Classics on Disc: July 22

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It’s an easy pick this week, as Criterion’s Jacques Demy set has had me salivating since I first heard of it. It has both The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Young Girls of Rochefort, two films I love to bits, plus Lola, which I’ve been trying to see forever and has been difficult to find up until now, plus Donkey Skin and a lot more. I’m super-stoked to check this out as soon as I save up the money for it. Meanwhile, fans of the original Scandinavian version of Insomnia are treated to a Blu-ray upgrade of the title.

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See more new old releases after the jump.

Kino is well known in classic film fan circles for their great silent film releases, notably just about all of Buster Keaton’s films. This month they’re starting a new imprint called Kino Classics to release films from the MGM library that they apparently acquired the rights to. The flagship initial release is a pair of Billy Wilder films, Witness for the Prosecution (which is great) and The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (which I haven’t seen, but am very curious about). Also a pair of other films that I’ve never heard of, but do boast interesting casts and posters.

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I’m torn on Olive’s two releases this week. I’m not familiar with either of these films, but I am a big fan of BOTH Barbara Stanwyck and Ginger Rogers (who share a birthday in July, making this a fitting pair of releases this month). Forever Female sounds like a lot of fun, though, a sort of slapstick comedy take on All About Eve with a playwright forced to rewrite an ingenue part for his producer’s middle-aged wife (Rogers). The Other Love sounds a bit less fun, about a star-crossed romance. So I’ll give Ginger the nod this time. Sorry, Babs.

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Warner Archive is all about the noir this week, and I couldn’t be happier about that. I honestly couldn’t pick a favorite with this set, because they all sound pretty cool, and I hadn’t heard of any of them before this. Since I went with a stage theme on Olive’s releases, I’ll stick to it here, and put Stage Struck atop my list. But seriously, click through and read the descriptions and see if they don’t all sound like pretty quintessential noir. I hope some of these hit Warner Archive Instant soon.

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Aha, I have seen one of these Fox Cinema Archives releases! I went through a big Sonja Henie phase back when I was super into both classic Hollywood and figure skating. I can’t say Everything Happens at Night is the best of them, but I suppose it was okay if you like Sonja Henie. I’m more curious to check out The Affairs of Cellini, personally – I’ve seen far too few Constance Bennett films.

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New deluxe editions of the ’70s Hobbit and Return of the King? Sounds good to me! These are the ones I grew up with, and while I love and respect Peter Jackson’s far more ambitious versions, I have a soft spot for these animated adaptations. Never mind the fact that they skipped most of Lord of the Rings (apparently depending on Ralph Bakshi’s 1978 Lord of the Rings to get that part of the story across).

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Among new releases, Blue Ruin is the one that definitely catches my eye – I actually don’t know very much about it except that it’s a revenge story of some kind, because the buzz out of TIFF and its limited release has been so good that I don’t want to spoil it for when I do get a chance to see it. Also out, the barely blip-making Transcendence and some other stuff.

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