Nicolas Roeg, Louis Malle, Robert Aldrich, Kon Ichikawa — Criterion has announced their slate of films to street in June and as usual, it’s crack cocaine for classic film lovers.
Kicking things off, Nicolas Roeg will have another title enter the collection with his high-wire 1985 film “Insignificance” getting the wacky C of approval. The film places Marilyn Monroe (Theresa Russell), Albert Einstein (Michael Emil), Joe DiMaggio (Gary Busey) and Joe McCarthy (Tony Curtis) in the same hotel room in 1953 and lets them bounce off one another, and discover they have much in common. The extras are thin — only a short making-of documentary is of note — but the film alone should get your wallet out.
Feeling like a grimy noir instead? Criterion polishes up Robert Aldrich’s stone-cold classic “Kiss Me Deadly” and loads it up. The film is an adaptation of Mickey Spillane‘s novel about private dick Mike Hammer who tries to find out why a mysterious girl named Christina was killed. The DVD set will feature an audio commentary, a pair of documentary excerpts about the author and screenwriter A. I. Bezzerides, as well as both endings — the chopped finale and the restored version. Oh and btw, two major thumbs up for the pulp paperback cover. Instant classic.
If arty French fare is more your bag, Criterion will be issuing two titles from Louis Malle: “Zazie Dans Le Metro” and “Black Moon.” The films offer two totally different sides of Malle, with the former a winning, whimsical comedy following a young girl who spends the weekend in Paris and the latter a twisted, dark fantasy set in an alternate world. Both films will come with interviews, photos, trailers and more.
Want to explore the roots of several filmmakers who would go on to have illustrious Hollywood careers? Look no further than “People On Sunday” directed by Curt Siodmak, Robert Siodmak, Edgar G. Ulmer and Fred Zinnemann (Billy Wilder helped out on the screenplay). The neo-realist film follows two men, a cab driver and a salesman who pick up a couple of young women and spend the day wandering around Berlin on Sunday. The silent film will feature two scores, a documentary about the film and the 1931 short “Ins Blaue Hinein” by ‘Sunday’ cinematographer Eugen Schüfftan.
Finally, Criterion heads east for Kon Ichikawa’s “The Makioka Sisters.” The 1983 film is based on the novel by Junichiro Tanizaki and centers on four sisters who take over the family kimono business in the lead up to the Pacific War. Only a trailer rounds this one out (along with the requisite booklet each of these releases has) but considering it hasn’t been previously available in North America, that alone should be reason for celebration.
Over on the company’s Eclipse line, they will be releasing a box set of films by Italian filmmaker Raffaello Matarazzo. While his contemporaries were making grim neo-realist films in ’40s and ’50s, Matarazzo was churning out sweeping melodramas to audience acclaim in his native land. This newest box set will compile “Chains,” “Tormento,” “Nobody’s Children” and “The White Angel.”