Notes on Criterion: August 2017 Releases Include HOPSCOTCH, LA POISON, and More

This summer (or winter, depending on where you live), the Criterion Collection will release five movies on Blu-ray and DVD that may be less familiar but are no less potentially fascinating.

First up on August 8 is Michael Curtiz's The Breaking Point, arriving on Blu-ray for the first time. Curtiz will forever be remembered for Casablanca, but as a Hollywood studio veteran, he applied his talents to a bewildering range of material.

Released the same year as the director's Young Man with a Horn (a musician's melodrama) and Bright Leaf, (pro-cigarette Southern drama), The Breaking Point stars John Garfield and Patricia Neal in an adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's novel about the financially-strapped captain of a charter boat who is drawn into illegal activities.

On August 15, Mike Leigh's Meantime (1984) will debut in a new 2K restoration. It's an early example of his social-realist approach to drama, featuring a fine cast that includes Tim Roth, Gary Oldman, Phil Daniels and Alfred Molina.

Due on the same day is Hopscotch (1980), a wonderfully charming spy game of cat and mouse that was adapted by Brian Garfield from his own novel. Walter Matthau is at the top of his game in this one, aided by Glenda Jackson, Sam Waterston, Ned Beatty and Herbert Lom. Ronald Neame directed at his most sprightly. I've seen this on a streaming service within the past year or two and it looked quite fine, but the Blu-ray features a new 2K digital restoration.

Set for release on August 22, La poison (1951) will make its home video debut. Written and directed by Sacha Guitry, it's described as a black comedy that stars Michel Simon.

The same day brings Alex Cox's Sid & Nancy, presented in a new 4K digital restoration so all the anguish and pain can be experienced in perfect clarity. Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb star as Sid Vicious and his ill-fated girlfriend.

Visit the Criterion site for more information on each title.

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