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Criterion Celebrates the Beatles with 'A Hard Day's Night' Among Its June Releases

By Melina Gills | Indiewire March 18, 2014 at 11:12AM

For Beatles fans out there, Criterion is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of "A Hard Day's Night" by releasing a new 4K digital restoration of the film, with a newly remixed 5.1 surround soundtrack. Among the accompanying special features are a deleted scene, audio commentary, trailers, and a documentary program.
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A Hard Day's Night Picnic At Hanging Rock

For Beatles fans out there, Criterion is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of "A Hard Day's Night" by releasing a new 4K digital restoration of the film, with a newly remixed 5.1 surround soundtrack. Among the accompanying special features are a deleted scene, audio commentary, trailers, and a documentary program. 

The postmodern masterpiece, "L'Eclisse," by famed Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni, will also be released, in addition to Douglas Sirk's "All That Heaven Allows," Peter Davis's "Hearts and Minds," Georges Franju’s "Judex," and Peter Weir's "Picnic at Hanging Rock."

Please find below the details for each film (provided by Criterion):

ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS (DUAL-FORMAT BLU-RAY/DVD Edition)

This heartbreakingly beautiful indictment of 1950s American mores by Douglas Sirk (Written on the Wind) follows the blossoming love between a well-off suburban widow (Magnificent Obsession’s Jane Wyman) and her handsome and earthy younger gardener (Seconds’ Rock Hudson). After their romance prompts the scorn of her selfish children and snooty country club friends, she must decide whether to pursue her own happiness or carry on a lonely, hemmed-in existence for the sake of the approval of others. With the help of ace cinematographer Russell Metty (Spartacus), Sirk imbued nearly every shot with a vivid and distinct emotional tenor. A profoundly felt film about class and conformity in small-town America, All That Heaven Allows is a pinnacle of expressionistic Hollywood melodrama.

Extra Goodies Include: New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray; audio commentary featuring John Mercer, coauthor of Melodrama: Genre, Style, Sensibility, and film scholar Tamar Jeffers-McDonald; Rock Hudson’s Home Movies (1992), a groundbreaking essay film about the actor by Mark Rappaport; French television interview with Sirk from 1982; Excerpts from Behind the Mirror: A Profile of Douglas Sirk, a 1979 BBC documentary featuring rare interview footage with the director; Contract Kid: William Reynolds on Douglas Sirk, a 2007 interview with the actor, who costarred in three Sirk films, including All That Heaven Allows; Trailer; One Blu-ray and two DVDs, with all content available in both formats; A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Laura Mulvey and an excerpt from a 1971 essay by filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder on Sirk.

L’ECLISSE (DUAL-FORMAT BLU-RAY/DVD Edition) 

The concluding chapter of Michelangelo Antonioni’s informal trilogy on contemporary malaise (following L’avventura and La notte), L’eclisse (The Eclipse) tells the story of a young woman (L’avventura’s Monica Vitti) who leaves one lover (Viridiana’s Francisco Rabal) and drifts into a relationship with another (Purple Noon’s Alain Delon). Using the architecture of Rome as a backdrop for the doomed affair, Antonioni achieves the apotheosis of his style in this return to the theme that preoccupied him the most: the difficulty of connection in an alienating modern world.

Extra Goodies Include: New, restored high-definition digital film transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray; audio commentary by film scholar Richard Peña, former program director of New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center; Michelangelo Antonioni: The Eye That Changed Cinema (2001), a fifty-six-minute documentary exploring the director’s life and career; Elements of Landscape, a twenty-two-minute piece from 2005 about Antonioni and L’eclisse, featuring Italian film critic Adriano Aprà and longtime Antonioni friend Carlo di Carlo; new English subtitle translation; one Blu-ray and two DVDs, with all content available in both formats; and a booklet featuring essays by film critics Jonathan Rosenbaum and Gilberto Perez, as well as excerpts from Antonioni’s writing about his work

HEARTS AND MINDS (DUAL-FORMAT BLU-RAY/DVD Edition)

A startling and courageous film, Peter Davis’s landmark 1974 documentary Hearts and Minds unflinchingly confronted the United States’ involvement in Vietnam at the height of the foment that surrounded it. Using a wealth of sources—from interviews to newsreels to footage of the conflict and the upheaval it occasioned on the home front—Davis constructs a powerfully affecting picture of the disastrous effects of war. Explosive, persuasive, and wrenching, Hearts and Minds is an overwhelming emotional experience and the most important nonfiction film ever made about this devastating period in history.

Extras Include: High-definition digital restoration, supervised by director Peter Davis and cinematographer Richard Pearce, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray; audio commentary featuring Davis; a collection of over two hours of never-before-seen outtakes from the film, including interviews with presidential adviser George Ball, broadcast journalist David Brinkley, French journalist and historian Philippe Devillers, political activist Tony Russo, and General William Westmoreland; one Blu-ray and two DVDS, with all content available in both formats; and a booklet featuring essays by Davis, film critic Judith Crist, and historians Robert K. Brigham, George C. Herring, and Ngo Vinh Long

JUDEX (DUAL-FORMAT BLU-RAY/DVD Edition & Stand Alone DVD Edition) 

This effortlessly cool crime caper, directed by Georges Franju (Eyes Without a Face), is a marvel of dexterous plotting and visual invention. Conceived as an homage to Louis Feuillade’s 1916 cult silent serial of the same name, Judex kicks off with the mysterious kidnapping of a corrupt banker by a shadowy crime fighter (American magician Channing Pollock) and spins out into a thrillingly complex web of deceptions. Combining stylish sixties modernism with silent-cinema touches and even a few unexpected sci-fi accents, Judex is a delightful bit of pulp fiction and a testament to the art of illusion. 

Extra Goodies Include: New 2K digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray; interview from 2007 with the film’s cowriter Jacques Champreux, the grandson of Louis Feuillade, cocreator of the silent serial Judex; interview from 2012 with actor Francine Bergé; Franju le visionnaire, a fifty-minute program from 1998 on the director’s career and imagination; new English subtitle translation; one Blu-ray and one DVD, with all content available in both formats; and a booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Geoffrey O’Brien, along with reprinted writings by and excerpted interviews with Franju

PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (DUAL-FORMAT BLU-RAY/DVD EDITION)

This sensual and striking chronicle of a disappearance and its aftermath put director Peter Weir (The Truman Show) on the map and helped usher in a new era of Australian cinema. Set at the turn of the twentieth century, Picnic at Hanging Rock concerns a small group of students from an all-female college and a chaperone, who vanish while on a St. Valentine’s Day outing. Less a mystery than a journey into the mystic, as well as an inquiry into issues of class and sexual repression in Australian society, Weir’s gorgeous, disquieting film is a work of poetic horror whose secrets haunt viewers to this day.

Extra Goodies Include: Remastered high-definition digital film transfer, supervised and approved by director Peter Weir, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray; extended interview with Weir; new piece on the making of the film, featuring interviews from 2003 with executive producer Patricia Lovell, producers Hal McElroy and Jim McElroy, and cast members;new introduction by film scholar David Thomson, author of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film A Recollection . . . Hanging Rock 1900 (1975), an on-set documentary hosted by Lovell and featuring interviews with Weir, actor Rachel Roberts, and source novel author Joan Lindsay; Homesdale (1971), an award-winning black comedy by Weir; trailer; one Blu-ray and two DVDs, with all content available in both formats; and a booklet featuring an essay by author Megan Abbott and an excerpt from film critic Marek Haltof’s 1996 book Peter Weir: When Cultures Collide; a new paperback edition of Lindsay’s original novel, previously out of print in the U.S.

A HARD DAY’S NIGHT (DUAL-FORMAT BLU-RAY/DVD Edition & DVD Stand Alone Edition)

Meet the Beatles! Just one month after they exploded onto the U.S. scene with their Ed Sullivan Show appearance, John, Paul, George, and Ringo began working on a project that would bring their revolutionary talent to the big screen. A Hard Day’s Night, in which the bandmates play slapstick versions of themselves, captured the astonishing moment when they officially became the singular, irreverent idols of their generation and changed music forever. Directed with raucous, anything-goes verve by Richard Lester (Help!) and featuring a slew of iconic pop anthems, including the title track, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “I Should Have Known Better,” and “If I Fell,” A Hard Day’s Night, which reconceived the movie musical and exerted an incalculable influence on the music video, is one of the most deliriously entertaining movies of all time.

Extra Goodies Include: New 4K digital film restoration, approved by director Richard Lester, with two audio options—a monaural soundtrack and a new 5.1 surround soundtrack made by Apple Records—presented in uncompressed monaural and DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray; audio commentary featuring various members of the film’s cast and crew; In Their Own Voices, a new piece combining interviews with the Beatles from 1964 with behind-the-scenes footage and photos; You Can’t Do That: The Making of “A Hard Day’s Night,” a 1994 documentary program by producer Walter Shenson; Things They Said Today, a 2002 documentary about the film featuring Lester, music producer George Martin, writer Alun Owen, cinematographer Gilbert Taylor, and others; new piece about Lester’s early work, featuring a new audio interview with the director; The Running Jumping and Standing Still Film (1959), Lester’s Oscar-nominated short featuring Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan; Anatomy of a Style, a new piece on Lester’s approach to editing; new interview with Mark Lewisohn, author of Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years—Volume One; deleted scene; trailers; one Blu-ray and two DVDs, with all content available in both formats; and a booklet featuring an essay by critic Howard Hampton.

This article is related to: Criterion, Criterion Collection, The Criterion Collection, New On DVD, DVD / Blu-Ray







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