This week’s DVD and Blu-ray releases include noteworthy new editions of a pair of films worth highlighting: The Reluctant Saint, newly available from Ignatius Press, and Fellini’s 8½, now on Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection.
Starring Maximilian Schell as Saint Joseph of Cupertino, The Reluctant Saint has long been popular among Catholics on VHS, but the new DVD edition restores the coda missing from the VHS copy (the “lost ending,” as a product blurb calls it; see my essay for more about this coda and its deletion).
The new Ignatius DVD comes with a 16-page booklet that includes my essay on the film and a biographical essay on St. Joseph by historian and journalist Sandra Miesel. (I’ve never met Sandra, though we did have this exchange a year or two ago over The Dark Knight.)
I first saw The Reluctant Saint something like 18 years ago in Philadelphia. I enjoyed it at the time, but on rewatching it recently I found it to be a more sensitive and enjoyable film than I remembered.
P.S. At first glance it might not appear that The Reluctant Saint and 8½ have anything in common, but they do: Filmed in Italy within a year of one another, they were both scored by the Italian composer Nino Rota.