It’s another month of Criterion announcements and another example of MMC!’s Collection wishes coming true. This month sees the Criterion Collection announcing the release of Martin Bell’s Streetwise (1984) and Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell (2016) in a collected edition. MMC! imagined this release back in 2015 and it’s good to see we accurately predicted the inclusion of some short film work and Cheryl McCall’s 1983 Life magazine article. Once again cineastes, you’re welcome!
Screenings of Masaki Kobayashi’s The Human Condition (1959) were scheduled at MMC! headquarters in April, but those plans will be delayed to June to coincide with the release of Criterion’s blu-grade in June. Also coming in June will be an upgrade of MMC! favourite and past Top Ten entrant Pickup on South Street (Sam Fuller, 1953), a stand-alone release of the excellent Olympic documentary Visions of Eight (1973), Dee Rees’s queer coming-of-age story Pariah (2011), and an electrifying and exhaustive collection – The Signifyin’ Works of Marlon Riggs.
I’ve long feared the hazard of imagining a Criterion release of a given film only to have the Collection announce it mid-month as a forthcoming title, thereby leaving my research and writing wasted. Alas, that day has finally arrived with the Criterion Collection announcing Edmund Goulding’s Nightmare Alley as a May 2021 release, leaving my work over the past couple of weeks sunk. Nightmare Alley may be MMC!’s favourite film noir of all time and it’s a timely choice with Guillermo del Toro’s remake scheduled to arrive later this year. Criterion’s other announcements for May 2021 are equally superb – a stand-alone edition of Ahmed El Maanouni’s Trances, the iconic and star-studded Fast Times at Ridgemont High, the tantalizingly salacious Merrily We Go to Hell, and Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s Flowers of Shanghai featuring an absolutely gorgeous cover treatment!
MMC!’s intended discussion of Nightmare Alley attended to the film’s fascinating production history, its horror noir adjacency, and to the distinctive manner by which the film explicitly dealt with film noir’s organizing force: fate. For the curious, I’ve provided below a glimpse of what an MMC! package of Nightmare Alley might have looked like (minus that partially drafted discussion of the film).
The cover art may not be revealed but Moonstruck is coming to Criterion Collection this November and MMC! is here to take all the credit, having previously proposed the Norman Jewison film as a quasi-valentine to my lovely wife who rightfully adores the movie. Our MMC! edition bears a strong resemblance to the actual Criterion release just announced. Both versions port over the current Blu-ray’s special features, each leaving out the lamentable cooking and food featurette, and both include an interview specifically considering the significance of opera to the film. And so, as always … you’re welcome, cinephiles.
The rest of November’s Criterion slate looks solid with an Essential Fellini box set (More weird packaging!), Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (Coolness!), Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman (Meh!), and Claudia Weill’s Girlfriends (An MMC! favourite discovery from last year!).
And for those waiting for MMC!’s next proposal, a new imagined Criterion edition will arrive before the end of this week and it’ll be British, recent, and widely celebrated!
Shout! Factory’s Shout Select imprint is releasing some great titles but MMC! is particularly interested in a pair of recent announcements – James Foley’s Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) and Keith Gordon’s A Midnight Clear (1992). Longtime MMC! readers may recall Criterion Collection proposals for A Midnight Clear in 2013 and Glengarry Glen Ross in 2016. In fairness to this blog, both proposals predated the launch of Shout Select in August 2016, and so we’ll claim innocence for getting the label wrong. (In fairness again, our Glengarry Glen Ross post even notes the connection between Westchester Films and Shout! Factory!)
Neither of these Shout Select announcements provide any details on their respective special features, simply providing the product note: “Extras in progress and will be announced at a later date.” The release for A Midnight Clear should pick up the existing commentary by Keith Gordon and Ethan Hawke, the A Winter’s War “making of” documentary, and the film’s deleted scenes. The previous DVD edition of Glengarry Glen Ross offered plenty of extra content including the ABC: Always Be Closing documentary, an audio commentary with James Foley, scenes with bonus commentaries, a tribute to Jack Lemmon, a short film, Kevin Spacey on Inside the Actor’s Studio, Jack Lemmon on The Charlie Rose Show, and interviews. Given the issues with Spacey and Rose that have since come to light, it’ll be interesting to see whether that content makes their way to the Shout Select release.
And, twice more, you’re welcome.
When Arrow Video announced its December 2018 release of Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, MMC! refrained from claiming victory for its 2015 proposal. It was hoped that the UK only version described by the label would be quickly expanded into a North American release as well. It took more than a year but it’s finally happened and MMC! is here to swoop in an say (as the great Sam Ashurst might put it), “You’re welcome, dear sweet, precious Arrow-heads.”
I would certainly encourage readers to go back to that 2015 proposal as it is full of great links to commercials, shorts, specials, webisodes, and sit-com episodes featuring our beloved Mistress of the Dark. As well, Arrow Video’s full slate of April Release looks amazing, with a bounty of great titles friendly to Region A film fans. Arrow Video expands its release of John Hughes’s Sixteen Candles (1984) to North America, presumably putting an end to a potential Criterion Collection edition and that 2017 New Year’s drawing tease. Also coming from Arrow Video is Nico Mastorakis’ thriller The Wind (1986), Kirill Sokolov’s revenge-comedy Why Don’t You Just Die! (2018), and Solid Metal Nightmares, a lavish box set featuring eight films by Japanese cult master Shinya Tsukamoto! (Plus a rather sumptuous UK-only package for Lukas Feigelfeld’s Hagazussa: A Heathen’s Curse (2017).)
And for those wondering why MMC!’s next proposal for spine numbered greatness remains pending, my apologies. MMC! headquarters has been awash in family events and flu-like symptoms for much of January. Thinks are looking up and MMC! has in mind a fun, flashy film from Japan that build some great brand synergies with the addition of a wacky “C.” More on that soon!
The Criterion Collection’s February titles are up and things looks great with MMC!’s #5 film for 2018, Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, slated for a stacked release (that includes a kogonada video essay). Also announced are Jennie Livingston’s amazing drag doc Paris is Burning (1990), Pier Paolo Pasonini’s provocative Teorema (1969), and a Blu-grade of Hiroshi Teshigahara’s architectural exploration, Antonio Gaudí (1984), however February gets even better with the realization that yet another MMC!-proposed title is set to join the Criterion Collection and provide another glorious case of spine number wish fulfillment!
Released by the Criterion Collection under the title Invention for Destruction, Karel Zeman’s The Deadly Invention (1958) is packaged with Journey to the Beginning of Time (1955) and The Fabulous Baron Munchausen (1962) under the collective title Three Fantastic Journeys by Karel Zeman. In this moment of self-congratulation, MMC! points out that we not only had this more than four and a half years ago, but also called the inclusion of Zeman’s short film Inspiration (1949), the particulars of the American release, appearances by Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam, and Czech documentaries on Zeman!
Once again, and always, you’re welcome, cinephiles!