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CaveGirl

Janus Films

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The following is a cautionary tale. My love of films was instigated by the mother, whose family had a connection to running movie houses, hence she was well versed on movie lore having seen many films in her early life due to having free passes. She was also an inveterate viewer on tv of good movies, that had stood the test of time. This was my early education, being that I was allowed to stay up late watching the classics with her, like "Rebecca", "Casablanca" and all the Basil Rathbone films as Sherlock, which she loved. By the age of about twelve, I remember accidentally turning on the tv, and seeing a film start with the interesting characteristic of the two-headed god, Janus. And this was a revelation, since whatever the film was, I knew it was one of quality and above the norm in style and innovation. A bit different from what I'd been seeing as mostly American classics which were straightforward and to the point. From that moment on, whenever a film came on that began with the heads of Janus, saying it was from Janus Films, I was hooked. I don't believe there was one film that did not enchant, educate or enthrall me. This process totally shaped my viewing and choices of films from then on, since I had been treated to some of the best films ever made at an early age. Among the list of foreign classics I first saw as a teen, I would include memorable items like "Wild Strawberries", "The Browning Version", "Kwaidan", "La Bete Humaine", "Exterminating Angel", "Zero du Conduite", "Miss Julie", "Vampyr", "Ugetsu", "Tin Drum", "Bicycle Thieves", "Children of Paradise", "Day of Wrath", "The Horse's Mouth", "L'Atalante", "Orpheus", "Onibaba", "The Passion of Joan of Arc", "Woman in the Dunes", "Persona", "The Virgin Spring", "Weekend", "Boudu Saved From Drowning" and so many others. This was a heady experience for a young teen but also a fabulous education into the great foreign films, and training in what constituted being a film of worth.

For that reason I want to thank Janus Films and wonder if anyone else here is also a fan. My training made me never turn off any film beginning with the Janus icon opening and to this day I still adhere to this standard. I believe they started in the mid-1950's as a releasing company for foreign art films of renown to US audiences, but don't know the whole story. Their connection later to Criterion is an interesting story and I also am a big fan of anything on the Criterion list of movies, which are always of unique value I feel. If you enjoyed seeing a Janus film that opened your eyes to foreign masterpieces, please mention it now and tell your story of how you came upon the Janus film pantheon. Thanks!

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Janus also distributed 35mm transfers of THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME to PBS stations back in the 70's.

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32 minutes ago, CaveGirl said:

And this was a revelation, since whatever the film was, I knew it was one of quality and above the norm in style and innovation.

I, too, am a fan of Janus Films, and feel like the above quote perfectly sums up the main reason why. It was by way of Janus that I was initially introduced to the films of Bergman and Kurosawa (two of my faves), as well as many others, including some of those you mentioned. Regardless of the subject matter of these movies, you were almost always guaranteed a thoughtful, unique, and entertaining experience. Janus Films certainly helped to broaden my movie-viewing horizons. Thanks for mentioning them!

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I must say, this is enjoyable reading. I am a novice by comparison. Many people on this message board could work on-screen for TCM, and not have to read a script. I can only say Janus Films sounds familiar. I notice RKO Radio Films the way some of you notice Janus Films. Curious to know how people reading this thread feel about TCM versus FilmStruck? I could start a new thread, but it is just as easy to ask here first.

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29 minutes ago, jimmymac71 said:

I must say, this is enjoyable reading. I am a novice by comparison. Many people on this message board could work on-screen for TCM, and not have to read a script. I can only say Janus Films sounds familiar. I notice RKO Radio Films the way some of you notice Janus Films. Curious to know how people reading this thread feel about TCM versus FilmStruck? I could start a new thread, but it is just as easy to ask here first.

Well, I certainly hope TCM is listening in about hiring some of us for their on-screen chats before a film. I will say that so many here can speak extemporaneously about films, with such knowledgeable comments just from the top of their head, with no scripts, so I thank you, Jimmymac for them, for your kind words.

So glad to see you are posting here, and thanks for making the valid comparison of what studio or company's product is always a sign to you that you will be seeing classic entertainment. I too am a fan of RKO films, and have that whole giant book on their output. They had a real style and signature look which was fabulous.

I am not well versed on Filmstruck so will leave it to others to respond to your query and thanks for your response!

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35 minutes ago, jimmymac71 said:

I must say, this is enjoyable reading. I am a novice by comparison. Many people on this message board could work on-screen for TCM, and not have to read a script. I can only say Janus Films sounds familiar. I notice RKO Radio Films the way some of you notice Janus Films. Curious to know how people reading this thread feel about TCM versus FilmStruck? I could start a new thread, but it is just as easy to ask here first.

I think I've already discussed this issue at length in the FilmStruck thread or maybe elsewhere, but here goes again. At the moment the two aren't really comparable. TCM is showing a much wider variety of classic films than FilmStruck offers at any given time. FilmStruck stands out, though, for the amount of foreign films and arthouse films that they offer, thanks to being partnered with Criterion/Janus.

So if you want more foreign and arthouse movies, FilmStruck is your better bet. But if you want a larger variety of classic American films, TCM still has them beat. Or you could do what I do and have them both.

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13 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

I think I've already discussed this issue at length in the FilmStruck thread or maybe elsewhere, but here goes again. At the moment the two aren't really comparable. TCM is showing a much wider variety of classic films than FilmStruck offers at any given time. FilmStruck stands out, though, for the amount of foreign films and arthouse films that they offer, thanks to being partnered with Criterion/Janus.

So if you want more foreign and arthouse movies, FilmStruck is your better bet. But if you want a larger variety of classic American films, TCM still has them beat. Or you could do what I do and have them both.

How far back do the foreign and art house films go on FilmStruck, Lawrence?

You know I don't watch any films made ideally after about 1970...

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9 minutes ago, CaveGirl said:

How far back do the foreign and art house films go on FilmStruck, Lawrence?

You know I don't watch any films made ideally after about 1970...

At the moment, the oldest foreign film available is The Outlaw and His Wife from 1917. The newest are from 2017. 

There are a few hundred from before 1970.

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45 minutes ago, CaveGirl said:

How far back do the foreign and art house films go on FilmStruck, Lawrence?

You know I don't watch any films made ideally after about 1970...

As Lawrence points out, Janus pretty much owns THE foreign/arthouse catalog back to the silent days, Criterion owns Janus Films, and Filmstruck is Criterion.  Not sure what they're showing at the moment (I've given up waiting for a PS4 app, and I'm just going to buy an Amazon Stick next month to even get a look at the darn thing), but if it's foreign-classic, they have it.

(And wait, you're not watching films from 1969-75, where maybe a quarter to a third of all Great American Movies happened?  I'd have put the cutoff date at around the 90's, m'self.)

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I am 60+ years and live with my mother of 83+. We love films that are not loaded with smut. People on this message form get that. CaveGirl - you are very kind. I am touched by your kindness. Everyone here treats me with kindness and respect. I talked with Mom tonight, and my feeling is, we need classic films, musical instruments, and sports in our schools, instead of guns! For decades, we have blamed the various mediums for what is wrong with the world today. Can we fix it? Maybe not, but we can make a difference. Way back when, Mom, a cable TV pioneer, helped get cable TV and PBS in schools. What if we could get classic TCM films in schools? Would it help? Yes! Can it hurt? Heavens no! Imagine "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner," being shown in a modern day school? All the Sidney Poitier films would impact today's children, who would wonder if things are any better. We watched, "Lillies Of The Fields" in my middle school. Hey, Jimmymac71 knows how how to thread a 16mm projector. I take huge pride in my past, and would love to help other young folks to understand what many of us know and love. I'm sure 'JamesJazzGuitar' would agree, give kids a guitar, not guns! CaveGirl - before you cut movies off with a year, consider the artists. I LOVE "On Golden Pond," and "Victor/Victoria." Both are early 1980s. I do agree, the older the better. Being sight impaired, I drift toward music before TV and movies. The older the violin, the sweeter the music. That works for everything. I am so very thankful for TCM, even if I get grumpy, and especially the people here, who are magic! Thanks!

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Janus Films, to my memory, distributed Black Narcissus (1947), Hamlet (1948), and I believe Women In Love (1969). Am I correct in my thinking? 

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I believe I became acquainted with Janus films either on PBS or CBC British Columbia back in the 1980s

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On 5/25/2018 at 10:57 PM, jimmymac71 said:

I am 60+ years and live with my mother of 83+. We love films that are not loaded with smut. People on this message form get that. CaveGirl - you are very kind. I am touched by your kindness. Everyone here treats me with kindness and respect. I talked with Mom tonight, and my feeling is, we need classic films, musical instruments, and sports in our schools, instead of guns! For decades, we have blamed the various mediums for what is wrong with the world today. Can we fix it? Maybe not, but we can make a difference. Way back when, Mom, a cable TV pioneer, helped get cable TV and PBS in schools. What if we could get classic TCM films in schools? Would it help? Yes! Can it hurt? Heavens no! Imagine "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner," being shown in a modern day school? All the Sidney Poitier films would impact today's children, who would wonder if things are any better. We watched, "Lillies Of The Fields" in my middle school. Hey, Jimmymac71 knows how how to thread a 16mm projector. I take huge pride in my past, and would love to help other young folks to understand what many of us know and love. I'm sure 'JamesJazzGuitar' would agree, give kids a guitar, not guns! CaveGirl - before you cut movies off with a year, consider the artists. I LOVE "On Golden Pond," and "Victor/Victoria." Both are early 1980s. I do agree, the older the better. Being sight impaired, I drift toward music before TV and movies. The older the violin, the sweeter the music. That works for everything. I am so very thankful for TCM, even if I get grumpy, and especially the people here, who are magic! Thanks!

Ah, I was kinda kidding around, Jimmy about my cutoff point. Obviously I do watch later films but have to admit if I could only watch ones made after 1970 as opposed to only watching ones made before 1970, I would have no problem giving up the later output. The world is full of beautiful things that movies often reflect and I can concur with your ideas about how viewing some of the greats could be a fine idea for schools.

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Hi;

 

I am too big fan of the Janus films. Especially, I love Cocteraus Beauty and the Beast or  in French Belle et Bette. It is one of the most stunning films of the late 1940s.  It was done in a skeleton budget due to the fact that France was recovering from the after effects of WWll.  It is an Surreal adventure with moving objects throughout the films.  Magical effects that make this fairy tale special. By the way, as a side note, Cocteau modeled the face of the beast from his beloved Persian Cat. it is still magical whenever i view it.download-1.jpg.e2564f1b4474750134b170345087e920.jpgdownload.jpg.5853e36fa1893909356c0c6a4f5a1f65.jpg

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