November 2023 sees a slate of bona fide cinema classics — most of which are Oscar winners — all meticulously restored in 4K Ultra High Definition and offering cinephiles the opportunity to experience the films like never before.
There's a duo of quintessential dramas, both based on novels by Larry McMurtry, with James L. Brooks' debut feature beautifully depicting the trials and tribulations of a mother-daughter relationship, and a coming-of-age masterpiece from the late Peter Bogdanovich delivering a powerful story about a group of high school seniors in 1951 Texas who are contemplating their futures and struggling to figure out if they can escape their small town and build a better life elsewhere.
There's also a duo of films celebrating their 30th Anniversaries as Sony delivers the Director's Cut of a triumphant biographical sports drama, and Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones face off in one of the most heart-pounding thrillers of the '90s.
But first up, the Coen Brothers provide a pitch-perfect dark comedy crime film.
Part dark comedy, part crime thriller, 1996's Fargo is a film that could only come from the minds of Joel and Ethan Coen. William H. Macy stars as Jerry Lundegaard, a Minnesota car salesman who hires two small-time crooks, Carl (Steve Buscemi) and Gaear (Peter Stormare), to kidnap his wife Jean (Kristin Rudrüd) so that he can collect the ransom money from his wealthy father-in-law (Harve Presnell). But — "Oh Geez!" — people start dying. Enter Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand), the sprightly police chief who just happens to be seven months pregnant, to investigate all the crimes.
Marge Gunderson, who is as persistent as she is intelligent and kind, is considered one of the greatest characters in any film by the Coen brothers. With its twisted humor and crackling performances, Fargo received seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Macy, Best Cinematography, and Best Film Editing, and went on to win Oscars for Best Original Screenplay and Best Actress in a Leading Role for McDormand.
In 2006, Fargo was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry. The adoration for the film eventually inspired the hit anthology TV series Fargo that is currently in its fifth and final season.
This new 4K restoration of the film from Shout Factory was sourced from the film's original camera negative and supervised by the film's director of photography, two-time Oscar winner Roger Deakins. The audio is presented via a robust DTS HD 5.1 track and the release is loaded with bonus supplements, including a feature commentary with Deakins, a Minnesota Nice featurette, interviews with the Coen brothers and McDormand, an American Cinematography article, trailers, and more.
Get it: Nov. 7 on 4K UHD Blu-Ray
The Last Picture Show
Filmmaker and film historian Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show remains a pivotal piece of American cinema. Adapted from Larry McMurtry’s novel, the film portrays the painful decay of a small isolated town in Northern Texas in 1951, as three teens, Sonny (Timothy Bottoms), Duane (Jeff Bridges), and Jacy (Cybill Shepherd), move through their day to day without direction or a future as the adults in their lives succumb to the crumbling economy and the breakdown of the American dream that surrounds them. Beautifully filmed in black and white, The Last Picture Show features heartfelt performances from its entire cast, which also includes Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn, Eileen Brennan, and Ben Johnson.
Produced on a relatively small budget, The Last Picture Show was released to universal acclaim and solid box office returns in 1971. The film received eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, and won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Cloris Leachman, and won another Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Ben Johnson. In 1998, The Last Picture Show was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry. Bogdanovich went on to write and direct a sequel to The Last Picture Show entitled Texasville, released in 1990. Texasville takes place in the 1980s and once again stars Bridges, Shepherd, and Bottoms.
This new archival release of The Last Picture Show comes courtesy of The Criterion Collection featuring a new 4K UHD presentation of the Director's Cut of the film with an uncompressed monaural audio track. Also included is Texasville, presented in both the original theatrical version in color and a black-and-white version of Bogdanovich's director's cut. Supplements include three documentaries about the making of the film, interviews with the filmmakers and cast, two audio commentaries featuring Bogdanovich and the cast, and much more.
Get it: Nov. 14 on 4K UHD Blu-Ray
Terms of Endearment
Writer-director James L. Brooks' debut feature, Terms of Endearment (1983) features an all-star cast that includes Shirley MacLaine, Jack Nicholson, Debra Winger, Danny DeVito, Jeff Daniels, and John Lithgow. Adapted from Larry McMurtry’s novel, the film spans a thirty-year period of the fiercely loving relationship between Aurora (MacLaine) and her daughter, Emma (Winger), as they navigate life's ups and downs, loss, and the complex relationship that only a mother and daughter can know. Nicholson plays retired astronaut Garrett Breedlove, Aurora's love interest in the film.
This melodrama, truly a moving tear-jerker for the ages, tells a story about a group of people "coming to terms" in a film written and performed with heart, humor, and honesty. Arriving in time for its 40th Anniversary, Terms of Endearment was universally acclaimed by both audiences and critics at the time of its release back in November of '83. Terms of Endearment then went on to be nominated for eleven Oscars, including Best Actress in a Leading Role for Winger, Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Lithgow, and Best Original Score, and ultimately won five Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress in a Leading Role for MacLaine, and Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Nicholson.
Terms of Endearment comes to the 4K UHD format via the Paramount Presents line. Restored from the film's original camera negative and supervised by Brooks himself, the film has never looked better. Supplements include a new featurette with Brooks, Filmmaker Focus, where he reflects on his experience as a first-time director; a feature commentary with the filmmaker, co-producer Penney Finkelman Cox, and production designer Polly Platt; and the original theatrical trailer. Finally, the release is presented in collectible packaging.
Get it: Nov. 14 on 4K UHD Blu-Ray (Limited Edition)
Rudy – The Director's Cut
Directed by David Anspaugh, Rudy tells the true story of Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger. Sean Astin plays the title character, growing up in a working-class, steel mill town in Illinois, he seems destined to follow in his father's footsteps along with his brothers. With very high hopes of one day playing football for Notre Dame, despite being dismissed and laughed at by those around him for being rather short and for his less than impressive academic achievements, the ambitious Rudy absolutely refuses to ever give up. He sets out to prove that some dreams don't die, and paves his way to gain admission to Notre Dame to get a shot at gridiron glory.
While Rudy was a modest box office success upon its release, critics praised the film. Over the years, its fan base has grown. Today, the film is considered one of the most inspirational films of the last few decades. Rudy is both a modern classic and an unabashed celebration of the power of the human spirit. For the film's 30th Anniversary, Anspaugh is presenting Rudy in its full and intended Director's Cut for the first time.
This new release of Rudy comes courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and features a brand new 4K transfer of the original theatrical cut, along with the new Director's Cut, complemented with HDR and Dolby Vision, and a new Dolby Atmos audio track, all supervised by director Anspaugh. Supplements include a new feature commentary with the filmmaker and screenwriter Angelo Pizzo, five deleted scenes, and the original theatrical trailer. Lastly, the release is presented in a limited edition SteelBook.
Get it: Nov. 14 on 4K UHD Blu-Ray (Limited Edition).
Based on the 1960s TV series of the same name, director Andrew Davis' The Fugitive exploded onto the big screen in the summer of '93. Harrison Ford plays Dr. Richard Kimble, a man on the run after being falsely accused of murdering his wife. Kimble finds himself on a quest to find the real killer while remaining determined to evade capture. Hot on his heels in the nationwide manhunt is accomplished U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones).
With its high-octane chase-style storytelling, The Fugitive is a meticulously well-constructed thriller for the ages. The film was a rousing success at the domestic box office upon its release as it took the number one spot for six consecutive weeks. The Fugitive was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound, and Best Sound Effects Editing, and went on to win the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Tommy Lee Jones.
Also arriving for its 30th Anniversary, this new 4K restoration of The Fugitive comes courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as part of the studio's year-long Centennial Anniversary celebration. Supervised by director Davis, this new 4K UHD restoration was sourced from the film's original camera negative, adding HDR. The release also features a new Dolby Atmos audio track, along with the film's original 5.1 audio mix. Extras include an introduction to the film by Davis and Ford; an audio commentary with Davis and Jones; two featurettes: Derailed: Anatomy of a Train Wreck and On the Run with the Fugitive; and the film's original theatrical trailer. Available in a limited edition SteelBook.
Get it: Nov. 21 on 4K UHD Blu-Ray, also available on digital
By Adam J. Yeend