Come June, the Criterion Collection will be presenting some mighty fine alternatives to the Hollywood blockbuster machine.
It starts with Mizoguchi Kenji's Ugetsu and includes two early works by Alfred Hitchcock (The Lodger) and Nicholas Ray (They Live By Night), as well as Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs, which continues to stir controversy. For those with a taste for French cinema, a newly restored version of Marcel Pagnol's Marseille Trilogy arrives on Blu-ray for the first time.
Click through the gallery below to see all the Blu-ray covers and read the official descriptions from Criterion.
Having refined his craft in the silent era, Kenji Mizoguchi was an elder statesman of Japanese cinema -- fiercely revered by Akira Kurosawa and other younger directors-by the time he made Ugetsu. And with this exquisite ghost story, a fatalistic wartime tragedy derived from stories by Akinari Ueda and Guy de Maupassant, he created a touchstone of his art, his long takes and sweeping camera guiding the viewer through a delirious narrative about two villagers whose pursuit of fame and fortune leads them far astray from their loyal wives. Moving between the terrestrial and the otherworldly, Ugetsu reveals essential truths about the ravages of war, the plight of women, and the pride of men.
1953 * 97 minutes * Black & white * Monaural * In Japanese with English subtitles * 1.37:1 aspect ratio
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
New 4K digital restoration undertaken by The Film Foundation, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Audio commentary by filmmaker, critic, and festival programmer Tony Rayns
Kenji Mizoguchi: The Life of a Film Director (1975), a 150-minute documentary by Kaneto Shindo
Two Worlds Intertwined, a 2005 appreciation of Ugetsu by filmmaker Masahiro Shinoda
Process and Production, a 2005 interview with Tokuzo Tanaka, first assistant director on Ugetsu
Interview from 1992 with cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa
An essay by film critic Phillip Lopate (Blu-ray and DVD) and three short stories that influenced Mizoguchi in making the film (Blu-ray only)