It's been quite a week for packages in our house. First the J. Crew, then the dvd orders have started coming in. I'm awaiting my RC dress today while watching the extras on the Valley of the Dolls dvd for that section of my chapter on female group films.
July and August aren't just the time for clothing sales--there have also been a glut of amazing deals on DVDs. I'm awaiting a package of half price Criterion Collection dvds from Barnes and Noble--part of what appears to be an annual deal. For those who don't know, Criterion have the best prints, transfer and extras in the business, so their discs run about 50%-100% more than most releases. They also specialize in art, avant garde, repertory and less known films, although they have also released versions of critically acclaimed hits. Their dvd are well worth the extra price--the Vampyr disc has three documentaries, a book on the film filled with critical essays and the best transfer of the film I've ever seen. This time, I ordered some British Hitchcocks--one with another complete 1930s non-Hitchcock film as one of its extras, the Nick Ray film Bigger Than Life, the Eclipse Alexander Korda collection (I need his Private Life of Henry VIII for my British Cinema class), Cocteau's Belle et La Bete, Marcel Carne's Les Enfants du Paradis, Lean's Brief Encounter and Sirk's Written on the Wind. It's tough to limit oneself when the prices are so good but I reminded myself there would most likely be another sale at some point--one where I could also purchase their about to be released Josef Von Sternberg silent film set.
Yesterday, I also received one of my biggest covets--the expensive and extensive Murnau and Borzage at Fox box set. F.W. Murnau was one of the most acclaimed German film directors of the 1920s, with some dubbing him the most talented of his time. He came to the US studio Fox in the late 1920s and made some of the most critically renowned silent films, including Sunrise which some consider the finest silent film--and maybe the most beautiful film--ever made. I'm not sure it deserves this level of renown (what film does?) but it is a great film. Prints of Murnau's work have not survived in the quality and quantity of some of his peers, like Fritz Lang, and his American work is tough to find on dvd until this set was released. It includes a number of his last films (he died in a car wreck in the early 30s) and some reconstructions of lost films (either as fragments on a disc or in book form). Frank Borzage is not well known today but was one of Murnau's peers who lived much longer and directed some of the most beautiful and poetic silent and sound films. The set includes some of his late silent and early sound films, as well as books and documentaries. I've wanted it for ages but at $240 plus tax, I couldn't justify it--even though it is tax deductible as a research/work expense. Right now, amazon has it for $130 (plus tax) and free shipping. I got it yesterday and the box weighs a ton--it's beautifully packaged and I'm going to have hours of fun with it.
My other arrival was my second J. Crew order. I took photos which I'll post soon. I'm really happy with both items--the t-shirt fits well, is a thicker cotton and the silvery-gold strips are beautiful. I will live in the cardigan when it gets a tad cooler--it's a lovely thick knit blend that will be useful for all but the most extreme weather.
Now I have to economize. As the sales wind down, most of what I want has sold out, is not in my size or is out of my price range. There are a few new J. Crew arrivals I like, but most are not in stores yet so I have time to consider getting them or waiting for further reductions.