Some mighty impressive disc announcements today — just when I think the companies have exhausted the resource of desirable titles, more keep rolling in. Things once seemed to slow down after the Christmas holiday, but not this year.
The Criterion Collection has announced its March 2022 offerings, which include three vintage enticements. One of Robert Aldrich’s very best pictures, The Flight of the Phoenix will make its Region A debut with interesting extras, including the input of the Aldrich authority Alain Silver. Martin Scorsese’s concert show The Last Waltz will debut in 4K, and Jean-Pierre Melville’s crime thriller Le Cercle Rouge jumps to 4K as well. Also coming from Criterion are the newer pictures Adoption (1975) by Márta Mészáros) and Love Jones (1997) by Theodore Witcher. All for March.
Taking the prize for sheer volume is Kino Lorber and its associated labels. Toplining their January slate is a 4K Ultra-HD of United Artists’ crowd-pleaser The Great Escape. It’ll be interesting to see what 4K adds to the experience … if I close my eyes I can remember it from the screen of the Fox San Bernardino, back around 1966 or so. The same goes for Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot, which might undergo a quantum image jump in 4K — it was stunning on a big screen. The onslaught of notable KL Studio Classics titles continues with Alfred Hitchcock’s not-well-known Rich and Strange and a pair of pre-Code mystery thrillers, The Crime of the Century and Double Door.
Continuing with Kino, there’s Loretta Young, Alan Ladd and William Bendix in John Farrow’s China; Ray Milland and Marlene Dietrich in Mitchell Leisen’s Golden Earrings; Arthur Miller’s excellent All My Sons with Edward G. Robinson and Burt Lancaster; James Cagney and Dana Wynter in Michael Anderson’s Shake Hands with the Devil; William Holden, Susannah York and Capucine in The 7th Dawn; Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine in Gambit (the only M. Caine movie that didn’t hold my attention, oddly); Bill Forsyth’s Breaking In and several others. Releasing through Kino, Code Red gives us a rarity (maybe with good reason): the Hugh Hefner- produced The Naked Ape the documentary (?) about the evolution of sex that features Johnny Crawford and introduced Victoria Principal. All for January.
Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson