"Warner Bros. or Criterion is putting out a new version of 'Badlands' fairly soon," Terrence Malick's longtime editor Billy Weber said last fall, and now almost a full year later, it looks like the company with the wacky C will be giving the auteur's debut film the full treatment.
Yesterday, the Criterion Collection issued their monthly email newsletter and as usual, there was a clue to go with it. As you see above, it featured two bad lambs (=badlands, get it!?) dressed up in what looked to be greaser gear not unlike what Martin Sheen's character wears in the movie. And while Criterion generally hasn't had much luck in licensing titles from Warner Bros. who have the movie in their catalog (and continue to do brisk business with their excellent Archive Collection shingle), according to the folks at the usually plugged in Criterion Forum, the boutique label has managed to snag a few titles from the studio with "Badlands" said to be among them.
Of course, when this will street remains to be seen, but it won't be until 2013 at the earliest as Criterion has already tied up their slate for the year. As for extras, again, we'll have to wait and see. However, Weber did state he recorded a commentary for the film that is being used for a brewing British re-issue of the film. And while Malick himself continues his press silence, his collaborators still often provide illuminating insights, so here's hoping Sheen, Sissy Spacek and designer Jack Fisk all get involved (along with Weber, they all took part in GQ's excellent oral history on the film). And maybe we'll get Malick's 17-minute short "Lanton Mills" in there as well? Currently, the movie — which stars Harry Dean Stanton, Warren Oates and Malick himself — is housed at the American Film Institute and is only viewable by students. It would be great to get it out there for more people to see. Fingers crossed.
Of course, this could be totally wrong, but all the clues and details seem to link up. Lots to think about anyway, and if you feel like diving deep into the movie, check out our extensive feature about the making of the movie right here.