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Criterion Announces 'Easy Rider,' 'Night of the Hunter,' and a Lot More!


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*Criterion Announces 'Easy Rider,' 'Night of the Hunter,' and a Lot More!*


Aug 17th 2010




*Criterion doesn't make it a habit of disappointing their fans - to call them the greatest and most selflessly wonderful company in the history of human commercialism would be something of an understatement. That being said, their recently announced November line-up of DVD and Blu-rays is pretty incredible, even for them.*



Within the span of a few minutes this afternoon, Criterion teased out confirmation of several of their most hotly rumored titles. The biggest bombshell was incontestably a box-set titled "America Lost and Found: The BBS Story," an anthology of films produced by film pioneers Bob Rafelson, Bert Schneider, and Steve Blauner that includes Head, Five Easy Pieces, The Last Picture Show, Easy Rider, The King of Marvin Gardens, A Safe Place, and Jack Nicholson's directorial debut Drive, He Said. All titles are receiving new, restored high-definition digital transfers, and all titles are available on blu-ray in glorious 1080p. The set streets on 11/23 and at $99.99 is an absolute steal, and one of Criterion's finest coups yet.


As if that weren't enough, Criterion guaranteed that they'd be receiving plenty of Black Friday attention by also announcing a DVD / blu-ray of Charlie Chaplin's classic Modern Times for release on 11/16, complete with audio commentary, an interview with the Dardenne brothers, 2 Chaplin shorts, a beautiful short called For the First Time about a Cuban projectionist who shows Modern Times to audiences for the first time, and more. It's the first of several Chaplin releases that Criterion has in the works, and it's totally spectacular.



As if that weren't enough (and it so, totally was enough), they've also announced that the same day will see the release of Charles Laughton's masterpiece, The Night of the Hunter. Described by Criterion as "Cinema's quirkiest rendering of the battle between good and evil," the film will receive the full treatment its fans have been eagerly anticipating. Neat extras include a clip from The Ed Sullivan Show in which cast members perform a deleted scene, a feature called Charles Laughton Directs 'The Night of the Hunter' which features over 150 minutes(!) of outtakes from the film, and the blu-ray will even feature an uncompressed monaural soundtrack.



And as if THAT weren't enough (and now it's really getting ridiculous) Criterion is going to be releasing Lars von Trier's beloved, pastoral family film Antichrist on 11/9. Talking animals, a husband that works too hard... it's practically a Disney movie. Fans who have patiently resisted buying the film's all-region blu-rays will be rewarded with a new transfer, audio commentary by von Trier himself, and a documentary lovingly titled Chaos Reigns at the Cannes Film Festival 2009 about the film's storied world premiere.



Criterion. I love you. Let's make a child.




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*the inside cover of Sony's recent Blu-book version of Easy Rider.*



*Speculation: Criterion "New Hollywood" Box*



The CriterionCast guys have done some digging and seem to have some solid info that Criterion recently acquired rights to various Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider-produced pictures, Easy Rider and The Last Picture Show in particular. They go on to say their sources indicate a 5-7 movie boxset in the fall, available in Blu-ray and DVD editions. Here's my take on what I think they'll include, with proviso cases for both 5-title and 7-title editions:



Easy Rider and Last Picture Show are #1 and #2 respectively, that's a given. Five Easy Pieces was a Criterion Laserdisc back in the day, and I'd call it a safe #3. Tracks, starring Dennis Hopper, went out of print recently, so I'm calling it #4. I am hoping #5 is the long-desired Drive, He Said, Jack Nicholson's directorial debut. If it goes to seven, I'd hope to see A Safe Place and Broken English, neither of which has been on DVD in the US previously.



Wildcards that could fill slots 6 and 7 include Head (a Monkees far-out weirdo pic and the first collaboration between Rafaelson and Schneider), The King of Marvin Gardens (whose Sony/Columbia DVD is ten years old), and Stay Hungry (J. Bridges, Ahnuld, and Ellen Burstyn). Criterion already has rights to Hearts & Minds, a Vietnam doc, and it isn't a stretch to see them take the opportunity to reissue it, but it'd be a weird fit as the only doc.


An interesting title included in Schneider's filmography is The Gentleman Tramp (VHS-only in R1), the only authorized doc about Chaplin. I'd expect if Criterion has rights to this, they'll release it alongside their upcoming Chaplin titles. I'd love to see Peter Bogdanovich talk about that one, which he started but someone else completed, tossing out most of Bogdanivich's footage.



Here's a list-format rundown of my speculation, with some more notes:


1) Easy Rider



2) Last Picture Show



These are givens. They're happening, period.


3) Five Easy Pieces

It would finally return to the Collection for the first time since Laserdisc and complete a trio of high-profile marquee titles.



4) Tracks

This is a recently-OOP Hopper-headlined movie that seems like a natural fit.



5) Drive, He Said

This is Nicholson's first directing gig, and long-desired by collectors. Imagine the marketing juice they'd get out of this.



6) A Safe Place

Critical division was so fierce at the NYFF in 1971 after this screening that a fistfight broke out. I'm not joking. Nicholson did the movie as a favor for no paycheck and just a new color TV. Tuesday Weld is in it too. Orson Welles pays "The Magician", and it doesn't have much resembling a plot. If it's ever to see a DVD release, this is its chance.



7A) Broken English

I've never seen this, but I know that it is the only screen appearance of daughter of Eugene O'Neill and Chaplin's last wife, Oona O'Neill Chaplin. It's reputed to be rather good, and deals with interracial/intercultural relationships.



7B) Stay Hungry

This one could (and let's be honest, probably will) edge out Broken English and be Bridges title #2 in the "set of seven". Hell, I'd be compelled to beg them to make it a set of eight if it means that they could include Broken English.


Post Script


I can't wait for the eyeball-straining, painstaking comparisons and fights comparing the Sony Blu of Easy Rider to Criterion's.





Posted by Moises Chiullan

June 3, 2010

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*Of all of the Criterion Collection announcements, this one is the most telling.*



*Criterion Crosses America*

*Lost and Found on Blu-ray... then DVD.*




August 17, 2010



What is the common trend with the Criterion Collection's slated November titles? All of the titles will be made available on both DVD and Blu-ray formats. This is certainly startling news for Criterion collectors, along with the cheaper price on all DVD titles in comparison to their high-definition counterparts. But with the announcement of America Lost and Found: The BBS Story comes something even more eye-opening: it is a timed-exclusive on the Blu-ray format.




With a Blu-ray release date of November 23, 2010, the Criterion Collection has seemingly changed the balance of power towards that particular format, as the DVD edition will not see the light of day until December 14, 2010. Now, before you hit the panic switch, keep in mind that this is the only title to partake in this timed-exclusivity out of the four coming in November, and it may very well be because of the fact that this is a big, six-disc set as opposed to a single- or two-disc endeavor. As such, it will run at the MSRP of $124.95 on Blu-ray and $99.95 on DVD.




*Here's the official synopsis:*



"Like the rest of America, Hollywood was ripe for revolution in the late sixties. Cinema attendance was down; what had once worked seemed broken. Enter Bob Rafelson, Bert Schneider, and Steve Blauner, who knew that what Hollywood needed was new audiences?namely, young people?and that meant cultivating new talent and new ideas. Fueled by money made from their invention of the superstar TV pop group the Monkees, they set off on a film-industry journey that would lead them to form BBS Productions, a company that was also a community. The innovative films produced by this team between 1968 and 1972 are collected in this box set?works created within the studio system but lifted right out of the countercultural id, and that now range from the iconic (Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, The Last Picture Show) to the acclaimed (The King of Marvin Gardens) to the obscure (Head; Drive, He Said; A Safe Place)."



Our thoughts on the change? This is simply the evolution of the industry. The release of the Blu-ray three weeks prior to the DVD dropping is disappointing, though; we're guessing Criterion is banking on jumpstarting the sales of the new format by expecting Criterion fans who make the monthly bulk purchase to take the plunge. It may give them a gentle push into the high-definition lake, but we're anticipating that most consumers will feel as if they've been thrown into it instead.



*The Head releases will feature the following bonus materials:*


-- New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray edition)

-- Audio commentary featuring Monkees Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, and Peter Tork

-- New video interview with director Bob Rafelson

-- New documentary about BBS, featuring critic David Thomson and historian Douglas Brinkley

-- And more



*The Easy Rider releases will have the following special features:*



-- New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)

-- Audio commentary featuring director Dennis Hopper

-- Easy Rider: Shaking the Cage, a 1999 documentary featuring behind-the-scenes footage

-- Footage of Hopper and star Peter Fonda at Cannes in 1969

-- New video interview with BBS's Steve Blauner

-- And more



*Five Easy Pieces will compile these bonus features:*



-- New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)

-- Audio commentary featuring director Bob Rafelson and interior designer Toby Rafelson

-- Soul Searching in Five Easy Pieces, a 2009 video piece in which Rafelson discusses the film

-- BBStory, a 2009 documentary

-- Excerpts from an audio recording of Rafelson at the American Film Institute in 1976



*Drive, He Said (1971) will offer these special features:*



-- New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)

-- A Cautionary Tale of Campus Revolution and Sexual Freedom, a 2009 video piece in which director Jack Nicholson discusses the experience of making this film

-- Theatrical trailer

-- And more



*A Safe Place is a safe haven for the following bonus materials:*



-- New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)

-- Audio commentary featuring director Henry Jaglom

-- Henry Jaglom Finds "A Safe Place," a 2009 video piece in which the director discusses the film

-- Notes on the New York Film Festival, a 1971 video piece featuring an interview conducted by critic Molly Haskell with directors Peter Bogdanovich and Jaglom about their films The Last Picture Show and A Safe Place

-- Deleted scene and screen tests

-- Theatrical trailer



*The Last Picture Show will contain these bonus features:*



-- New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)

-- Two audio commentaries, one featuring director Peter Bogdanovich and the other featuring Bogdanovich and actors Cybill Shepherd, Randy Quaid, Cloris Leachman, and Frank Marshall

-- Picture This, a 1990 documentary by George Hickenlooper

-- "The Last Picture Show": A Look Back, an hour-long 1999 documentary

-- 2009 interview with Bogdanovich

-- Screen tests and location footage

-- Theatrical trailers and more!



*And finally, The King of Marvin Gardens will boast the following special materials:*



-- New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)

-- Selected-scene audio commentary featuring director Bob Rafelson

-- Reflections of a Philosopher King, a 2009 documentary about the making of the film

-- Afterthoughts, a short 2002 documentary about the film, produced by Rafelson

-- Theatrical trailer





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