The Savage Eye (Ben Maddow, Sidney Meyers, and Joseph Strick, 1960)

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

Los Angeles at the end of the 1950s. A recent divorceé arrives to break free of the past and journeys into the tawdry side of urban life, seeking refuge in salons and strip clubs, among poker-players and faith-healers, near boxing rings and in the drag scene. Out of the darkness, a voice speaks to her, questioning her cynicism and prodding her to find inspiration in the world around her. A hallmark of the direct cinema movement, The Savage Eye is an experimental documentary made over four years, told with poetic elegance by filmmakers Sidney Meyers, Ben Maddow, and Joseph Strick and featuring music by renowned composer Leonard Rosenman and footage shot by acclaimed photographer Helen Levitt and cinematographers Haskell Wexler and Jack Couffer.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • Restored high definition digital transfer with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New video interview with film critic Imogen Sara Smith
  • People of the Cumberland, Sidney Meyers’ 1937 short film directed with Elia Kazan, Jay Leyda, and Bill Watts
  • In the Street, James Agee, Helen Levitt, and Janice Loeb’s 1948 short film on street life in New York’s Spanish Harlem
  • Muscle Beach, Joseph Strick and Irving Lerner’s 1948 short film
  • The Quiet One, two versions of Sidney Meyers’ 1948 film, one featuring a narration by Gary Merrill and another featuring a previously unreleased narration by James Agee
  • The Steps of Age, Ben Maddow’s 1950 short film for the Mental Health Film Board
  • Interviews with My Lai Veterans, Joseph Strick’s 1971 short film
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum

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Puzzle of a Downfall Child (Jerry Schatzberg, 1970)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Puzzle of a Downfall Child.

Based on his own interviews with troubled fashion model Anne St. Marie, Jerry Schatzberg’s Puzzle of a Downfall Child is an unnervingly intimate, narratively-fragmented portrait of a top fashion model in personal and professional decline. Faye Dunaway, fresh from her star-making role in Bonnie and Clyde, delivers a tour-de-force performance as Lou Andreas Sand, once a celebrated model now shored up in an isolated beach house struggling to maintain her partial grasp on reality. Directly influenced by the European art cinema of Alain Resnais, Ingmar Bergman, and Michelangelo Antonioni and boasting a screenplay by acclaimed screenwriter Carole Eastman and supporting performances by Barry Primus, Roy Scheider, and Viveca Lindfors, Puzzle of a Downfall Child is a visionary film emblematic of the disenfranchised subjects, art-film sensibilities, and young, creative filmmakers that made the New American Cinema.

Disc Features:

  • New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Jerry Schatzberg, with uncompressed monoaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interviews with Schatzberg and actor Faye Dunaway
  • Alternate opening sequence prepared by the studio
  • New interview with playwright Elisabeth Bouchaud
  • Fashion of a Downfall Child, scholar Drake Stutesman on the film’s costumes and fashion trends
  • Sounds from Across the Ocean, scholar Jay Beck on the film’s sound design
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by filmmaker and photographer Bruce LaBruce

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Hud (Martin Ritt, 1963)

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

criterion logoPaul Newman is Hud Bannon, the man with the barbed-wire soul, a charismatic hellion tearing through his small, Texas panhandle town in his pink Cadillac and seducing the local housewives.  His reckless and unscrupulous behavior is tolerated by his principled father Homer (Melvyn Douglas) and their weary housekeeper Alma (Patricia Neal), and admired by his teenage nephew Lonnie (Brandon deWilde).  When hoof-and-mouth disease threatens their entire herd, a bitter struggle ensues over control of the ranch and their livelihood with Lonnie in the middle.  Garnering 7 Academy Award nominations and wins by actors Patricia Neal and Melvyn Douglas and cinematographer James Wong Howe, Hud is a beautifully stark depiction of generational conflict and an unforeseen measure of the changing culture in America.

Disc Features:

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Taking Off (Milos Forman, 1971)

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

criterion logoMiloš Forman’s first film in the United States is an affectionate satire of the generation gap dividing America in the late 1960s and early ’70s.  In Taking Off, Forman casts his focus specifically on middle class New York, the Tyne family, and the bourgeois mores that divide Larry and Lynn Tyne (Buck Henry and Lynn Carlin) from their runaway daughter Jeannie (Linnea Heacock).  Through the Society for the Parents of Fugitive Children, Larry and Lynn delve into the counterculture in an effort to understand their wayward child and begin to step out of the hegemony of America’s silent majority.  Punctuated by musical sequences, including performances by a young Carly Simon and a still unknown Kathy Bates, Taking Off humorously captures the tensions between a challenged conservative America and the hippie movement already struggling with its own contradictions.

Disc Features:

  • New digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Optional remastered uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Clara Kuperberg and Julia Kuperberg’s Miloš Forman: Taking Off in America, an hour-long, 2011 interview with the filmmaker discussing his journey from Czechoslovakia to Hollywood
  • Before Taking Off: Miloš Forman’s Road to America, Robert Fischer’s 30-minute newly edited and illustrated archival interview with Forman on his time in Czechoslovakia and his opportunity to film his first American movie in New York City
  • Two Europeans in New York, a 16 minute interview with co-writer Jean-Claude Carrière
  • New interviews with co-writer John Guare, Buck Henry, Carly Simon, and Kathy Bates
  • I Miss Sonia Henie, Karpo Acimovic-Godina’s 1971 short film made in collaboration with Forman and Buck Henry, as well as Tinto Brass, Mladomir “Puriša” Ðjordjevic, Dušan Makavejev, Paul Morrisey, and Frederick Wiseman
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Photo gallery
  • PLUS:  A booklet of essays by film critics J. Hoberman and Dave Kehr, and writer and documentarian Luc Lagier

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