Criterion and Sony

The scuttlebutt on Criterion, Eclipse, and Janus Films. Lists and polls are STRONGLY discouraged.
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Jeff
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Criterion and Sony

#1 Post by Jeff » Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:44 pm

jaredsap wrote:I should only say more than one and there's diversity and it's all cause for celebration.
Huzzah! Floodgates are open. Let the speculation begin!

I think that Sony's new "Collector's Choice" and "Martini Movie" collections probably impacted which films ended up in the hands of Criterion. After all, if we had heard this news a year ago, we would have assumed that A Matter of Life and Death was at the top of Criterion's list. Sony is clearly going to also try to cater to this market (film nerds) themselves.

Any Collector's Choice titles would probably be ones in which Sony owns multiple films by the same director or featuring the same actor, or ones that could be classified as Film Noir. I have yet to be able to identify any sort of unifying theme for the Martini Movies beyond being "hip and iconic films for the cool film lover," so it's hard to predict what might end up there.

A couple of years ago, a bunch of Sony titles went out of print. There were several comments made here and elsewhere that they were being taken out of print with the intention of licensing them to Criterion and Anchor Bay. I don't know if that was random speculation or inside info, but it certainly makes some sense in retrospect. I have a completely unsupportable theory that the random assortment of Martini Movies are actually titles mastered by Sony with the intention of licensing them to a third party (Anchor Bay ?), but the deal fell through and Sony came up with a brand to release them themselves. They certainly seem like the kind of titles that one would license to a third party, and the eclectic mix has Anchor Bay's name all over it.

Here are some of the titles speculated about so far (and a few others), minus the ones Jared has said Sony doesn't own. I also haven't included Husbands, which was indeed mentioned for a future wave of Martini Movies, or Knock On Any Door and Human Desire which were mentioned by Mike Schlesinger as certain candidates for upcoming noir boxes. What other Sony titles that have either gone out of print or have never been released in region one would be considered Criterion fodder?

Safe
Arguments For: Currently out of print. Jared once mentioned that it "seemed very realistic," but I think that was before he knew which titles were coming.
Arguments Against: The previous DVD had a commentary and some other minor supplements. Would Criterion license the commentary or try to top the Sony disc?


The Spanish Prisoner
Arugments For: Currently out of print, though Sony is still purging old stock. Previous dvd had no supplements. Criterion may want to continue their relationship with Mamet.
Arugments Against: In October 2007, Tamara told me, "to the best of my knowledge we don't have plans for "The Spanish Prisoner" at this time."


Fat City
Arguments For: Currently out of print. Previous dvd had no supplements.
Arguments Against: Not really any that I can think of.


California Split
Arguments For: Currently out of print. Criterion digs Altman. Has the "forgotten masterpiece" vibe.
Arguments Against: The previous DVD had a commentary and some other minor supplements. Would Criterion license the commentary or try to top the Sony disc? Is it still plagued by music rights issues?


Vanya on 42nd Street
Arguments For: Currently out of print. Previous DVD had no supplements. Would make a great SSN (sequential spine number) release with My Dinner With Andre.
Arguments Against: Criterion already has more Malle than they know what to do with.


Va Savoir
Arguments For: Currently out of print, right? (DVD Empire has one in stock). Previous dvd had no supplements. No Rivette in the collection.
Arguments Against: Can they access the director's cut? Criterion doesn't care about Rivette people (or justeleblanc)


The Swimmer
Arguments For: Currently out of print. Previous dvd had no supplements. Nothing from the Perrys in the collection. Good opportunity for Cheever supplements.
Arguments Against: I don't think that this is what Sony meant by "Martini Movies." Not really any negatives that I can think of.


Van Gogh
Arguments For: Currently out of print. Previous dvd had no supplements. Criterion may be in the market for more Pialat. Good opportunity for Vincent Van Gogh supplements.
Arguments Against: Not really any that I can think of.


Housekeeping
Arguments For: Never released on DVD. Has a cult following.
Arguments Against: Is the cult large enough to justify the release?


Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould
Arguments For: Current DVD is out of print. Previous dvd had no supplements. Good opportunity for Glenn Gould supplements.
Arguments Against: François Girard is not part of the Criterion Auteur Posse.


Bonjour Tristesse
Arguments For: Current DVD is out of print. Previous dvd had no supplements. No Preminger in the collection(!).
Arguments Against: Sony has other Premingers (see below) that they may want to pack this with for a Collector's Choice set. Previous DVD had a martini on the cover...will Sony be tempted?


Anatomy of a Murder and Bunny Lake is Missing
Arguments For: Current DVDs have little/no supplements. No Preminger in the collection(!).
Arguments Against: Sony's DVDs are still in print. They may be especially reluctant to let go of Anatomy of a Murder, which has some name recognition with mainstream consumers. They could pack these with Bonjour Tristesse in a Collector's Choice set.


Here Comes Mr. Jordan
Arguments For: Current DVD has no supplements. Criterion released the laserdisc and has an Elizabeth Montgomery commentary waiting.
Arguments Against: Sony's DVD is still in print. They may be reluctant to let go of this title which has some name recognition with mainstream consumers.


The Fisher King
Arguments For: Current DVD has no supplements. Criterion released the laserdisc and has a Terry Gilliam commentary waiting.
Arguments Against: Sony's DVD is still in print. They may be reluctant to let go of this title which has some name recognition with mainstream consumers.


The Prince of Tides
Arguments For: Current DVD has no supplements. Criterion released the laserdisc and has a Babs commentary and other supplements waiting.
Arguments Against: Sony's DVD is still in print. They may be reluctant to let go of this title which has some name recognition with mainstream consumers. It's The Prince of Tides.


Five Easy Pieces and The King of Marvin Gardens
Arguments For: Current DVDs have no supplements. Criterion released Five Easy Pieces on laserdisc. No Rafelson in the collection.
Arguments Against: Sony's DVDs are still in print. They may be especially reluctant to let go of Five Easy Pieces, which has some name recognition with mainstream consumers. Criterion's laserdisc didn't have supplements.


Shampoo
Arguments For: Current DVD has no supplements. Criterion released the laserdisc. No Ashby in the collection
Arguments Against: Sony's DVD is still in print. They may be reluctant to let go of this title which has some name recognition with mainstream consumers. Criterion's laserdisc didn't have supplements.


Crimson Kimono and Underworld U.S.A.
Arguments For: Neither have been released on region one dvd. It's Sam Fuller.
Arguments Against: I could see Sony putting these together in a Collector's Choice set.


The Bitter Tea of General Yen
Arguments For: Never released in region one. No Capra in the collection. Has the "forgotten classic" vibe.
Arguments Against: Sony has at least one other Capra box in the works (including a Stanwyk-themed one, and this would be a likely inclusion.


Repulsion
Arguments For: Only crappy PD DVD available. Criterion released a laserdisc and has a Polanski commentary waiting.
Arguments Against: Crappy PD DVD still in market.


Spider
Arguments For: Currently out of print. Criterion and Cronenberg are BFFs.
Arguments Against: Previous DVD had commentary and lots of featurettes. Would Criterion bother trying to top it?


Matador and Law of Desire and Flower of My Secret
Arguments For: Flower of My Secret is out of print. Neither Matador or Law of Desire have been released outside of the Viva Pedro set. Matador was once pegged by a reliable source as a forthcoming title.
Arguments Against: These are all still available in the Viva Pedro set.


The Go-Between and These Are the Damned
Arguments For: Neither of these are currently available on region one DVD. No Losey in the collection.
Arguments Against: Sony's Mike Schlesinger indicated he might like to released These Are the Damned, but there are no firm plans.


The Pushover (and other Noir titles)
Arguments For: Many of Sony's noir films have never been released on region one DVD.
Arguments Against: Sony is preparing a series of film noir boxed sets, and may plan on saving these titles for that purpose.


Drive, He Said
Arguments For: Never released on DVD. Has a cult following.
Arguments Against: Is the cult large enough to justify the release?


Jason and the Argonauts
Arguments For: The current DVD contains only an interview. Criterion released a laserdisc with commentary by Harryhausen and Bruce Eder among other supplements.
Arguments Against: Sony's DVD is still in print. They may be reluctant to let go of this title which has some name recognition with mainstream consumers.


Ishtar
Arguments For: Never released on DVD. No Elaine May in the collection. Some cult appeal.
Arguments Against: It's Ishtar.


The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T
Arguments For: Current DVD has few supplements. Has a cult following. Dr. Seuss.
Arguments Against: Sony's DVD is still in print.


Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion
Arguments For: Never released on region one DVD. Seems Criteriony. No Petri in collection.
Arguments Against: None that I can think of.


Macbeth (1971)
Arguments For: Current DVD has no supplements. Polanski + Shakespeare = Criterion
Arguments Against: Sony's DVD is still in print.


To Die For
Arguments For: Current DVD has no supplements. Gus Van Sant is a friend of the company.
Arguments Against: Sony's DVD is still in print.


Tommy
Arguments For: Current DVD has no supplements. No Ken Russell in the collection. That deaf, dumb, and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball.
Arguments Against: Sony's DVD is still in print. They may be reluctant to let go of this title which has some name recognition with mainstream consumers.


Watermelon Man
Arguments For: Currently out of print. Previous dvd had few supplements. Cult following.
Arguments Against: If there is a large enough market for this, there are not really any negatives that I can think of.


City of Hope
Arguments For: Of all of Sony's John Sayles films, this one seems most likely, as it remains unreleased.
Arguments Against: Criterion hasn't shown Sayles any love thus far. He has a previous relationship with Sony.


Mickey One
Arguments For: Never released on region one DVD. No Arthur Penn in the collection. Recently restored. Cult following.
Arguments Against: Sony would like to do this themselves, but Beatty has been unavailable. I could still see Criterion taking this project over.


La Vérité
Arguments For: Never released on DVD. Criterion loves Clouzot. Apparently screening in new prints with Columbia logo.
Arguments Against: None that I can think of.


Man's Castle and No Greater Glory
Arguments For: Both are unavailable on DVD. No Borzage in the collection(!).
Arguments Against: Sony's Grover Crisp is trying to restore the pre-code version of Man's Castle. They will likely want to keep these pricey projects for themselves. Future Collector's Choice?


Tempest (1982)
Arguments For: Current DVD has no supplements. No Mazursky in the collection. Cassavetes factor. Shakespeare factor.
Arguments Against: Sony's DVD is still in print.


In Cold Blood
Arguments For: Current DVD has no supplements. Good opportunity for features on Capote, the story, Conrad Hall, etc.
Arguments Against: Sony's DVD is still in print, including a new Blu-ray double feature with Capote.


Night/Curse of the Demon
Arguments For: Current DVD has no supplements. No Tourneur in the collection
Arguments Against: Sony disc with both versions still in print. Could be a candidate for an upcoming Hammer or noir box from Sony.


The Victors
Arguments For: Never released on DVD. Often edited by 20 minutes.
Arguments Against: Are there good elements of the long version available?


Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing
Arguments For: Never released on DVD. No Pakula in the collection.
Arguments Against: The film is not well-known. Are there quality elements available?


The Man Without a Past
Arguments For: Current DVD is out of print. Previous DVD had no supplements. Criterion has shown an interest in Kaurismaki.
Arguments Against: None that I can think of.


The Whole Town's Talking, The Last Hurrah, Two Rode Together, The Long Grey Line, and Gideon's Day
Arguments For: Only The Last Hurrah has been released in region one. Criterion would proably like to get their hands on more Ford.
Arguments Against: It seems likely that Sony would release these in a boxed set.


Beat the Devil
Arguments For: Only public domain copies available. Criterion has experience with pseudo-PD titles. More John Huston
Arguments Against: Market is filled with cheap knock-offs. Are there decent elements?


Shockproof
Arguments For: No DVD available. Sirk, Fuller, and Wilde are all Criterion fodder.
Arguments Against: None that I can think of.


The King Steps Out
Arguments For: No DVD available. Maybe this will finally be Sternberg's year with The Big C.
Arguments Against: This isn't typical Sternberg.


Sandra
Arguments For: No region one DVD available. Criterion digs Visconti. Recently restored by Sony
Arguments Against: None that I can think of.

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Harmonov
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Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation

#2 Post by Harmonov » Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:11 am

Please, dear God, let Husbands and Love Streams be part of the deal. PLEASE.

ianungstad
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Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation

#3 Post by ianungstad » Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:21 am

A couple of other nice picks from Sony would be:

Verboten!/Crimson Kimono/Underworld U.S.A - Even one of these Fuller films would be excellent.

Bitter Tea of General Yen - fantastic unreleased Capra.

Rancho Notorious/Human Desire - unreleased Fritz Lang films that I would like to see.

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Gregory
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Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation

#4 Post by Gregory » Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:52 am

ianungstad wrote:Bitter Tea of General Yen - fantastic unreleased Capra.
It's available in a Stanwyck set that is one of the most dependable bargains on Amazon UK (currently 76% off) that also includes the outstanding All I Desire.
I'm with Harmonov -- let there be at least one Cassavetes, although I don't think it will be Husbands because that's supposed to come out very soon in R1 as part of the Martini Movies line.
I think Criterion has been focusing too much on previously available titles, but nonetheless I'd love to see special editions of Reckless Moment and Bonjour Tristesse, both among my favorites of all time.

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Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation

#5 Post by jaredsap » Sat Feb 07, 2009 1:15 am

To help narrow speculation a bit I'll note that Sony does not currently own the domestic rights (and in some cases, has no rights) to:

THE APU TRILOGY (with New Yorker now)
THE RECKLESS MOMENT (CBS Television Distribution, aka Viacom, aka maybe Paramount will release)
LOVE STREAMS (I wish; should be with MGM)
VERBOTEN!
RANCHO NOTORIOUS (I wish)

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kaujot
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Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation

#6 Post by kaujot » Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:55 am

jaredsap wrote:THE APU TRILOGY (with New Yorker now)
How utterly depressing.

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domino harvey
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Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation

#7 Post by domino harvey » Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:59 am

At least New Yorker has already set a release date for the Apu Trilogy though: December 2009, March 2010, July 2010, September 2010, December 2010, March 2011, June 2011, September 2011

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What A Disgrace
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Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation

#8 Post by What A Disgrace » Sat Feb 07, 2009 7:45 am

Re-purchasing the Artificial Eye Apu Trilogy in 3, 2, 1...

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TheGodfather
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Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation

#9 Post by TheGodfather » Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:18 am

Harmonov wrote:Please, dear God, let Husbands and Love Streams be part of the deal. PLEASE.
One can only hope. They really need a decent release. The French version of Love Streams that I own got those horrible burnt in subs...

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CSM126
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Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation

#10 Post by CSM126 » Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:03 am

Dare I dream of finally seeing Housekeeping on DVD?

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Cash Flagg
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Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation

#11 Post by Cash Flagg » Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:49 am

ianungstad wrote:Rancho Notorious/Human Desire - unreleased Fritz Lang films that I would like to see.
There is a R2 Optimum disc of Rancho Notorious, currently only £4.98 at Amazon.

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Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation

#12 Post by HypnoHelioStaticStasis » Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:48 pm

How about some Sony Losey? Like The Go-Between or These Are the Damned? I could particularly see the latter as a great addition to the collection.

Shame about the Apu Trilogy. Hasn't Criterion licensed from New Yorker before?

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Jeff
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Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation

#13 Post by Jeff » Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:41 pm

HypnoHelioStaticStasis wrote:How about some Sony Losey? Like The Go-Between or These Are the Damned? I could particularly see the latter as a great addition to the collection.
Great suggestions. I've added them to my list.
HypnoHelioStaticStasis wrote:Shame about the Apu Trilogy. Hasn't Criterion licensed from New Yorker before?
Not that I can recall.

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domino harvey
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Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation

#14 Post by domino harvey » Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:51 pm

Jeff wrote:
HypnoHelioStaticStasis wrote:Shame about the Apu Trilogy. Hasn't Criterion licensed from New Yorker before?
Not that I can recall.
Jeanne Dielman was a New Yorker holding

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Jeff
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Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation

#15 Post by Jeff » Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:06 pm

domino harvey wrote:Jeanne Dielman was a New Yorker holding
It wasn't licensed from New Yorker though. I believe that New Yorker's U.S. rights expired and Janus picked them up from the copyright holder.

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Jeff
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Re: Criterion and Sony

#16 Post by Jeff » Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:42 pm

Since the Paramount speculation and news eventually grew to 17 pages, I decided to give this topic a thread of its own too. I've moved my list to my initial post in the thread. If anyone has other reasonable guesses, I'll add them to the list.

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Re: Criterion and Sony

#17 Post by Cash Flagg » Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:49 pm

Jeff wrote: I also haven't included Husbands, which was indeed mentioned for a future wave of Martini Movies, or Knock On Any Door and Human Desire which were mentioned by Mike Schlesinger as certain candidates for upcoming noir boxes.
Other noir possibilities: Losey's M, Pushover, and The Sniper. I'd love to see a Criterion of Drive, He Said.

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Jeff
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Re: Criterion and Sony

#18 Post by Jeff » Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:14 pm

Cash Flagg wrote:Other noir possibilities: Losey's M, Pushover, and The Sniper. I'd love to see a Criterion of Drive, He Said.
I've added the above, but I think that M may be in some sort of rights limbo

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Re: Criterion and Sony

#19 Post by ianungstad » Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:15 am

Considering it's undeserved bad rep, I would almost like to see Criterion license Ishtar just to see the debate that would ensue. It has not ever been released in region 1.

Most likely no chance but Criterion did have Jason and the Argonauts on laserdisc. They've had Harryhausen in a few supplements (Thief of Bagdad etc.) I'm sure they would love to do a definite Harryhausen release before he passes away. I don't have the current dvd but a google search shows that it only has the trailer and a short 10 min interview with Harryhausen...didn't the laserdisc have a commentary and deleted scenes and other goodies?
Last edited by ianungstad on Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:58 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Criterion and Sony

#20 Post by dadaistnun » Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:23 am

Jeff wrote:Safe
Arguments For: Currently out of print. Jared once mentioned that it "seemed very realistic," but I think that was before he knew which titles were coming.
Arguments Against: The previous DVD had a commentary and some other minor supplements. Would Criterion license the commentary or try to top the Sony disc?
Also in the "arguments for" column: Haynes did the intro for Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (though I suppose that in & of itself doesn't mean much).

The commentary on the Sony disc is very good, but I'd so love for Criterion to pick this up. The Sony disc also has an unfortunate subtitle/caption stream fuck up where the flier Carol sees at the health club is suddenly subbed even if you have the subtitles off; to make matters worse, the subs don't even match what's on the flier. It may sound like a relatively minor thing, but for a film with this kind of mood & tone, it does jerk you out briefly. And if something like this happened on a CC disc we'd have three or more pages of posts freaking out about it.

As far as potential extras: Assassins: A Film Concerning Rimbaud is even harder to see than Superstar (bootlegs of which are fairly easy to find).

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Re: Criterion and Sony

#21 Post by ianungstad » Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:49 am

While Jeff already has a few of the unreleased Preminger listed, I'd add his Porgy and Bess as a film that really needs to get released.

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Re: Criterion and Sony

#22 Post by david hare » Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:51 am

According to Dave Kehr the rights problem issue with the Losey M resides with the Nebenzal estate. This has been holding up any legit release of it for years.

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Re: Criterion and Sony

#23 Post by AfterTheRain » Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:31 am

Cash Flagg wrote:
Jeff wrote: I also haven't included Husbands, which was indeed mentioned for a future wave of Martini Movies, or Knock On Any Door and Human Desire which were mentioned by Mike Schlesinger as certain candidates for upcoming noir boxes.
Other noir possibilities: Losey's M, Pushover, and The Sniper. I'd love to see a Criterion of Drive, He Said.
Remove The Sniper from the list, as I've heard that it will more than likely be part of the upcoming noir box sets.

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Re: Criterion and Sony

#24 Post by ianungstad » Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:55 am

Mickey One- Critically aclaimed cult film. Never been released on DVD. Restored print was screened at MoMA last year. (If I was making bets, my money would be on this title)

Beat the Devil - Fun, quirky comedy by John Huston. Flawed masterpiece IMO. Never had an official DVD release....tons of poor quality public domain copies floating around. Sony probably isn't interested in touching stuff that's gone PD, while Criterion has ventured into this territory before with Charade, Lady Vanishes, Most Dangerous Game, etc.
Last edited by ianungstad on Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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justeleblanc
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Re: Criterion and Sony

#25 Post by justeleblanc » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:11 am

Argument against Va Savoir:

I doubt they would release this unless they got their hands on the director's cut, which is pretty rare.

If this were a Bergman film then I would say it's more likely, but this is Rivette and George "Criterion" Bush does not care about black "Rivette" people.

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