The Criterion Collection Announce December Blu-ray Slate Including Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes

The Criterion Collection has just announced its Blu-ray release slate for December and, while it’s a bit lighter than usual (only four releases instead of the now almost customary six or seven), it’s remains another strong month and an excellent way to end a fantastic year of releases.

Of the four upcoming titles, only one is a new addition to the collection; Ernst Lubitsch’s Design for Living. Released in 1933, Design for Living stars Gary Cooper, Miriam Hopkins and Fredric March and is in part a risque romantic comedy while also taking a witty approach towards the individuals’ creative pursuits. Lubitsch is a Criterion favorite, and this release should further prove just why that is.


The three remaining releases are all High Definition upgrades of previous Criterion DVDs, and they are quite the lineup. First and foremost we see the incomparable Alfred Hitchcock receive another well deserved high definition release with his 1938 comic thriller, The Lady Vanishes. The remaining two upgrades, Tokyo Drifter and Branded to Kill, were both directed by Seijun Suzuki and are both pinnacles of the Japanese New Wave.

Each release comes with the Criterion standard MSRP of $39.95. As per usual, Criterion does not skimp on the special features and those and the release dates for each film are listed below.

Design for Living (Release Date: December 6, 2011)

  • New high-definition digital restoration, presenting the film in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio with an uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • “The Clerk,” starring Charles Laughton—director Ernst Lubitsch’s segment of the 1932 film If I Had a Million, which he made just before Design for Living
  • Selected-scene commentary by film professor William Paul
  • Play of the Week: A Choice of Coward, a 1964 British television production of the play Design for Living, introduced on camera by playwright Noël Coward
  • New interview with film scholar and screenwriter Joseph McBride on Lubitsch and Ben Hecht’s screen adaptation of the Coward play
  • A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Kim Morgan

The Lady Vanishes (Release Date: December 6, 2011)

  • High-definition digital restoration presenting the film in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio
  • Audio commentary by film historian Bruce Eder
  • Crook’s Tour, a 1941 feature-length adventure film starring Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne as Charters and Caldicott, their beloved characters from The Lady Vanishes
  • Excerpts from Francois Truffaut’s legendary 1962 audio interview with director Alfred Hitchcock
  • Mystery Train, a video essay about Hitchcock and The Lady Vanishes by Hitchcock scholar Leonard Leff
  • Stills gallery of behind-the-scenes photos and promotional art
  • A booklet featuring essays by critic Geoffrey O’Brien and Hitchcock scholar Charles Barr

Branded to Kill (Release Date: December 13, 2011)

  • New high-definition digital restoration, presenting the film in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio with an uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Video piece featuring new interviews with director Seijun Suzuki and assistant director Masami Kuzuu
  • Interview with Suzuki from 1997
  • New interview with actor Joe Shishido
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic and historian Tony Rayns, author of Branded to Thrill: The Delirious Cinema of Suzuki Seijun, and a statement by the film’s art director, Sukezo Kawahara

Tokyo Drifter (Release Date: December 13, 2011)

  • New high-definition digital restoration, presenting the film in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio with an uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Video piece featuring new interviews with director Seijun Suzuki and assistant director Masami Kuzuu
  • Interview with Suzuki from 1997
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Howard Hampton

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