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Unboxing Criterion’s September 2022 Releases

 

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Posted October 11, 2022 by

 
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September brought two more jewels to the Criterion Collection’s crown, this time in the guise of two war films that couldn’t be more different – although both are ultimately powerful, thought-provoking condemnations of historical conflict. While infamous anti-war doc Hearts and Minds takes a real (albeit biased) look at the Vietnam War, Charlie Chaplin’s iconic The Great Dictator satirically skewers the Nazi regime and Adolf Hitler

Both films are remarkable films deserving of their legacy and a spot in the prestigious Criterion Collection.

We took a closer look at both…

THE GREAT DICTATOR

In his controversial masterpiece The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin offers both a cutting caricature of Adolf Hitler and a sly tweaking of his own comic persona. Chaplin, in his first pure talkie, brings his sublime physicality to two roles: the cruel yet clownish “Tomainian” dictator and the kindly Jewish barber who is mistaken for him. Featuring Jack Oakie and Paulette Goddard in stellar supporting turns, The Great Dictator, boldly going after the fascist leader before the U.S.’s official entry into World War II, is an audacious amalgam of politics and slapstick that culminates in Chaplin’s famously impassioned speech.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New audio commentary by Charlie Chaplin experts Dan Kamin and Hooman Mehran
  • The Tramp and the Dictator (2001), Kevin Brownlow and Michael Kloft’s documentary paralleling the lives of Chaplin and Hitler, including interviews with author Ray Bradbury, director Sidney Lumet, screenwriter Budd Schulberg, and others
  • Two new visual essays, one by Chaplin archivist Cecilia Cenciarelli and one by Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance
  • Color production footage shot by Chaplin’s half-brother Sydney
  • Barbershop sequence from Sydney Chaplin’s 1921 film King, Queen, Joker
  • Deleted barbershop sequence from Chaplin’s 1919 film Sunnyside
  • Rerelease trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Michael Wood, Chaplin’s 1940 New York Times defense of his movie, a reprint from critic Jean Narboni on the film’s final speech, and Al Hirschfeld’s original press book illustrations

 

HEARTS AND MINDS

A startling and courageous film, Peter Davis’s landmark 1974 documentary Hearts and Minds unflinchingly confronted the United States’ involvement in Vietnam at the height of the controversy that surrounded it. Using a wealth of sources—from interviews to newsreels to footage of the conflict and the upheaval it occasioned on the home front—Davis constructs a powerfully affecting picture of the disastrous effects of war. Explosive, persuasive, and wrenching, Hearts and Minds is an overwhelming emotional experience and the most important nonfiction film ever made about this devastating period in history.

 

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

  • High-definition digital restoration, supervised by director Peter Davis and cinematographer Richard Pearce, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring Davis
  • A collection of over two hours of Davis’s unused footage, including excerpts from interviews with presidential adviser George Ball, broadcast journalist David Brinkley, French journalist and historian Philippe Devillers, and political activist Tony Russo; additional excerpts from General William Westmoreland’s interview; additional audio excerpts from presidential adviser Walt Rostow’s interview; and scenes from a funeral and a military hospital in South Vietnam
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by Davis, film critic Judith Crist, and historians Robert K. Brigham, George C. Herring, and Ngo Vinh Long

Samuel Love

 
Freelance writer. Email: samuel@smlcreative.co.uk


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