haunting visions continue to influence and inspire.

Disc Features:

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary anthology by British horror film scholars Peter Hutchings and Tony Williams, Ealing Studios historian Charles Barr, and director Martin Scorsese
  •  A new video piece with genre film writer Tom Weaver on the American cut of Dead of Night
  • Two 1947 radio productions of “Dead of Night,” the audition pilot for Out of This World and the 1947 inaugural episode of CBS Radio’s Escape
  • Gallery of production stills, vintage advertisements, and lobby cards
  • PLUS:  A booklet of essays by BFI contributor Mark Duguid, film critic and historian Philip Kemp, and film historian Bruce Eder

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The Stars Look Down (Carol Reed, 1940)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents The Stars Look Down.

criterion logoCarol Reed’s adaptation of A. J. Cronin’s novel presents the hardscrabble existence of a northern England mining town. Davey Fenwick (Michael Redgrave) escapes the dangerous Scupper Flats seam for a college education and plans to improve the lot of his coal-mining community.  Trapped in an unhappy marriage and forced to return to his grimy home, Davey is embroiled in a labor dispute and then a mining disaster.  Starring Michael Redgrave and Margaret Lockwood on loan from Gainsborough Pictures to Grand National and filmed both on location and on elaborate sets at the Denham and Twickenham Studios, Reed invests The Stars Look Down with a gritty documentary look and a poetic naturalist style that garnered him international acclaim, launching him to further cinematic accomplishments.

Disc Features:

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New interview with Billy Elliot director Stephen Daldry
  • Comparison between the English and American versions
  • “Michael Redgrave: My Father,” Roger Michell’s 1997 BBC Omnibus documentary narrated by Michael Redgrave’s son Corin Redgrave
  • Trailer
  • PLUS:  A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Dave Berry and Graham Greene’s review for The Spectator.

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