Criterion Random Speculation Vol.3

The scuttlebutt on Criterion, Eclipse, and Janus Films. Lists and polls are STRONGLY discouraged.
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justeleblanc
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#926 Post by justeleblanc » Sun Sep 30, 2007 2:41 am

Watch the forum membership decline.

And for what it's worth, I did break this news a few months back on this forum -- along with a few other goodies. Just, ya know, mentioning that again.

If we assume Criterion bought up a bunch of OOP Sony titles, should we start a running list of possibilities?

The few that came to mind:

CALIFORNIA SPLIT
REPULSION
VANYA ON 42ND
HUSBANDS
LOVE STREAMS

And isn't there an Ophuls?

jaredsap
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#927 Post by jaredsap » Sun Sep 30, 2007 8:15 am

In terms of OOP Sony -- as opposed to never released -- FAT CITY would make a tremendous addition to Criterion's catalog, although I guess it'd have to get in line behind WISE BLOOD and THE DEAD.

And let's not forget THE SPANISH PRISONER, especially since Criterion has acknowledged more Mamet is forthcoming. (Hopefully Criterion could manage both HOMICIDE and TSP.)

A recent forum suggestion of SAFE seems very realistic.

The thought of a LOVE STREAMS Criterion package is almost too awesome to bear, but has anyone confirmed that Sony actually owns the DVD rights?

akaten

#928 Post by akaten » Sun Sep 30, 2007 10:40 am

Second the request for a Fat City release (I believe I already asked for it, somewhat naively from MOC) an excellent film, which just happens to be showing in the UK this Thursday, 10.50 pm on Five US (Freeview 35), shall keep an eye out for any dvd logos.

Also I believe The Hit has been mentioned as being acquired. Personally I much prefer Stephen Frear's debut Gumshoe but felt like mentioning if Criterion do release The Hit could include excerts from a documentary BBC aired about the Supergrass case which forms the backdrop for the film. Not in full mind, as it was elongated with endless repeats of reconstructions and padding...

Would very much like to see something by Robert Aldrich in the collection at some point. Never received a response from Criterion suggesting Ulzana's Raid...or Hard Times, Walter Hill's pseudo-sequel to Once Upon a Time in the West for that matter.

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tryavna
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#929 Post by tryavna » Sun Sep 30, 2007 11:15 am

ianungstad wrote:TCM showed a restored print of Richard Kipling's Jungle Book tonight. It was the Korda production and the film was preceded by the Janus Logo. Does a restoration usually indicate a forthcoming DVD release?

Personally I didn't like the film at all. Definitely not something I feel would be worthy of the Criterion Collection... maybe as a bit of Eclipse filler.

Sign of the times I guess, but I particularly found the use of Caucasian actors with brown paint on them to represent the "Indian" people to be fairly offensive. The majority of the film is done with stock wildlife footage and poor animatronics.
I caught the TCM showing of Jungle Book, too. But my impression was that the restoration was not particularly recent. Wasn't there a UCLA film restoration card? So I imagine that Criterion would want to work their own magic on it before release. Unless, as you suggest, they have an Eclipse set in mind. In fact, since they now control the entire Korda library, a set of Korda adventure epics would make for an appealing set: The Drum, Fire Over England, etc. (I imagine that Thief of Bagdad is a big enough title to require full CC treatment.)

As for the film itself, I actually found myself enjoying it far more than I thought I would. The Technicolor looked much better than I had remembered it. The last time I saw it, it was incredibly murky. I guess I wasn't all that bothered by the casting decisions, but then again, I'm pretty willing to suspend disbelief for a lot of those pre-1945 adventure films, like The Four Feathers, Gunga Din, etc. And it has to be said that Sabu (both the actor and his character) seems to have been treated much less patronizingly by the Kordas than Paul Robeson was. (Someone really needs to write a study of Sabu's and Robeson's work with the Kordas: with a title like "Acting the Empire" or something like that.) In fact, for me, Sabu really is the film. In many respects, it may be his best all-round role/performance -- he's the lead and star, is at his most charismatic, and invests the role with everything he's got.

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Cronenfly
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#930 Post by Cronenfly » Sun Sep 30, 2007 12:18 pm

Beyond the dated Sony PR that has thus far yielded no licensed titles (to my knowledge), is there really any hard proof that anything else from Sony/Columbia will be coming beyond Bottle Rocket (the Apu Tilogy also being a decently speculated candidate)? As much as I'd love to see Safe, California Split, Fat City, Husbands, Love Streams (isn't that one still with MGM, though?), Obsession, In the Company of Men, Gas Food Lodging, The Spanish Prisoner, Homicide, Things Change, Spider, 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould, et al., does anyone think that Sony would really allow such a large chunk of their library out?

I know what they said in their PR, but I still can't quite believe it...happy to be wrong though, and have a situation like the onw with Universal emerge, where the titles will be a steady stream (not just a block like Fox or New Line) of both debuts and reissues. They (Sony) obviously hold a lot of their back catalogue in relative contempt, so it would be great to see, but I'm not holding my breath...the whole business seems to be moving like molasses if at all, so, as I say, I'm just going to wait and see, personally. May be a good time to make some coin off of the OOP titles, though, before they materialize again, if you're one of faith...I don't think I could live without California Split and Safe if they never made the CC, though. As well, who knows if the commentaries/other special features will make the leap for a bunch of the already released titles? That could be enough to dissuade CC from licensing some of them, I think (re.: the Seconds discussion in the Paramount thread).

Just one more tangent: I'm still not positive that Bottle Rocket wasn't just a trade for the Life of Brian CC commentaries, or whether the rights were just (forcibly or not) let go to their original holders (a la Slacker). I think that the same could explain the Apu Trilogy box, so I'm not sure that we should be so hopeful that any of the other aforementioned titles (and beyond) are coming. Not to spoil the party: just trying to be pragmatic. This is Sony after all: just look at what they did to the MGM catalogue vs. what Fox is doing now (though maybe that was lesson enough to them to start being smart with some of their own titles and license out). Only time will tell...

EDIT-My mistake: Safe seems to be OOP as well...It would be fantastic to see, but I can't imagine there being a whole lot of features to add beyond the pre-existing commentary. An improved transfer would be enough, though, and I'm sure that CC could come up with something interesting in conjunction with Haynes (if only Velvet Goldmine could find its way into their hands too).

And I think that California Split will only happen if the music rights can be cleared and the full version released, something I can't ever see being economically feasible enough to happen.
Last edited by Cronenfly on Sun Sep 30, 2007 6:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Antoine Doinel
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#931 Post by Antoine Doinel » Sun Sep 30, 2007 5:20 pm

justeleblanc wrote:If we assume Criterion bought up a bunch of OOP Sony titles, should we start a running list of possibilities?

The few that came to mind:

REPULSION
You can scratch Repulsion off that list. Sony has announced a new - and bare bones - disc being released on December 4th.

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Cronenfly
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#932 Post by Cronenfly » Sun Sep 30, 2007 6:15 pm

Antoine Doinel wrote:
justeleblanc wrote:If we assume Criterion bought up a bunch of OOP Sony titles, should we start a running list of possibilities?

The few that came to mind:

REPULSION
You can scratch Repulsion off that list. Sony has announced a new - and bare bones - disc being released on December 4th.
At least the price is right: $15 for a (hopefully) solid transfer isn't bad. A more deluxe edition would've been nice, but would there really have been much to add (beyond the CC laserdisc commentary by Polanski)?

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domino harvey
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#933 Post by domino harvey » Sun Sep 30, 2007 6:19 pm

the R2 has a commentary with Roman Polanski and Catherine Deneuve

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bearcuborg
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#934 Post by bearcuborg » Sun Sep 30, 2007 7:39 pm

justeleblanc wrote:CALIFORNIA SPLIT
Isn't there a solid Altman California Split out?

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justeleblanc
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#935 Post by justeleblanc » Sun Sep 30, 2007 7:51 pm

The CALIFORNIA SPLIT that Sony released is missing a few minutes (this was a rights issue for music, but I honestly didn't follow the story so someone may know better) and I think it is out of print.

About REPULSION, I'm fine with the price. I've read and studied this film enough that I'm in no dire need of a "textbook in a box" release.

All right, now all we need is CUL-DE-SAC.

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Cronenfly
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#936 Post by Cronenfly » Sun Sep 30, 2007 8:53 pm

justeleblanc wrote:The CALIFORNIA SPLIT that Sony released is missing a few minutes (this was a rights issue for music, but I honestly didn't follow the story so someone may know better) and I think it is out of print.
You are correct, and, as I stated earlier, the only real reason for Criterion to release the movie would be to restore the missing footage/music, and I can't see them footing the bill for that. Unless the commentary is ported over, then there isn't much more features-wise that the movie really invites, IMO, so I really can't see it being worth Criterion's while (or ours, for that matter) in any way, as much as I'd love to see it happen in theory. The current disc is OOP, but you can scrounge up a copy without too much difficulty. It's a good release beyond the excisions, which are unfortunate but don't destroy the movie.

jaredsap
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#937 Post by jaredsap » Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:11 pm

Cronenfly wrote:
justeleblanc wrote:The CALIFORNIA SPLIT that Sony released is missing a few minutes (this was a rights issue for music, but I honestly didn't follow the story so someone may know better) and I think it is out of print.
You are correct, and, as I stated earlier, the only real reason for Criterion to release the movie would be to restore the missing footage/music,
Another good reason would be to replace one of the worst, most inappropriate covers for a great film in DVD history. And they should take care of MODERN ROMANCE's hideous Sony artwork while they're at it.

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CSM126
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#938 Post by CSM126 » Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:50 pm

Going back to the MGM speculation...William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives would be outstanding. It's shameful that that masterpiece doesn't have a special edition . The HBO disc (out of print) sounds like it was nice, but the current MGM disc is barebones and I doubt they'll ever rectify that.

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Cronenfly
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#939 Post by Cronenfly » Sun Sep 30, 2007 10:38 pm

jaredsap wrote:Another good reason would be to replace one of the worst, most inappropriate covers for a great film in DVD history. And they should take care of MODERN ROMANCE's hideous Sony artwork while they're at it.
Well, the list of Sony covers that need Criterion-level rectification is about a mile long, for movies both good and bad, but I'm definitely with you on California Split in that regard. I find Modern Romance's even worse, and am offended more by it of the 2 even though I'm not much of a fan of the movie itself.

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125100
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#940 Post by 125100 » Sun Sep 30, 2007 11:06 pm

California Split... Really? of all the films people have speculated/dreamed about Criterion releasing I can't think of a film I'd like to see less...

In fact, if I could erase one director from the history of cinema it'd have to be Robert Altman... I'd say his "work" offends me but I haven't seen Gosford Park so I won't go that far. The man certainly adds further proof to my weight that NOTHING GOOD EVER CAME OF THE 70's!!!!

(Yes I know he'd been around since the 50's)

eez28
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#941 Post by eez28 » Sun Sep 30, 2007 11:13 pm

125100 wrote: The man certainly adds further proof to my weight that NOTHING GOOD EVER CAME OF THE 70's!!!!
here we go again

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The Elegant Dandy Fop
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#942 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Mon Oct 01, 2007 12:01 am

125100 wrote: The man certainly adds further proof to my weight that NOTHING GOOD EVER CAME OF THE 70's!!!!
The phrase "nothing good ever came of the 70's" should be added to a word filter of sorts.

Please let's not go off topic about the 70's bring/not being a good decade. Doesn't make sense how a whole decade can be bad, but go figure.

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bearcuborg
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#943 Post by bearcuborg » Mon Oct 01, 2007 2:36 am

125100 wrote:California Split... Really? ...

In fact, if I could erase one director from the history of cinema it'd have to be Robert Altman ...

The man certainly adds further proof to my weight that NOTHING GOOD EVER CAME OF THE 70's!
Altman was the greatest American filmmaker of that decade and of all time.

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miless
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#944 Post by miless » Mon Oct 01, 2007 2:41 am

I would have to state that D.W. Griffith would possibly be the "greatest American filmmaker"... mainly for his invention of editing (and many other techniques still used today).

Macintosh
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#945 Post by Macintosh » Mon Oct 01, 2007 4:43 am

125100 wrote:California Split... Really? ...

In fact, if I could erase one director from the history of cinema it'd have to be Robert Altman ...

The man certainly adds further proof to my weight that NOTHING GOOD EVER CAME OF THE 70's!
Altman has "been around" since 1925. And were you even in America during the 70's?

mogwai
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#946 Post by mogwai » Mon Oct 01, 2007 6:02 am

Vivre Sa Vie, Love Is Colder Than Death, Two Deaths and Ai qing wan sui have all been discontinued. I could see all being likely releases for Criterion.

I'm sure the Godard is a given. We know Insignificance is coming, and since Criterion seems to have a strong relationship with Roeg, I suspect they'd like to get their hands on Two Deaths (or, maybe not. The film doesn't appear to be highly regarded. I've never seen it). Ai ging wan sui is just wishful thinking.

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jbeall
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#947 Post by jbeall » Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:32 am

mogwai wrote:Vivre Sa Vie ...

I'm sure the Godard is a given.
Just as long as Criterion releases Vivre sa vie. For my money, it's one of Godard's best films, and I'd love to see a better version than the dvd I got from Netflix (was it Fox Lorber? I can't remember).

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Awesome Welles
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#948 Post by Awesome Welles » Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:53 am

Vivre sa vie was released by Criterion on LD so hopefully this will be a future release.

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justeleblanc
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#949 Post by justeleblanc » Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:21 am

FSimeoni wrote:Vivre sa vie was released by Criterion on LD so hopefully this will be a future release.
Criterion does own the rights, but no release date has been planned.

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backstreetsbackalright
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#950 Post by backstreetsbackalright » Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:37 am

justeleblanc wrote:
FSimeoni wrote:Vivre sa vie was released by Criterion on LD so hopefully this will be a future release.
Criterion does own the rights, but no release date has been planned.
Is this known? I hadn't heard this before. Very exciting!

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