January Criterions have been announced! Most exciting one to me is another addition to their collection of Preston Sturges films, with The Palm Beach Story. I can’t rank this one quite as high as Sullivan’s Travels or The Lady Eve, but it’s close on their heels in terms of straight-up zany fun. I’m so glad to see Criterion release a Hollywood classic like this just about every month.
Also releasing: Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg (an excellent and evocative film I’d love to own in a Criterion edition), Werner Rainer Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, and Lucrecia Martel’s La Ciénega, which I’ll admit I’ve never heard of. What Criterions are going on your wishlist for January?
Roman Polanski’s first English-language film (albeit starring French legend Catherine Deneuve) Repulsion is a dark and intense dive into a woman’s madness, as Carol’s sister leaves her alone with her psychosis to go on vacation. Carol seems unwell from the first frame of the movie, prone to fall into a trance and fearful of most human contact, especially from men. As soon as her sister leaves, she’s beset with hallucinations of cracks in the walls, arms reaching to grab her, and a recurrent waking nightmare of a man breaking in to rape her.
When you see the men in her life, you can hardly blame her. Repulsion is like a textbook filled with the various forms misogyny can take; some of them more immediately dangerous than others, others insidious or casual, but all of them clearly contributing to a society that alienates and isolates Carol to the point of insanity. While watching the film, I couldn’t help but think of the recent #NotAllMen hashtag on Twitter. Well, in Carol’s small world, it most definitely is all men (and some women), even the one who seems to be the nicest.
[some spoilers, but not for everything]
On November 18! Oh, I do so hope Criterion is going to go through Frank Capra’s filmography, giving it the same care they’ve been giving John Ford’s.
See the rest of the November line-up.
The restored version of William Friedkin’s Sorcerer was one of the screenings at this year’s TCM Film Festival that I wish I’d been able to get to. The film has been kind of a holy grail for a while, difficult to find and never in Friedkin’s intended version – this following box office failure and renewed interest only after release. This Blu-ray sets all that to rights, with a restoration guided by Friedkin himself. The film is a remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s acclaimed The Wages of Fear, a film I admit I didn’t care for very much when I saw it. I’m curious to both rewatch the original, and then watch Friedkin’s take on the story. Buy at Amazon
For the first time since I started doing these posts, Fox Cinema Archives takes the top spot, with their release of Clara Bow’s next-to-last film Call Her Savage. I saw this at the TCM Film Festival a few years ago, and while I wouldn’t on the whole call it successful, it was definitely a one-of-a-kind film, jumping back and forth from flapper comedy to sophisticated drama to working class tragedy. It is…a sight to behold, and I’m glad it’s getting at least a DVD-on-demand release so hopefully more people can check it out. Fox Cinema Archives is also releasing Alex & the Gypsy which I know nothing about except that the poster being used as the basis of the cover art is terrible.