THE DVD SHELF: From Kurosawa to Capra, Schlesinger to Pasolini, an End of the Year Grab Bag

By Steven Suskin
23 Dec 2012

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Criterion also gives us two influential films from a more modern era. John Schlesinger's Sunday Bloody Sunday was a ground-breaking drama, with a woman (Glenda Jackson) and a man (Peter Finch) both involved in affairs with the same young artist (Murray Head). Not the sort of thing that was talked about in 1971, and certainly not in such a rational and intelligent manner. The screenplay came from Penelope Gilliatt, at the time an already-respected film critic and the ex-wife of John Osborne. Schlesinger, Gilliatt, Finch and Jackson each received Oscar nominations for their contributions. Special features include new interviews with Head, production designer Luciana Arrighi and director of photography Billy Williams along with a 1975 audio interview with Schlesinger. The booklet includes Gilliatt's introduction to the published screenplay.


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Another cinematic experience altogether is Terry Gilliam's 1985 satirical fantasy Brazil. This is a brave new world, or perhaps an Orwellian new world; think of Big Brother, "Modern Times" and "Dr. Strangelove" combined. "Brazil" is richly fascinating, both intellectually and visually; one of those films that stays in your mind for years. Gilliam was joined by Tom Stoppard and Charles McKeown for the screenplay. Jonathan Pryce (pre-Miss Saigon) stars, along with a fascinating group of actors headed by Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins and Michael Palin.

The two-disc Blu-ray is loaded with extras, including the on-set documentary "What is Brazil?"; "The Production Notebook," a collection of interviews and video essays; "The Battle of Brazil," a documentary about Gilliam's problems with his producers; and Universal's shortened, happy-ending cut of the film. All told, Criterion's "Brazil" — with extras — is a release you can spend hours watching and rewatching.

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