Movie Mondays: Criterion classics

Click here to view Seconds in the SPL catalogClick here to view Babette's Feast in the SPL catalogClick here to view To Be or Not to Be in the SPL catalogClick here to view Life is Sweet in the SPL catalogClick here to view Safety Last! in the SPL catalog

The Criterion Collection has been bringing films – classic and contemporary – from all genres to audiences since 1984. This year’s releases feature some prescient science fiction, sumptuous dramas, screwball comedies, and some of the best European and Asian cinema.

I Married a Witch
(1942). René Clair directed this screwball comedy about a blonde bombshell – and a witch (Veronica Lake) – who finds herself attracted to one of the descendants (Frederic March) who sent her to the stake.

Autumn Sonata (1978). This late Ingmar Bergman film stars Ingrid Bergman as Charlotte, a world famous pianist. Charlotte finds herself confronting her daughter Eva (Liv Ullmann), who she committed to an institution because of her mental instability.

To Be or Not to Be (1942). Ernst Lubitsch directed this black comedy about a pair of actors, husband and wife (Jack Benny and Carole Lombard), who become involved with the capture of a German spy during the Nazi occupation of Poland.

Charulata (1964). Satyajit Ray directed this drama set in late-nineteenth-century India about Charulata (Madhabi Mukherjee), a lonely wife who finds herself attracted and inspired by her workaholic husband’s cousin (Soumitra Chatterjee).

Seconds (1966). John Frankenheimer directed this innovative and edgy science fiction thriller about a middle-aged banker (Rock Hudson) who, bored with his suburban existence, undergoes a bizarre procedure to start a new life.

Babette’s Feast (1987). This film from Gabriel Axel tells the story of a mysterious French housekeeper (Stéphane Audran) who creates an extraordinary meal that changes the perceptions of an isolated community in nineteenth-century Denmark.

The Life of Oharu (1952). Acclaimed Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi tells the story of the fall from grace of Oharu (Kinuyo Tanaka), an imperial lady-in-waiting who ends up as a prostitute.

Marketa Lazarová (1967). This experimental Czech epic from František Vláčil tells the story of a rivalry between two medieval clans that represents the clash between Christianity and Paganism.

Safety Last! (1923). Acrobatic silent film star Harold Lloyd is perfect as a country bumpkin who moves to the big city and undertakes a wild publicity stunt to impress his new employer.

Things to Come (1936). Science fiction author H.G. Wells was heavily involved in this film about 100 years of life on earth; through war, plagues, anarchy, and a trip to the moon. Raymond Massey stars.

Life is Sweet (1990). Mike Leigh directs this very British comedy about a working-class London family – mum and dad (Alison Steadman, Jim Broadbent) and their totally opposite twin daughters (Claire Skinner, Jane Horrocks).

Medium Cool (1969). Haskell Wexler combines fiction with reality in this story of a TV cameraman (Robert Forster) who finds himself in the middle of the riots at the Chicago Democratic National Convention in 1968.

Jubal (1956). Delmar Daves directed this overlooked western melodrama starring Glenn Ford, Ernest Borgnine and Rod Steiger and inspired by Shakespeare’s Othello.

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One Response to Movie Mondays: Criterion classics

  1. christine.burgoyne@spl.org says:

    Cool! Thanks for the little gems! Have you seen Siesta or Resurrection? First one has Ellen Barkin and the second Ellen Bursten. I’ll try Jubal since I do love Westerns!

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