Posted Fri Apr 14, 2023 at 12:31 PM PDT by Tom Landy
Titles include The Watermelon Woman (Blu-ray), Breathless (4K UHD), After Hours (4K UHD and Blu-ray), One False Move (4K UHD and Blu-ray) and The Ranown Westerns: Five Films Directed by Budd Boetticher (4K UHD).
The month's Blu-ray-only title is the romantic comedy The Watermelon Woman by Cheryl Dunye arriving on July 11.
The wry, incisive debut feature by Cheryl Dunye gave cinema something bracingly new and groundbreaking: a vibrant representation of Black lesbian identity by a Black lesbian filmmaker. Dunye stars as Cheryl, a video-store clerk and aspiring director whose interest in forgotten Black actresses leads her to investigate an obscure 1930s performer known as the Watermelon Woman, whose story proves to have surprising resonances with Cheryl’s own life as she navigates a new relationship with a white girlfriend (Guinevere Turner). Balancing breezy romantic comedy with a serious inquiry into the history of Black and queer women in Hollywood, The Watermelon Woman slyly rewrites long-standing constructions of race and sexuality on-screen, introducing an important voice in American cinema.
1996 • 84 minutes • Color • 3.0 surround • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
On the same date comes Martin Scorsese's 1985 dark comedy After Hours also available on Blu-ray.
Desperate to escape his mind-numbing routine, uptown Manhattan office worker Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) ventures downtown for a hookup with a mystery woman (Rosanna Arquette). So begins the wildest night of his life, as bizarre occurrences—involving underground-art punks, a distressed waitress, a crazed Mister Softee truck driver, and a bagel-and-cream-cheese paperweight—pile up with anxiety-inducing relentlessness and thwart his attempts to get home. With this Kafkaesque cult classic, Martin Scorsese—abetted by Michael Ballhaus’s kinetic cinematography and scene-stealing supporting turns by Linda Fiorentino, Teri Garr, Catherine O’Hara, and John Heard—directed a darkly comic tale of mistaken identity, turning the desolate night world of 1980s SoHo into a bohemian wonderland of surreal menace.
1985 • 97 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.85:1 aspect ratio
Arriving on July 18 is a 4K UHD upgrade of Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless.
There was before Breathless, and there was after Breathless. Jean-Luc Godard burst onto the film scene in 1960 with this jazzy, free-form, and sexy homage to the American film genres that inspired him as a writer for Cahiers du cinéma. With its lack of polish, surplus of attitude, anything-goes crime narrative, and effervescent young stars Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, Breathless helped launch the French New Wave and ensured that cinema would never be the same.
1960 • 90 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • In French with English subtitles • 1.37:1 aspect ratio
Also on July 18 is The Ranown Westerns: Five Films Directed by Budd Boetticher on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.
The five briskly entertaining, vividly performed westerns made by director Budd Boetticher and strapping star Randolph Scott in the second half of the 1950s transcend their B-movie origins to become rich, unexpectedly profound explorations of loyalty, greed, honor, and revenge. Often grouped under the name Ranown (after producer Harry Joe Brown and Scott’s production company) and colorfully scripted by Burt Kennedy and Charles Lang, these films seem to unfold in a world unto themselves, staking a claim between traditional westerns and the subversive genre revisionism of the 1960s—and representing the crowning achievement of the underappreciated auteur Boetticher.
THE TALL T
Based on a story by Elmore Leonard, this collaboration between director Budd Boetticher, actor Randolph Scott, and screenwriter Burt Kennedy is a model of elegantly economical storytelling charged with psychological tension. Here, Scott is the easygoing rancher who, along with the newlywed daughter (Maureen O’Sullivan) of a wealthy mining baron, must use his wits to stay alive when he is taken hostage by a band of ruthless stagecoach robbers. He is memorably matched by Richard Boone’s dangerously charming, nearly sympathetic villain in a performance that exemplifies the fine moral shading that distinguishes the Ranown westerns.
1957 • 78 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.85:1 aspect ratio
DECISION AT SUNDOWN
Randolph Scott boldly subverts his upstanding image in this stark, often startlingly bleak tale of revenge and a man’s misguided quest for redemption. He plays the mysterious stranger who, consumed by hatred for the man he blames for his wife’s suicide, rides into the corrupt town of Sundown hell-bent on vengeance. There, both he and the townspeople face a reckoning that forces them to confront disturbing truths about themselves. All but annihilating the myth of the righteous western hero, Decision at Sundown edges the Ranown films into increasingly dark, despairing territory.
1957 • 77 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.85:1 aspect ratio
BUCHANAN RIDES ALONE
Welcome to Agry Town, a corrupt border outpost presided over by a pair of rival brothers whose bottomless greed corrupts everything in their orbit. Into this moral cesspool rides drifter Tom Buchanan (Randolph Scott), who soon finds himself railroaded for murder and, alongside a vengeful young Mexican vaquero, forced to take a stand for justice. The noir-tinged narrative—replete with twists, double crosses, and the kind of richly drawn villains who are hallmarks of the Ranown westerns—moves with entertaining economy toward a memorably ironic climax.
1958 • 79 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.85:1 aspect ratio
Mysterious motivations drive taciturn bounty hunter Ben Brigade (Randolph Scott) to capture a wanted murderer—but his quest is complicated when he is accosted by a pair of outlaws who have their own inscrutable reasons for riding along. Masterfully scripted by Burt Kennedy, who weaves a complex web of ambiguous loyalties and motives, and featuring supporting turns by genre icons James Coburn (in his film debut) and Lee Van Cleef, the first of the Ranown westerns to be shot in CinemaScope makes striking use of the enlarged frame—with a final shot that stands as perhaps the single most unforgettable image in the series.
1959 • 73 minutes • Color • Monaural • 2.35:1 aspect ratio
The last collaboration between Budd Boetticher and Randolph Scott brings the Ranown westerns full circle, reexamining many of the films’ key themes and tropes: greed, loyalty, hidden motivations, and the fine moral line that separates heroes from villains. Scott stars as the enigmatic Jefferson Cody, who rescues a woman kidnapped by Comanches for reasons that may have nothing to do with the bounty offered for her return. But before he can bring her to safety, he’ll have to contend with the dangers of the Comanche warpath and a trio of bounty hunters who have designs on the reward.
1960 • 73 minutes • Color • Monaural • 2.35:1 aspect ratio
SIX-DISC 4K UHD + BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• Five feature films: The Tall T, Decision at Sundown, Buchanan Rides Alone, Ride Lonesome, and Comanche Station.
• New 4K digital restorations by Sony Pictures Entertainment, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks
• Three 4K UHD discs of the films presented in Dolby Vision HDR and three Blu-rays with the films and special features
• Introductions to the films by filmmakers Martin Scorsese and Taylor Hackford
• New introduction by film critic Farran Smith Nehme on actor Randolph Scott
• Three audio commentaries, featuring film scholar Jeanine Basinger on The Tall T, film critic Jeremy Arnold on Ride Lonesome, and Hackford on Comanche Station
• Archival programs featuring interviews with director Budd Boetticher
• Audio conversation with Boetticher and film scholar Jim Kitses
• Super 8 home-movie version of Comanche Station
• English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by film scholar Tom Gunning
And finally on July 25 is Carl Franklin's One False Move on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray as well as Blu-ray.
A small-town police chief (Bill Paxton) concealing an explosive secret. A pair of ruthless drug dealers (coscreenwriter Billy Bob Thornton and Michael Beach) who leave a bloody trail in their wake as they make their way from Los Angeles to Arkansas. And an enigmatic woman (Cynda Williams) caught in the middle. The way these desperate lives converge becomes a masterclass in slow-burn tension thanks to the nuanced direction of Carl Franklin, whose haunting debut feature travels a crooked road across America’s most fraught divisions—urban and rural, Black and white—while imbuing noir conventions with a wrenching emotional depth.
1992 • 105 minutes • Color • 5.1 surround • 1.85:1 aspect ratio
Preorders should be available in the next week or so.
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