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The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray) thread

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Rather than let Criterion discussion and announcements get caught up in the general Blu-ray thread I thought it was high time it had its own. We'll kick of with their January 2011 announcements:

 

 

Army of Shadows

Audio commentary featuring film historian Ginette Vincendeau

Interviews with Pierre Lhomme and editor Françoise Bonnot

On-set footage and excerpts from archival interviews with director Jean-Pierre Melville, cast members, writer Joseph Kessel, and real-life Resistance fighters

Jean-Pierre Melville et 'L'armée des ombres' (2002): a short program on the director and his film

Le journal de la Résistance (1944): a rare short documentary shot on the front lines during the final days of German-occupied France

Film restoration demonstration by Lhomme

Theatrical trailers

A booklet featuring essays by critic Amy Taubin and historian Robert O. Paxton, as well as excerpts from Rui Nogueira's Melville on Melville

 

Broadcast News

New audio commentary featuring James L. Brooks and Richard Marks

New documentary on Brooks's career in television and film, featuring actors Marilu Henner (Taxi) and Julie Kavner (Rhoda, The Simpsons) and several other of Brooks's collaborators

Deleted scenes and an alternate ending, with commentary by Brooks

New video interview with veteran CBS news producer Susan Zirinsky, one of the models for actress Holly Hunter's character and an associate producer on the film

Featurette containing on-set footage and interviews with Brooks, Hunter, and actor Albert Brooks

Original theatrical trailer

A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Carrie Rickey

 

The Naked Kiss

New video interview with star Constance Towers by film historian and filmmaker Charles Dennis

Excerpts from a 1983 episode of the BBC's The South Bank Show dedicated to director Samuel Fuller

Interview with Fuller from a 1967 episode of the French television series Cinéastes de notre temps

Interview with Fuller from a 1987 episode of the French television series

Cinéma cinémas

Original theatrical trailer

Illustrations by cartoonist Daniel Clowes (Eightball, Ghost World) and a booklet featuring an essay by critic and poet Robert Polito and excerpts from Fuller's autobiography, A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting, and Filmmaking

 

Robinson Crusoe on Mars

Audio commentary featuring screenwriter Ib Melchior, actors Paul Mantee and Victor Lundin, production designer Al Nozaki, Oscar-winning special effects designer and Robinson Crusoe on Mars historian Robert Skotak, and excerpts from a 1979 audio interview with director Byron Haskin

Destination Mars, a video featurette by filmmaker and space historian Michael Lennick detailing the science behind the film

Music video: Victor Lundin, "Robinson Crusoe on Mars"

Stills gallery

Theatrical trailer

A booklet featuring an essay by Lennick as well as Melchior's "Brief Yargorian Vocabulary" (a glossary of original alien dialect) and a list of facts about Mars, both from his original screenplay

 

Shock Corridor

New video interview with star Constance Towers by film historian and filmmaker Charles Dennis

The Typewriter, the Rifle and the Movie Camera, Adam Simon's 1996 documentary on director Samuel Fuller

Original theatrical trailer

Illustrations by cartoonist Daniel Clowes (Eightball, Ghost World) and a booklet featuring an essay by critic and poet Robert Polito and excerpts from Fuller's autobiography, A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting, and Filmmaking

 

 

 

I got round to watching their release of The Thin Red Line last night and it really does rank amongst the best looking discs I have ever scene. It's restores the emotional, visual power of the theatrical release that the DVD version could never capture. With Days of Heaven already released I really do hope past talk of Warner letting Criterion have Badlands turns out to be true some day.

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.... and Wes Anderson first movie to hit Blu-Ray.

 

 

Third. Bottle Rocket was amongst Criterion's first Blu-ray releases in 2008 and 20th Century Fox put out The Fantastic Mr Fox.

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Is Seven Samurai really coming out this month? Any word on how the video quality is? I bought the last restoration they did on dvd but would be tempted to get this one on blu, especially since these go out of print.

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Some fantastic titles coming in April:

 

 

Blow Out

New hour-long interview with De Palma, conducted by filmmaker Noah Baumbach

New interview with star Nancy Allen

Cameraman Garrett Brown on the Steadicam shots featured in the film within the film

Select on-set photos from photographer Louis Goldman

Original theatrical trailer

A booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Sragow and Pauline Kael's original New Yorker review

 

Le cercle rouge

Excerpts from Cinéastes de notre temps: "Jean-Pierre Melville"

Video interviews with assistant director Bernard Stora and Rui Nogueria, the author of Melville on Melville

Thirty minutes of rare on-set and archival footage, featuring interviews with director Jean-Pierre Melville and stars Alain Delon, Yves Montand, and André Bourvil

Original theatrical trailer and 2003 Rialto Pictures rerelease trailer

A booklet featuring essays by film critics Michael Sragow and Chris Fujiwara, excerpts from Melville on Melville, a reprinted interview with composer Eric Demarsan, and an appreciation from director John Woo

 

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Audio commentaries:

Terry Gilliam

Stars Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro and producer Laila Nabulsi

Author Hunter S. Thompson

Deleted scenes, with optional commentary by Gilliam

Selection of Thompson correspondence, read on camera by Depp

Hunter Goes to Hollywood, a short documentary by filmmaker Wayne Ewing

A look at the controversy over the screenwriting credit

Profile of Oscar Zeta Acosta, the inspiration for Dr. Gonzo

Collection of artwork by illustrator Ralph Steadman

Audio excerpt from the 1996 spoken-word CD Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, featuring filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and actor Maury Chaykin

Fear and Loathing on the Road to Hollywood, a 1978 BBC documentary with Thompson and Steadman

Storyboards, production designs, stills gallery, theatrical trailer, and TV spots

A booklet featuring an essay by critic J. Hoberman and two pieces by Thompson

 

Kes

Making "Kes," a new documentary featuring Loach, Menges, producer Tony Garnett, and actor David Bradley

The Southbank Show: "Ken Loach" (1993), a profile of the filmmaker, featuring Loach, Garnett, directors Stephen Frears and Alan Parker, and other Loach collaborators

Cathy Come Home (1967), a feature directed by Loach and produced by Garnett, with an introduction by film writer Graham Fuller

Original theatrical trailer

A booklet featuring an essay by Fuller

 

Sweetie

Audio commentary featuring Jane Campion, director of photoraphy Sally Bongers, and screenwriter Gerard Lee

Making "Sweetie," a video conversation between stars Genevieve Lemon and Karen Colston

Campion's early short films An Exercise in Discipline: Peel, Passionless Moments, and A Girl's Own Story

Jane Campion: The Film School Years, a 1989 video conversation between Campion and critic Peter Thompson

Gallery of behind-the-scenes photos and production stills

Original theatrical trailer

A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Dana Polan

White Material

New interviews with Clare Denis and actors Isabelle Huppert and Isaach de Bankolé

Short documentary by Denis on the film's premiere at the Écrans Noirs Film Festival 2010 in Cameroon

Deleted scene

Theatrical trailer

A booklet featuring a new essay by film writer Amy Taubin

 

 

Seeing as Universal have their barebones Fear and Loathing disc already on sale but have still granted Criterion licence to release their version to Blu-ray then there may still be hope for a respectable release of Spartacus.

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Good stuff.

 

One more for that month, a fine film by Claire Denis:

 

White Material - Blu-ray & DVD

In White Material, the great contemporary French filmmaker Claire Denis (Chocolat, Beau travail), known for her restless, intimate dramas, introduces an unforgettably crazed character. Played ferociously by Isabelle Huppert (Story of Women, The Piano Teacher), Maria is an entitled white woman living in Africa, desperately unwilling to give up her family’s crumbling coffee plantation despite the civil war closing in on her. Created with Denis’ signature full-throttle visual style, which places the viewer in the center of the maelstrom, White Material is a gripping evocation of the death throes of European colonialism and a fascinating look at a woman lost in her own mind.

 

2009 • 105 minutes • Color • Surround • In French with English subtitles • 2.35:1 aspect ratio

 

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

• New digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Claire Denis and cinematographer Yves Cape, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray

• New interviews with Denis and actors Isabelle Huppert and Isaach de Bankolé

• Short documentary by Denis on the film’s premiere at the Écrans Noirs Film Festival 2010 in Cameroon

• Deleted scene

• Theatrical trailer

• New and improved English subtitle translation

• PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film writer Amy Taubin

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A strong lineup of titles for August:

 

 

The Battle of Algiers


  •  
  • High-definition digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Marcello Gatti (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Gillo Pontecorvo: The Dictatorship of Truth, a documentary narrated by literary critic Edward Said
  • Marxist Poetry: The Making of "The Battle of Algiers," a documentary featuring interviews with Pontecorvo, Gatti, composer Ennio Morricone, and others
  • Interviews with Spike Lee, Mira Nair, Julian Schnabel, Steven Soderbergh, and Oliver Stone on the film's influence, style, and importance
  • Remembering History, a documentary reconstructing the Algerian experience of the battle for independence
  • "États d'armes," a documentary excerpt featuring senior French military officers recalling the use of torture and execution to combat the Algerian rebellion
  • "The Battle of Algiers": A Case Study, a video piece featuring U.S. counterterrorism experts
  • Gillo Pontecorvo's Return to Algiers, a documentary in which the filmmaker revisits the country after three decades of independence
  • Production gallery
  • Theatrical and rerelease trailers
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Peter Matthews, excerpts from Algeria's National Liberation Front leader Saadi Yacef's original account of his arrest, excerpts from the film's screenplay, a reprinted interview with cowriter Franco Solinas, and biographical sketches of key figures in the French-Algerian War

 

 

Cul-de-sac


  •  
  • New digital restoration, approved by director Roman Polanski (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Two Gangsters and an Island, a 2003 short documentary about the making of Cul-de-sac, featuring interviews with Polanski, producer Gene Gutowski, and cinematographer Gil Taylor
  • Interview with Polanski from 1967
  • Theatrical trailers
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic David Thompson

 

 

The Killing


  •  
  • New high-definition digital restoration (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • New video interview with producer James B. Harris
  • Excerpts of interviews with actor Sterling Hayden from the French television series Cinéma cinemas
  • New video interview with film scholar Robert Polito about writer Jim Thompson and his work on The Killing
  • Restored transfer of Stanley Kubrick's 1955 noir feature Killer's Kiss
  • New video appreciation of Killer's Kiss with film critic Geoffrey O'Brien
  • Theatrical trailers
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film historian Haden Guest and a reprinted interview with Marie Windsor on The Killing

 

 

Secret Sunshine


  •  
  • New digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Lee Chang-dong and cinematographer Cho Yong-kyu (with DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition)
  • New interview with Lee
  • On the Set of "Secret Sunshine," a video piece featuring interviews with actors Jeon Do-yeon and Song Kang-ho, as well as behind-the-scenes footage
  • U.S. theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Dennis Lim

 

 

Orpheus


  •  
  • New high-definition digital restoration (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Audio commentary by French film scholar James Williams
  • Jean Cocteau: Autobiography of an Unknown, a 1984 feature-length documentary
  • Video piece from 2008 featuring assistant director Claude Pinoteau on the special effects in the film
  • 40 Minutes with Jean Cocteau, an interview with the director from 1957
  • In Search of Jazz, a 1956 interview with Cocteau on the use of jazz in the film
  • La villa Santo-Sospir, a 16 mm color Cocteau film from 1951
  • Gallery of images by French film portrait photographer Roger Corbeau
  • Raw newsreel footage
  • Theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by author Mark Polizzotti, selected Cocteau writings on the film, and an essay on La villa Santo-Sospir by Williams

 

 

If…


  •  
  • Restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by cinematographer Miroslav Ondříček and assistant editor Ian Rakoff (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Audio commentary featuring film critic and historian David Robinson and actor Malcolm McDowell
  • Episode of the Scottish TV series Cast and Crew from 2003, featuring interviews with McDowell, Ondříček, Rakoff, director's assistant Stephen Frears, producer Michael Medwin, and screenwriter David Sherwin
  • Video interview with actor Graham Crowden
  • Thursday's Children (1954), an Academy Award–winning documentary about a school for deaf children, by director Lindsay Anderson and Guy Brenton and narrated by actor Richard Burton
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic David Ehrenstein as well as reprinted pieces by Sherwin and Anderson

 

 

The Complete Jean Vigo

  • New, high-definition digital restorations of all of Jean Vigo's films: À propos de Nice, Taris, Zéro de conduite, and L'Atalante (with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Audio commentaries featuring Michael Temple, author of Jean Vigo
  • Alternate shots from À propos de Nice, featuring footage Vigo cut from the film
  • Animated tribute to Vigo by filmmaker Michel Gondry
  • Ninety-minute 1964 episode of the French television series Cinéastes de notre temps on Vigo, directed by Jacques Rozier
  • Conversation from 1968 between filmmakers François Truffaut and Eric Rohmer on L'Atalante
  • Les voyages de "L'Atalante," Bernard Eisenschitz's 2001 documentary tracking the history of the film
  • Video interview from 2007 with director Otar Iosseliani on Vigo
  • New and improved English subtitle translations
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by film writers Michael Almereyda, Robert Polito, B. Kite, and Luc Sante

 

 

Very surprised to see Killer's Kiss included on the disc of The Killing. Great to see that it is advertised as a restored transfer in its own right, but I am assuming the fact they're not similarly boasting about it being in 1080p means it will not be presented in HD.

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So what are the must have Criterion blurays? I haven't been buying much media lately, but love my old Criterion dvds. What are the best of the best?

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Difficult to know where to begin. Do you own any on DVD that you love enough to consider upgrading? What are those titles? Generally their Blu-rays are of very good quality and they do the best they can with the source material available to them.

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November announcements!

 

Fanny and Alexander 1982 (November 8th, 2011)

  • High-definition digital restorations of the television and theatrical versions of Fanny and Alexander
  • High-definition digital restoration of Ingmar Bergman's feature-length documentaryThe Making of Fanny and Alexander
  • Ingmar Bergman Bids Farewell to Film: A sixty-minute conversation between Bergman and film critic Nils Petter Sundgren recorded for Swedish television in 1984
  • Audio commentary on the theatrical version by film scholar Peter Cowie
  • A Bergman Tapestry: A documentary featuring interviews with cast and crew
  • Costume sketches and footage of the models for the film's sets
  • Stills gallery
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Optional English-dubbed soundtrack for the theatrical version
  • Booklet featuring essays by documentarian and film historian Stig Björkman, novelist Rick Moody, and film scholar Paul Arthur

Three Colours Trilogy, 1993-1994 (November 15th, 2011)

  • Three cinema lessons with director Krzysztof Kieślowski
  • New interviews with composer Zbigniew Preisner, writer Krzysztof Piesiewicz and actors Julie Delpy, Zbigniew Zamachowski and Irène Jacob
  • Selected-scene commentary for Blue with actress Juliette Binoche
  • Three new video essays, by film writers Annette Insdorf, Tony Rayns and Dennis Lim
  • Kieślowski's student short The Tram (1966) and his fellow student's short from the same year The Face, which features Kieślowski in a solo performance
  • Two short documentaries by Kieślowski: Seven Women of Different Ages (1978) andTalking Heads (1980)
  • Krzysztof Kieślowski: I'm So-So . . . (1995), a feature-length documentary in which the filmmaker discusses his life and work
  • Two multi-interview programs, Reflections on Blue and Kieślowski: The Early Years, with film critic Geoff Andrew, Binoche, filmmaker Agnieszka Holland, cinematographer Sławomir Idziak, Insdorf, Jacob and editor Jacques Witta
  • Interviews with producer Marin Karmitz and Witta
  • Behind-the-scenes programs for White and Red, and Kieślowski Cannes 1994, a short documentary on Red's world premiere
  • Original theatrical trailers
  • New and improved English subtitle translations
  • Booklet featuring essays by critics Colin MacCabe, Nick James, Stuart Klawans and Georgina Evans, an excerpt from Kieślowski on Kieślowski and reprinted interviews with cinematographers Sławomir Idziak, Edward Klosinski and Piotr Sobocinski

The Rules of the Game, 1939 (November 15th, 2011)

  • Introduction to the film by Jean Renoir
  • Audio commentary written by film scholar Alexander Sesonske and read by filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich
  • Version comparison: side-by-side analysis of the film's two endings, and an illustrated study of Renoir's shooting script
  • Selected-scene analysis by Renoir historian Christopher Faulkner
  • Excerpts from Jean Renoir, le patron: La Règle et l'exception (1966), a French television program directed by Jacques Rivette
  • Part one of Jean Renoir, a two-part 1993 BBC documentary by David Thompson
  • Video essay about the film's production, release, and later reconstruction
  • Jean Gaborit and Jacques Durand discuss their reconstruction and re-release of the film
  • Interviews with Renoir's son and assistant cameraman Alain Renoir, set designer Max Douy, and actress Mila Parély
  • Written tributes to the film and Renoir by J. Hoberman, Kent Jones,Paul Schrader, Wim Wenders and others
  • Improved English subtitle translation
  • Booklet featuring writings by Sesonske, Renoir, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bertrand Tavernier, and François Truffaut

Rushmore, 1998 (November 22nd, 2011)

  • New high-definition digital transfer of the director's cut supervised by director Wes Anderson
  • Audio commentary by Anderson, co-writer Owen Wilson and actor Jason Schwartzman
  • The Making of Rushmore: An exclusive behind-the-scenes documentary by Eric Chase Anderson
  • Max Fischer Players Present: Theatrical "adaptations" of Armageddon, Out of Sight and The Truman Show, staged for the 1999 MTV Movie Awards
  • Episode of The Charlie Rose Show featuring Anderson and actor Bill Murray
  • Cast audition footage
  • Wes Anderson's hand-drawn storyboards, plus a film-to-storyboard comparison
  • Props, posters, behind-the-scenes photos and other graphic ephemera
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Collectible poster
  • Booklet featuring an essay by film critic Dave Kehr

12 Angry Men, 1957 (November 22nd, 2011)

  • Twelve Angry Men: From Television to the Big Screen: A video essay by film scholar Vance Kapley comparing the Sidney Lumet and Schaffner versions
  • Frank Schaffner's 1955 television version, with an introduction by Ron Simon, director of the Paley Center for Media Studies
  • Archival interviews with Lumet
  • New interview about the director with writer Walter Bernstein
  • New interview with Ron Simon about television writer Reginald Rose
  • New interview with cinematographer John Bailey in which he discusses cinematographer Boris Kaufman
  • Tragedy in a Temporary Town (1956), a teleplay directed by Lumet and written by Rose
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Booklet featuring an essay by writer and law professor Thane Rosenbaum

 

 

I'll take them all.

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