New Release: Orpheus Blu-ray and DVD

Orpheus movie scene

Jean Marais prepares to step through the mirror in Orpheus.

Orpheus, Jean Cocteau’s 1950 fantastical update of the renowned Greek myth, will receive what’s sure to be a sparkling release by Criterion on Blu-ray and DVD on Aug. 16. The Blu-ray and DVD will carry the list prices of $39.99 and $29.99, respectively.

Cocteau’s film focuses on a famous poet (Jean Marais, Beauty and the Beast) scorned by the Left Bank youth, and his love for both his wife Eurydice (Marie Déa) and a mysterious princess (Maria Casarès). In search of inspiration, the poet follows the princess to the land of the dead through a dazzling mirrored portrayal, where more dreamlike storytelling and visual poetry awaits.

The second movie in Cocteau’s Orphic Trilogy, which also includes 1930’s The Blood of a Poet and Testament of Orpheus from 1959, Orpheus remains one of the surrealist artist’s most mesmerizing, sensual films.

Presented in French with English subtitles, the Blu-ray and DVD of Orpheus will boast a new high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray, plus these spcial features:

  • audio commentary by French film scholar James Williams
  • Jean Cocteau: Autobiography of an Unknown, a 1984 feature-length documentary
  • video piece from 2008 featuring assistant director Claude Pinoteau on the special effects in the film
  • 40 Minutes With Jean Cocteau, an interview with the director from 1957
  • In Search of Jazz, a 1956 interview with Cocteau on the use of jazz in the film
  • La Villa Santo-Sospir, a 16 mm color Cocteau film from 1951
  • gallery of images by French film portrait photographer Roger Corbeau
  • raw newsreel footage of the Saint-Cyr military academy ruins, a location used in the film
  • theatrical trailer
  • booklet featuring an essay by author Mark Polizzotti, selected Cocteau writings on the film, and an essay on La villa Santo-Sospir by Williams

 

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.