• There’s nothing quite like People on Sunday, as critics are realizing in their reviews of the new Criterion Blu-ray and DVD special editions of this rare, early collaboration of such luminaries as Billy Wilder, Robert and Kurt Siodmak, Edgar G. Ulmer, and Fred Zinnemann. The New York Times’s Dave Kehr explains, “This microbudgeted independent production discarded the elaborate studio aesthetic so beautifully engineered by filmmakers like F. W. Murnau and Fritz Lang in favor of off-the-cuff shooting in the streets of Berlin.” It’s also a portrait of a time in German history whose end was all too near. Writes Kehr: “In the bright moment preserved by People on Sunday, the coming apocalypse seems unthinkable. In the magnificent Blu-ray edition released this week by the Criterion Collection, the spirit and sensuality (along with a touch of cynicism) of this soon-to-be-lost world emerges with poignant, tactile clarity.”

    DVD Verdict’s Clark Douglas sings its praises as well, as “an important piece of cinema history that film buffs need to check out; but it’s also a very amiable little movie that still proves capable of providing loads of smiles . . . The movie is transporting in a way that a conventional film could not have been.”  DVD Talk’s Christopher McQuain is delighted by the film, calling it “a little slice of youthful paradise that still feels fresh, bedazzling and seducing first-time viewers even eighty years after it was made.” And Sara Michelle Fetters at moviefreak.com is particularly enchanted by this “melodious and rapturous silent marvel,” exclaiming, “Stunningly shot, magnificently edited, and with its cast of nonprofessionals acquitting themselves nicely, this is a gem of a motion picture that I’m just beside myself with happiness that I’ve gotten the opportunity to see.”

    UPDATE: Sean Gandert in Paste: “Practically a miracle.”

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