Criterion Collection May releases feature Bogart and Altman classics
The Criterion Collection has announced their May line-up and it features some damn fine films. Seeing as how we focus on death, deceit and larceny, I will list those that best apply to us.
ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS
Electrified by crackling dialogue and visual craftsmanship of the great Howard Hawks, Only Angels Have Wings stars Jean Arthur as a traveling entertainer who gets more than she bargained for during a stopover in a South American port town. There she meets a handsome and aloof daredevil pilot, played by Cary Grant, who runs an airmail company, staring down death while servicing towns in treacherous mountain terrain. Both attracted to and repelled by his romantic sense of danger, she decides to stay on, despite his protestations. This masterful and mysterious adventure, featuring Oscar-nominated special effects, high-wire aerial photography, and Rita Hayworth in a small but breakout role, explores Hawks’s recurring themes of masculine codes and the strong-willed women who question them.
New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Audio excerpts from a 1972 conversation between filmmakers Howard Hawks and Peter Bogdanovich
New interview with film critic David Thomson
Howard Hawks and His Aviation Movies, a new program featuring film scholars Craig Barron and Ben Burtt
Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the film from 1939, starring Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Rita Hayworth, Richard Barthelmess, and Thomas Mitchell, and hosted by filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille
PLUS: An essay by critic Michael Sragow
IN A LONELY PLACE
When a gifted but washed-up screenwriter with a hair-trigger temper—Humphrey Bogart, in a revelatory, vulnerable performance—becomes the prime suspect in a brutal Tinseltown murder, the only person who can supply an alibi for him is a seductive neighbor (Gloria Grahame) with her own troubled past. The emotionally charged In a Lonely Place, freely adapted from a Dorothy B. Hughes thriller, is a brilliant, turbulent mix of suspenseful noir and devastating melodrama, fueled by powerhouse performances. An uncompromising tale of two people desperate to love yet struggling with their demons and each other, this is one of the greatest films of the 1950s, and a benchmark in the career of the classic Hollywood auteur Nicholas Ray.
New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New audio commentary featuring film scholar Dana Polan
I’m a Stranger Here Myself, a 1975 documentary about director Nicholas Ray, slightly condensed for this release
New interview with biographer Vincent Curcio about actor Gloria Grahame
Piece from 2002 featuring filmmaker Curtis Hanson
Radio adaptation from 1948 of the original Dorothy B. Hughes novel, broadcast on the programSuspense
An essay by critic Imogen Sara Smith
A Hollywood studio executive with a shaky moral compass (Tim Robbins) finds himself caught up in a criminal situation that would fit right into one of his movie projects, in this biting industry satire from Robert Altman. Mixing elements of film noir with sly insider comedy, The Player, based on a novel by Michael Tolkin, functions as both a nifty stylish murder story and a commentary on its own making, and it is stocked with a heroic supporting cast (Peter Gallagher, Whoopi Goldberg, Greta Scacchi, Dean Stockwell, Fred Ward) and an astonishing lineup of star cameos that make for a remarkable Hollywood who’s who. This complexly woven grand entertainment (which kicks off with one of American cinema’s most audacious and acclaimed opening shots) was the film that marked Altman’s triumphant commercial comeback in the early 1990s.
New 4K digital restoration, with DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 surround soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Audio commentary from 1992 featuring director Robert Altman, writer Michael Tolkin, and cinematographer Jean Lépine
Interview with Altman from 1992
New interviews with Tolkin and production designer Stephen Altman
Cannes Film Festival press conference from 1992 with cast and crew
“The Player” at LACMA, a short documentary about the shooting of the film’s fund-raiser scene
Map to the Stars, a gallery dedicated to the cameo appearances in the film
Deleted scenes and outtakes
The film’s opening shot, with alternate commentaries by Altman, Lépine, and Tolkin
An essay by author Sam Wasson
Of this list, I have to confess I am thrilled to see THE PLAYER . I like IN A LONELY PLACE, but it is hardly my favorite Bogie film. That said, Criterion always puts together killer packages and each is well worth adding to your collection.