Thursday, 22 April 2010

A Total Eclipse of the Heart. . .

I admit to being totally addicted to Criterion DVDs much to the dismay of my pocketbook. Which is why I love their Eclipse Series so much - these are very resonably priced sets of films organized around a similar theme or director. They don't have all the extras in terms of interviews or commentary that the regular Criterions do, but the films have been restored and are a joy to watch. I own several of these - The Lubitsch Musicals is my favourite. If you've never seen Maurice Chevalier charming his way through either The Love Parade (1929) or The Smiling Lieutenant (1931), you are really missing a treat. I just bought George Bernard Shaw on Film which consists of 1941's Major Barbara starring the imperious Wendy Hiller, 1945's Caesar and Cleopatra starring Claude Rains and Vivien Leigh (which I've never seen and I'm a huge Vivien Leigh fan!) and 1952's Androcles and the Lion.

But browsing the Criterion site today, I was excited to see that Eclipse will be releasing Presenting Sacha Guitry, a series of four French films released in the 1930s. I've never even heard of this actor/writer/director but the description of him as a "Gallic counterpart to Noel Coward" has me immediately sold. How can one resist this description of The Pearls of the Crown:

Sacha Guitry plays four roles in this multilingual whirlwind of pageantry that investigates the fate of three pearls missing from the royal crown of England. Pearls rockets through four centuries of European history with imaginative, winking irreverence.
Can't wait but will have to. The set isn't out until July.