Blu-ray, DVD Release: The Merchant of Four Seasons

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: May 26, 2015
Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95
Studio: Criterion

New German Cinema icon Rainer Werner Fassbinder (World on a Wire) kicked off a new phase of his young career when he made the startling 1974 drama The Merchant of Four Seasons

Irm Hermann sheds a few in The Merchant of the Four Seasons.

Irm Hermann sheds a few in The Merchant of the Four Seasons.

In this despairing yet mordantly funny film, Fassbinder charts the decline of a self-destructive former policeman and war veteran (Hans Hirschmüller) struggling to make ends meet for his family by working as a fruit vendor.

Fassbinder had skyrocketed to renown on the acclaim of a series of trenchant, quickly made early films, but for this one he took more time and forged a new style—featuring a more complexly woven script and narrative structure and more sophisticated use of the camera, and influenced by the work of his recently discovered idol, Douglas Sirk (All That Heaven Allows). The resulting drama plays as an unforgiving social satire.

Presented in German with English subtitles, Criterion’s DVD and Blu-ray includes the following:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring filmmaker Wim Wenders
    • New interviews with actors Irm Hermann and Hans Hirschmüller
    • New interview with film scholar Eric Rentschler
    • New English subtitle translation
    • An essay by film scholar Thomas Elsaesser


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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.