I looked through the Milestone website, and was impressed with the amount of titles that they have out. Tons of silent films and documentaries. Many of them I have never heard of, but others are films I would really like to see. Can anyone comment on any of Milestone's releases?
Some of the films I personally am specifically interested in are: The Mystery of Picasso/Guernica (Henri-Georges Clouzot/Alain Resnais), the Early Russian Cinema Collection (series of 10 discs!), Grass (Cooper & Schoedsack), Tabu (Murnau). But, really any comments on any of their titles are welcome.
I just noticed your post, Scharphedin. I tend to be a major apologist for Milestone around here, so you might want to take what I say with a grain of salt. They're a small operation, and you have to watch out for a few bad PAL->NTSC transfers (like their infamous release of Phantom of the Opera
). But in general, I find that they're PAL-sourced ports are among the best you're likely to come across. The Mad Love
disc mentioned above is very pleasing, as is The Chess Player
. (I've also been impressed with the Doroses in my dealings with them over the phone and via e-mail -- very friendly, honest, and knowledgeable.)
Of the specific titles you mention above, I highly recommend Grass
and The Mystery of Picasso
is, of course, one of the great pioneering documentaries, and I think it betters all of Cooper and Schoedsack's later films, with the exception of King Kong
. It comes with an interview between Cooper and Rudy Behlmer, who also provides a commentary for Milestone's release of Cooper and Schoedsack's follow-up Chang
. The Picasso
documentary is extraordinary, if you like the central conceit: the film records Picasso's work as he paints by placing a camera on the other side of a transparent canvas. As I recall, the finale isn't anamorphic, which means you lose the effect Clouzot intended when Picasso switches to a larger canvas. But some of the extras make up for that loss. I wish that, in addition to the two commentaries, Milestone had offered just a little info about the short Guernica
, which just sort of comes out of the blue at you.
Over time, I've come to agree with other posters here that Tabu
is a slightly problematic DVD. There seems to be a lot of cropping or overscan going on, which hurts Murnau's compositions. And perhaps with all the extras, it should have been a two-disc set. Until we hear word that some R2 company (MoC or BFI?) is going to take this title on, however, it's the best version available.