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Cassavetes, Arzner and Scorsese on Criterion UK Blu-ray in June

30 March 2020

The Criterion Collection and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment have confirmed the titles to be released on Blu-ray in the UK in June 2020. On 8 June comes Husbands, an unflinching portrait of masculinity in crisis directed and starring John Cassavetes. Following on 29 June Dance, Girl, Dance, directed by Dorothy Arzner, a rich and fascinating statement from an auteur decades ahead of her time. Also on 29 June, Scorsese Shorts is a compilation of five early short films by martin Scorsese, that offer a fascinating window onto his artistic development, spanning the years from Scorsese’s time at NYU in the mid-1960s to the late ’70s.

 

Husbands Criterion Blu-ray cover art

HUSBANDS (USA 1970) | Blu-ray | 8 June 2020

The trailblazing independent auteur John Cassavetes (Shadows, Faces, Opening Night) pushes his raw, uncompromising emotional realism to its limit in this unflinching portrait of masculinity in crisis. Cassavetes joins Ben Gazzara (Anatomy of a Murder) and Peter Falk (Mikey and Nicky) – both of whom would become key collaborators with this director – playing a trio of middle-aged Long Island family men who, following the sudden death of their best friend, channel their grief into an epic, multiday bender that takes them from Manhattan to London in a desperate, debauched quest to feel alive. By turns painfully funny and woundingly perceptive, this self-described “comedy about life, death, and freedom” stands as perhaps the most fearless, harrowingly honest deconstruction of American manhood ever committed to film.

Special Edition Blu-ray features:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Audio commentary from 2009 featuring critic Marshall Fine
  • New interviews with producer Al Ruban and actor Jenny Runacre
  • New video essay featuring audio recordings of John Cassavetes in his own words exploring the actor director’s spirited approach to acting
  • The Story of “Husbands”—A Tribute to John Cassavetes (2009), a half-hour program featuring Ruban, actor Ben Gazzara, and cinematographer Victor J. Kemper 
  • Episode of The Dick Cavett Show from 1970 featuring Cassavetes, Gazzara, and actor Peter Falk
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by filmmaker Andrew Bujalski

 

Dance, Girl, Dance Criterion Blu-ray cover art

DANCE, GIRL, DANCE (USA 1940) | Blu-ray | 29 June 2020

Dorothy Arzner (Christopher Strong), the sole woman to work as a director in the Hollywood studio system of the 1930s and early ’40s, brings a subversive feminist sensibility to this juicily entertaining backstage melodrama. A behind-the footlights look at friendship, jealousy, and ambition in the ruthless world of show business, Dance, Girl, Dance follows the intertwining fates of two chorus girls: a starry-eyed dancer (The Quiet Man’s Maureen O'Hara) who dreams of making it as a ballerina and the brassy gold digger (a scene-stealing Lucille Ball) who becomes her rival both on the stage and in love. The rare Hollywood film of the era to deal seriously with issues of female artistic struggle and self-actualization, Arzner’s film is a rich, fascinating statement from an auteur decades ahead of her time.

Special Edition Blu-ray features:

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack 
  • New introduction by critic B. Ruby Rich
  • New selected-scene commentary featuring film historian Cari Beauchamp
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Sheila O’Malley

 

Scorsese Shorts Criterion Blu-ray cover art

SCORSESE SHORTS (USA 1963-1974) | B;u-ray | 29 June 2020

This compilation of five early short films by Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, The Irishman) offers a fascinating window onto his artistic development. Spanning the years from Scorsese’s time at NYU in the mid-1960s to the late ’70s, when he was emerging as one of the era’s most electrifying talents, Scorsese Shorts centers on the intimate home movie Italianamerican – a loving snapshot of the director’s parents – and American Boy, a freewheeling portrait of a larger-than-life raconteur. Also included are The Big Shave, a daringly visceral response to America’s involvement in Vietnam, and the bracing student films What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? and It’s Not Just You, Murray! Touching on many of Scorsese’s key themes – Italian American identity, family, his beloved New York City – these are hilarious, candid, and illuminating works from the preeminent American filmmaker of our time.

Director-approved Blu-ray Special Edition contents:

  • New 4K digital restorations of all five films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks
  • New conversation between director Martin Scorsese and film critic Farran Smith Nehme
  • New discussion among filmmakers Ari Aster and Josh and Benny Safdie
  • More to be announced
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic Bilge Ebiri and various materials from Scorsese’s archive