by Rob Boylan
Criterion have just released their titles for May. The final count is three new titles and four reissues, all available in both DVD and Bluray, including the already-announced Solaris.
The gem amongst the new titles is Criterion's second Charlie Chaplin feature, the oft maligned but still brilliant The Great Dictator. The disc also includes the documentary The Tramp and the Dictator.
The Great Dictator is a strange film, threading off in two separate stories that knot together a little awkwardly at the end with the Tramp's imploring speech that was felt deeper in 1941 than it is today, where it can come off as somewhat cheesy and overly simple. The physical comedy of the Tramp half of the film is not as purely funny as the Tramp in previous Chaplin films, whereas the physical comedy of the Adenoid Hinkle scenes, especially the globe sequence, are an almost transcendent experience, soaring off the screen in a way that comedy before and since just doesn't.
I hesitate to openly hope that they do The Kid or City Lights next since they never seem to do the titles I want (A BRIGHTER SUMMER DAY, dammit!), but am grateful for any Chaplin releases anyway.
Of the reissue titles, Tarkovsky's Solaris and Clouzot's Diabolique seem to be new disc productions (with great new covers as well), while Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night, and Breillat's Fat Girl are just straight Bluray ports of the earlier DVD releases.
Here is the complete list.
Smiles of a Summer Night - #234 Ingmar Bergman - May 3rd
Fat Girl - Catherine Breillat #259 - May 3rd
Something Wild - Jonathan Demme #563 - May 10th
Pale Flower - Masahiro Shinoda #564 - May 17th
Diabolique - Henri-Georges Clouzot #35 - May 17th
The Great Dictator - Charlie Chaplin #565 - May 24th
Solaris - Andrei Tarkovsky #164 - May 24th
Now, why not have a look at Chaplin's first appearance as the Tramp, in the 1914 silent short Kid Auto Races In Venice: