751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue Line

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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domino harvey
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751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue Line

#1 Post by domino harvey » Mon Dec 15, 2014 6:52 pm

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751 Gates of Heaven / 752 Vernon, Florida

With his trademark mixture of empathy and scrutiny, Errol Morris has changed the face of documentary filmmaking in the United States, and his career began with two remarkable tales of American eccentricity: Gates of Heaven and Vernon, Florida. The first uses two Southern California pet cemeteries as the bases for a profound and funny rumination on love, loss, and industry; the second travels to a languorous southern backwater and meets a handful of fascinating folks—a determined turkey hunter, a curious minister, a laconic policeman—engaged in individualistic, sometimes absurd pursuits. Morris consistently creates humane portraits of true candor, and these early works remain two of his greatest and most provocative films.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED EDITION:
New 2K digital restorations of both films, supervised by director Errol Morris, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays
New interviews with Morris
Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980), a twenty-minute film by Les Blank featuring Herzog fulfilling a bet intended to inspire Morris to complete his first feature
• Footage of Herzog professing his admiration for Gates of Heaven at the 1980 Telluride Film Festival
• PLUS: An essay by critic Eric Hynes


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753 the Thin Blue Line

Among the most important documentaries ever made, The Thin Blue Line, by Errol Morris, erases the border between art and activism. A work of meticulous journalism and gripping drama, it recounts the disturbing tale of Randall Adams, a drifter who was charged with the murder of a Dallas police officer and sent to death row, despite overwhelming evidence that he did not commit the crime. Incorporating stylized reenactments, penetrating interviews, and haunting original music by Philip Glass, Morris uses cinema to build a case forensically while effortlessly entertaining his viewers. The Thin Blue Line effected real-world change, proving film’s power beyond the shadow of a doubt.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED EDITION:
New high-definition digital restoration, supervised by director Errol Morris and producer Mark Lipson, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New interview with Morris
New interview with filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer (The Act of Killing)
• NBC report from 1989 covering Randall Adams’s release from prison
• PLUS: An essay by film scholar Charles Musser

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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#2 Post by domino harvey » Mon Dec 15, 2014 7:08 pm

I... don't understand why these films aren't just in a box together?

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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#3 Post by zedz » Mon Dec 15, 2014 7:08 pm

Wow, for such a long wait on these titles the extras on these look to be extremely skimpy. Unless Morris is going to be talking for several hours, which is certainly possible!

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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#4 Post by domino harvey » Mon Dec 15, 2014 7:09 pm

The extras on the double feature are all about Herzog?! Why do all of Criterion's Morris releases suck for extras?

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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#5 Post by zedz » Mon Dec 15, 2014 7:11 pm

domino harvey wrote:I... don't understand why these films aren't just in a box together?
Sales, I guess. The Thin Blue Line is a very big deal in its own right (is it a film studies staple yet?) and Gates of Heaven is a cult classic with its own dedicated audience, so Criterion probably figures that they'd be maximising sales with separate releases and limiting them with a box.

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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#6 Post by PfR73 » Mon Dec 15, 2014 7:41 pm

domino harvey wrote:I... don't understand why these films aren't just in a box together?
I'm with you. If they were in a box, at least you could figure out a way to organize it. I hate these double feature discs. Do you file it under G or V?

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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#7 Post by Yaanu » Mon Dec 15, 2014 7:43 pm

PfR73 wrote:
domino harvey wrote:I... don't understand why these films aren't just in a box together?
I'm with you. If they were in a box, at least you could figure out a way to organize it. I hate these double feature discs. Do you file it under G or V?
You file it between Ride The Pink Horse and The Thin Blue Line because organizing Criterion releases by any method other than spine number is an action only taken by plebeians of the lowest renown.

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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#8 Post by knives » Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:21 pm

domino harvey wrote:The extras on the double feature are all about Herzog?! Why do all of Criterion's Morris releases suck for extras?
Especially already released by Crit Herzog extras. At least the films themselves are great.

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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#9 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:28 pm

I think I read somewhere that MGM's old box set packaging of these same titles didn't do as well as the individual releases, so it's probably a business decision.

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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#10 Post by swo17 » Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:34 pm

The Herzog extras are very relevant here (the repeated short arguably fits better here than on Burden of Dreams, where the only things in common were the names involved). Remember, if it weren't for Herzog's encouragement and enthusiasm, Morris might never have become a filmmaker.

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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#11 Post by adavis53 » Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:07 pm

I'm surprised they didn't at least get Morris in for a commentary on these. His narration over Standard Operating Procedure is absolutely fascinating

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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#12 Post by warren oates » Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:57 pm

Morris' commentaries are all great and I don't understand why he hasn't done more of them either. His talking back to Rumsfeld on The Unknown Known's commentary track is exactly the sort of cantankerous exchange that would have ruined the movie proper and that all the haters of that film seemed to imagine Morris was too meek or clueless to muster.

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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#13 Post by jwd5275 » Tue Dec 16, 2014 12:44 pm

The first uses two Southern California pet cemeteries as the bases for a profound and funny rumination on love, loss, and industry
Their copywriter really needs a lesson in California geography...

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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#14 Post by Minkin » Tue Dec 16, 2014 7:56 pm

jwd5275 wrote:
The first uses two Southern California pet cemeteries as the bases for a profound and funny rumination on love, loss, and industry
Their copywriter really needs a lesson in California geography...
I assume Criterion thinks the Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park could only possibly be California's only cemetery dedicated to pets (how wrong they are!).

Also, if you can't get enough pet graveyard action, here's Huell Howser's attempt to visit the graves of several famous movie animals (most are now parking lots!).

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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#15 Post by captveg » Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:43 pm

They've changed the description to now say Northern

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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#16 Post by manicsounds » Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:58 am


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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#17 Post by ordinaryperson » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:57 pm



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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#19 Post by AquaNarc » Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:01 pm

I noticed last night, early on in the interview with Morris on the Thin Blue Line disc, when Errol first mentions David Harris he quickly (intentionally?) flashes his middle finger to the camera. I wonder what that's about...

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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#20 Post by Professor Wagstaff » Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:21 pm

AquaNarc wrote:I noticed last night, early on in the interview with Morris on the Thin Blue Line disc, when Errol first mentions David Harris he quickly (intentionally?) flashes his middle finger to the camera. I wonder what that's about...
I noticed that too and really don't think he means anything by it. Morris was counting with his fingers at that moment and I believe he's someone who uses his middle finger to begin counting. That Morris makes such sweeping gestures when he talks makes it look like he's flipping the bird. I've met other people who count this way (or who are covertly telling me to fuck off).

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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#21 Post by movielocke » Mon Aug 10, 2015 6:05 pm

Just have to say the Oppenheimer feature on Thin Blue Line is my current favorite extra of 2015. Amazing insightful compelling analysis, one of very few features I'd watch multiple times. This is David Kalat levels of superb.

Morris' interview is also far more illuminating here than the pair of interviews on the gates/Florida release. Those are good but everything about this package is superb.

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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#22 Post by djproject » Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:52 am

Professor Wagstaff wrote:
AquaNarc wrote:I noticed last night, early on in the interview with Morris on the Thin Blue Line disc, when Errol first mentions David Harris he quickly (intentionally?) flashes his middle finger to the camera. I wonder what that's about...
I noticed that too and really don't think he means anything by it. Morris was counting with his fingers at that moment and I believe he's someone who uses his middle finger to begin counting. That Morris makes such sweeping gestures when he talks makes it look like he's flipping the bird. I've met other people who count this way (or who are covertly telling me to fuck off).
Then again ... =]

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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#23 Post by djproject » Sun Jul 10, 2016 10:13 pm

1) Watching this now with what happened to Dallas PD is timely.

2) Now you can watch one of the double features Adams and Harris watched that night in HD.

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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#24 Post by Professor Wagstaff » Sun Jul 10, 2016 10:48 pm

djproject wrote:2) Now you can watch one of the double features Adams and Harris watched that night in HD.
Having just watched The Swinging Cheerleaders, it's definitely a cut above most cheerleader/nurse/teacher movies if such films are your bag.

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Re: 751-753 Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida & The Thin Blue

#25 Post by DFR » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:27 pm

This film impresses me every time I see it, and it's not often that I can watch a documentary again and again. I love how Morris seems to be slightly mocking those witnesses he deems to be unreliable, which in turn accentuates the idea that they are unreliable, a quality of the film seems to scream of the Rashomon effect. The majority of the film's runtime consists of interview footage, supplemented by the noirish reenactments, but the occasional cutaways to movie footage or newspapers seem to really stand-out as the filmmaker's voice interrupting the film's let-the-witnesses-speak-for-themselves quality of Morris' approach. For instance, there's a point when one witness says that the two unreliable witnesses may be testifying because they are after something else (attention, money, etc.). Morris seems to confirm this with his visual voice when he cuts to a newspaper clipping with the word "reward" huge on the screen. The insinuation is that they are after a reward, but does Morris implant that idea, and if so, that appears to be his nonverbal voice. It's a very clever way of representing a factual story through a subjective lens.

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