The Criterion Collection and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment have announced that Swing Time will head its July Blu-ray releases.
The irresistible musical starring legendary dancing duo Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers will be released on 8 July, followed on 22 July by Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a trailblazing musical, written, directed and starring John Cameron Mitchell, which is as unclassifiable as its protagonist.
On 29 July War and Peace arrives. At the height of the Cold War the Soviet film industry set out to prove it could out do Hollywood with a production that would dazzle the world and set the standard for epic movie making.
In this irresistible musical, the legendary dancing duo Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (Top Hat) are at the pinnacle of their art as a feckless gambler and the shrewd dancing instructor in whom he more than meets his match.
Director George Stevens (Woman of the Year) laces their romance with humour and clears the floor for the movie’s showstopping dance scenes, in which Astaire and Rogers take seemingly effortless flight in a virtuosic fusion of ballroom and tap styles.
Buoyed by beloved songs by Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern – including the Oscar-winning classic “The Way You Look Tonight” – Swing Time is an exuberant celebration of its stars’ chemistry, grace and sheer joy in the act of performance.
- New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
- Audio commentary from 1986 featuring John Mueller, author of Astaire Dancing: The Musical Films
- Archival interviews with performers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and choreographer Hermes Pan
- New interview with George Stevens Jr.
- In Full Swing, a new programme on the film’s choreography and soundtrack featuring jazz and film critic Gary Giddins, dance critic Brian Seibert, and Dorothy Fields biographer Deborah Grace Winer
- New interview with film scholar Mia Mask on the “Bojangles of Harlem” number
- PLUS: An essay by critic Imogen Sara Smith
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
With this trailblazing musical, writer–director–star John Cameron Mitchell and composer-lyricist Stephen Trask brought their signature creation from stage to screen for a movie as unclassifiable as its protagonist.
Raised a boy in East Berlin, Hedwig (Mitchell) undergoes a traumatic personal transformation in order to emigrate to the U.S., where she reinvents herself as an “internationally ignored” but divinely talented rock diva, characterized by Mitchell as a “beautiful gender of one.”
The film tells Hedwig’s life story through her music, an eclectic collection of original punk anthems and power ballads by Trask, matching them with a freewheeling cinematic mosaic of music-video fantasies, animated interludes, and moments of bracing emotional realism.
A hard-charging song cycle and a tender character study, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a tribute to the transcendent power of rock and roll.
- New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director John Cameron Mitchell and cinematographer Frank DeMarco, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
- Audio commentary from 2001 featuring Mitchell and DeMarco
- New conversation between members of the cast and crew, including Mitchell, DeMarco, composer and lyricist Stephen Trask, hairstylist and makeup artist Michael Potter, animator Emily Hubley, actor Miriam Shor, and visual consultant Miguel Villalobos
- Whether You Like It or Not: The Story of Hedwig (2003), an 85-minute documentary tracing the development of the project from its beginnings in a New York club to its theatrical premiere at the Sundance Film Festival
- New conversation between Trask and rock critic David Fricke about the film’s soundtrack
- From the Archives, a new programme exploring Hedwig’s production and legacy through its memorabilia
- Deleted scenes with commentary by Mitchell and DeMarco
- PLUS: An essay by Stephanie Zacharek, along with, production photos by Potter and costume designer Arianne Phillips, illustrations by Hubley, and excerpts from two of the film’s inspirations, Plato’s Symposium and The Gospel of Thomas.
War and Peace
At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet film industry set out to prove it could out do Hollywood with a production that would dazzle the world: a titanic, awe-inspiring adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic tome in which the fates of three souls – the blundering, good-hearted Pierre; the heroically tragic Prince Andrei; and the radiant, tempestuous Natasha – collide amid the tumult of the Napoleonic Wars.
Employing a cast of thousands and an array of innovative camera techniques, director Sergei Bondarchuk conjures a sweeping vision of grand balls that glitter with rococo beauty and breathtaking battles that overwhelm with their expressionistic power.
As a statement of Soviet cinema’s might, War and Peace succeeded wildly, garnering the Academy Award for Best Foreign–Language Film and setting a new standard for epic movie making.
- New 2K digital restoration, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
- New interviews with cinematographer Anatoly Petritsky and filmmaker Fedor Bondarchuk, son of Sergei Bondarchuk
- Two 1966 documentaries about the making of the film
- Television programme from 1967 profiling actor Ludmila Savelyeva, featuring Sergei Bondarchuk
- New programme with historian Denise J. Youngblood (Bondarchuk’s “War and Peace”: Literary Classic to Soviet Cinematic Epic) detailing the cultural and historical contexts for the film
- Janus re-release trailer
- New English subtitle translation
- PLUS: An essay by critic Ella Taylor