New Release: The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus Criterion DVD and Blu-ray

Criterion added two Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movies to its renowned DVD and Blu-ray Collection on July 20, 2010. The gorgeous backstage drama The Red Shoes (1948) and dark drama Black Narcissus (1947) were priced at $39.95 for either DVD or Blu-ray.

The Red Shoes movie scene

The Red Shoes

The Red Shoes stars Moira Shearer as a rising ballet star who’s torn romantically between an idealistic composer and a ruthless impresario looking for perfection.

The movie won two Oscars (art direction and music) and was nominated for three more (editing, writing and Best Picture). The cinematography is by Jack Cardiff, who also shot The African Queen, which was released in a new restored version on DVD and Blu-ray last month. The movie will have a new, restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition.

Special features of Criterion’s The Red Shoes are:

• commentary by film historian Ian Christie, featuring interviews with stars Marius Goring and Shearer, cinematographer Jack Cardiff, composer Brian Easdale and filmmaker Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver)
• introductory restoration demonstration with Scorsese
• 2000 25-minute documentary “Profile of The Red Shoes
• video interview with Thelma Schoonmaker Powell, Michael Powell’s widow
• gallery from Scorsese’s collection of The Red Shoes memorabilia
• “The Red Shoes Sketches,” animated film made from Hein Heckroth’s painted storyboards
• readings by actor Jeremy Irons of excerpts from Powell and Pressburger’s novelization of The Red Shoes and the original Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale
• theatrical trailer
• a booklet featuring an essay by Christie

Black Narcissus movie scene

Black Narcissus

Cardiff also was the cinematographer for Black Narcissus, which won the Oscar for cinematographer, as well as set design.

In the movie, a group of nuns, including Deborah Kerr (An Affair to Remember), Flora Robson (Wuthering Heights) and Jean Simmons (Great Expectations), face isolation, extreme weather and culture clashes as they try to establish a convent in the Himalayas. The film also has a new, restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray.

Special features on Black Narcissus are:

• video introduction by French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier
• commentary by the late director Michael Powell and Scorsese
• “The Audacious Adventurer,” a 2006 video piece in which Tavernier discusses Black Narcissus and Powell
• 2000 25-minute documentary”Profile of Black Narcissus
• 27-minute documentary “Painting With Light,” about Jack Cardiff’s Oscar-winning cinematography on Black Narcissus
• theatrical trailer
• booklet with an essay by film critic Kent Jones

Criterion also released on DVD and Blu-ray Abdellatif Kechiche’s The Secret of the Grain, a drama about the struggles of a French-Arab family. The film bowed on July 27, 2010, priced at $39.95 for either DVD or Blu-ray. Like most Criterion titles, The Secret of the Grain features a new high-definition digital transfer, new and improved English subtitle translation and DTS-HD audio on Blu-ray.

Both formats will contain these special features:

• video interview with Kechiche
Sueur, Kechiche’s captivating extended version of the film’s climactic belly dancing sequence, featuring a new introduction by the director
• new video interview with film scholar Ludovic Cortade
• excerpt from a 20 heures television interview with Kechiche and actress Hafsia Herzi
• video interviews with Herzi, actress Bouraouïa Marzouk and the film’s musicians
• theatrical trailer
• booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Wesley Morris


Buy or Rent The Red Shoes
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Buy or Rent Black Narcissus
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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.