Josef Von Sternberg Reviews

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Crime and Punishment - 80th Anniversary Series

Review Haunted by murder, condemned by guilt.

A Great Masterpiece Becomes a Greater Picture!

Dostoievsky's immortal novel of human passion becomes a powerful drama starring Edward Arnold (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) as Inspector Porfiry and Peter Lorre (Casablanca) as Roderick Raskolnikov, an impoverished student struggling with the nature of good and evil.

Crippled by guilt and paranoia after committing a murder he thinks is just, Raskolnikov is torn between the detective investigating the murder and the woman he saved, who now wants to save his soul.
M

Review Inspired by actual events, ANATAHAN explores the conflicting personalities of a dozen Japanese sailors stranded on a remote island in the Pacific during the waning days of World War II. For a time, they maintain their military discipline, but when they discover a young woman (Akemi Negishi) living on the island, the paradisal island becomes a nest of jealousy, violence, and desire. Filmed in Japan on elaborately constructed sets, with non-English-speaking actors, ANATAHAN was a deeply personal project for director Josef von Sternberg (The Blue Angel, Morocco, The Scarlet Empress), and provided a thoroughly unique capstone to his extraordinary career.

Special Features: New 2K restoration of the uncensored 1958 version (Sternberg s preferred cut of the film), with restored audio, The complete 1953 version of Anatahan, Visual essay by Tag Gallagher, Interview with Nicholas von Sternberg, U.S. Navy footage of the actual survivors of Anatahan, immediately after their surrender , Original theatrical trailer
Time Table

Review Vienna-born, New York–raised Josef von Sternberg (Shanghai Express, Morocco) directed some of the most influential, extraordinarily stylish dramas ever to come out of Hollywood. Though best known for his star-making collaborations with Marlene Dietrich, Sternberg began his movie career during the final years of the silent era, dazzling audiences and critics with his films’ dark visions and innovative cinematography. The titles in this collection, made on the cusp of the sound age, are three of Sternberg’s greatest works, gritty evocations of gangster life (Underworld), the Russian Revolution (The Last Command), and working-class desperation (The Docks of New York) made into shadowy movie spectacle. Criterion is proud to present these long unavailable classics of American cinema, each with two musical scores. UNDERWORLD Sternberg’s riveting breakthrough is widely considered the film that launched the American gangster genre; it earned legendary scribe Ben Hecht a best original story Oscar the first year the awards were given. 1927 • 81 minutes • Black & White • Silent with stereo scores • 1.33:1 aspect ratio THE LAST COMMAND Emil Jannings won the first best actor Academy Award for his performance as an exiled Russian military officer turned Hollywood actor, whose latest part—a czarist general—brings about his emotional downfall. 1928 • 88 minutes • Black & White • Silent with stereo scores • 1.33:1 aspect ratio THE DOCKS OF NEW YORK A roughneck stoker falls hard for a wise and weary dance hall girl in this expressionistic portrait of lower-class waterfront folk, one of the most exquisitely crafted films of its era. 1928 • 75 minutes • Black & White • Silent with stereo scores • 1.33:1 aspect ratio

Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.


British Noir: Five Film Collection

Review We toss the term great director around casually, but a handful of people truly merit the title and Josef von Sternberg is among them. His films are at once exotic, extravagant, and rigorously controlled. Sternberg was the visual stylist supreme, his compositions filled with such extraordinary texture and lighting that space comes alive, takes on depth and electricity. And the characters and performances that inhabit those spaces, the emotional and ethical dramas they grapple with, are sometimes shocking in their modernity even as they clearly come to us from another era. Individually and as a collective body of work, Sternberg's films are mesmerizing. Yet of our greatest directors, he's the one whose work probably is least well known today, and has been least well served on video and DVD. So all hail Criterion for releasing three exemplary Sternberg pictures, handsomely restored. The fact that they're silent productions makes them all the rarer, with opportunities to see them in later years mostly limited to festival and museum showings.

Underworld (1927), Sternberg's first great popular success, is often credited with initiating the craze for gangster pictures. There's some truth in that; the genre had been around for years, but Underworld elevated it in class and laid crucial groundwork for such early-talkie milestones as Little Caesar and, most strikingly, Scarface. Ex-Chicago crime reporter Ben Hecht, who won the first Academy Award given for original story, chipped in a lot of street-smart color but snickered at what Sternberg did with it. That's understandable. Sternberg really isn't interested in gangsters. He just appreciates the opportunity presented by a gangland ball he can strew with grotesque revelers, and so choke with streamers and confetti that crossing the room becomes a slog. Or the dramatic and poetic possibilities of muting and intensifying violence in the same stroke, by having a hoodlum draw and then doubly conceal his revolver behind a cloud of cigarette smoke and a kerchief. Or not showing a gun at all, but having the force and smoke from its blast set a curtain to flapping. But the most Sternbergian image in the film is the moment a gangster's moll named Feathers appears at the top of the stairs leading to a cellar saloon, and a single filament of her signature costume drifts down through the air. This is observed by a camera movement all its own, by two men who will become rivals for Feathers's heart, by the crowd gathered in the saloon, and by a movie audience awestruck at such visual audacity and delicacy. The romantic triangle of Feathers (Evelyn Brent), her mobster lover "Bull" Weed (George Bancroft), and "Rolls-Royce" (Clive Brook), the lawyer-turned-drunken bum Bull sentimentally rescues, is the real focus of the kind of action Sternberg cares about. The evolution of their characters and their relationships is conveyed with a subtlety light-years away from conventional silent-movie acting. This film was such a hit that the New York exhibitor went to a round-the-clock schedule to accommodate the crowds, and its three leading players all became major stars.

Instead of an urban battleground for mobsters, The Last Command (1928) takes place in two exotic realms: Russia on the brink of the 1917 revolution and 1928 Hollywood. In the latter, a movie director (William Powell) is preparing to shoot an epic set in the former. Linking the two eras is a down-on-his-luck Hollywood extra (Emil Jannings) assigned to play a Russian general--which, unbeknownst to anyone else, he once was. After establishing this framework the movie shifts into the Russian past, where the general--who's also a grand duke--must interrupt his waging of an increasingly pointless Great War to deal with a captured pair of revolutionaries. One is an actress (Evelyn Brent), with whom the general falls in love. The other is, hmmm, the man (William Powell) who 11 years later will be that Hollywood director. Sternberg mounts a fine frenzy in the pre-revolutionary Russian scenes and sets up ironic contrasts between the film's two worlds--say, a martial parade with the general at the height of his power, visually echoed in the cattle-call procession of Hollywood extras hoping for a day's work. Emil Jannings won the first Academy Award for best actor, and he would top this work the following year in Sternberg's German-made The Blue Angel; but it's Powell and the wonderfully low-key performance of Brent that signal where Sternberg's direction of actors was headed.

Sternberg's other 1928 film, The Docks of New York, stands with Murnau's Sunrise and Borzage's Street Angel as the peak of visual artistry and expressiveness in late-silent-era Hollywood. Story, narrative, linear cause-and-effect logic is never a major factor in Sternbergian filmmaking, and Docks affords the most definitive, and triumphant, demonstration of this. It all transpires in a day, most of which feels like night and in any event is contained within a seedy waterfront bar. George Bancroft (the mobster-hero of Underworld) plays a ship's stoker who, during a rare release from the smoky underworld in which he works and lives, becomes involved with two women--a would-be suicide (Betty Compson) and a hardened B-girl (Olga Baclanova). The abortive act of suicide is visually portrayed in shimmering reflection on the harbor's surface, and a later act of murder will involve an uncanny, nearly vertical shot in which the earth under people's feet seems to be water. This is a film you don't remember so much as find yourself haunted by.

DVD extras add useful historical and interpretive context for appreciating the three movies. UCLA film professor Janet Bergstrom and indefatigable connoisseur of directorial artistry Tag Gallagher supply pointed visual essays--Bergstrom being especially good on tracing Sternberg's origins, Gallagher zeroing in on Sternberg's stylistic selections and his "transformative direction of Evelyn Brent" just a year or so before his epic seven-film collaboration with Marlene Dietrich set in. Sternberg himself is heard from in a 40-minute documentary-interview done for Swedish television in 1968, a year before the director died; his voice and delivery are most distinctive. Somewhere in the course of these extras a Sternberg credo is quoted: "Art is the compression of infinite spiritual power into a confined space." Yes, that says it. And he did it. --Richard T. Jameson


Deadline U.S.A. (1952)

Review One of the most famous and influential star-director collaborations in the history of cinema, Marlene Dietrich and Josef von Sternberg made seven features together which immortalized the actress as a glamorous and enigmatic movie siren while confirming the director's reputation as a supreme stylist of mood, atmosphere and eroticism through his dazzling command of the medium. Set against the backdrop of a Chinese civil war, SHANGHAI EXPRESS is an opulent romantic adventure that focuses on a diverse group of passengers traveling by express train from Peking to Shanghai. Among them is Captain Doc Harvey (Clive Brook), who finds himself, reunited with his former lover, now an infamous adventuress who calls herself Shanghai Lily (Marlene Dietrich). Desire and deception follow, culminating in a tense hostage situation when their train is hijacked by a Chinese warlord.

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

This product is expected to play back in DVD Video "play only" devices, and may not play in other DVD devices, including recorders and PC drives.


Pitfall

Review Undeniably one of the most beautiful and dazzling actresses to ever grace the silver screen, Marlene Dietrich was renowned for her sultry voice and her alluring "bedroom eyes." This unprecedented 5-movie collection pays homage to the legendary Oscar-nominated leading lady whose extraordinary talents revolutionized cinema and inspired passion in audiences around the globe. See Marlene in her American movie debut as a glamorous cabaret singer in Morocco; experience the heart-wrenching anguish of a woman torn between two men, her successful career on stage and her child in Blonde Venus; join in the mystery and mayhem of Spain's Carnevale in The Devil Is a Woman; hit the road to jewels and jeopardy in The Flame of New Orleans; and be seduced by a lusty gypsy on a secret mission during World War II in Golden Earrings. It's a stunning tribute to a screen siren who remains one of the most fascinating women of all time.
Where Danger Lives / Tension (Film Noir Double Feature)

Review Marlene Dietrich was one of the cinema's glorious creatures, an elegant arrangement of bone structure and silver light, blessed with a sly sense of humor. Marlene Dietrich: The Glamour Collection assembles five titles featuring la Dietrich at her best, with a special emphasis on one of the great Hollywood director-star collaborations.

Dietrich and director Josef von Sternberg met in Germany when he plucked her from obscurity for the starring role of The Blue Angel, after which she came to America and instant stardom. A string of films with Sternberg created her image as an exotic source of fascination, both ethereal and sexually knowing. Three of those outings are included in this package. Morocco, their first Hollywood movie together, is a delirious look at a cabaret singer taken with a Foreign Legion soldier (the young Gary Cooper). Dressed in masculine clothes for her act, Dietrich already displays a sexual confidence that fairly burns off the screen. Blonde Venus has a soap opera-ish plot about a woman's fall and rise, but Dietrich's commitment to the part is complete; plus, there's an outrageous faux-African number that begins with Dietrich dressed in a gorilla costume. Cary Grant looks on in astonishment.

The Devil Is a Woman is an unmitigated Sternberg-Dietrich masterpiece, and their final movie together. Here Marlene is a Spanish vixen making life exciting and miserable for Lionel Atwill (a lookalike stand-in for Josef von Sternberg himself). The film is an eye-popping light-painting draped with feathers, mesh, and confetti, all of which are in service to a fundamentally serious inquiry into the knotty business of men and women.

Putting three of the Paramount Dietrich-Sternberg films in this collection and leaving out the other three is either carelessness or marketing strategy. In any case, the other two movies in this package are not at the same level, but certainly good fun. The Flame of New Orleans, director Rene Clair's first Hollywood picture, is a gorgeously photographed comedy with a delightful role for its star. Dietrich is stuck choosing between aristocrat Roland Young and rough sailor Bruce Cabot. The look on her face as she listens to helpful advice about wedding-night conjugal realities from a matron is a riot of erotic mischief. Golden Earrings is a crazy story about Ray Milland getting stuck behind German lines in the early days of WWII, and being taken in by gypsy girl Dietrich. Even here, nearly 20 years after her first stardom, she's still Dietrich. The hair may be dyed black, but the cheekbones are unmistakable. --Robert Horton


Where the Sidewalk Ends (Fox Film Noir)

Review An American Tragedy is a powerful pre-code classic that focuses on one man’s brazen attempts to climb the social ladder by any means possible. Handsome and ambitious, factory employee Clyde Griffiths (Phillips Holmes) has worked his way up to a management role and into the arms of the charming Roberta Alden (Sylvia Sidney). When he meets attractive and wealthy Sondra Finchley (Frances Dee), Clyde must come up with a way to get rid of his desperate former flame before her needs prevent his entrance into high society.

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

This product is expected to play back in DVD Video "play only" devices, and may not play in other DVD devices, including recorders and PC drives.


Film Noir Collection - 2dvd Collectable Slim Tin

Review Filmmaker-svengali Josef von Sternberg escalates his obsession with screen legend Marlene Dietrich in this lavish depiction of sex and deceit in the 18th-century Russian court. A self-proclaimed "relentless excursion into style," the pair's sixth collaboration follows the exploits of Princess Sophia (Dietrich) as she evolves from trembling innocent to cunning sexual libertine Catherine the Great. With operatic melodrama, flamboyant visuals, and a cast of thousands, this ornate spectacle represents the apex of cinematic pageantry by Hollywood's master of artifice.
Conflict (1945)

Review Blu-ray/DVD Dual-Format Edition

Almost 15 years after the release of its first publication, Flicker Alley, in partnership with the Blackhawk Films Collection, is proud to celebrate 50 fully-published titles with the Blu-ray/DVD world premiere of Children of Divorce, starring Clara Bow and Gary Cooper.

The film begins in an American "divorce colony" in Paris after the First World War, where parents would leave their children for months at a time. Jean, Kitty, and Ted meet there as children and become fast friends. Years later, in America, when wealthy Ted (Gary Cooper) reconnects with Jean (Esther Ralston), the two fall deeply in love, vowing to fulfill a childhood promise to one day marry each other. But true love and the most innocent of plans are no match for the scheming Kitty - played by the original Hollywood "It" girl, Clara Bow - who targets Ted for his fortune. After a night of drunken revelry, Ted wakes up to find he has unwittingly married Kitty. This unfortunate turn of events, however, carries with it the traumatized pasts of the three players, whose views of marriage have been shaped as children of divorce.

Sourced from the original nitrate negative held by the Library of Congress, as well as their 1969 fine grain master, this new restoration of Children of Divorce was scanned in 4K resolution, and represents over 200 hours of laboratory work by the Library of Congress in order to create the best version possible. Though some deterioration remains, this is the first time the film has ever been released on home video, allowing audiences to enjoy a rare viewing of classic performances from two of early cinema's most recognizable stars.

Flicker Alley is delighted to reach the milestone of its 50th publication with Children of Divorce. This Blu-ray/DVD dual-format edition features a new score by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, and was made possible thanks to the Blackhawk Films Collection, Paramount Pictures, and the Library of Congress.

Bonus Materials Include:

- "Clara Bow: Discovering the 'It' Girl" - Narrated by Courtney Love, this hour-long film documents the life of the woman who would become the icon of the flapper era, from her tragic childhood to her tumultuous personal life as Hollywood's first sex symbol.

- Souvenir Booklet - Featuring rare photographs; an essay by film preservationist and Clara Bow biographer David Stenn; notes on the production of the documentary by producer-director Hugh Munro Neely; and a brief write-up about the music by Rodney Sauer, score compiler and director of the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.


Decoy: The Only Package with ALL 39 Episodes Available!

Review Haunted by murder, condemned by guilt.

A Great Masterpiece Becomes a Greater Picture!

Dostoievsky's immortal novel of human passion becomes a powerful drama starring Edward Arnold (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) as Inspector Porfiry and Peter Lorre (Casablanca) as Roderick Raskolnikov, an impoverished student struggling with the nature of good and evil.

Crippled by guilt and paranoia after committing a murder he thinks is just, Raskolnikov is torn between the detective investigating the murder and the woman he saved, who now wants to save his soul.
Anatahan [Blu-ray]

Review Inspired by actual events, ANATAHAN explores the conflicting personalities of a dozen Japanese sailors stranded on a remote island in the Pacific during the waning days of World War II. For a time, they maintain their military discipline, but when they discover a young woman (Akemi Negishi) living on the island, the paradisal island becomes a nest of jealousy, violence, and desire. Filmed in Japan on elaborately constructed sets, with non-English-speaking actors, ANATAHAN was a deeply personal project for director Josef von Sternberg (The Blue Angel, Morocco, The Scarlet Empress), and provided a thoroughly unique capstone to his extraordinary career.

Special Features: New 2K restoration of the uncensored 1958 version (Sternberg s preferred cut of the film), with restored audio, The complete 1953 version of Anatahan, Visual essay by Tag Gallagher, Interview with Nicholas von Sternberg, U.S. Navy footage of the actual survivors of Anatahan, immediately after their surrender , Original theatrical trailer
Vampyr [Blu-ray]

Review Vienna-born, New York–raised Josef von Sternberg (Shanghai Express, Morocco) directed some of the most influential, extraordinarily stylish dramas ever to come out of Hollywood. Though best known for his star-making collaborations with Marlene Dietrich, Sternberg began his movie career during the final years of the silent era, dazzling audiences and critics with his films’ dark visions and innovative cinematography. The titles in this collection, made on the cusp of the sound age, are three of Sternberg’s greatest works, gritty evocations of gangster life (Underworld), the Russian Revolution (The Last Command), and working-class desperation (The Docks of New York) made into shadowy movie spectacle. Criterion is proud to present these long unavailable classics of American cinema, each with two musical scores. UNDERWORLD Sternberg’s riveting breakthrough is widely considered the film that launched the American gangster genre; it earned legendary scribe Ben Hecht a best original story Oscar the first year the awards were given. 1927 • 81 minutes • Black & White • Silent with stereo scores • 1.33:1 aspect ratio THE LAST COMMAND Emil Jannings won the first best actor Academy Award for his performance as an exiled Russian military officer turned Hollywood actor, whose latest part—a czarist general—brings about his emotional downfall. 1928 • 88 minutes • Black & White • Silent with stereo scores • 1.33:1 aspect ratio THE DOCKS OF NEW YORK A roughneck stoker falls hard for a wise and weary dance hall girl in this expressionistic portrait of lower-class waterfront folk, one of the most exquisitely crafted films of its era. 1928 • 75 minutes • Black & White • Silent with stereo scores • 1.33:1 aspect ratio

Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.


They Live By Night (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Review We toss the term great director around casually, but a handful of people truly merit the title and Josef von Sternberg is among them. His films are at once exotic, extravagant, and rigorously controlled. Sternberg was the visual stylist supreme, his compositions filled with such extraordinary texture and lighting that space comes alive, takes on depth and electricity. And the characters and performances that inhabit those spaces, the emotional and ethical dramas they grapple with, are sometimes shocking in their modernity even as they clearly come to us from another era. Individually and as a collective body of work, Sternberg's films are mesmerizing. Yet of our greatest directors, he's the one whose work probably is least well known today, and has been least well served on video and DVD. So all hail Criterion for releasing three exemplary Sternberg pictures, handsomely restored. The fact that they're silent productions makes them all the rarer, with opportunities to see them in later years mostly limited to festival and museum showings.

Underworld (1927), Sternberg's first great popular success, is often credited with initiating the craze for gangster pictures. There's some truth in that; the genre had been around for years, but Underworld elevated it in class and laid crucial groundwork for such early-talkie milestones as Little Caesar and, most strikingly, Scarface. Ex-Chicago crime reporter Ben Hecht, who won the first Academy Award given for original story, chipped in a lot of street-smart color but snickered at what Sternberg did with it. That's understandable. Sternberg really isn't interested in gangsters. He just appreciates the opportunity presented by a gangland ball he can strew with grotesque revelers, and so choke with streamers and confetti that crossing the room becomes a slog. Or the dramatic and poetic possibilities of muting and intensifying violence in the same stroke, by having a hoodlum draw and then doubly conceal his revolver behind a cloud of cigarette smoke and a kerchief. Or not showing a gun at all, but having the force and smoke from its blast set a curtain to flapping. But the most Sternbergian image in the film is the moment a gangster's moll named Feathers appears at the top of the stairs leading to a cellar saloon, and a single filament of her signature costume drifts down through the air. This is observed by a camera movement all its own, by two men who will become rivals for Feathers's heart, by the crowd gathered in the saloon, and by a movie audience awestruck at such visual audacity and delicacy. The romantic triangle of Feathers (Evelyn Brent), her mobster lover "Bull" Weed (George Bancroft), and "Rolls-Royce" (Clive Brook), the lawyer-turned-drunken bum Bull sentimentally rescues, is the real focus of the kind of action Sternberg cares about. The evolution of their characters and their relationships is conveyed with a subtlety light-years away from conventional silent-movie acting. This film was such a hit that the New York exhibitor went to a round-the-clock schedule to accommodate the crowds, and its three leading players all became major stars.

Instead of an urban battleground for mobsters, The Last Command (1928) takes place in two exotic realms: Russia on the brink of the 1917 revolution and 1928 Hollywood. In the latter, a movie director (William Powell) is preparing to shoot an epic set in the former. Linking the two eras is a down-on-his-luck Hollywood extra (Emil Jannings) assigned to play a Russian general--which, unbeknownst to anyone else, he once was. After establishing this framework the movie shifts into the Russian past, where the general--who's also a grand duke--must interrupt his waging of an increasingly pointless Great War to deal with a captured pair of revolutionaries. One is an actress (Evelyn Brent), with whom the general falls in love. The other is, hmmm, the man (William Powell) who 11 years later will be that Hollywood director. Sternberg mounts a fine frenzy in the pre-revolutionary Russian scenes and sets up ironic contrasts between the film's two worlds--say, a martial parade with the general at the height of his power, visually echoed in the cattle-call procession of Hollywood extras hoping for a day's work. Emil Jannings won the first Academy Award for best actor, and he would top this work the following year in Sternberg's German-made The Blue Angel; but it's Powell and the wonderfully low-key performance of Brent that signal where Sternberg's direction of actors was headed.

Sternberg's other 1928 film, The Docks of New York, stands with Murnau's Sunrise and Borzage's Street Angel as the peak of visual artistry and expressiveness in late-silent-era Hollywood. Story, narrative, linear cause-and-effect logic is never a major factor in Sternbergian filmmaking, and Docks affords the most definitive, and triumphant, demonstration of this. It all transpires in a day, most of which feels like night and in any event is contained within a seedy waterfront bar. George Bancroft (the mobster-hero of Underworld) plays a ship's stoker who, during a rare release from the smoky underworld in which he works and lives, becomes involved with two women--a would-be suicide (Betty Compson) and a hardened B-girl (Olga Baclanova). The abortive act of suicide is visually portrayed in shimmering reflection on the harbor's surface, and a later act of murder will involve an uncanny, nearly vertical shot in which the earth under people's feet seems to be water. This is a film you don't remember so much as find yourself haunted by.

DVD extras add useful historical and interpretive context for appreciating the three movies. UCLA film professor Janet Bergstrom and indefatigable connoisseur of directorial artistry Tag Gallagher supply pointed visual essays--Bergstrom being especially good on tracing Sternberg's origins, Gallagher zeroing in on Sternberg's stylistic selections and his "transformative direction of Evelyn Brent" just a year or so before his epic seven-film collaboration with Marlene Dietrich set in. Sternberg himself is heard from in a 40-minute documentary-interview done for Swedish television in 1968, a year before the director died; his voice and delivery are most distinctive. Somewhere in the course of these extras a Sternberg credo is quoted: "Art is the compression of infinite spiritual power into a confined space." Yes, that says it. And he did it. --Richard T. Jameson


Lost Horizon [Blu-ray]

Review One of the most famous and influential star-director collaborations in the history of cinema, Marlene Dietrich and Josef von Sternberg made seven features together which immortalized the actress as a glamorous and enigmatic movie siren while confirming the director's reputation as a supreme stylist of mood, atmosphere and eroticism through his dazzling command of the medium. Set against the backdrop of a Chinese civil war, SHANGHAI EXPRESS is an opulent romantic adventure that focuses on a diverse group of passengers traveling by express train from Peking to Shanghai. Among them is Captain Doc Harvey (Clive Brook), who finds himself, reunited with his former lover, now an infamous adventuress who calls herself Shanghai Lily (Marlene Dietrich). Desire and deception follow, culminating in a tense hostage situation when their train is hijacked by a Chinese warlord.

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

This product is expected to play back in DVD Video "play only" devices, and may not play in other DVD devices, including recorders and PC drives.


Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project No. 2: (Insiang / Mysterious Object at Noon / Revenge / Limite / Law of the Border / Taipei Story) (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray+DVD]

Review Undeniably one of the most beautiful and dazzling actresses to ever grace the silver screen, Marlene Dietrich was renowned for her sultry voice and her alluring "bedroom eyes." This unprecedented 5-movie collection pays homage to the legendary Oscar-nominated leading lady whose extraordinary talents revolutionized cinema and inspired passion in audiences around the globe. See Marlene in her American movie debut as a glamorous cabaret singer in Morocco; experience the heart-wrenching anguish of a woman torn between two men, her successful career on stage and her child in Blonde Venus; join in the mystery and mayhem of Spain's Carnevale in The Devil Is a Woman; hit the road to jewels and jeopardy in The Flame of New Orleans; and be seduced by a lusty gypsy on a secret mission during World War II in Golden Earrings. It's a stunning tribute to a screen siren who remains one of the most fascinating women of all time.
Ugetsu Monogatari [Blu-ray]

Review Marlene Dietrich was one of the cinema's glorious creatures, an elegant arrangement of bone structure and silver light, blessed with a sly sense of humor. Marlene Dietrich: The Glamour Collection assembles five titles featuring la Dietrich at her best, with a special emphasis on one of the great Hollywood director-star collaborations.

Dietrich and director Josef von Sternberg met in Germany when he plucked her from obscurity for the starring role of The Blue Angel, after which she came to America and instant stardom. A string of films with Sternberg created her image as an exotic source of fascination, both ethereal and sexually knowing. Three of those outings are included in this package. Morocco, their first Hollywood movie together, is a delirious look at a cabaret singer taken with a Foreign Legion soldier (the young Gary Cooper). Dressed in masculine clothes for her act, Dietrich already displays a sexual confidence that fairly burns off the screen. Blonde Venus has a soap opera-ish plot about a woman's fall and rise, but Dietrich's commitment to the part is complete; plus, there's an outrageous faux-African number that begins with Dietrich dressed in a gorilla costume. Cary Grant looks on in astonishment.

The Devil Is a Woman is an unmitigated Sternberg-Dietrich masterpiece, and their final movie together. Here Marlene is a Spanish vixen making life exciting and miserable for Lionel Atwill (a lookalike stand-in for Josef von Sternberg himself). The film is an eye-popping light-painting draped with feathers, mesh, and confetti, all of which are in service to a fundamentally serious inquiry into the knotty business of men and women.

Putting three of the Paramount Dietrich-Sternberg films in this collection and leaving out the other three is either carelessness or marketing strategy. In any case, the other two movies in this package are not at the same level, but certainly good fun. The Flame of New Orleans, director Rene Clair's first Hollywood picture, is a gorgeously photographed comedy with a delightful role for its star. Dietrich is stuck choosing between aristocrat Roland Young and rough sailor Bruce Cabot. The look on her face as she listens to helpful advice about wedding-night conjugal realities from a matron is a riot of erotic mischief. Golden Earrings is a crazy story about Ray Milland getting stuck behind German lines in the early days of WWII, and being taken in by gypsy girl Dietrich. Even here, nearly 20 years after her first stardom, she's still Dietrich. The hair may be dyed black, but the cheekbones are unmistakable. --Robert Horton


Beggars of Life [Blu-ray]

Review An American Tragedy is a powerful pre-code classic that focuses on one man’s brazen attempts to climb the social ladder by any means possible. Handsome and ambitious, factory employee Clyde Griffiths (Phillips Holmes) has worked his way up to a management role and into the arms of the charming Roberta Alden (Sylvia Sidney). When he meets attractive and wealthy Sondra Finchley (Frances Dee), Clyde must come up with a way to get rid of his desperate former flame before her needs prevent his entrance into high society.

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

This product is expected to play back in DVD Video "play only" devices, and may not play in other DVD devices, including recorders and PC drives.


Duel in the Sun (Roadshow Edition) [Blu-ray]

Review Filmmaker-svengali Josef von Sternberg escalates his obsession with screen legend Marlene Dietrich in this lavish depiction of sex and deceit in the 18th-century Russian court. A self-proclaimed "relentless excursion into style," the pair's sixth collaboration follows the exploits of Princess Sophia (Dietrich) as she evolves from trembling innocent to cunning sexual libertine Catherine the Great. With operatic melodrama, flamboyant visuals, and a cast of thousands, this ornate spectacle represents the apex of cinematic pageantry by Hollywood's master of artifice.
Ride the High Country [Blu-ray]

Review Blu-ray/DVD Dual-Format Edition

Almost 15 years after the release of its first publication, Flicker Alley, in partnership with the Blackhawk Films Collection, is proud to celebrate 50 fully-published titles with the Blu-ray/DVD world premiere of Children of Divorce, starring Clara Bow and Gary Cooper.

The film begins in an American "divorce colony" in Paris after the First World War, where parents would leave their children for months at a time. Jean, Kitty, and Ted meet there as children and become fast friends. Years later, in America, when wealthy Ted (Gary Cooper) reconnects with Jean (Esther Ralston), the two fall deeply in love, vowing to fulfill a childhood promise to one day marry each other. But true love and the most innocent of plans are no match for the scheming Kitty - played by the original Hollywood "It" girl, Clara Bow - who targets Ted for his fortune. After a night of drunken revelry, Ted wakes up to find he has unwittingly married Kitty. This unfortunate turn of events, however, carries with it the traumatized pasts of the three players, whose views of marriage have been shaped as children of divorce.

Sourced from the original nitrate negative held by the Library of Congress, as well as their 1969 fine grain master, this new restoration of Children of Divorce was scanned in 4K resolution, and represents over 200 hours of laboratory work by the Library of Congress in order to create the best version possible. Though some deterioration remains, this is the first time the film has ever been released on home video, allowing audiences to enjoy a rare viewing of classic performances from two of early cinema's most recognizable stars.

Flicker Alley is delighted to reach the milestone of its 50th publication with Children of Divorce. This Blu-ray/DVD dual-format edition features a new score by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, and was made possible thanks to the Blackhawk Films Collection, Paramount Pictures, and the Library of Congress.

Bonus Materials Include:

- "Clara Bow: Discovering the 'It' Girl" - Narrated by Courtney Love, this hour-long film documents the life of the woman who would become the icon of the flapper era, from her tragic childhood to her tumultuous personal life as Hollywood's first sex symbol.

- Souvenir Booklet - Featuring rare photographs; an essay by film preservationist and Clara Bow biographer David Stenn; notes on the production of the documentary by producer-director Hugh Munro Neely; and a brief write-up about the music by Rodney Sauer, score compiler and director of the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.



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