It’s taken long enough, but one of the great American movies — hell, one of the great films from anywhere, anytime — has finally made it to home video in the US. Leo McCarey’s sublime “Make Way for Tomorrow” has been issued by Criterion in a transfer that strikes me as much superior to the recent French edition (and of, course, there are no hard subtitles) and the movie continues to play magnificently. My appreciation for McCarey’s work, with its subtleties of construction and minutely detailed performances (such as the moment, in the scene above, when Bondi self-consciously tugs up her lace collar when Moore tells her how young she still looks), grows every time I see this magnificent film — which I plan to do every day from now on (I wish). My New York Times review is here.
I’ve just discovered that Universal, in its infinite screwiness, has launched a burn-on-demand program through Amazon, where one of the dozen or titles available is McCarey’s brilliant Charles Laughton comedy “Ruggles of Red Gap.” It’s an odd group of films, ranging from Mitchell Leisen’s “Death Takes a Holiday” and Abe Polonski’s “Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here” to Daniel Petrie’s “Resurrection” and Norman Jewison’s “40 Pounds of Trouble.” Has anyone had any experience with these? This is a separate operation from Universal’s “Vault Collection” at TCM, which is being produced in-house by the Turner Classic Movies staff and so far consists of Leisen’s great “Remember the Night,” a handful of minor horror films (including Joseph H. Lewis’s entertainingly lunatic “Mad Doctor of Market Street”) and a selection of three early Cary Grant Paramount titles due out in the next week or two. I’m glad to see that the Universal logjam is showing signs of breaking up, but it all seems fairly random and chaotic.