Charles S. Cohen, Chairman and CEO of Cohen Media Group is ready to pull another gem out of his wealth of wonders. On May 21, Cohen releases Merchant Ivory Productions’ Academy Award-nominated The Bostoniansin a 4K restoration on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms.
The Bostonians (1984) was the second of three handsomely mounted Henry James adaptations by the team of producer Ismail Merchant, director James Ivory and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, following 1979’s The Europeans and preceding The Golden Bowl (2000).
Academy Award-winning actresses Jessica Tandy, Vanessa Redgrave and Linda Hunt headline an all-star cast alongside Christopher Reeve in this adaptation of James’s 1886 novel of political intrigue and forbidden romance in post-Civil War Boston. Olive Chancellor (played by Redgrave)finds her infatuation with young activist Verena Tarrant (Madeleine Potter)challenged by a Southern lawyer (Christopher Reeve) who also loves her. An intricately drawn study of the impact of women’s suffrage on society, The Bostonians is also a lush evocation of the late 19th century, with dazzling cinematography by Walter Lassally and a memorable score by frequent Merchant Ivory collaborator Richard Robbins.
The film received two Academy Award nominations, for Best Actress (Vanessa Redgrave) and Costume Design (Jenny Beavan, John Bright). Redgrave was named Best Actress by the National Society of Film Critics.
Special features on the Blu-ray and DVD include a new interview with director James Ivory, “Conversations from the Quad: James Ivory on The Bostonians,” the original trailer and the 2018 re-release trailer.
Charles S. Cohen, Chairman and CEO of Cohen Media Group, can never be accused of having a stone face.
He could, of course, be honestly called a great fan of The Great Stone Face. (Those would don;t know who we are chatting about need to open a new window and Google.)
This month he has released (on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms) director and movie historian Peter Bogdanovich’s acclaimed new film The Great Buster: A Celebration. It is as brilliant as the tribute it pays to one of silent cinema’s greatest artists, Buster Keaton.
The Great Keaton celebrates the life and career of one of America’s most influential and celebrated filmmakers and comedians, whose singular style and fertile output during the silent era secured his legacy as a true cinematic visionary. Filled with stunningly restored archival Keaton films from the Cohen Film Collection library, the film is directed by Peter Bogdanovich, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker and cinema historian whose landmark writings and films on such renowned directors as John Ford and Orson Welles have become the standard by which all other studies are measured.
The Great Buster chronicles Keaton’s life and career, from his beginnings on the vaudeville circuit through the development of his trademark physical comedy and deadpan expression that earned him the lifelong moniker “The Great Stone Face,” all of which led to his career-high years as the director, writer, producer and star of his own short films and features. Interspersed throughout are interviews with nearly two-dozen collaborators, filmmakers, performers and admirers, including Mel Brooks, Quentin Tarantino, Werner Herzog, Dick Van Dyke and Johnny Knoxville, who discuss Keaton’s influence on modern comedy and cinema itself.
The loss of artistic independence and career decline that marked his later years are also covered by Bogdanovich, before he casts a close eye on Keaton’s extraordinary output from 1923 to 1929, which yielded 10 remarkable feature films (including 1926’s The General and 1928’s Steamboat Bill, Jr.)that immortalized him as one of the greatest actor-filmmakers in the history of cinema.
In his landmark book The American Cinema, critic Andrew Sarris placed Buster Keaton among the “Pantheon Directors,” his elite grouping of the 14 greatest filmmakers. Sarris wrote, “Cops, Sherlock Jr., The Navigator and The General stamp Keaton as the most enduringly modern of classical directors.” Critic and film historian David Thomson, in his famed Biographical Dictionary of Film, writes, “In Keaton’s films there is an extraordinary use of space in the jokes that is faithfully and beautifully recorded.”
Wait! There’s more Keaton craze.
On May 14, Cohen Media Group releases the Keaton masterpieces The General and Steamboat Bill, Jr.together on single-disc Blu-ray and DVD packages, as well as digital platforms.
The films, high points not only of Keaton’s incomparable career but of all silent cinema (both are included on the National Film Registry), are presented in new 4K restorations and feature orchestral scores by Carl Davis.
Many critics and historians consider The General (1926) to be the last great comedy of the silent era, and it consistently ranks as one of the finest films of all time on international critics’ polls. It is No. 18 on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 Greatest American Films, and is No. 34 on the latest Sight & Sound critics poll of the Greatest Films of All Time.
Set during the Civil War and based on a true incident, the film is an authentic-looking period piece that brings the scope and realism of Mathew Brady-like images to brilliant life. Keaton portrays engineer Johnnie Gray, rejected by the Confederate Army and thought a coward by his girlfriend (played by Marion Mack). When a band of Union soldiers penetrate Confederate lines to steal his locomotive, called The General, Johnnie sets off in pursuit. There is no better showcase for Keaton’s trademark physical comedy and deadpan expression that earned him the moniker “The Great Stone Face.”
The renowned critic Raymond Durgnat wrote, “Perhaps The Generalis the most beautiful film, with its spare, grey photography, its eye for the racy, lunging lines of the great locomotives, with their prow-like cowcatchers, with its beautifully sustained movement.” “The pioneering genius of Buster Keaton’s 1926 silent film … looks even more startling than ever … more or less invented the action movie,” said The Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw.
In Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928), Buster, as the son of a steamboat captain, falls in love with the daughter of a rival steamboat owner. When a cyclone rages, Buster proves himself a hero by rescuing his love (played by Marion Byron) and her father from a watery grave.
The comedy contains what many consider Keaton’s most memorable, and potentially deadly, film stunt: One side of a house falls on him while he stands in the perfect spot to pass through a window frame unharmed.
Whenever Charles S. Cohen, Chairman and CEO of Cohen Media Group, has something to say, we listen. Closely. The newest film the Cohen Film Collection has released: director Diane Kurys’ acclaimed debut film, Peppermint Soda, now on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms.
In the vein of such coming-of-age classics as Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, Peppermint Soda captures a particular moment in the tumultuous life and development of two young people. Anne (played by Eléonore Klarwein) and Frederique (Odile Michel) are teenage sisters in 1963 France, torn between divorced parents and struggling with the confines of their strict school. Along the way, they undergo an awakening both political and romantic.
Diane Kurys’ celebrated film, with cinematography by Oscar-winning Philippe Rousselot, revels in the comedy and tragedy of the seemingly mundane, weaving a complex tapestry of everyday existence that also touches on the universal. The world cinema classic received a 2K restoration for its 40th-anniversary theatrical re-release in 2018, and Cohen Film Collection is proud to present k this striking new restoration for home viewing.
The flicwas the first film by actress-turned-writer/director Kurys, and instantly established her as a highly personal filmmaker drawing on her own life for cinematic inspiration. It won France’s Prix Louis Delluc, while the U.S. National Board of Review’s 1979 awards honored it as Top Foreign Film.
The Cohen Film Collection’s deluxe Blu-ray and DVD of Peppermint Sodaboth include interviews with Diane Kurys and actress Eléonore Klarwein; the featurette “A Meeting with Yves Simon;” a scrapbook of the film; the French restoration trailer; and the 2018 re-release trailer.
One of the first Merchant Ivory productions, the sumptuous Shakespeare Wallah established the tone for so many of the collaborations to come from producer Ismail Merchant and director James Ivory: the deft, multilayered screenplay by their frequent collaborator Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, luminous cinematography, a wry sense of humor and a cast of characters rich in their very human complexity.
Cohen Film Collection’s new restoration of the film, released in theaters nationwide in 2017, came from the 35mm composite fine grain master held at the archive of the George Eastman Museum. The scan and 2K digital restoration was completed in conjunction with the British Film Institute’s Unlocking Film Heritage program. This breakthrough film is now on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms.
The true story of British actor-manager Geoffrey Kendal and his family of traveling theatrical players is used as a fascinating lens into the ever-evolving relationship between Great Britain and India. The film follows Tony Buckingham (Geoffrey Kendal) and his wife, Carla (Laura Liddell), as the actor-managers of a troupe who travel through ’60s post-colonial India staging Shakespeare’s plays. But the Buckinghams come to realize to their dismay that classic English theater is falling out of favor in a changing country where the public has become more excited by the explosion of vibrant Bollywood films – and, more deeply, is looking to move beyond everything British. Meanwhile, the Buckinghams’ daughter Lizzie (future Britcom favorite Felicity Kendal) becomes involved in a love triangle that would fit perfectly in both a Shakespeare drama and a Bollywood musical.
With music by the great Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray and memorable performances by cinema icons Shashi Kapoor and Madhur Jaffrey (who won the Silver Bear award for Best Actress at the 1965 Berlin International Film Festival),Shakespeare Wallahremains a one-of-kind gem of modern world cinema.
Both the Blu-ray and the DVD editions are supplemented with a wealth of bonus material, including a conversation with the filmmakers, featuring Ismail Merchant, James Ivory, Shashi Kapoor and Felicity Kendal; the film’s original trailer; and its 2017 rerelease trailer.
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