The Criterion Collection has unveiled their lineup of titles for March and it's a little thin, but still has plenty to make your wallet tremble with fear.
Mike Leigh makes his second entry into the boutique label following "Naked" as his acclaimed Oscar-winning story of Gilbert & Sullivan, "Topsy Turvy," gets the treatment. Arriving on DVD and BluRay, the film stars Jim Broadbent and Allan Corduner as the famous duo as they struggle to mount their production of "The Mikado." The set will feature a commentary by Leigh; a featurette from 1999 of interviews with the director and cast; a conversation between Leigh and the film’s musical director Gary Yershon; deleted scenes and most enticingly, Leigh's 1992 short film, "A Sense of History."
And appropriately timed with the release of "Topsy Turvy" comes Victor Schertzinger's 1939 Technicolor wonder "The Mikado." The film marked the first complete work by the famed Gilbert & Sullivan to be adapted for the big screen, with the full participation of their crew, the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company. The DVD and BluRay set will feature an interview with Mike Leigh, interviews with scholars Josephine Lee and Ralph MacPhail Jr. who will trace the history of "The Mikado," and more.
The absolutely excellent documentary "The Times Of Harvey Milk" is getting all dressed up for a Criterion Collection release in March. Directed by Robert Epstein ("The Celluloid Closet," "Howl") the film is a stirring chronicle about the impact of openly gay San Francisco politician Harvey Milk and his tragic murder. The film served as a clear inspiration to Gus Van Sant's "Milk," but in this writer's opinion, is a much stronger, and more moving film. The Oscar-winning doc will arrive loaded with extras including a plethora of audio and video footage not used in the film; a panel discussion on murderer Dan White's trial (which famously ushered in The Twinkie Defense); a new program about "The Times of Harvey Milk" and Gus Van Sant’s "Milk," featuring Epstein, Van Sant, actor James Franco, and Milk friends Cleve Jones, Anne Kronenberg, and Nicoletta. There are plenty more extras in addition and this DVD and BluRay set will certainly be a fitting tribute to the trailblazing Milk.
Over on the Eclipse line, early Japanese cinema legend Mikio Naurse gets a box set dedicated to six of his silent films: "Flunky, Work Hard," "No Blood Relation," "Apart From You," "Every-Night Dreams," and "Street Without End." As usual no extras here, but these are rarities and fans of early Japanese filmmaking are in for a huge treat.
Finally, two titles get refreshed on BluRay: Louis Malle's classic "Au Revoir Les Enfants" and Edward Yang's bittersweet and beautiful "Yi-Yi." These are two titles you should be familiar with already, but if not, there's not better time to get acquainted with them than with brand new, hi-def transfers.