It’s that time of year again: Halloween month is the harbinger of the gift-giving season, retail stores throwing up the snowflake decorations before Thanksgiving is even a blip on our radars. But, for cinephiles, October is the month when Criterion announces their new releases for the following January, and next year’s slate, with three directors joining the collection for the first time, looks fantastic.

Criterion Collection

His Girl Friday (1940)

Probably the most well-known of all four of these films, His Girl Friday is one of the funniest and endlessly quotable classics, starring Rosalind Russell as hat-wearing reporter Hildy Johnson, ex-wife of her boss Walter Burns (Cary Grant), who gives her the chance to scoop her fellow journalists to keep her from leaving her job and becoming a housewife. Hildy is one of classic cinema’s most hilarious and sharp-witted female characters, which is probably partly because in the original play, The Front Page, which is included in the Criterion’s edition in radio recording and film form, Hildy’s character was actually a man. Howard Hawks’ decision to make Hildy a woman gievs the film the added layer of remarriage comedy coupled with newsroom hijinks.

Special Edition Features:

  • New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New 2K restoration of Lewis Milestone's The Front Page (1931), made from a recently discovered print of the director’s preferred version
  • New interview with film scholar David Bordwell about His Girl Friday
  • Archival interviews with director Howard Hawks
  • Featurettes from 1999 about Hawks, actor Rosalind Russell, and the making of His Girl Friday
  • Radio adaptation of His Girl Friday from 1940
  • New piece about the restoration of The Front Page
  • New piece about playwright and screenwriter Ben Hecht
  • Radio adaptations of the play The Front Page from 1937 and 1946
  • His Girl Friday trailers
  • A booklet featuring essays on His Girl Friday and The Front Page by film critics Farran Smith Nehme and Michael Sragow

2-disc Blu-ray edition is $49.95. 2-disc DVD edition is $39.95. Both editions are available for pre-order December 13, and in stores January 10, 2017.

Criterion Collection

Fox and His Friends (1975)

A groundbreaking, if at times controversial portrayal of a gay community in ’70s West Germany, Fox and His Friends follows a young working-class man, played by director Rainer Werner Fassbinder himself, as he allows himself to get dragged into his boyfriend’s nefarious circle of bourgeois friends. Fassbinder’s trademark sense of loneliness and misery make this a must-see for fans of the director and queer cinema alike.

Special Edition Features:

  • New 4K digital restoration, undertaken by the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation and supervised by cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with actor Harry Baer
  • New interview with filmmaker Ira Sachs
  • Excerpt from a 1975 interview with director Rainer Werner Fassbinder
  • Excerpts from a 1981 interview with composer Peer Raben
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • An essay by film critic Michael Koresky

Blu-ray edition is $39.95. DVD edition is $29.95. Both editions are available for pre-order December 20, and in stores January 17, 2017.

Criterion Collection

Something Wild (1961)

When a friendly mechanic (Ralph Meeker) stops a suicidal college student (Caroll Baker) from doing the deed, it feels like a relief, until this mechanic turns out to be more sinister than he seemed. An unflinching portrait of trauma and one of the best filmic representations of the New York Actors’ Studio, which was instrumental in transforming American cinema in the ’50s and ’60s, and with a score by the unforgettable Aaron Copland, Criterion’s restored 2K digital transfer is a sight and sound to behold.

Director-approved Special Edition Features:

  • New, restored 2K digital transfer, supervised by director Jack Garfein, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New conversation between Garfein and critic Kim Morgan
  • New interview with actor Carroll Baker
  • New interview with scholar Foster Hirsch on the Actors Studio’s cinematic legacy
  • Master Class with Jack Garfein, a 2015 recording of one of the director’s world-famous lectures on acting technique
  • An essay by critic Sheila O’Malley

Blu-ray edition is $39.95. 2-disc DVD edition is $29.95. Both are available for pre-order December 20, and in stores January 17, 2017.

Criterion Collection

Black Girl (1966)

Ousmane Sembène is one of the foremost African directors of all time, and one of the first to introduce African cinema to the rest of the world. His Black Girl, about a Senegalese woman who takes a job with a Parisian family, only to find that world cramped and claustrophobic, is a critique of the lingering colonialism still present in the so-called post-colonialist world. Black Girl is his feature debut, with an emotional performance by its lead, M'Bissine Thérèse Diop, and stunning visuals that accompany a radical political message.

Special Edition Features:

  • New 4K digital restoration, undertaken by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project in collaboration with the Cineteca di Bologna, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • 4K restoration of the short film Borom sarret, director Ousmane Sembène’s acclaimed 1963 debut
  • New interviews with scholars Manthia Diawara and Samba Gadjigo
  • Excerpt from a 1966 broadcast of JT 20h, featuring Sembène accepting the Prix Jean Vigo for Black Girl
  • New interview with actor M'Bissine Thérèse Diop
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • An essay by critic Ashley Clark

Blu-ray edition is $39.95. DVD edition is $29.95. Both will be available for pre-order December 27, and in stores January 24, 2017.