This November sees Criterion releasing its first 4K Ultra HD titles, but that isn’t the only big reveal regarding their disc releases for that month.
Yes they are releasing Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane,” David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive” and Albert and Allen Hughes’ “Menace II Society” in 4K. Federico Fellini’s “La Strada” is also on its way to Blu-ray.
But also in the works for that month is a box-set containing all of Hong Kong New Wave leader Tsui Hark’s “Once Upon a Time in China” saga.
The 1990s film series set a new standard for martial-arts spectacle and launched Jet Li to international fame. Set in late nineteenth century China, this explores an era of immense cultural and technological change as Western imperialism clashed with tradition and public order was upended by the threats of foreign espionage and rising nationalism.
Against this turbulent backdrop, one man – real-life martial-arts master, physician, and folk hero Wong Fei-hung – emerges as a noble protector of Chinese values as the country hurtles toward modernity.
The box-set includes 4K digital restorations of the first three films and new 2K digital restorations of the fourth and fifth – all presented with their original Cantonese theatrical-release sound mixes in uncompressed monaural or stereo
There’s also alternate stereo Cantonese soundtracks for the first two films featuring the original theatrical sound effects, and a monaural Cantonese soundtrack for the third film.
1997’s Once Upon a Time in China and America is also included with a 2K digital transfer, 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio and monaural Cantonese soundtracks, along with a stereo Mandarin track with the voice of actor Jet Li and a making of documentary
Special features include new interviews with director Tsui Hark, Film Workshop cofounder Nansun Shi, editor Marco Mak, and critic Tony Rayns. There’s also deleted scenes, a 2004 documentary an audio interviews, excerpts from a 2019 master class by Yuen Wo-ping, archival interviews and the 1976 doco “Spikes to Spindles” about New York City’s Chinatown.