Blu-ray, DVD Release: Anatomy of a Murder

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Feb. 21, 2012
Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95
Studio: Criterion

Anatomy of a MurderIt’s great to see Criterion give its stunning treatment to a classic James Stewart (It’s a Wonderful Life) murder mystery. Although 1959’s Anatomy of a Murder didn’t win any Academy Awards, it was nominated for seven: Best Picture, cinematography, adapted screenplay, editing, Best Actor for Stewart and two Best Supporting Actor awards for Arthur O’Connell (The Poseidon Adventure) and George C. Scott (Patton).

In the movie, Stewart plays a small-town lawyer who takes on the case of a young Army lieutenant (Ben Gazzara, The Thomas Crown Affair) accused of killing the local tavern owner, who he believes raped his wife (Lee Remick, The Omen).

Directed by the late Otto Preminger (Laura), Anatomy of a Murder was a groundbreaker when it was originally released for its frank discussion of sex. The film is based on the novel by John D. Voelker and features a score by Duke Ellington.

Anatomy of a Murder Criterion Blu-ray box

For its Criterion DVD and Blu-ray, the black-and-white film got a new high-definition digital restoration. The Blu-ray has uncompressed monaural soundtrack and a new alternate 5.1 soundtrack in DTS-HD Master Audio.
Both the DVD and Blu-ray come with these special editions:

  • new interview with Otto Preminger biographer Foster Hirsch
  • new interview with critic Gary Giddins about Duke Ellington’s score
  • a look at the relationship between graphic designer Saul Bass and Preminger with Bass biographer Pat Kirkham
  • newsreel footage from the set
  • excerpts from a 1967 episode of Firing Line with Preminger in discussion with William F. Buckley Jr.
  • excerpts from the work in progress Anatomy of “Anatomy:” The Making of a Movie
  • behind-the-scenes photographs by Life magazine’s Gjon Mili
  • trailer with on-set footage
  • and a booklet featuring an essay by critic Nick Pinkerton and a 1959 Life magazine article on real-life lawyer Joseph N. Welch, who plays the judge in the film.

Criterion’s release also represents the high-definition Blu-ray debut of Anatomy of a Murder. Thank you, Criterion.

Buy or Rent Criterion’s Anatomy of a Murder
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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.