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The Criterion Collection | Eclipse

Short Cuts

Spine #265
The visions of two great American artists merge in Short Cuts, maverick director Robert Altman's kaleidoscopic adaptation of Raymond Carver short stories. Epic in scale yet meticulously observed, the film interweaves the lives of twenty-two characters struggling to find solace and meaning in contemporary Los Angeles. The extraordinary ensemble cast includes Tim Robbins, Julianne Moore, Robert Downey, Jr., Jack Lemmon, and Jennifer Jason Leigh-all giving fearless performances in one of Altman's most compassionate creations.
The King of Kings

Spine #266
The King of Kings is the Greatest Story Ever Told as only Cecil B. DeMille could tell it. In 1927, working with one of the biggest budgets in Hollywood history, DeMille spun the life and Passion of Christ into a silent-era blockbuster. Featuring text drawn directly from the Bible, a cast of thousands, and the great showman's singular cinematic bag of tricks, The King of Kings is at once spectacular and deeply reverent-part Gospel, part Technicolor epic. The Criterion Collection is proud to present this beloved film in a two-disc edition featuring both the 112-minute general-release version and the rarely seen 155-minute cut that premiered at the grand opening of Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
Kagemusha

Spine #267
In his late, color masterpiece Kagemusha, Akira Kurosawa returned to the samurai film and to a primary theme of his career-the play between illusion and reality. Sumptuously reconstructing the splendor of feudal Japan and the pageantry of war, Kurosawa creates a historical epic that is also a meditation on the nature of power. The Criterion Collection is proud to present Kagemusha for the first time in its full-length version in the United States.
Thieves' Highway

Spine #273
Thieves' Highway vividly depicts the perilous world of "long-haul boys," who drive by night to bring their goods to the markets of America's cities. Richard Conte stars as ex-G.I. Nick Garcos, a tyro trucker bent on satisfaction from the man responsible for crippling his father-ruthless market operator Mike Figlia (Lee J. Cobb). But when Figlia gets wise to his plan, Nick finds himself in a web of treachery and heartbreak. The Criterion Collection is proud to present this searing melodrama from master Jules Dassin.
Night and the City

Spine #274
Two-bit hustler Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) aches for a life of ease and plenty. Trailed by an inglorious history of go-nowhere schemes, he stumbles upon a chance of a lifetime in the form of legendary wrestler Gregorius the Great (Stanislaus Zbyszko). But there is no easy money in this underworld of shifting alliances, bottomless graft, and pummeled flesh--and Fabian soon learns the horrible price of his ambition. Luminously shot in the streets of London, Jules Dassin's Night and the City is film noir of the first order and one of the director's crowning achievements.
My Own Private Idaho

Spine #277
River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves star in Gus Van Sant's haunting tale of two young street hustlers: Mike Waters, a sensitive narcoleptic who dreams of the mother who abandoned him, and Scott Favor, the wayward son of the mayor of Portland and object of Mike's desire. Navigating a volatile world of junkies, thieves, and johns, Mike takes Scott on a quest from the grungy streets to the open highways of the Pacific Northwest, in search of an elusive place called home. Visually dazzling and groundbreaking, My Own Private Idaho is a deeply moving look at unrequited love and life at society's margins.
The Sword of Doom

Spine #280
Tatsuya Nakadai and Toshiro Mifune star in the story of a wandering samurai who exists in a maelstrom of violence. A gifted swordsman-plying his trade during the turbulent final days of Shogunate rule-Ryunosuke (Nakadai) kills without remorse, without mercy. It is a way of life that ultimately leads to madness. The Criterion Collection is proud to present director Kihachi Okamoto's swordplay classic The Sword of Doom, the thrilling tale of a man who chooses to devote his life to evil.
Heaven Can Wait

Spine #291
Deceased turn-of-the-century playboy Henry Van Cleve (Don Ameche) presents himself to the outer offices of Hades, where he asks a bemused Satan for permission to enter the gates of hell. Though the devil doubts that Henry's sins qualify him for eternal damnation, Henry proceeds to recount a lifetime of wooing and pursuing women, his long, happy marriage to Martha (Gene Tierney) notwithstanding. Ernst Lubitsch's Heaven Can Wait, nominated for Academy Awards for best picture and director, is an enduring classic that showcases his trademark blend of wit, urbanity, and grace.
Unfaithfully Yours

Spine #292
In this pitch-black comedy from legendary writer-director Preston Sturges, Rex Harrison stars as Sir Alfred De Carter, a world-famous symphony conductor consumed with the suspicion that his wife is having an affair. During a concert, the jealous De Carter entertains elaborate visions of vengeance, set to three separate orchestral works. But when he attempts to put his murderous fantasies into action, nothing works out quite as planned. A brilliantly performed mixture of razor-sharp dialogue and uproarious slapstick, Unfaithfully Yours is a true classic from a grand master of screen comedy.
The Flowers of St. Francis

Spine #293
In a series of simple and joyous vignettes, director Roberto Rossellini and co-writer Federico Fellini lovingly convey the universal teachings of the People's Saint: humility, compassion, faith, and sacrifice. Gorgeously photographed to evoke the medieval paintings of Saint Francis's time, and cast with monks from the Nocera Inferiore Monastery, The Flowers of St. Francis is a timeless and moving portrait of the search for spiritual enlightenment.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Spine #300
Internationally famous oceanographer Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) and his crew-Team Zissou-set sail on an expedition to hunt down the mysterious, elusive, possibly nonexistent Jaguar Shark that killed Zissou's partner during the documentary filming of their latest adventure. They are joined on their voyage by a young airline co-pilot, who may or may not be Zissou's son (Owen Wilson), a beautiful journalist (Cate Blanchett) assigned to write a profile of Zissou, and his estranged wife and co-producer, Eleanor (Anjelica Huston). They face overwhelming complications, including pirates, kidnapping, and bankruptcy. Oscar-nominated writer-director Wes Anderson (2001, The Royal Tenenbaums, Best Original Screenplay) has assembled an all-star cast that also includes Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon, Noah Taylor, and Bud Cort for this wildly original adventure-comedy.
Harakiri

Spine #302
Following the collapse of his clan, unemployed samurai Hanshiro Tsugumo (Tatsuya Nakadai) arrives at the manor of Lord Iyi, begging to commit ritual suicide on his property. Iyi's clansmen, believing the desperate ronin is merely angling for charity, try to force him to eviscerate himself-but they have underestimated his honor and his past. Winner of the 1963 Cannes Film Festival's Special Jury Prize, Masaki Kobayashi's Harakiri is a scathing denouncement of feudal authority and hypocrisy.
The Man Who Fell to Earth

Spine #304
Le samourai

Spine #306
Naked

Spine #307
Mike Leigh's brilliant and controversial Naked stars David Thewlis as Johnny, a charming, eloquent, and relentlessly vicious drifter on the lam in London. Rejecting all those who would care for him, the volcanic Johnny hurls himself into a nocturnal odyssey through the city, colliding with a succession of the desperate and the dispossessed, and scorching everyone in his path. With a virtuoso script and raw performances from Thewlis and costars Katrin Cartlidge and Lesley Sharpe, Leigh's panorama of England's crumbling underbelly is a showcase of black comedy and doomsday prophecy, and was the winner of the best director and actor prizes at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival.
Samurai Rebellion

Spine #310
Toshiro Mifune stars as Isaburo Sasahara, an aging swordsman living a quiet life until his clan lord orders that his son marry the lord's mistress, who has recently displeased the ruler. Reluctantly, father and son take in the woman, and, to the family's surprise, the young couple fall in love. But the lord soon reverses his decision and demands the mistress's return. Against all expectations, Isaburo and his son refuse, risking the destruction of their entire family. Director Masaki Kobayashi's Samurai Rebellion is the gripping story of a peaceful man who finally decides to take a stand against injustice.
Sword of the Beast

Spine #311
Legendary swordplay filmmaker Hideo Gosha's Sword of the Beast chronicles the flight of the low-level swordsman Gennosuke, who kills one of his ministers as part of a reform plot. His former comrades then turn on him, and this betrayal so shakes his sense of honor that he decides to live in the wild, like an animal. There he joins up with a motley group who are illegally mining the shogun's gold, and, with the aid of another swordsman, gets a chance not just at survival but to recover his name and honor.
Samurai Spy

Spine #312
Years of warfare end in a Japan unified under the Tokugawa shogunate, and samurai spy Sasuke Sarutobi, tired of conflict, longs for peace. When a high-ranking spy named Tatewaki Koriyama defects from the shogun to a rival clan, however, the world of swordsmen is thrown into turmoil. After Sasuke is unwittingly drawn into the conflict, he tracks Tatewaki, while a mysterious, white-hooded figure seems to hunt them both. By tale's end, no one is who they seemed to be, and the truth is far more personal than anyone suspected. Director Masahiro Shinoda's Samurai Spy, filled with clan intrigue, ninja spies, and multiple double crosses, marks a bold stylistic departure from swordplay film convention.
Kill!

Spine #313
In this pitch-black action comedy by Kihachi Okamoto, a pair of down-on-their-luck swordsmen arrive in a dusty, windblown town, where they become involved in a local clan dispute. One, previously a farmer, longs to become a noble samurai. The other, a former samurai haunted by his past, prefers living anonymously with gangsters. But when both men discover the wrongdoings of the nefarious clan leader, they side with a band of rebels who are under siege at a remote mountain cabin. Based on the same source novel as Akira Kurosawa's Sanjuro, Kill! playfully tweaks samurai film convention, borrowing elements from established chanbara classics and seasoning them with a little Italian western.
The Tales of Hoffmann

Spine #317
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger create a phantasmagoric marriage of cinema and opera in this one-of-a-kind take on a classic story. In Jacques Offenbach's fantasy opera The Tales of Hoffmann, a poet dreams of three women-a mechanical performing doll, a bejeweled siren, and the consumptive daughter of a famous composer-all of whom break his heart in different ways. Powell and Pressburger's feverishly romantic adaptation is a feast of music, dance, and visual effects, and one of the most exhilarating opera films ever produced.
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