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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

Criterion April Releases

This April the Criterion Collection is welcoming some great old films to its already prestigious lineup of classic films. First there's Sergei Parajanov's masterpiece The Color of Pomegranates, a revelatory film-poem overflowing with sensuous imagery. This will be its first time on Blu-ray and presented in a stunning new 4K restoration. There's also Ingrid Bergman's Swedish Years with six of the actor's earliest performances that showcase her extraordinary range. These films include crime thrillers, comedy, and melodrama. And there's more: Dead Man, an ambitious, hypnotic western by Jim Jarmusch that enlists the poetry of William Blake and the music of Neil Young to turn the genre on its head. It appears in a new 4K restoration supervised by the director. Plus, Sofia Coppola joins the Criterion collection with her debut feature, The Virgin Suicides, an ominously dreamy coming-of-age reverie adapted from Jeffrey Eugenides's celebrated novel. This is also in a 4K digital transfer supervised by the film's cinematographer Ed Lachman and approved by the director.

What I'm most excited about is the Blu-ray debut of Leo McCarey's genre-defining comedy, The Awful Truth. In this Oscar-winning farce, Cary Grant (in the role that first defined the Grant persona) and Irene Dunne exude charm, cunning, and affection as an urbane couple who, fed up with each other's infidelities, resolve to file for divorce. Try as they might to move on, the mischievous Grant can't help but meddle in Dunne's ill-matched engagement to a corn-fed Oklahoma businessman (Ralph Bellamy as the perennial 2nd banana). However, Dunne begins to realize that she may be saying goodbye to the only dance partner capable of following her lead.

Directed by the versatile McCarey, a master of improvisation and slapstick as well as a keen and sympathetic observer of human folly, this screw-ball comedy is a warm but unsparing comment on two people whose flaws only make them more irresistible. So, of course chaos ensues. Awkward situations are played for as much laughter as possible, and it all leads up to the inevitable happy ending. The Fact is The Awful Truth shows its two stars at their absolute prime as great entertainers. The two made a few other films together (My Favorite Wife, Penny Serenade) but most classic film fans will chose The Awful Truth as there favorite pairing of the iconic stars.

Special Edition features include a new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray, a new interview with critic Gary Giddins about director Leo McCarey, a new video essay by film critic David Cairns on actor Cary Grant's performance, an illustrated 1978 audio interview with actor Irene Dunne, a Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the film from 1939, starring actor Claudette Colbert and Grant, AND an essay by film critic Molly Haskell. The film was produced in 1937, it runs 91 minutes, it is in Black & White with monaural sound and has a 1.37:1 aspect ratio.

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