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June 30, 2010


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Wonderful films, great stills. Seeing them makes me want to pull my laserdisc copies off the shelf and watch 'em again right now.


I sort of wish I hadn't already picked up THE RED SHOES, as that means I'm not going to buy it again anytime soon, but I'll be all over BLACK NARCISSUS.


Low bids for EBay offerings of Criterion's SMALL BACK ROOM indicate that film isn't being re-discovered fast as it deserves to be. Kathleen Byron's contrasted performances in ROOM and NARCISSUS should fuel a late-forming cult. Compellingly grown-up male-female relations are not so frequent in films that the one central to SMALL BACK ROOM doesn't startle. Her utterly sane devotion to a valorous self-destructive in ROOM is just as intense as the NARCISSUS hysteria that has her sweating in the still above.


I love Black Narcissus to death. Jack Cardiff's Technicolor work is just fantastic. Unfortunately, I have yet to see The Red Shoes, so Criterion's Bluray release is timely. Also, Kathleen Byron looks stunning in that still.


God, these movies are completely amazing.

Glenn, we're gonna need a report from you on comparisons between the ITV Blu of Black Narcissus and the Criterion. The Beaver just reported that the with latter "every single attribute seems to have advanced with the Criterion dual-layered transfer." Is it THAT much better? Do I HAVE to buy it again? Demanding readers want to know.

Red Shoes, of course, is a no-brainer.

david hare

Again, Glenn how does the Criterion Shoes compare with the ITV Blu?? I coudl not fault the latter transfer, but there were some tiny tiny issues of sharpness on a handful of wide shots....


Because of one magazine, which has, for a long time now, deserved to be unnamed, and a list, I watched BN. Beautiful, dicey in the race-department, maybe, but startling in that pivotal moment described in the unnamable.


(sarry far masspallengs)

Glenn Kenny

David et.al.: I only just got the Blu-rays last night. I was going to wait to file an assessment until I could get the whole of the July Blu-ray Consumer Guide done, but it looks like this won't wait. I'll get out the camera and fire up the players and see what kind of comparison shots I can whip up for tomorrow or Friday.


@ jwarthen: Glad to see a mention of The Small Back Room, the most recent P&P film I've seen. You're right about the portrayal of the central couple, from the dialogue to the acting. So nuanced and comprehensive, and even the melodrama feels right. Props should also be given to David Farrar, who is as weak and bitter here as he is confident and cocky in Black Narcissus.

For me, though, the real unsung Archers gem is A Canterbury Tale, which absolutely floored me when I saw it for the first time last year. Unclassifiable and magical.

Evelyn Roak

Amen to praise for A CANTERBURY TALE. Saw it for the first time in a pristine print when I happened to be in Paris visiting friends and a fine fine cinema was having a P+P series. It absolutely amazed me. The rare film that succeeds in looking back and forward at the same time. At once about the power of place and landscape, and their lingering presence, while being distinctly modern. Would be a perfect double bill with L'ATALANTE. As our friend Dave Kehr said: "one of the few times the narrative cinema has approached the lyrical ideal."

Also managed to see Fritz Lang's WOMEN IN THE WINDOW on that trip and was the only person in the theater. Was quite bizarre.


Lucky you to see that P&P on the big screen. I lived in Paris for five months back in 2003 and it's ridiculous how many classic English language films were (are?) playing on a daily basis, not to mention little mini-festivals of various directors. I was seeing around a movie a day there, rotating between 7-8 theatres on both sides of the river. Just unbelievable, the breadth of what's available to see, and sad that no city in the United States even comes close to having that kind of programming. Maybe London does, but I wouldn't know.


Kathleen Byron = sexiest movie nun ever.

Grant L

Even if I'd bought both on DVD yesterday instead of eons ago I'd be snapping these two up. And speaking of your CG: one door closes and another opens. The end of a (41 year) era. Sniff, choke...


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