The Criterion Collection and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment yet again have some fantastic classic titles for you to add to your blu ray collection this April.
On 1st April comes DETOUR, Edgar G. Ulmer’s legendary B movie, the quintessence of film noir, newly restored and on Blu-ray for the first time.
From Poverty Row came a movie that, perhaps more than any other, epitomizes the dark fatalism at the heart of film noir. As he hitchhikes his way from New York to Los Angeles, a down-on-his-luck nightclub pianist (Tom Neal) finds himself with a dead body on his hands and nowhere to run—a waking nightmare that goes from bad to worse when he picks up
the most vicious femme fatale in cinema history, Ann Savage’s snarling, monstrously conniving drifter Vera. Working with no-name stars on a bargain basement budget, B auteur Edgar G. Ulmer (People on Sunday) turned threadbare production values and seedy, low-rent atmosphere into indelible pulp poetry. Long unavailable in a format in which its hard-boiled beauty could be fully appreciated, Detour haunts anew in its first major restoration.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
Edgar G. Ulmer: The Man Off-Screen, a 2004 documentary featuring interviews with filmmakers Roger Corman, Joe Dante, and Wim Wenders and actor Ann Savage
New interview with film scholar Noah Isenberg, author of Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins
New programme about the restoration of Detour
PLUS: An essay by critic and poet Robert Polito
Martin Scorsese’s towering achievement THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRISTarrives on 22nd April. Though it initially engendered enormous controversy, the film can now be viewed as the remarkable, profoundly personal work of faith that it is. This fifteen-year labour of love, an adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’s landmark novel that imagines an alternate fate for Jesus Christ, features outstanding performances by Willem Dafoe, Barbara Hershey, Harvey Keitel, Harry Dean Stanton and David Bowie; bold cinematography by the great Michael Ballhaus; and a transcendent score by Peter Gabriel.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
Restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by cinematographer Michael Ballhaus and editor Thelma Schoonmaker, with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack by supervising sound editor Skip Lievsay
Audio commentary featuring director Martin Scorsese, actor Willem Dafoe, and writers Paul Schrader and Jay Cocks
Galleries of production stills, research materials, and costume designs
Location production footage shot by Scorsese
Interview with composer Peter Gabriel, with a stills gallery of traditional instruments used in the score
PLUS: An essay by film critic David Ehrenstein.
AU HASARD BALTHAZAR follows on 29th April. Bresson achieves the pinnacle of his art in this tale of a gentle creature’s journey through a cruel world. A profound masterpiece from one of the most revered filmmakers in the history of cinema, Au hasard Balthazar, directed by Robert Bresson (Pickpocket), follows the donkey Balthazar as he is passed from owner to owner, some kind and some cruel but all with motivations outside of his understanding. Balthazar, whose life parallels that of his first keeper, Marie, is truly a beast of burden, suffering the sins of humankind. But despite his powerlessness, he accepts his fate nobly. Through Bresson’s unconventional approach to composition, sound, and narrative, this simple story becomes a moving parable about purity and transcendence.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
Interview from 2005 with film scholar Donald Richie
“Un metteur en ordre: Robert Bresson,” a 1966 French television programme about the film, featuring Bresson, filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard and Louis Malle, and members of Balthazar’s cast and crew
Original theatrical trailer
Plus: An essay by film scholar James Quandt