Please go here for all of the listings. — J. R.
Top Blu-ray Releases of 2016
1. Early Murnau (F.W. Murnau, 1921-26), Masters of Cinema, RB, UK)
2. Muriel (Alain Resnais, 1963) (Criterion, RA, US)
3. I Want to Live! (Robert Wise, 1958) (Twilight Time, RA, US)
4. Electra, My Love (Miklós Jancsó, 1974) (Second Run Features, RB, UK)
5. The Driller Killer (Abel Ferrara, 1979) (Arrow, RA & RB, US & UK)
6. His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940) + The Front Page (Lewis Milestone, 1931) (Criterion, RA, US)
7. Napoleon (Abel Gance, 1927) (BFI, RB, UK)
8. The Magic Box: The Films of Shirley Clarke, 1927-1986: Project Shirley, Volume 4 (Milestone Films, RA, US)
9. Son of Saul (Laszlo Nemes, 2015) (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, RA, US)
10. Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street (Samuel Fuller, 1973) (Olive Films, RA, US)
Top 10 SD-DVD Releases OF 2016
1. Coffret Nico Papatakis (1963-2004) (Gaumont Vidéo, PAL, France)
2. Les Saisons (Marcel Hanoun, 1968-72) (RE:VOIR, PAL, France)
3. Tricked (Paul Verhoeven, 2012) (Kino Lorber, US)
4. Something Different + A Bagful of Fleas (Vera Chytilová, 1963 & 1962) (Second Run Features, PAL, UK)
5. … Read more »
Written for a posthumous tribute to Jill Forbes in the fall of 2001. — J.R.
Reading the apt words of David Edgar and Keith Reader about Jill, I can agree with a paradoxical fact about her that they both touch on in different ways: that she was painfully shy as well as totally fearless. For a long time, I used to think that this singular combination of traits was quintessentially English, but now I’m not so sure; maybe it’s just that Jill embodied and lived this contradiction in a very English way, sometimes even making it seem like it wasn’t a contradiction at all.
Thanks to having saved my appointment books, I can pinpoint precisely when I met her: standing in line to see Fritz Lang’s silent Dr. Mabuse in Paris, at Studio Action Lafayette, on February 23rd, 1973. When we met again only four days later, it was to see another silent film, Monta Bell’s The Torrent, at the Cinémathèque. We saw lots of films together that spring, including Superfly, Shanghai Gesture, An Affair To Remember (which made me cry and which she and her brother Duncan both thought was a hoot), A Day at the Races, Forbidden Planet, and Suspicion.… Read more »
From the Chicago Reader, November 26, 1999. —J.R.
There’s surely no more famous lost film than Erich von Stroheim’s Greed, a silent film made in 1923 and ’24 and released by MGM in mutilated form in late 1924. If you believe the hype of Turner Classic Movies, what’s been lost has now been found —- even though the studio burned the footage it cut almost 75 years ago, in order, according to Stroheim, to extract the few cents’ worth of silver contained in the nitrate.
TCM’s ad copy states, “In 1924, Erich von Stroheim created a cinematic masterpiece that few would see — until now.” This is a lie, but one characteristic of an era that wants to believe that capitalism always has a happy ending, no matter how venal or stupid or shortsighted the capitalists happen to be. What TCM really means is that at 7 and 11:30 PM on Sunday, December 5, it will present a 239-minute version of Greed, which is 99 minutes longer than the 1924 release. The 99 minutes aren’t filled with rediscovered footage: instead the original release version has been combined with hundreds of rephotographed stills, sometimes with added pans and zooms, sometimes cropped, often with opening and closing irises.… Read more »