Alexander Korda Reviews

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Eclipse Series 16: Alexander Korda's Private Lives (The Private Life of Henry VIII / The Rise of Catherine the Great / The Private Life of Don Juan / Rembrandt) (The Criterion Collection)

Review Though born to modest means in Hungary, Alexander Korda would go on to become one of the most important filmmakers in the history of British cinema. A producer, writer, and director who navigated toward subjects of major historical significance and mythical distinction, Korda made a name for his production company, London Films, with the Oscar-winning The Private Life of Henry VIII. He then continued his populist investigation behind the scenes and in the bedrooms of such figures as Catherine the Great, Don Juan, and Rembrandt. Mixing stately period drama with surprising satire, these films are exemplars of grand 1930s moviemaking.

The Private Life of Henry VIII

Charles Laughton gulps beer and chomps on mutton, in his first of many iconic screen roles, as King Henry VIII, the ultimate anti-husband. Alexander Korda’s first major international success is a raucous, entertaining, even poignant peek into the boudoirs of the infamous king and his six wives.

The Rise of Catherine the Great

A quick-witted and compelling dramatization of the troubled marriage of Catherine II (played by German actress Elisabeth Bergner, in her English-language debut) to Peter III (a randy Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) and her subsequent ascension to the throne as Empress of Russia.

The Private Life of Don Juan

Douglas Fairbanks Sr. makes his big-screen swan song with Korda’s deliciously satiric deflation of the Don Juan myth. After having faked his own death and escaped Seville, the aging lothario returns, only to find that he has been forgotten; perhaps Merle Oberon’s beauty can coax him back.

Rembrandt

Charles Laughton once again teams up with Korda for this moving, elegantly shot biopic about the Dutch painter. Beginning when Rembrandt’s reputation was at its height, the film then tracks his quiet descent into loneliness and isolated self-expression.
Lost Horizon [Blu-ray]

Review British naval hero Lord Nelson's affair with another man's wife ends at Trafalgar in 1805.
Rebecca (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Review Legendary producer Alexander Korda's marvel The Thief of Bagdad, inspired by The Arabian Nights, is one of the most spectacular fantasy films ever made, an eye-popping effects pioneer brimming with imagination and technical wizardry. When Prince Ahmad (John Justin) is blinded and cast out of Bagdad by the nefarious Jaffar (Conrad Veidt), he joins forces with the scrappy thief Abu (the incomparable Sabu, in his definitive role) to win back his royal place, as well as the heart of a beautiful princess (June Duprez). With its luscious Technicolor, vivid sets, and unprecedented visual wonders, The Thief of Bagdad has charmed viewers of all ages for decades.


Special Features
* - SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET FEATURES:
* - New digital transfer, from restored film elements
* - Two audio commentaries: one featuring renowned directors Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese, and one with film and music historian Bruce Eder
* - Visual Effects,, a documentary about the technical achievements of The Thief of Bagdad
* - The Lion Has Wings (1940), Alexander Korda's propaganda film for the English war effort, created when The Thief of Bagdad went into production hiatus
* - Excerpts from codirector Michael Powell's audio dictations for his autobiography
* - Excerpts from a 1976 radio interview with composer Miklos Rzsa
* - Stills gallery featuring rare images of the film's production and photos shot in Dufaycolor Optional music and effects track
* - Theatrical trailer
* - PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by film scholars Andrew Moor and Ian Christie
Rebecca (The Criterion Collection)

Review Often hailed as the greatest fantasy film ever made, The Thief of Bagdad (1940) was producer Alexander Korda's crowning achievement. Deservedly winning Academy Awards for art direction, color cinematography, and special effects, this Arabian Nights adventure appeals to all ages with its fantastical tale of Abu (Sabu), the little thief who befriends the prince of Bagdad (John Justin) and foils the nefarious plans of the evil grand vizier (Conrad Veidt), who seizes control of Bagdad and covets the princess of Basra (Joan Duprez). From its gorgeous, epic-scale sets to flying horses, magic carpets, and, best of all, Rex Ingram's towering jinni of the bottle, this Thief has all the magic of the tales that inspired it, and vibrant Technicolor brings it all to life in dazzling style. Six esteemed directors worked on this infamously troubled production, but the final result exceeded all expectations, becoming an instant classic that endures to this day. --Jeff Shannon
The Old Dark House [Blu-ray]

Review This black and white movie is based on Rudyard Kipling's "Toomai, of the Elephants", in which a small native lad claims he knows the congregating place of the elephant hordes.

When sold by Amazon.com, this product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.


Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa (Sanshiro Sugata / The Most Beautiful / Sanshiro Sugata, Part Two / The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail) (The Criterion Collection)

Review Academy Award(r) winner* Charles Laughton brilliantly captures the inner turmoil of the passionate 17th-century genius in probably the finest acting performance ever recorded on celluloid (The Observer)! In Amsterdam of 1642, master painter Rembrandt Van Rijn (Charles Laughton), enjoys a rich, full life in a beautiful, blinding, swirling mist of fame and fortune. But with the sudden death of his beloved wife and muse, his work takes a dark, sardonic turn that quickly offends even his most loyal patrons. Bankrupt and bereft, he finds comfort in the arms of pretty, young Hendrickje (Elsa Lanchester), a servant in his home. Now, offered a surprising second chance at love, will he summon the courage to overcome his demons or will tragedy continue to haunt one of the greatest painters who ever lived? *1932 33: Actor, The Private Life of Henry VIII
Eclipse Series 20: George Bernard Shaw on Film (Major Barbara / Caesar and Cleopatra / Androcles and the Lion) (The Criterion Collection)

Review Though born to modest means in Hungary, Alexander Korda would go on to become one of the most important filmmakers in the history of British cinema. A producer, writer, and director who navigated toward subjects of major historical significance and mythical distinction, Korda made a name for his production company, London Films, with the Oscar-winning The Private Life of Henry VIII. He then continued his populist investigation behind the scenes and in the bedrooms of such figures as Catherine the Great, Don Juan, and Rembrandt. Mixing stately period drama with surprising satire, these films are exemplars of grand 1930s moviemaking.

The Private Life of Henry VIII

Charles Laughton gulps beer and chomps on mutton, in his first of many iconic screen roles, as King Henry VIII, the ultimate anti-husband. Alexander Korda’s first major international success is a raucous, entertaining, even poignant peek into the boudoirs of the infamous king and his six wives.

The Rise of Catherine the Great

A quick-witted and compelling dramatization of the troubled marriage of Catherine II (played by German actress Elisabeth Bergner, in her English-language debut) to Peter III (a randy Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) and her subsequent ascension to the throne as Empress of Russia.

The Private Life of Don Juan

Douglas Fairbanks Sr. makes his big-screen swan song with Korda’s deliciously satiric deflation of the Don Juan myth. After having faked his own death and escaped Seville, the aging lothario returns, only to find that he has been forgotten; perhaps Merle Oberon’s beauty can coax him back.

Rembrandt

Charles Laughton once again teams up with Korda for this moving, elegantly shot biopic about the Dutch painter. Beginning when Rembrandt’s reputation was at its height, the film then tracks his quiet descent into loneliness and isolated self-expression.
Eclipse Series 30: Sabu! (Elephant Boy, The Drum, Jungle Book) (Criterion Collection)

Review British naval hero Lord Nelson's affair with another man's wife ends at Trafalgar in 1805.
Eclipse Series 34: Jean Gremillon During the Occupation (Remorques, Lumiere d'ete, Le ciel est a vous) (Criterion Collection)

Review Legendary producer Alexander Korda's marvel The Thief of Bagdad, inspired by The Arabian Nights, is one of the most spectacular fantasy films ever made, an eye-popping effects pioneer brimming with imagination and technical wizardry. When Prince Ahmad (John Justin) is blinded and cast out of Bagdad by the nefarious Jaffar (Conrad Veidt), he joins forces with the scrappy thief Abu (the incomparable Sabu, in his definitive role) to win back his royal place, as well as the heart of a beautiful princess (June Duprez). With its luscious Technicolor, vivid sets, and unprecedented visual wonders, The Thief of Bagdad has charmed viewers of all ages for decades.


Special Features
* - SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET FEATURES:
* - New digital transfer, from restored film elements
* - Two audio commentaries: one featuring renowned directors Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese, and one with film and music historian Bruce Eder
* - Visual Effects,, a documentary about the technical achievements of The Thief of Bagdad
* - The Lion Has Wings (1940), Alexander Korda's propaganda film for the English war effort, created when The Thief of Bagdad went into production hiatus
* - Excerpts from codirector Michael Powell's audio dictations for his autobiography
* - Excerpts from a 1976 radio interview with composer Miklos Rzsa
* - Stills gallery featuring rare images of the film's production and photos shot in Dufaycolor Optional music and effects track
* - Theatrical trailer
* - PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by film scholars Andrew Moor and Ian Christie
Barry Lyndon [Blu-ray]

Review Often hailed as the greatest fantasy film ever made, The Thief of Bagdad (1940) was producer Alexander Korda's crowning achievement. Deservedly winning Academy Awards for art direction, color cinematography, and special effects, this Arabian Nights adventure appeals to all ages with its fantastical tale of Abu (Sabu), the little thief who befriends the prince of Bagdad (John Justin) and foils the nefarious plans of the evil grand vizier (Conrad Veidt), who seizes control of Bagdad and covets the princess of Basra (Joan Duprez). From its gorgeous, epic-scale sets to flying horses, magic carpets, and, best of all, Rex Ingram's towering jinni of the bottle, this Thief has all the magic of the tales that inspired it, and vibrant Technicolor brings it all to life in dazzling style. Six esteemed directors worked on this infamously troubled production, but the final result exceeded all expectations, becoming an instant classic that endures to this day. --Jeff Shannon
Blow-Up (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Review This black and white movie is based on Rudyard Kipling's "Toomai, of the Elephants", in which a small native lad claims he knows the congregating place of the elephant hordes.

When sold by Amazon.com, this product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.


Things To Come - 1936

Review Academy Award(r) winner* Charles Laughton brilliantly captures the inner turmoil of the passionate 17th-century genius in probably the finest acting performance ever recorded on celluloid (The Observer)! In Amsterdam of 1642, master painter Rembrandt Van Rijn (Charles Laughton), enjoys a rich, full life in a beautiful, blinding, swirling mist of fame and fortune. But with the sudden death of his beloved wife and muse, his work takes a dark, sardonic turn that quickly offends even his most loyal patrons. Bankrupt and bereft, he finds comfort in the arms of pretty, young Hendrickje (Elsa Lanchester), a servant in his home. Now, offered a surprising second chance at love, will he summon the courage to overcome his demons or will tragedy continue to haunt one of the greatest painters who ever lived? *1932 33: Actor, The Private Life of Henry VIII

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