Occasionally Criterion jacket-cover art will convey an alternate-universe take on a well-known film that half convinces you that you haven’t quite absorbed everything the film has to offer, even though you’ve seen it 15 or 20 times. The white birds (which have to be seagulls and not pigeons) are an interesting invention. Their presence suggests that Elia Kazan‘s 1954 Oscar-winner was directed by Vittorio De Sica or Roberto Rossellini.
The goodies: (a) new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition, (b) presented in 1.66, 1.33 and 1.85 aspect ratios (a landmark decision that brought about, in my humble view, the eternal discrediting of Bob Furmanek‘s research-fortified 1.85 fascism, and thank God in heaven for this), (c) commentary from Richard Schickel and Jeff Young, (d) new conversation between filmmaker Martin Scorsese and critic Kent Jones, (e) Elia Kazan: Outsider (1982), an hour-long documentary, (f) New documentary on the making of the film, featuring interviews with scholar Leo Braudy, critic David Thomson, and others, (g) New interview with actress Eva Marie Saint, (h) Interview with director Elia Kazan from 2001, (i), Contender, a 2001 documentary on the film’s most famous scene, and (j) New interview with author James T. Fisher (On the Irish Waterfront) about the real-life people and places behind the film.
Plus a booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Almereyda and reprints of Kazan’s 1952 ad in the New York Times defending his testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee, one of the 1948 New York Sun articles by Malcolm Johnson on which the film was based, and a 1953 Commonweal piece by screenwriter Budd Schulberg.