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  • 1 year later...

*The Third Man (Blu-ray)*


The Blu-ray version is quite excellent, and for those who love grain in their video transfers you will be very happy here (I wouldn't mind a little more DNR and had ti use my TV's added DNR feature to resolve all the graininess). The audio is amazingly clear. This is one of their first releases on Blu-ray and I can recommend it. The 1-disc Blu-ray edition comes with all the extra features that are on the standard 2-DVD edition. One difference is the booklet accompanying this is only 16 pages, whereby the standard DVDs is 32 pages,

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This is one thing where I wish Criterion would re-consider. The part about the blu-rays having something less than the regular DVD - you just mentioned a smaller booklet for *The Third Man*; also *The Last Emperor* on blu-ray is going to be only the regular, theatrical version and will not include the longer TV version that the regular DVD does.


I could understand them not being able to transfer the TV version of that movie to blu-ray, but why not also offer a package that contained both versions - one in blu-ray, the only in DVD only?

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  • 2 weeks later...

*My Man Godfrey* - what can I say..I liked it because it had William Powell in it. It wasnt my favorite classic comedy or anything, but i liked the story, and Powell and Carol Lombard were great. The man who was the patriarch of the family that he was the butler for (I cant recall his name) teamed with Powell in The Kennel Murder Case. The Criterion DVD blows everything away as far as I am concerned. I think it will grow on me as I watch it every now and then. I liked Powell's character a lot, it was more complex than just a forgotten man or butler


Message was edited by: TripleHHH

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  • 1 month later...

*The Last Emperor (Blu-ray)*


Bernardo Bertolucci's Oscar-winning 1987 epic has been available before in an impressive, expensive box set from Criterion in the standard DVD format, but this is the first time the company has issued it in Blu-ray, and damn, this is gorgeous in high definition. At 165 minutes, it is a long film to get through (because I didn't find the storytelling particularly thrilling, I nodded off a few times and had to watch it in a few installments), but the filmmaking itself is very elaborate and the beauty of the country is captured magnificently in high def on this Blu disc.


The print used here is a restored high-def transfer supervised and approved by cinematographer Vittorio Storato. The clarity is truly amazing and the colors are stunningly vibrant.


The Blu also contains a film lover's dream collection of extras (and they are all on the same disc as the movie!!!):


Audio commentary

A 53-mnute film, The Italian Traveler: Bernado Bertolucci, in standard def

Video images taken by Bertolucci while in preproduction (SD)

The Chinese Adventure of Bernardo Bertolucci, a 51 minute film (SD)

Two more documentaries, one 45 minutes long, and the other 66 minutes long (SD)

A 30-minute interview with Bertolucci (SD)

the trailer (SD)

plus more!


In short, it has everything in the more expensive standard DVD box set (except the longer TV version which, if I had trouble with 165 min., I would not be watching, anyway) and a booklet from the large box set has been slimmed down for inclusion here.


The amazing thing is, as I said above, all of the features and film are on the one Blu-ray disc. Criterion also came out with a single DVD version of the title at the same time as the Blu-ray version, but it only has the standard defnition version of the film, the commentary, the trailer, and the slimmed down booklet.


Prices are:

Standard DVD Box Editon: $59.95

Blu version: $39.95

Single DVD version: $29.95:


I think the Blu-ray release is the winner hands down.

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  • 2 months later...

Watching Fran?ois Truffaut's The Last Metro on blu-ray is an absolute delight, even if the source material that Criterion used isn't entirely without a few (very minor) flaws. The movie hasn't looked this good... since it was shown in theaters?


There is an interesting audio commentary, too, in which Depardieu participated, but I haven't heard all of it. It was interesting to hear him talk about his first meeting with Truffaut, and how he claims he told the director he found his movies a bit too bourgeois for his taste. Ah, Depardieu!! :D

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I was really happy to hear that Criterion would be releasing the blu-ray edition of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and I'm very glad to report that they have lived up to their usual standards with this movie.


The movie was reportedly shot in digital format, and it looks gorgeous on blu-ray, especially given the great care and attention that has been put into the look of the movie - the production design, the period detail, the cinematography. There are a few inserts in the movie that are made to look like "worn" bits of film, you know, with scratches here and there, they make you feel like you're actually watching pieces of old footage.


At its core, Benjamin Button tells a very old-fashioned story, even though parts of it rely heavily on digital effects technology. The movie moves swiftly through the nearly 2-1/2 hour running time and it's easy to forget about time altogether.


I've only yet had a chance to watch the movie itself, which occupies Disc 1 of the 2-disc set, and hope to be watching the bonus features some time in the near future.

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Got to watch the new Criterion edition of John Huston's Wise Blood a couple of days ago, but hadn't had a chance to post it yet due to the technical problems here in the forums. The movie is yet another great addition to the Criterion collection, one of Huston's most idiosyncratic movies, with a remarkable performance by Brad Dourif.


The movie looks about as good as any film from 1979 could be expected to, and it has been very nicely letterboxed in its original aspect ratio - it will fill up the screen of most 16:9 screens with very little loss of picture on the sides, I think.


The extras are nice, with plenty of interviews with Dourif, Huston, and others involved in the making of the movie.


As to the religious message/theme of the movie, I will leave that for others to ponder, since the movie does seem to be open to different interpretations. However, I do think it makes a very good use of its Georgia locations.

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Just watched the Criterion Edition DVD of The Friends of Eddie Coyle starring Robert Mitchum. A good movie, with great performances and excellent use of Boston-area locations; some might feel that the film's too leisurely-paced, and that Dave Grusin's score sounds a little too 70's - but those would be small quibbles in an otherwise very absorbing movie.


Mitchum is solid, as always, and I felt that Peter Boyle made a possibly more indelible impression, with an ever-so-slightly unpredictable edge to his character that suggests there's a lot more to his character than first meets the eye.


The print material looks excellent, with very minor damage here and there. It's a shame Paramount's home video division continues to license so many of their movies to other companies; but it's their loss and the video enthusiasts' gain when these titles get released by a label like Criterion.

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  • 4 weeks later...

A top-notch movie in a superb presentation, Criterion's blu-ray edition of The Wages of Fear (1953) is a must for serious collectors who appreciate foreign-language films and especially for fans of Yves Montand.




One of the most famous movies ever by a French director, the movie is presented in an extremely sharp transfer from near-pristine source material. This is the full, 2-1/2 hour version of the movie, which was not seen in the U.S. until the early 1990's. The movie is mostly in French, but with quite a bit of Spanish and English, as well.


The movie, as those who've seen it may remember, takes place in an unnamed South American country dominated by the fictitious Southern Oil Company, which will require four courageous and experienced drivers to take 2 trucks full of nitroglycerine across some particularly difficult terrain.


There are plenty of bonus features, including a documentary on director Henri-Georges Clouzot (apparently made for French TV), and a 12-minute mini-feature explaining the numerous cuts that were made to the movie for its original U.S. premiere in the 50's, in which nearly 50 minutes of footage were removed, mostly because so much of it was deemed anti-American and anti-capitalist.

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I had previously written a review of the UK (non-Criterion) Blu-ray release of *The Seventh Seal*, which you can see here: http://forums.tcm.com/jive/tcm/thread.jspa?threadID=88258&tstart=0.


I've just received the new Criterion Blu-ray release, and I must admit that both versions have their advantages. The Criterion is excellent in every way, except the movie's image is loaded down with a bit too much grain for my taste. I prefer the UK release on this. But in the extras department, Criterion leads the way. I've had a quick check in with each and all look very worthwhile.


Among the extras: Bergman Island, an 83-minute documentary, an audio interview with Max von Sydow, A TCM tribute by Woody Allen about Bergman, an intro by Bergman to the movie from 2003, and more. Plus a 24-page booklet (28, if you count the covers) which is better for its photos than the tiresome pseudo-intellectual essay including synopsis by Gary Giddins within its pages.


Missing from the Criterion package are the extras from the UK release, behind the scenes footage of the making of the film and a short by Bergman, 'Karin's Face."


Both are worth getting, but the Criterion will keep you a lot busier with all the worthwhile extras. A must for the classic film fan..

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> {quote:title=HollywoodGolightly wrote:}{quote} It's a shame Paramount's home video division continues to license so many of their movies to other companies; but it's their loss and the video enthusiasts' gain when these titles get released by a label like Criterion.


Actually, I think it's a win-win situation for both Paramount and collectors. It's obvious that Paramount has little, if any, interest, in releasing anything that won't sell hundreds of thousands of copies, like recent films or sets of tv shows. This way, the studio gets a cut of the profits from Criterion for doing little more than providing them with a good print of the film. Collectors,have access to beautiful DVDs that in all likelihood we would never get otherwise because they wouldn't reach Paramount's high sales expectations.


I only wish that Paramount would make more distribution deals with Criterion for more films that we are crying out for.

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"The Furies" version that I saw was a Criterion release from Netflix. In addition to the movies they had a special feature of an old short from the 30s of a Walter Huston interview. A short interview with Anthony Mann's daughter. A commentary by a man, who I can't remember, but for the few minutes I listened to it and it seemed as it was read and a bit stiff for my liking. No doubt informative but not unlike a professor reading his lesson.

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The audio commentary in the DVD of The Furies is by film historian Jim Kitses, I haven't heard it yet but I hope to do so today.


I should also add that the transfer looks absolutely wonderful; the DVD features a digital transfer from a 35mm composite fine-grain master positive; the soundtrack was mastered from a 35mm optical track print, with some minor audio restoration to eliminate pops, hiss and crackle.


Apparently, when you buy the DVD you also get a copy of the novel on which the film is based.

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After having been out-of-print for many years, My Dinner with Andr? has now been reissued by Criterion on a very nice 2-disc DVD set. The movie may not be everyone's cup of tea, consisting as it does almost entirely of a single conversation between two people (Wallace Shawn and Andr? Gregory, as themselves), but there are some interesting ideas here.




Louis Malle's English-language film benefits from a good video transfer, with very slight pillar-boxing which you can barely notice on an HDTV set. The film looks good, considering it was filmed in 16mm and blown up to 35mm for theatrical exhibition. The film grain is fairly visible, although the film's visuals are easy to overlook since the pleasures it offers are mainly in listening to the two men's conversation.


There are plenty of extras in the 2nd disc, but I haven't had a chance to watch those yet.

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Last Year at Marienbad (DVD and BD)


One of the most controversial foreign-language films of all time, Last Year at Marienbad has been given a long overdue re-issue by Criterion, in what is without a doubt a huge improvement over the previous DVD release (from Koch Lorber).


Everything you could ever hope for is here - a sparkling, near-flawless transfer, crisp mono sound, and plenty of supplements. Needless to say, Criterion's transfer does an excellent job of preserving the film's Dyaliscope aspect ratio and the delicate black-and-white cinematography by the great Sacha Vierny.


Among the great supplements, there is a 22-minute mini-feature about the various layers of meaning that can be found in the film, and a 33-minute mini-documentary on the making of the film, in which several people who participated in the production were interviewed. As usual, there is also a small booklet containing several essays.

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  • 3 weeks later...

For All Mankind (blu-ray)


TCM will show this documentary next week, but if you want to see the amazing NASA footage here, you may want to rent/buy the Criterion blu-ray, which, as expected, looks and sounds amazing. Bear in mind that most of the footage of the NASA missions used here was originally filmed in 16mm, and some of it was blown up to 35mm for the theatrical release of the documentary. Some of it looks great on blu-ray, some of it looks just OK, but the overall impact of the whole thing cannot be diminished by that.


There are some extras, the best of which is a 32-minute short feature explaining the process by which the director went about picking the footage that would be used for the documentary, from among hundreds of hours of footage that NASA still keeps frozen in its vaults. It seems a lot of the footage that is in the documentary had either never seen before, or had never been seen before in a version that was taken directly from the original master.


Although a mere 80 minutes long, For All Mankind has a hypnotizing quality to it, because this is just the most otherwordly footage you could ever think of, that is 100% real, showing us the Earth and the Moon without any special effects.

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Death of a Cyclist (DVD)


This is one of the nicest surprises I've ever come across in the Criterion Collection. Very few Bardem movies are available on video in the U.S., I believe, and this is definitely one of the best ones.


Considering that this is a Spanish movie made during Franco's day, the source material used is in very good condition, and the transfer here is expertly done. The film is presented in its original Academy ratio and with mono sound.


Extras include an extended documentary, originally made for Spanish audiences, discussing Bardem's directorial career in quite a bit of detail. Fans of Spanish cinema should enjoy this very much.

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