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The King of Kings
The King of Kings is the Greatest Story Ever Told as only Cecil B. DeMille could tell it. In 1927, working with one of the biggest budgets in Hollywood history, DeMille spun the life and Passion of Christ into a silent-era blockbuster. Featuring text drawn directly from the Bible, a…
The Rise of Catherine the Great
Part of the Series: The Criterion British Collection
A quick-witted and compelling dramatization of the troubled marriage of Catherine II (played by German actress Elisabeth Bergner, in her English-language debut) to Peter III (a randy Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) and her subsequent ascension to the throne as Empress of Russia. With its luxurious renderings of the eighteenth-century St. Petersburg…
Master of the House
Before he turned to the story of Joan of Arc, the Danish cinema genius Carl Theodor Dreyer fashioned this ahead-of-its-time examination of domestic life. A deft comedy of gentle revenge, it is the story of a housewife who, with the help of a wily nanny, turns the tables on her…
The Private Life of Henry VIII
Part of the Series: The Criterion British Collection
Charles Laughton gulps beer and chomps on mutton, in his first of many iconic screen roles, as King Henry VIII, the ultimate anti-husband. Alexander Korda's first major international success is a raucous, entertaining, even poignant peek into the boudoirs of the infamous king and his six wives. Additional Reading: http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/1133-eclipse-series-16-alexander-korda-s-private-lives
Every Night Dreams
In the formally ravishing Every-Night Dreams, set in the dockside neighborhoods of Tokyo, a single mother works tirelessly as a Ginza bar hostess to ensure a better life for her young son--until her long-lost husband returns. Additional Reading: http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/1787-eclipse-series-26-silent-naruse
La bete humaine
Based on the classic Emile Zola novel, Jean Renoir's La bete humaine was one of the legendary director's greatest popular successes--and earned star Jean Gabin a permanent place in the hearts of his countrymen. Part poetic realism, part film noir, the film is a hard-boiled and suspenseful journey into the…
Street Without End
Mikio Naruse's final silent film is a gloriously rich portrait of a waitress, Sugiko, whose life, despite a host of male admirers and even some intrigued movie talent scouts, ends up taking a suffocatingly domestic turn after a wealthy businessman accidentally hits her with his car. Featuring vividly drawn characters…
Japanese Girls at the Harbor
Hiroshi Shimizu's exquisite silent drama, set in the modernizing port town of Yokohama, tells of the humiliating downfall experienced by Sunako (Michiko Oikawa) after jealousy drives her to commit a terrible crime. With its lushly photographed landscapes and innovative visual storytelling, Japanese Girls at the Harbor shows a director at…
A Story of Floating Weeds
In 1959, Yasujiro Ozu remade his 1934 silent classic A Story of Floating Weeds in color with the celebrated cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa (Rashomon, Ugetsu). Setting his later version in a seaside location, Ozu otherwise preserves the details of his elegantly simple plot wherein an aging actor returns to a small…
The Double Life of Veronique
Krzysztof Kieslowski's international breakthrough remains one of his most beloved films, a ravishing, mysterious rumination on identity, love, and human intuition. Irene Jacob is incandescent as both Weronika, a Polish choir soprano, and her double, Veronique, a French music teacher. Though unknown to each other, the two women share an…
The Home and the World
Both a romantic-triangle tale and a philosophical take on violence in times of revolution, The Home and the World (Ghare Baire), set in early twentieth-century Bengal, concerns an aristocratic but progressive man who, in insisting on broadening his more traditional wife's political horizons, drives her into the arms of his…
The Naked Kiss
The setup is pure pulp: A former prostitute (a crackerjack Constance Towers) relocates to a buttoned-down suburb, determined to fit in with mainstream society. But in the strange, hallucinatory territory of writer-director-producer Samuel Fuller, perverse secrets simmer beneath the wholesome surface. Featuring radical visual touches, full-throttle performances, brilliant cinematography by…