The Criterion Collection’s slate of DVD and Blu-ray releases for April 2019 includes A Face in the Crowd, My Brilliant Career, Diamonds of the Night, Night on Earth, Stranger Than Paradise and a double-feature of Jackie Chan’s “Police Story” movies.
Due on Blu-ray April 9 is director Jim Jarmusch’s Night on Earth (1991), which features a talented international cast (including Gena Rowlands, Winona Ryder, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Beatrice Dalle, and Roberto Benigni) for this quintet of transitory tales of urban displacement and existential angst, all staged as encounters between cabbies and their fares. The Blu-ray includes a high-definition digital restoration, supervised and approved by Jarmusch, with a 2.0 surround DTS-HD master audio soundtrack. Extras include selected-scene commentary from 2007 featuring director of photography Frederick Elmes and location sound mixer Drew Kunin; a Q&A with Jarmusch from 2007, in which he responds to questions sent in by fans; a Belgian television interview with Jarmusch from 1992; and a booklet featuring essays by authors and critics Thom Andersen, Paul Auster, Bernard Eisenschitz, Goffredo Fofi, and Peter von Bagh, and the lyrics to Tom Waits’s original songs from the film.
Also due April 9 on Blu-ray is Jarmusch’s Stranger than Paradise (1984), in which Jarmusch follows rootless Hungarian émigré Willie (John Lurie), his pal Eddie (Richard Edson), and his visiting 16-year-old cousin Eva (Eszter Balint) as they drift from New York’s Lower East Side to the snowy expanses of Lake Erie and the drab beaches of Florida, always managing to make the least of wherever they end up. The film is structured as a series of master-shot vignettes etched in black and white by cinematographer Tom DiCillo. The Blu-ray includes a high-definition digital restoration, supervised and approved by Jarmusch, with an uncompressed monaural soundtrack. Extras include Permanent Vacation (1980), Jarmusch’s first full-length feature, presented in a high-definition digital restoration supervised by the director; Kino ’84: Jim Jarmusch, a 1984 German television program featuring interviews with cast and crew from Stranger Than Paradise and Permanent Vacation; Some Days in January, 1984, a behind-the-scenes Super 8 film by Tom Jarmusch; U.S. and Japanese trailers; and a booklet featuring Jarmusch’s 1984 “Some Notes on Stranger Than Paradise,” critics Geoff Andrew and J. Hoberman on Stranger Than Paradise, and author and critic Luc Sante on Permanent Vacation.
Coming April 16 will be Diamonds of the Night (1964). Adapted from a novel by Arnost Lustig and directed by Jan Němec, Diamonds of the Night closely tracks two boys who escape from a concentration-camp transport and flee into the surrounding woods, a hostile terrain where the brute realities of survival coexist with dreams, memories and fragments of visual poetry. The Blu-ray and DVD editions will include a new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray, and a new English subtitle translation. Extras include a 2009 interview with Němec; A Loaf of Bread, Němec’s 1960 student thesis film, based on a short story by Lustig; a new interview with film programmer Irena Kovarova; Arnost Lustig Through the Eyes of Jan Němec, a short documentary on Lustig from 1993; a new video essay on the film’s stylistic influences by scholar James Quandt; and an essay by film critic Michael Atkinson.
Directed by Elia Kazan, A Face in the Crowd (1957) chronicles the rise and fall of Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes (Andy Griffith), a boisterous entertainer who shoots to the heights of television stardom and political demagoguery. The special-edition Blu-ray and DVD arrives April 23 with a new 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include a new interview with Ron Briley, author of The Ambivalent Legacy of Elia Kazan; a new interview with Andy Griffith biographer Evan Dalton Smith; the 2005 documentary Facing the Past; the film’s trailer; an essay by critic April Wolfe; and a 1957 New York Times Magazine profile of Andy Griffith.
Due April 30 is a double feature of the Hong Kong action series “Police Story” starring Jackie Chan, featuring Police Story (1985) and Police Story 2 (1988). The two-disc DVD and three-disc Blu-ray sets include new 4K digital restorations; alternate 5.1 surround and English-dubbed soundtracks for both films; new English subtitle translations; and the Hong Kong-release version of Police Story 2, presented in a high-definition digital transfer for the first time. Extras include new programs on Chan’s screen persona and action-filmmaking techniques featuring author and New York Asian Film Festival cofounder Grady Hendrix; archival interviews with Chan and actor and stuntman Benny Lai; a television program from 1964 detailing the rigors of Peking-opera training, akin to the education that Chan received as a child; a Chan stunt reel; trailers; and an essay by critic Nick Pinkerton.
Also due April 30 is My Brilliant Career (1979), the award-winning breakthrough film of director Gillian Armstrong, who drew on teenage author Miles Franklin’s novel, a celebrated turn-of-the-twentieth-century Australian coming-of-age story, to brashly upend the conventions of period romance. The Blu-ray and DVD editions feature a new 2K digital restoration approved by the director, with an uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include a 2009 audio commentary featuring Armstrong; a new interview with Armstrong; a 1980 interview with actor Judy Davis; a new interview with production designer Luciana Arrighi; the film’s trailer; and an essay by critic Carrie Rickey.