Criterion Laserdiscs

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Narshty
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:27 pm
Location: London, UK

#2 Post by Narshty » Mon Dec 13, 2004 5:30 pm

If I wanted to buy some of the LDs in order to digitally capture and archive the commentaries and still frame material (discs like Midnight Cowboy, Great Escape, King Kong, High Noon, Magnificent Ambersons, etc), what would I need to do this? I am that clueless.

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exte
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#3 Post by exte » Mon Dec 13, 2004 9:56 pm

Has anyone listened to all of the Howard Suber commentaries, (The Graduate, Some Like it Hot, & High Noon)? Are the last two on par with The Graduate? I'm not a fan of Hot, and haven't seen High Noon. Would they be worth the blind buy?

Can anyone rate the commentary for Seven? And is the picture quality as stunning as I hear it is? Thanks.

EDIT: Also, what Criterion laserdiscs have you experienced to have laser rot? So far, I’ve experienced laser rot with Tootsie CLV (the digital audio track was gone on side 1, though side 2 was fine) and Boyz N the Hood (the analog audio commentary had some distortion).
Anyway, these seem to be the cheaper titles on EBay, and perhaps possible laser rot is the reason.

atcolomb
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:49 pm
Location: Round Lake, Illinois USA

#4 Post by atcolomb » Fri Dec 17, 2004 12:29 pm

I have 85 Criterion laserdiscs and all of them have no laser rot.
I bought half of them from Ebay at great prices and with no problems,
just make sure the laserdisc jacket is in good shape. I guess i am
lucky!! :)

Ishmael
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:56 pm

#5 Post by Ishmael » Fri Dec 17, 2004 12:39 pm

exte wrote: Also, what Criterion laserdiscs have you experienced to have laser rot?
Both discs of my Magnificent Ambersons LD rotted. Heartbreaking. I have probably about 20 other Criterion LD's though, and all of those were okay last time I checked.

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Lemdog
The Man with no Title
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#6 Post by Lemdog » Wed Dec 22, 2004 10:31 pm

I never got into laserdiscs, but now I would like to purchase a laserdisc player. From what I see ebay looks to be my best option. My question is what kind of features should I look for in a player? Or even better what is a good player? As a poor university student I do not have much money, but I could spend $50-$60 on one. Any recommendations?

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exte
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#7 Post by exte » Wed Dec 22, 2004 11:49 pm

I got mine used for five bucks, but had to find the remote online, which cost $20+. Any will do if you're not picky, really, but you'll need a remote to alternate the audio tracks for a commentary. Glad to hear you're interested!

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porquenegar
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:33 pm

#8 Post by porquenegar » Sun Jan 02, 2005 8:02 pm

Lemdog wrote:I never got into laserdiscs, but now I would like to purchase a laserdisc player. From what I see ebay looks to be my best option. My question is what kind of features should I look for in a player? Or even better what is a good player? As a poor university student I do not have much money, but I could spend $50-$60 on one. Any recommendations?
I wouldn't buy a LD player off of ebay if I were you. I bought one off there recently and it was damaged during shipping. It was packaged very well and the seller swears up and down that it was in perfect working order when he shipped it. The box looked like it had seen WWII action by the time it made it to me via FedEx. I have since heard similar stories from other people. If you read Fed Ex's fine print they say something like you should expect the box to be dropped from as high as 6 feet and that you need to package accordingly. The good players are fairly heavy and have a lot of mass to them so dropping them generates a lot of internal inertia so I think it is a risk even if they are double boxed and packed well.

My advice would be to look at local pawn shops. You should have very little trouble finding one there. Here are a couple of websites that helped me out with regards to picking up and using LD players.

Josh Zyber's Laserdisc Forever is amazingly helpful.

The Laserdisc Archive is also an invaluable resource.

The consensus seems to be that Pioneer player's are the best bang for your buck. The CLD-704 is highly recommended. CLD-703 is basically the same player but without AC-3. You will mostly likely not be able to use AC-3 without an adaptor which are hard to find and expensive. Read Josh's site for more info. These units are both out of the $60 price range usually selling for $250ish but you never know what you will find at a pawn shop so I thought I'd list them. I recommend you take a look through the Laserdisc Archive and familiarize yourself with the Pioneer numbering scheme so you can recognize newer from older models.

Lastly, I found the article on getting the best picture possible from you LD to be very informative on the Laserdisc forever site. Definitely read that.

Hope that helps.

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Elephant
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 7:17 pm
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#9 Post by Elephant » Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:35 pm

The consensus seems to be that Pioneer player's are the best bang for your buck. The CLD-704 is highly recommended. CLD-703 is basically the same player but without AC-3. You will mostly likely not be able to use AC-3 without an adaptor which are hard to find and expensive. Read Josh's site for more info. These units are both out of the $60 price range usually selling for $250ish but you never know what you will find at a pawn shop so I thought I'd list them. I recommend you take a look through the Laserdisc Archive and familiarize yourself with the Pioneer numbering scheme so you can recognize newer from older models.
I'll second the recommendation for Pioneer players. Mine is from the late eighties (their date of manufacture is stamped on the back of every player) and I've had zero problems with it. The main thing is that you have to get one with a remote or else you won't be able to access any of the special features, because the player doesn't have the buttons to use the STEP function or to switch analog channels to listen to the commentary, etc.

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Alonzo the Armless
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#10 Post by Alonzo the Armless » Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:40 pm


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porquenegar
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#11 Post by porquenegar » Tue Jan 25, 2005 9:53 pm

I recently picked up the Player LD and thoroughly enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed the interview with 20 screenwriters. There are four images going on at the same time with one image in each quadrant. Each quadrant has the screenwriters discussing a separate topic (The Player, Screenwriting, Industry & Tales) with a specific audio track devoted to each subscreen. A1 = discusion of the movie, D2 = Industry Tales, etc. It is quite inventive. I'm not all the way through the commentary but it is decent so far.

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exte
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#12 Post by exte » Wed Jan 26, 2005 5:00 am

I'm glad you posted that. I've heard the LD is much better than the DVD, particularly with the commentary. Let us know how strongly you recommend this. Thanks.

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porquenegar
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#13 Post by porquenegar » Mon Jan 31, 2005 1:39 pm

exte wrote:I'm glad you posted that. I've heard the LD is much better than the DVD, particularly with the commentary. Let us know how strongly you recommend this. Thanks.
I'm going to go ahead and give it a very strong recommendation. The video looks great, the commentary is interesting and funny and it is loaded with other supplemental material. Oh yeah, the movie is great too!

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exte
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#14 Post by exte » Sat Feb 12, 2005 1:03 am

Does anyone have the Criterion laserdisc version of 2001: A Space Odyssey? I'm curious if it's worth buying just for the supplements (since I have the dvd). I hear there's an interview with Arthur C. Clarke. How long is it? How in-depth does it go? If you're a Kubrick nut, do they go heavily into the special effects in those memos, or is it just plastered mostly with hundreds of photos?

I know the disc used to be considered 'loaded,' I guess, but maybe not compared to today's SE dvds... Can anyone offer some answers about this release? Thank you.

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porquenegar
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#15 Post by porquenegar » Mon Feb 14, 2005 1:42 pm

exte wrote:Does anyone have the Criterion laserdisc version of 2001: A Space Odyssey? I'm curious if it's worth buying just for the supplements (since I have the dvd). I hear there's an interview with Arthur C. Clarke. How long is it? How in-depth does it go? If you're a Kubrick nut, do they go heavily into the special effects in those memos, or is it just plastered mostly with hundreds of photos?

I know the disc used to be considered 'loaded,' I guess, but maybe not compared to today's SE dvds... Can anyone offer some answers about this release? Thank you.
I have it although I still haven't made my way through everything. The included memos and letters are fascinating, especially the discussion of what would constitute a "calling card" of having being previously visited by an alien race and would we recognize it as such. There are hundreds of pages of material to read through. It is really very amazing.

I don't remember how long the Arthur C Clarke interview is but it don't remember it being short and he has some great anecdotes regarding working with Kubrick. Many of the photos, demonstrations have that funky 60's horned rimmed glasses, pocket protector, crew cut scientist look and feel to them so be warned.

The video and audio presentation are fine, but aren't up the the standard of the DVD. If you are a fan of the movie and science fiction in general and don't mind reading from you TV monitor this is an easy recommendation.

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porquenegar
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#16 Post by porquenegar » Mon Feb 14, 2005 1:43 pm

What happened to the list of the "lost" Criterion commentaries?

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the dancing kid
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:35 pm

#17 Post by the dancing kid » Mon Feb 14, 2005 5:41 pm

It's in the FAQ thread.

viewtopic.php?t=27

edit - It's in the third or fourth post, so there's some scrolling down involved.

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porquenegar
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#18 Post by porquenegar » Wed Mar 16, 2005 5:27 pm

I recently picked up Supercop on ebay. I have a love for the Hong Kong action cinema genre and it was only $5. Anyway, I was shocked to see that it was dubbed and had the ridiculous American soundtrack. I cringed when the inevitable "Everyone Was Kung Fu Fighting" track came on. To be honest, the original Cantonese soundtrack was available but english subs weren't and sadly I don't understand Cantonese.

I know this is a Laserdisc and is consequently old news, but this the only example of a foreign movie issued by Criterion without english subs and a dubbed soundtrack that I can think of. It seems so opposed to their mission statement and their usual quality of work.
Last edited by porquenegar on Wed Mar 16, 2005 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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swingo
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#19 Post by swingo » Wed Mar 16, 2005 5:32 pm

At the link that Matt posted, I saw that the Blade Runner CC's LD is a different version from the original theatrical one, can somebody help me out and tell me if it's the 'eventually-known' director's cut or yet, another cut.

I'm asking this because I can get it burned in México City, and would like to know that.

Did the Criterion's Laserdisc had spanish subtitles?

thanks in advance,
Axel.

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porquenegar
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#20 Post by porquenegar » Wed Mar 16, 2005 5:37 pm

swingo wrote:At the link that Matt posted, I saw that the Blade Runner CC's LD is a different version from the original theatrical one, can somebody help me out and tell me if it's the 'eventually-known' director's cut or yet, another cut.

I'm asking this because I can get it burned in México City, and would like to know that.

Did the Criterion's Laserdisc had spanish subtitles?

thanks in advance,
Axel.
It is the theatrical version of the movie with the Harrison Ford narration, not the director's cut. This version isn't available on DVD which is why it fetches big money on ebay. There is some debate as to whether the narration of the movie helps or hinders it. I guess the director didn't like it and removed it from his director's cut version. I personally like it mainly because it is the version of the movie that I am used too.

It does not have spanish subtitles.

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swingo
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#21 Post by swingo » Wed Mar 16, 2005 5:42 pm

porquenegar wrote:
swingo wrote:At the link that Matt posted, I saw that the Blade Runner CC's LD is a different version from the original theatrical one, can somebody help me out and tell me if it's the 'eventually-known' director's cut or yet, another cut.

I'm asking this because I can get it burned in México City, and would like to know that.

Did the Criterion's Laserdisc had spanish subtitles?

thanks in advance,
Axel.
It is the theatrical version of the movie with the Harrison Ford narration, not the director's cut. This version isn't available on DVD which is why it fetches big money on ebay. There is some debate as to whether the narration of the movie helps or hinders it. I guess the director didn't like it and removed it from his director's cut version. I personally like it mainly because it is the version of the movie that I am used too.

It does not have spanish subtitles.

Gracias,

I think it's worth enough to buy it, the subtitles question was because a friend of mine wants this version but can't watch a film without spanish subtitles.

Axel.

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exte
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#22 Post by exte » Thu Mar 31, 2005 9:25 pm

I purchased Bad Day at Black Rock today solely for the commentary. It better be good for $41 bucks!

Update: This commentary is indeed amazing. As I was archiving this to mp3 and listening to it on and off, it seemed jam packed with information on just everything. Sturges talks as if he's giving a course on directing, tying everything that happened with the reasons they did and why not doing them would either be a mistake or miscalculation. I've listened to about 3/5ths, and hope to listen to the rest another night...
Last edited by exte on Tue Apr 05, 2005 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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porquenegar
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#23 Post by porquenegar » Tue Apr 05, 2005 12:06 pm

I'm making my way through the Brazil Box set and have to say I'm pretty amazed with it so far. The picture is very very good on it. My only complaint is having to get up off my ass to go through the 5 disc set but that is the nature of the beast. I plan to start listening to the commentary track tonight.

Narshty
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Location: London, UK

#24 Post by Narshty » Tue Apr 05, 2005 1:11 pm

exte wrote:I purchased Bad Day at Black Rock today solely for the commentary. It better be good for $41 bucks!
Be a sweetheart and do an MP3 conversion of John Sturges' track, won't you?

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exte
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#25 Post by exte » Tue Apr 05, 2005 3:02 pm

Sure! Paypal me the $41, sweetheart, and I'll send you the highest bitrate MP3 you ever heard!

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