Murnau, Lang, and Sirk

Feb 2010

Murnau, Lang, and Sirk

Now available: sterling editions of classic works by three directors whose careers enjoyed enormous success in the German film industry and the Hollywood studio system alike.

F. W. Murnau’s 1930 City Girl, the buoyant and lyrical follow-up to Sunrise that for too long dwelt in the earlier film’s expressionist shadow, appears from MoC in a breathtaking 1080p transfer of the definitive silent version’s 20th Century Fox restoration — and marks our first ever Blu-ray only release. The feature is accompanied by the 2008 score by Christopher Caliendo, and includes a new and exclusive optional audio commentary by film scholar David Kalat. A 28-page booklet rounds out the release, and contains a 2003 essay on the film by Adrian Danks, flanked by a selection of production stills.

The immortal 1931 Fritz Lang masterpiece M at last sees the light of day on Blu-ray in its restored form. Peter Lorre gives one of the most brilliant and moving performances in cinema history as the child murderer who is hunted like vermin by the Berlin police — and the Berlin underworld. A new 2x DVD edition of the film is also available, with both editions hosting identical supplements: two separate audio commentaries (Anton Kaes and Eric Rentschler on one; Peter Bogdanovich, Martin Koerber, Torsten Kaiser, and excerpts from Bogdanovich’s 1965 audio interview with Fritz Lang on the other); the rarely seen 1932 English-language retooling of the original film; and Erwin Leiser’s 1968 interview documentary Zum Beispiel Fritz Lang [For Example: Fritz Lang]. A heavily illustrated 48-page booklet containing essays by Lang, Anton Kaes, and Robert Fischer is also included.

Finally, we bring you a DVD-only edition of one of Douglas Sirk’s greatest Hollywood achievements: the heart-wrenching There’s Always Tomorrow from 1956. Norma Vale (Barbara Stanwyck) and Clifford Groves (Fred MacMurray) are two people who thought their successful careers had put an end to the love they shared long ago. But after ‘magically’ crossing paths once again, they discover that their love might have been rekindled… despite the presence of a wife (Joan Bennett) and three children. A rough only-extant version of the original American theatrical trailer appears on the disc, along with Pascal Thomas’s and Dominique Rabourdin’s marvelous 61-minute 2008 documentary Quelques jours avec Sirk [A Few Days with Sirk], largely constructed out of early-’80s archival film footage of Sirk in conversation and in lecture. A 40-page booklet presents an essay by Andrew Klevan and excerpts from a 1977 interview with Sirk.

Herzlichen Kinowunsch!

Six from Lubitsch

Feb 2010

Six from Lubitsch

Out now: a DVD collection of the early German silents that established the incredible Ernst Lubitsch’s reputation not only as master/creator of the hyper-risqué hundred-karat rom-com (the “Lubitsch Touch” film), but as an innovator of set design, an able director of extras, and a capable pacer of melodramatic arcs.

These traits — calling cards for Lubitsch’s eventual and triumphant Hollywood career (directing such immortal classics as Trouble in Paradise and To Be or Not to Be) — manifest themselves across six varied works, riotous in every sense: Ich möchte kein Mann sein [I Wouldn’t Like to Be a Man] (1918) — Die Puppe. [The Doll.] (1919) — Die Austernprinzessin. [The Oyster Princess.] (1919) — Sumurun (1920) — Anna Boleyn (1920) — and Die Bergkatze [The Mountain-Lion / The Wildcat] (1921).

All films are presented in officially licenced transfers from restored materials, include the original German intertitles (with new removable English subtitles), and are accompanied by recently recorded musical scores; Die Puppe. includes an exclusive new score that we’re especially pleased to present — composed, performed, and recorded by Bernard Wrigley. Robert Fischer’s 2006 feature-length documentary Ernst Lubitsch in Berlin: From Schönhauser Allee to Hollywood rounds out the package of six ThinPaks included in a hardbox, with each feature supplemented by a short essay penned variously by David Cairns, Anna Thorngate, and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky (x2 each).

There’s never been a better opportunity to rediscover or reconsider your appreciation of Lubitsch’s work — or to discover his awesome art for the very first time.


In addition to delving into the smorgasbord of Lubitsch, we invite you to investigate a few of our other recent releases: Nobuhiko Obayashi’s re-forefronted tour-de-force House, now available on DVD as it makes new and turbulent waves around the globe; a Blu-ray release of Jean-Luc Godard’s 1964 masterpiece Une femme mariée, fragments d’un film tourné en 1964 en noir et blanc [A Married Woman: Fragments of a Film Shot in 1964 in Black and White] appearing, along with its JLG-cut trailer, in glorious 1080p, and which retains the same acclaimed 80-page book that accompanied our original DVD edition; and Al Reinert’s timeless, exquisite 1989 For All Mankind, available on both Blu-ray and DVD, which chronicles the experiences of the orbital-lunar and terranean heroes of NASA’s ‘68-‘72 Apollo missions.

Last but not least, a reminder about a film dear to our hearts: Jeffrey Levy-Hinte’s 2008 Soul Power, built out of footage shot in 1974 by Albert Maysles, Paul Goldsmith, Kevin Keating, and Roderick Young to chronicle the landmark Zaire ‘74 concert event organised in Kinshasa in tandem with the (subsequently postponed) Ali-Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle.” Whether on the DVD edition or, especially, on the Blu-ray edition, you’ll likely not have heard so powerful or ecstatic a soundtrack, nor seen the glory of 16mm celluloid film-grain presented so faithfully, as on this release of Levy-Hinte’s recently unearthed film-treasure.

Happy viewing.

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