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The River: The Criterion Collection

Jean Renoir's sumptuous tale of first kisses and an adolescent girl's journey into womanhood was set, and shot, in Bengal along the Ganges. Its original 1951 American audiences had never before seen a film layered with such idyllic Indian exotica. Its lightly mythic narrative, set within a pastoral alien land revealed in vivid Technicolor, still speaks to Martin Scorsese, who on this DVD hails The River as "one of the two most beautiful color films ever made" and one of his "most formative movie experiences." Criterion's exquisite restoration, from the original three-strip Technicolor camera negatives, yields an image that's perhaps more beautiful than Renoir could have imagined. The new high-def transfer is faultless, as is the DD 2.0 monaural audio. The extras begin with a vintage introduction to the film by Renoir. That's followed by Scorsese's 2004 video interview, a making-of audio interview with the film's eccentric producer, a splendid documentary about the source novel's author, a stills gallery, and a foldout insert with useful essays by film scholars and notes by Renoir. Keep-case.
—Mark Bourne

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