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Being There, Holiday and Sanshô dayû on Criterion Blu-ray in January

22 October 2019

The Criterion Collection and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment have confirmed the titles to be released on Blu-ray in the UK in January 2020. On 6 January comes Being There, an hilarious, deeply melancholy satire starring Peter Sellers in one of his most finely tuned performances. Following on 13 January, Holiday stars Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant in this delectable slice of 1930s romantic-comedy. On 27 January Sansho the Baliff [Sanshô Dayû] arrives. This classic Japanese story has become one of cinema's greatest masterpieces, a monumental, empathetic expression of human resilience in the face of evil.

 

Being There Blu-ray cover art

Being There (USA 1979) | Blu-ray | 6 January 2020

In one of his most finely tuned performances, Peter Sellers (The Pink Panther) plays the pure-hearted Chance, a gardener forced out of moneyed seclusion and into the urban wilds of Washington, D.C., after the death of his employer. Shocked to discover that the real world doesn’t respond to the click of a remote, Chance stumbles haplessly into celebrity after being taken under the wing of a tycoon (Oscar winner Melvyn Douglas), who mistakes his new protégé’s mumbling about horticulture for sagacious pronouncements on life and politics, and whose wife (The Apartment’s Shirley MacLaine) targets Chance as the object of her desire.

Adapted from a novel by Jerzy Kosinski, this hilarious, deeply melancholy satire marks the culmination a remarkable string of films by Hal Ashby (Harold and Maude) in the 1970s, and serves as a carefully modulated examination of the ideals, anxieties, and media-fuelled delusions that shaped American culture during that decade.

Blu-ray Special Edition features:

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New documentary on the making of the film, featuring interviews with members of the production team
  • Excerpts from a 1980 American Film Institute seminar with director Hal Ashby
  • Author Jerzy Kosinksi in a 1979 appearance on The Dick Cavett Show 
  • Appearances from 1980 by actor Peter Sellers on NBC’s Today and The Don Lane Show 
  • Promo reel featuring Sellers and Ashby
  • Trailer and TV spots
  • Deleted scene, outtakes, and an alternate ending
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Mark Harris

 

Holiday Blu-ray cover art

Holiday (USA 1938) | Blu-ray | 13 January 2020

Two years before stars Katharine Hepburn (The African Queen) and Cary Grant (North by Northwest) and director George Cukor (My Fair Lady) would collaborate on The Philadelphia Storythey brought their timeless talents to this delectable slice of 1930s romantic-comedy perfection, the second film adaptation of a hit 1928 play by Philip Barry.

Grant is at his charismatic best as the acrobatically inclined free spirit who, following a whirlwind engagement, literally tumbles into the lives of his fiancée’s aristocratic family—setting up a clash of values with her staid father while firing the rebellious imagination of her brash, black-sheep sister (Hepburn).

With a sparkling surface and an undercurrent of melancholy, Holiday is an enchanting ode to nonconformists and pie-in-the-sky dreamers everywhere, as well as a thoughtful reflection on what it truly means to live well.

Blu-ray Special Edition features:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Holiday (1930), a previous adaptation of Philip Barry’s play, directed by Edward H. Griffith
  • New conversation between filmmaker and distributor Michael Schlesinger and film critic Michael Sragow
  • Audio excerpts from an American Film Institute oral history with director George Cukor, recorded in 1970 and ’71
  • Costume gallery
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Dana Stevens

 

Sansho the Baliff Blu-ray cover

Sansho the Baliff [Sanshô Dayû] (Japan 1954) | Blu-ray 27 January

When an idealistic governor disobeys the reigning feudal lord, he is cast into exile, his wife and children left to fend for themselves and eventually separated by vicious slave traders. Under the dazzling direction of Mizoguchi Kenji (Ugetsu Monogatari), this classic Japanese story became one of cinema’s greatest masterpieces, a monumental, empathetic expression of human resilience in the face of evil.

Blu-ray Special Edition features:

  • Restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Audio commentary by Japanese-literature professor Jeffrey Angles
  • Video interviews with critic Tadao Sato, assistant director Tokuzo Tanaka, and legendary actress Kyoko Kagawa, on the making of the film and its lasting importance
  • PLUS: A book featuring an essay by film writer Mark Le Fanu and two versions of the story on which the film was based: Ogai Mori’s 1915 “Sansho Dayu” and a written form of an earlier oral variation