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The Criterion Collection Thread

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I didn’t know anything about Criterion other than the company’s name and basic function until a few years ago when I started collecting blu-rays in general and after buying a few of my favorite films that are in the Criterion catalogue I became a big fan of the quality products that they put out. Every month or so I’ll buy one. What’re your opinions, which films do you have, which films do you want, which films should Criterion release if they can? Anything Criterion is up for discussion here.

I’m most excited for the David Byrne film True Stories, which is coming out in November. That’s one of my favorite films that has never been out on blu-ray before, plus the special features look exciting.

The Person in Question

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I got into Criterion because I love Kubrick, and some of his less popular films are only available in the Criterion Collection for region A.

So far I’ve acquired Barry Lyndon, Paths of Glory, and The Killing. The first two are great; I haven’t yet watched the third.

I also picked up Asphalt Jungle ‘cause it caught my eye on the shelf next to Lyndon. While not a great film, it was very fun, and I’d watch it again.

I might pick up Some Like it Hot once it starts showing up on sale, and I’ll certainly keep up with their new offerings in case anything catches my eye.

TV’s Frink said:

I would put this in my sig if I weren’t so lazy.

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To address another one of the OP’s questions, Cruterion should put out the OT 😛

More seriously, Paper Moon, a favorite of mine, has never seen a region-A Blu-Ray release. I‘d buy that, and I think it fits the Criterion mold.

TV’s Frink said:

I would put this in my sig if I weren’t so lazy.

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Yeah, I’d love a Criterion OT. I’d be stunned to death if that happened, though. You should get Dr. Strangelove from Criterion, and Spartacus but that one seems to have vanished from print lately, which is tragic.

I want to see Philadelphia and Boys Don’t Cry in the Criterion Collection. Those have never gotten good blu-ray releases in the United States (or anywhere else that I’m aware, but at least they are available in HD). There’re also a couple of Polish movies I had to watch in college a few years ago that I hope get added because they aren’t available now anywhere that I can find. I should write to them and tell them to add those, I know they consider requests.

I’ll list my complete collection when I get home. It’s not huge or anything, but it’s more than I can remember off the top of my head.

The Person in Question

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i’m glad this thread exists because now i can finally ask: what is criterion?

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I have

  • Seven Samurai
  • The Seventh Seal
  • Brazil
  • The Passion of Joan of Arc
  • Rashoman
  • Solaris
  • Ivan’s Childhood
  • The Qatsi Trilogy
  • Dr. Strangelove
  • Stalker

I’m really looking forward to the November (I think?) release of Andrei Rublev. And how about that upcoming Bergman box set? 🤤

The Drink in Question

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Collipso said:

i’m glad this thread exists because now i can finally ask: what is criterion?

From their website:

The Criterion Collection is a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films on home video. Our editions often include restored film transfers along with commentary tracks and other kinds of supplemental features, which we pioneered with the release of our first laserdiscs, Citizen Kane and King Kong, in 1984. Ever since, Criterion has been working closely with filmmakers and scholars to ensure that each film is presented as its maker would want it seen and published in an edition that will deepen the viewer’s understanding and appreciation of the art of cinema.

The Drink in Question

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I also have their three Tarkovsky movies. I love all three and I only actually got Ivan’s Childhood because of how much I loved Solaris and Stalker. I’m excited for Andrei Rublev too. It actually comes out in a couple weeks.

I only have seen one Bergman film. I liked it though, but I’ve only seen one.

The Person in Question

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moviefreakedmind said:

Yeah, I’d love a Criterion OT. I’d be stunned to death if that happened, though. You should get Dr. Strangelove from Criterion, and Spartacus but that one seems to have vanished from print lately, which is tragic.

I want to see Philadelphia and Boys Don’t Cry in the Criterion Collection. Those have never gotten good blu-ray releases in the United States (or anywhere else that I’m aware, but at least they are available in HD). There’re also a couple of Polish movies I had to watch in college a few years ago that I hope get added because they aren’t available now anywhere that I can find. I should write to them and tell them to add those, I know they consider requests.

I’ll list my complete collection when I get home. It’s not huge or anything, but it’s more than I can remember off the top of my head.

I have a region-free UK edition of Strangelove that I got cheaply before the criterion release that I’m happy with. Spartacus was only ever DVD from Criterion, I believe. Universal’s second stab at the Blu, though, (the “Restored Edition”) is quite nice.

I guess in short, I buy Criterion because they have movies I want, not because I think they’re better than other editions (which they are, I just don’t care enough to replace movies I already own unless it’s a noticeable jump in main-feature transfer quality).

TV’s Frink said:

I would put this in my sig if I weren’t so lazy.

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I agree. I’ve never repurchased a blu-ray just because it’s Criterion. I don’t plan to either unless, like you said, it’s a big jump in quality. I ordered the “Restored Edition” of Spartacus recently because I couldn’t find the Criterion blu-ray, which I now know doesn’t exist so I’m glad to get that update.

The Person in Question

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The first Blu of Spartacus from Universal was a DVNR horror show.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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I have blu-rays of

  • Seven Samurai
  • The Samurai trilogy
  • The Seventh Seal
  • Throne of Blood
  • The Hidden Fortress
  • The Manchurian Candidate
  • Tokyo Drifter
  • The Qatsi trilogy
  • Scanners
  • Mulholland Drive

And on DVD I have

  • The Rock

The only thing that keeps them from being the best thing ever are the prices, which is why I have so few (even though I’ve been slowly collecting for a good few years now).

Some great movies I’ve watched recently that don’t exist on blu-ray are Gunga Din, Sahara, and The Parallax View, all of which I’d love to see Criterion do something with.

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SilverWook said:

The first Blu of Spartacus from Universal was a DVNR horror show.

That’s what I’ve heard. I read that the one labeled “Restored Edition” is safe, though.

The Person in Question

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DominicCobb said:

The only thing that keeps them from being the best thing ever are the prices, which is why I have so few (even though I’ve been slowly collecting for a good few years now).

Yeah, they’re never below 22 dollars new on Amazon. That actually isn’t bad considering how much new DVDs and VHS tapes used to cost back in the day, but it’s still a lot these days.

The Person in Question

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You should have seen the Criterion Laserdisc prices back in the day. At least there were usually some bonus features and a widescreen transfer when studios by themselves were less willing to do so.

Criterion also would do films unjustly neglected on home video. My childhood fave Robinson Crusoe On Mars had never even seen a VHS or Beta release when Criterion released a lovely gatefold set in the early 90’s. Just watched the Blu-Ray version last week. The only Criterion Blu I have so far.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Oh God, Laserdisc prices were horrifying in general. Thank god I wasn’t old enough to have money back then.

The Person in Question

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It was a niche market by the late 80’s. Some movies could had for around $30. Music video titles for even less. (The cheapest Criterions were $50.) Fox really sucked, charging more for widescreen remasters with zero extras. They really loved that $69.99 price point.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Collipso said:

i’m glad this thread exists because now i can finally ask: what is criterion?

What suspiciouscoffee posted, and…

There’s also some great info on the wiki page for it - along with use useful ‘external links’ and in the ‘references’ sections to some interesting content too:-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Criterion_Collection
 

As well as…

https://www.criterion.com/ & https://www.criterion.com/current/posts (for some quality info / articles)
https://twitter.com/Criterion
https://www.youtube.com/user/criterioncollection
https://www.facebook.com/CriterionCollection
http://criterioncollection.tumblr.com/

http://www.criterionforum.org/index.php / http://www.criterionforum.org/forum/index.php
http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=274728
 

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Why don’t you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don’t you dig how beautiful it is out here?
And say something righteous and hopeful for a change?

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Jason, I’ve never been sure if you live in the UK, Ireland, or Australia, but do you get Criterion outside of the United States? I know they’re only distributed in America, but is there somewhat easy access to them in other English speaking countries through other means like Amazon? Do you have any Criterion movies?

The Person in Question

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I am in the UK mate and yes, and much of the collection is available for us to buy officially here.

In 2016 Sony struck some sort of deal so Criterion blu rays were available here in the UK - link

Also from sites like…

https://shop.bfi.org.uk/dvd-blu-ray/criterion-collection.html
https://store.hmv.com/blu-ray/the-criterion-collection-on-blu-ray
https://www.zoom.co.uk/search/criterion?q=criterion
https://www.zavvi.com/blu-ray/independent-labels/criterion-collection.list
https://www.wowhd.co.uk/search?q=criterion&mod=AP
https://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Criterion-Collection-DVD-and-Blu-ray/b?ie=UTF8&node=9781575031

and sites like https://twitter.com/ukcriterion are great for info and news.

Before that it was usually pre-owned content on the ebay, gumtree, film & charity/thrift shops etc, and sites like https://www.avforums.com/threads/uk-criterion.2161501/ & http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=274728 or through US friends and family… and some new releases from quality dvd/film stores that had a film buff/nerd on staff etc 😃

I do remember some high street stores having occasional Criterion Collections on sale in their import sections years ago - yet it was seemingly still very expensive. Many of us UK film fans had multi-region dvd players back in the day (or learnt to ‘hack’ certain models so they could play content from around the world).
 

As for Australia and New Zealand etc - I recall reading that Barnes and Noble sell Criterion films there - as well as as Zavvi (and possibly other online stores too?) - though an Aussie or NZ’er would be able to help you more on that mate.

 

(I do try to avoid amazon whenever possible - though it is useful as an info resource; am not too happy with their attitudes to paying tax - nor their treatment, conditions and low pay of their workers. Though that’s likely more suited to another thread 😉 )
 

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Why don’t you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don’t you dig how beautiful it is out here?
And say something righteous and hopeful for a change?

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I agree, I don’t like Amazon either, but damn it’s cheaper and faster than other sites. I guess Criterion itself doesn’t sell outside of the United States but other official distributors of Criterion films like Amazon or Barnes and Noble do?

The Person in Question

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Let’s see, I’ve got:

Charade
The Great Dictator
The Manchurian Candidate
The Philadelphia Story
Rebecca
Classic Hitchcock Boxset
The BBS Story Boxset
His Girl Friday
The Passion of Joan d’Arc
King of Jazz
Yojimbo
And all of the Wes Anderson ones.

“After a time, you may find that having, is not so pleasing a thing after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.” - Spock

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SilverWook said:

It was a niche market by the late 80’s. Some movies could had for around $30. Music video titles for even less. (The cheapest Criterions were $50.) Fox really sucked, charging more for widescreen remasters with zero extras. They really loved that $69.99 price point.

Oh god, I can’t even imagine how I would’ve survived (especially factoring in inflation).

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My Criterions are as follows (all blu-ray, no DVDs):

The Beatles: A Hard Day’s Night
Midnight Cowboy
Bowling for Columbine
Ikiru
Ivan’s Childhood
Solaris
Stalker
Punch-Drunk Love
Gimme Shelter
Kes
Sid & Nancy
Bob Dylan: Don’t Look Back
Monterrey Pop Festival
Fanny & Alexander
Lord of the Flies
Election
Night of the Living Dead
Rosemary’s Baby
Dazed and Confused
The Great Dictator
The Graduate
Che
The Breakfast Club
The 400 Blows
Dr. Strangelove
Silence of the Lambs

That’s a couple years worth of getting one each month, sometimes two.

The Person in Question

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Envious. I have the previous releases for The Graduate and Dr. Strangelove. I’m not sure I’d be able to get rid of them for an upgrade.

“After a time, you may find that having, is not so pleasing a thing after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.” - Spock