Streaming might be the future, but physical media is still the present. It’s also awesome, depending on the title, the label, and the release, so each week we take a look at the new Blu-rays and DVDs making their way into the world. Welcome to this week in Home Video for August 23rd, 2022! This week’s home video selection includes Paths of Glory in 4K, Sidney Poitier’s directorial debut, and more. Check out our picks below.
Pick of the Week
Paths of Glory [4K UHD, KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A Stanley Kubrick film about the unexpected cruelties of war.
Why see it? Stanley Kubrick’s filmography is filled with violence, but it’s rarely designed for thrills only. His war films in particular use it to portray horrors grounded both in realism and in the emotional limits of men. This one stars Kirk Douglas as a French colonel whose order from above to lead an impossible attack ends in the accusation of cowardice. Douglas stands up for the defense in an attempt to prevent the execution of their own troops, and the result is an engrossing, absurd, and powerful look at the choices made during wartime. Kino’s new UHD release is a beauty capturing the scenes with a previously unseen sharpness whether on the battlefield or inside the decadence of a French chateau. Both the action and the emotion are all the clearer for it.
[Extras: New 4K scan of the original negative, commentary by Tim Lucas]
Buck and the Preacher [Criterion Collection]
What is it? A wagon master and a man of god stand up to illegal bounty hunters.
Why see it? Sidney Poitier’s directorial debut is a strong western on its own genre merits, but it also stands as something bigger in cinema itself. Black-led westerns are still uncommon, but Poitier’s film was a true groundbreaker in 1972. He’s paired with Harry Belafonte, and they eventually join forces after a group of white bounty hunters wreaks havoc against Black settlers freed after the Civil War. There’s personality to spare between them, and they’re joined on both sides of the moral divide by Ruby Dee and Cameron Mitchell. (You can guess who’s on which side…) The themes at play, which also touch on the involvement of Native tribes, offers an affecting and exciting touch of revisionism, and Poitier also ensures the action beats thrill. Criterion’s new release looks and sounds great while also including some enlightening extras.
[Extras: New 4K restoration, interviews, featurette, booklet]
The Burned Barns
What is it? A murdered woman leads a judge to suspect a rural family.
Why see it? A slow burn mystery, of sorts, this mild genre effort unfolds against a backdrop of snow-dappled rural France. The great Simone Signoret stars as the matriarch of a farming family home to some morally ambiguous young men. The equally great Alain Delon is the judge (inspector?) tasked with investigating the case, and his suspicions land on the woman’s family. Back and forths ensue alongside revelations and lies, and if the ultimate truth underwhelms, well, it’s almost fitting of the narrative’s meticulous pacing and performances.
[Extras: New 4K restoration, interview]
The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz
What is it? A man wants to kill women, but life gets in the way.
Why see it? Luis Bunuel directed and co-wrote this odd tale that has the trappings of a slasher/giallo without the actual murders. Archibaldo has dark thoughts and wants to explore them, but his attempts at killing women end in deaths not of his hand. It’s blackly humorous without being all that funny, especially with the way the film ends, but the amusement remains. It’s a film that feels ripe for a remake, one that delivers more bite without the restraint of the times, but until that day comes it’s a movie worth seeking out for the edge it does get onto the screen.
The Tarzan Vault Collection
What is it? Three Tarzan serials/films from the early 20th century.
Why see it? Tarzan of the Apes (1918), Adventures of Tarzan (1921), and The New Adventures of Tarzan (1935) may not be cinema classics, but there’s a charm to seeing some of the very first adaptations of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic adventure. The limitations of filmmaking at the time are evident across the board, and that plays into the action and adventure elements too which are arguably the bread and butter of the character’s journey. The result is something that’s more interesting in its historical aspects than in the actual execution.
[Extras: Commentaries, interviews, booklet]
When Tomorrow Comes [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A hopeful couple faces difficulty their first night together,
Why see it? Two strangers meet and fall quickly for each other, but while circumstance push them together the truth behind them rears its head. Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne are quite good here as young people falling madly in love until bad weather forces their hand. It’s melodrama that engages mostly on the back of their performances, so fans of either actor should definitely give it a spin. The story itself, along with the central relationship, can’t quite manage the same. Still, hopeful lovers facing an obstacle is a genre unto itself.
[Extras: New 2K master, commentary by Lee Gambin]
Also out this week:
Creature from Black Lake [Synapse Films], Dog Soldiers [4K UHD, Scream Factory], Hotel Du Nord [Criterion Collection], Murder at Yellowstone City, Naked Over the Fence, Naomi – The Complete Series, Suburban Sasquatch
Related Topics: Home Video