Seriously. Milestone catapulted into my "favorite DVD companies ever" list this year with just a handful of releases
For me, they were already there and always will be. The customer fidelity and utter down-to-earthness of the reply was a bonus. From Tabu
, La Terre
by Antoine, the sublime Yevgeni Bauer material (MORE MORE!! Child of the Big City
!!), the wonderfully complete Phantom of the Opera
(the only presentation with both the original cut of the film and the 1929 sound reissue with the sound
, and loaded with extras), The Bat Whispers
(another ultra complete presentation), the incredibly gutsy presentation of Bernard's The Chess Player
(which Criterion/Eclipse, in their rush to claim credit for being the first to 'reintroduce' the 'almost totally forgotten' Bernard to the home video market, completely 'forgot' to mention), the eerie Pickford Sparrows
, the incredibly beautiful Hindle Wakes
, not to mention Piccadilly
, Beyond the Rocks
, etc. The list goes on and on-- I've been a virtual broken record of defense of the sublime labels Milestone and Kino who are the very bread and butter for any fan of the rarest finest silent cinema, who have the trailblazing exonomic guts to release this kind of hyperobscure material... and yet incredibly take hits (which drive me nuts) from complainers over the red herring of pal-ntsc issues of transfer-nativity... when the country of telecine origin will not even release the thing on disc themelves!
Milestone is one of two or three companies that are the very core and essence of what it is I hope for in a video company. The other is Kino, the other seems to be turning out to be Flicker Alley. There are one or two in Europe (Transit aside) who are beginning to dabble
in it. But Milestone and Kino are the only companies at present whose taste mirrors my own to such an extent where I could, from here on out, never give another look at their release roster, and simply blindly subscribe to whatever comes out off their schedule and the incoming material will just be an ongoing cinemateque of Everything I've Been Dreaming About Having On Home Video
. I don't have to dream about running my own video co-- someone is already doing it for me as though I was doing it myself
. Criterion doesn't have anywhere NEAR the amount of cinematic and economic guts that Milestone has. Not in their laserdisc days, and not now-- not with Eclipse either. Anyone who thinks there is a similarity between what Milestone does and what CC (even Eclipse) does are sorely mistaken.
My affection for--and endless championing of-- Milestone is so thorough and thoroughly well-known around here that I sorta felt entitled to give a little ribbing on the cigar box. And it worries me a little bit (because the company is so important to me) to think that such a large amount of money might have been lost on an unneccessary embellishment to the CUBA packaging. I sincerely hope that it turns out to have been a worthwhile investment to attract more buyers... at least enough to more than cover the cost of the design and it's execution. Running beneath mine and Gregory's joshing about the design is a genuine concern for a company of huge importance to the both of us (I'm sure I speak for greg as well).. a company that no doubt operates at times within a dangerous proximity to profit magins, and does so purely out passion for this kind of cinema. I really hope that the returns-reports from Amazon are exaggerated or misconstrued, and that this project stays safely in black ink!
The thrust of my comments-- my two cents-- is that as a longtime Milestone devotee I'd rather see those extra design dollars go into another supplement on an upcoming release, or seeding another release altogether. But no-one knows better than you Dennis how to make Milestone prosper, as you all have done a fantastic and beyond-commendable job over there doing the impossible for years, and demonstrating by example for newer companies in Europe that it is indeed possible to do what you do and survive.
All Best Wishes