View Full Version : The Criterion Collection

11-26-2004, 10:34 AM

And $5k to buy it.

Funny entries in it that seem out of place, like Armageddon and The Beastie Boys, as Criterion has been starting to whore its name out to get in on more contemporary stuff just to crank out a buck.

Some really fantastic ones, like Beauty and the Beast(Cocteau live version, not the Disney cartoon) are missing, and some decisions are strange(Down by Law but not Stranger Than Paradise).

John Cole
11-26-2004, 12:11 PM
Beauty and the Beast is, though, available on Criterion--and it's a great print, too. I recommend Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc from the collection.

11-26-2004, 12:27 PM
What is the Criterion Collection. Why would I want to pay twice as much for one of their dvds when I can just get a normal copy.

11-26-2004, 12:30 PM
Well. Maybe they are the only one who prints those movies. But there is some Criterion type thing that I see in best buy, maybe Superbit, that seems to dish out copies of movies for twice as much money.

I am very ignorant on this subject and too lazy to googleit.

11-26-2004, 12:55 PM
Criterion was simply the only way to get many classic films, especially foreign or obscure ones. They also give it to you the way it's meant to be -- original aspect ratio, non-colorized, etc. But they also tend to use very good prints and restore the sound and picture if they've deteriorated. Not a problem with a Beastie Boys DVD most likely, but with the greatest movies ever made, it's really great to see them in as close to a pristine condition as any of us are likely to see them. Sometimes there are also things there that film buffs would like -- like interviews with old stars and directors, little add-ons that make the whole package more interesting.

But mostly, Criterion is a name built on the quality of the sound/image, and generally does what are considered "classic" films.

11-26-2004, 01:03 PM
The web page discussing the collection says that Beauty and the Beast is no longer in print. Shame if so, because it's one of the most sheerly fun movies I've seen. I'll have to check up for myself. It's amazing that good a movie could go out of print once it came in.

Thanks for the Dreyer recommendation -- I've always wanted to see that Joan of Arc movie by him; I understand the movie takes place almost entirely in close-ups, or at least that the close-up is really used powerfully in that film. I understand his other movies are good too, but I don't even remember what they are.

I'd also like to see some Ozu movies.

But I'll definitely be seeing those movies one at a time.

I did get Criterion's Grand Illusion, one of my big favorites, and enjoyed the package, especially Von Stroheim's writing about his relationship with Renoir. I also got but haven't watched yet Nights of Cabiria, another huge favorite, with just about my favorite ending shot in any film; L'Atalante by Vigo, whose other two movies I'd love to see but haven't(another Michel Simon favorite of mine); and hmm...well the name of the other one slips me now. I save up the really good ones for an evening where I want to sit down and really savor them, usually watch them twice. I've seen all those before, but they're worth seeing plenty of times.

I'd love to build up more classics. Criterion is prohibitively expensive though, so I stock up on those at a slow rate.

11-26-2004, 01:46 PM
some decisions are strange(Down by Law but not Stranger Than Paradise).

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If I had done the choosing, it would have been Ghost Dog. Down by Law's my second favorite though. Not that I like the movie, but I just really love the credit sequence with the Tom Waits song. Haven't seen Stranger Than Paradise, good?

John Cole
11-26-2004, 01:55 PM
The story of the print of Joan of Arc is amazing: the original was destroyed by fire; Dreyer cobbled together another print, and it also was destroyed by fire. The print used for Criterion's version was discovered in a broom closest of a mental institution about twenty years ago. Apparently, Dreyer gave a print to a group of monks who only watched it a couple times. How it wound up in a hospital is anybody's guess.

BTW, when these films do go out of print, the price skyrockets. If Beauty is indeed out of print, you may want to pick up a copy now.

11-26-2004, 04:31 PM
Stranger than Paradise is definitely good. I have a soft spot in my heart for the "We all scream for ice cream!" scene from Down by Law big-time -- I haven't seen it since it came out, and I still grin uncontrollably when I think about it. So I'd probably get Down by Law first. Stranger than Paradise is very worth watching and most think it's the better film(by far, for some), but I guess it didn't burn itself into me as much, though I was wowed by it too.

I haven't seen Ghost Dog. Or any of his other films. I definitely would like to catch them sometime though.

11-26-2004, 04:43 PM
Oh, you know what I thought was really great? Ossessione, the Italian flick that was the first ever production of The Postman Always Rings Twice. It was much grittier and better than the first American version, and it was definitely way better than the Nicholson version. Supposedly a key film in the start of Italian Neorealism(and I think the only Italian neorealist film I've seen besides Roma: Open City), but whatever its historical worth, to me it's just a really good film.

That one is definitely on my list. I've been waiting for a chance to buy it for decades now.

11-26-2004, 04:49 PM
Ghost Dog kicks much ass.

My only Criterion purchase is "Do the Right Thing," although they have tons of classics and are worth getting.

Brazil is a good one that comes to mind, 3 discs !! /images/graemlins/shocked.gif

11-26-2004, 05:00 PM
It looks like Amazon has copies of TWO versions of Beauty and the Beast -- one a restored one with a Philip Glass score(which doesn't sound too exciting) and a few extras. It seems to be missing "a documentary about the movie and the film" or something like that which was present in the older version. I wonder if you can shut the Philip Glass version of the music track off. The film was made in 1945, so I don't know why they have to go adding new things to it from the present day.

At any rate, my guess is that the out of print business in the Criterion Collection refers to Criterion's abandoning of their old version and failure to substitute the new version into their $5k package. What a gyp! For $5k, you'd think they'd not jerk around and drop one of the best films in their catalogue. I'm sure the average customer would gladly drop the Beastie Boys for Cocteau.