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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

The May Criterion Collection Additions

This May, the Criterion Collection presents Agnès Varda's One Sings, the Other Doesn't, which will be making its debut on DVD and Blu-ray. In addition to this film will be William Wyler's heartbreaking drama, The Heiress, which also appears on Blu-ray for the first time. Then there's David Lynch's career-defining masterpiece Blue Velvet, Claire Denis's Let the Sunshine In, and Michael Haneke's Funny Games, will all appear in new 2K restorations. And, finally, David Mamet's directorial debut, House of Games, will appear on Blu-ray for the first time. That's a heck of a lineup for May. I'm a little surprised that some of these haven't already been released by the premier source for DVDs. Special edition features include 2K & 4K digital restorations, 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks, uncompressed monaural soundtracks, documentaries, interviews with film historians, interviews with directors, on-set interviews with actors and other talents, short films, trailers, subtitle translations, conversations with collaborators, consultants, screenwriters and film critics, excerpts from tributes, talk shows, and awards ceremonies, essays by critics, deleted scenes and alternate takes. That's a lot of extra's for what is surely to be the BEST presentation any of these films have ever seen.

The Heiress is a personal favorite of mine. Olivia de Havilland is simply magnificent in this piercing period drama directed by William Wyler. As the innocent, shy, and fragile Catherine Sloper, de Havilland's character is heartbreaking. In this Oscar winning performance as the daughter of a wealthy New York doctor, she begins to receive calls from the handsome spendthrift Morris Townsend (Montgomery Clift). Possessed by the romance, she overlooks all of her suiters faults and ignores the warning signs of a man with ulterior motives. Are his smoldering professions of love sincere? Or is Catherine's overbearing father (played to perfection by Ralph Richardson) correct in judging Morris a fortune hunter. The Heiress is a piercing character study driven by emotional uncertainty and emotional cruelty, in a triumph of classic Hollywood filmmaking at its most nuanced. Just wait for the ending. It is incredibly powerful, as well as empowering. Every wronged woman should see this film.

All of the films in this release are engaging, entertaining, and worth the time of a sit down viewing. But my favorite of the lot is without question, The Heiress. If you see just one of these newly restored films then make it The Heiress. You're likely to be inspired to see all of the Actress' other films. And those of William Wyler as well. You won't be steared wrong.

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