Elia Kazan was one of those influential directors whose mark on cinema is so profound that it’s nearly impossible to imagine what film would be like without him.
He brought us two of the most iconic movie stars ever to grace the silver screen in Marlon Brando and James Dean, directing them to legendary performances in On the Waterfront and East of Eden, respectively. His work also heavily influenced some budding filmmakers in the 1960s — who themselves shaped filmmaking as we know it — perhaps you’ve heard of them: Penn, Cassavettes, Lumet, Allen, Scorsese.
The latter of which just recently released his documentary called A Letter to Elia, which just got picked up by Fox and is currently making its rounds at all of the major festivals. It’s premiering on PBS as part of the “American Masters” series on October 4th; but, it’s also being included in a massive, 18-disc best-of collection of Elia Kazan’s movies, including five of his never-before-released titles.
On top of the aforementioned On the Waterfront and East of Eden, the collection includes A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Boomerang!, Gentleman’s Agreement, Pinky, Panic in the Streets, A Streetcar Named Desire, Viva Zapata, Man on a Tightrope, Baby Doll, A Face in the Crowd, Wild River, Splendor in the Grass, and America, America.
America, America has never been released until now, and will also be screened at the New York Film Festival along with Scorsese’s documentary at the end of this month. And in case you can’t make that, some of Kazan’s films will be playing in art house theaters across the country, so check out their site to see if you can catch these on the big screen.
The Elia Kazan Film Collection Gift Set hits stores on November 9th, and will retail for $199.98.