The Criterion Collection Gift Set 2004 (Amazon.com Exclusive)
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November 2, 2004
The Criterion Collection Amazon.com Exclusive Edition
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For this unprecedented collection of Criterion Collection DVDs, it's easier to talk about what's not in the massive collection: namely, a few future releases and several films that have had the rights returned to the original studio. But that's only 20 titles out of the 261-title library (as of fall 2004). Criterion set the standard in Laser Discs in the first digital age. Although other studios create some great DVDs, no one has matched Criterion for consistently producing fabulous-looking, extras-laden films on DVD, especially if your thing is classic or international films. The care in print and sound quality is a marvel. Something like the 1932 comedy Trouble in Paradise shouldn't look like it was made yesterday. The reconstruction of the original 1928 print of The Passion of Joan the Arc is legendary. Subtitles are always new and reexamined for translation; original aspect ratios and sound design are carefully presented.
Being about "a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films," Criterion has developed relationships with many top directors, including Steven Soderberg (Traffic), Terry Gilliam (Brazil), David Cronenberg (Dead Ringers), and Robert Altman (Short Cuts). The extras are not fodder from the publicity train, and often outside sources round out the retrospection of the film. What other company would conceive of presenting Truffaut's Antoine Doinel series this way? The label is so strong, film mavens often buy the next Criterion disc without knowing anything about it (ever heard of Onibaba, The Ballad of a Solider, or the Orphic Trilogy?). Either they know they are getting a history in film, or they don't want a gap in the numeric order of releases (plus Criterion discs hold their value better than most DVDs). Either way, this collection is the ultimate way to quickly start your cinema library, be it for your organization, office, or suddenly bigger home collection. As you ponder over the striking cover art or read a printed essay, know this: all classic films--and many contemporary ones--dream of being a Criterion disc. There is no better digital fate. --Doug Thomas
From the Back Cover
Now available for the first time, The Criterion Collection is proud to present its prestigious collection of films together in one gift set! Totaling 282 discs, The Criterion Collection Holiday 2004 Gift Set consists of all of their published DVDs through October 2004 (except for the out-of-print editions): that's 241 titles on 282 discs and includes a Certificate of Authenticity. This much sought after collection of films is the most significant archive of contemporary filmmaking available to the home viewer. Included in this set:
|Alexander Nevsky||Hiroshima Mon Amour||Pornographers|
|Ali: Fear Eats The Soul||Honeymoon Killers||Port Of Shadows|
|All That Heaven Allows||Hopscotch||Pygmalion|
|Alphaville||Horse's Mouth, The||Quai Des Orfevres|
|Amarcord||I Am Curious - Blue||Rainer Werner Fassbinder: The BRD Trilogy|
|And God Created Woman||I Am Curious - Yellow||Rashomon|
|And The Ship Sails On||I Am Curious Yellow/Blue Set||Ratcatcher|
|Andrei Rublev||I Fidanzati||Red Beard|
|Armageddon||I Know Where I'm Going!||Red Shoes|
|Autumn Sonata||I Vitelloni||Renoir Boxed Set: Stage & Spectacle|
|Ballad Of A Soldier||Ikiru||Richard Iii|
|Band Of Outsiders||Il Posto||Rififi|
|Battle Of Algiers, The||Importance Of Being Earnest, The||Rock, The|
|Beastie Boys||In The Mood For Love||Royal Tenenbaums. The|
|Beauty And The Beast||Indiscretion Of An American Wife/Terminal Station||Rules Of The Game|
|Bed And Board||Ingmar Bergman Makes A Movie||Ruling Class, The|
|Big Deal On Madonna Street||Ingmar Bergman: A Film Trilogy||Rushmore|
|Black Narcissus||Ivan The Terrible I & II||Salvatore Giuliano|
|Black Orpheus||Jimi Plays Monterey/Shake! Otis At Monterey/Outtake Performances||Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto|
|Blob, The||John Cassavetes: Five Film Boxed Set||Samurai II: Duel At Ichijoji Temple|
|Blood Of A Poet||Jubilee||Samurai III: Duel At Ganryu Island|
|Bob Le Flambeau||Juliet Of The Spirits||Sanjuro|
|Branded To Kill||Killers Double Disc Special Edition||Scarlet Empress, The|
|Brazil||Killing Of A Chinese Bookie. The||Scenes From A Marriage|
|Brief Encounter||Knife In The Water||Schizopolis|
|By Brakhage, An Anthology||Kwaidan||Secret Honor|
|Carl Theodor Dreyer Boxed Set||La Strada||Seven Samurai|
|Carnival Of Souls||Lady Eve, The||Seventh Seal|
|Chasing Amy||Last Temptation Of Christ, The||Shock Corridor|
|Children Of Paradise||Last Wave, The||Shop On Main Street|
|Cleo From 5 To 7||L'Avventura||Silence, The||Sisters|
|Cocteau's Orphic Trilogy Boxed Set||Le Corbeau||Slacker|
|Constant Forge, A||Le Dames Du Bois De Boulogne||Smiles Of A Summer Night|
|Coup De Grace||Le Trou||Spartacus|
|Coup De Torchon||Leopard, The||Stolen Kisses|
|Cranes Are Flying||Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp||Stories Of Floating Weeds|
|Cries And Whispers||Lola||Stray Dog|
|Day Of Wrath||Long Good Friday||Sullivan's Travels|
|Devil And Daniel Webster, The||Lord Of The Flies||Summertime|
|Diabolique||Lost Honor Of Katherina Blum, The||Tanner '88|
|Diary Of A Chambermaid||Love On The Run||Taste Of Cherry|
|Diary Of A Country Priest||Loves Of A Blonde||Testament Of Dr. Mabuse|
|Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie, The||Lower Depths, The||Testament Of Orpheus|
|Do The Right Thing||M. Hulot's Holiday||That Obscure Object Of Desire|
|Double Suicide||Magic Flute||Third Man|
|Down By Law||Maitresse||39 Steps|
|Early Summer||Mamma Roma||3 Women|
|Eight & 1/2||Man Bites Dog||Throne Of Blood|
|Eisenstein: The Sound Years Boxed Set||Marriage Of Maria Braun. The||Through A Glass Darkly|
|Element Of Crime||Mon Oncle||Time Bandits|
|Elena And Her Men||Mona Lisa||Tin Drum, The|
|Eyes Without A Face||Monterey Pop||Tokyo Drifter|
|Faces||Monterey Pop Festival Boxed Set||Tokyo Olympiad|
|Fat Girl||Monty Python's Life Of Brian||Tokyo Story|
|Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas||Most Dangerous Game||Traffic|
|Fiend Without A Face||My Life As A Dog||Trouble In Paradise|
|Firemen's Ball||My Man Godfrey||Truffaut's Adventures Of Antoine Doinel Boxed Set|
|Fishing With John||My Metier||Tunes Of Glory|
|For All Mankind||Naked Kiss||Umberto D|
|400 Blows. The||Naked Lunch||Under The Roofs Of Paris|
|French Cancan||Nanook Of The North||Vagabond|
|General Idi Amin Dada||Vanishing, The|
|George Washington||Night Porter||Variety Lights|
|Gertrud||Night To Remember||Veronika Voss|
|Gimme Shelter||Nights Of Cabiria||Videodrome|
|Golden Coach. The||Nous La Liberte, A|
These out-of-print titles are not included: Beauty & The Beast (Original Release, Spine # 6), The Bank Dick; Blood For Dracula; Dead Ringers; Flesh For Frankenstein; Hard Boiled; How To Get Ahead In Advertising; The Killer; M (Original Release, Spine #30); Notorious; Playtime; Rebecca; Robocop; Salo; Sid & Nancy; The Silence Of The Lambs; Spellbound; Straw Dogs; The Unbearable Lightness Of Being, The; and This Is Spinal Tap.
About The Criterion Collection
The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films, is dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in editions that offer the highest technical quality and award-winning, original supplements. Criterion began with a mission to pull the treasures of world cinema out of the film vaults and put them in the hands of collectors. Now in its 20th year, all of the films published under the Criterion banner represent cinema at its finest.
The Criterion Collection DVD Process
The foundation of the collection is the work of such masters of cinema as Renoir, Godard, Kurosawa, Cocteau, Fellini, Bergman, Tarkovsky, Hitchcock, Fuller, Lean, Kubrick, Lang, Sturges, Dreyer, Eisenstein, Ozu, Sirk, Buñuel, Powell and Pressburger. Each film is presented uncut, in its original aspect ratio, as its maker intended it to be seen. For every disc, we track down the best available film elements in the world, use state-of-the-art telecine equipment and a select few colorists capable of meeting our rigorous standards, and take time during the film-to-video digital transfer to create the most pristine possible image and sound. Whenever possible, we work with directors and cinematographers to assure that the look of our releases does justice to their intentions. Our supplements enable viewers to appreciate Criterion films in context, through audio commentaries by filmmakers and scholars, restored director's cuts, deleted scenes, documentaries, shooting scripts, early shorts, and storyboards.
- MPAA rating : s_medR R (Restricted)
- Package Dimensions : 7.1 x 5.42 x 0.58 inches; 2.93 Ounces
- Director : Abbas Kiarostami, Adam Bernstein, Adam Yauch, Agnès Varda, Akira Kurosawa
- Media Format : NTSC
- Release date : November 2, 2004
- Actors : Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Johnny Depp
- Studio : Criterion Collection
- ASIN : B0006A05RM
- Best Sellers Rank: #938,289 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Still, $5K is a waaay-outta here price for most consumers except crazy film buffs (like me) who are also extremely wealthy (not me, sigh). And of course, your postal delivery person won't be too happy at you for ordering this and breaking his/her back. But, the value ($17.7 per disc, 282 in all, or $20.7 per title, 241 in all) is quite good for Criterion discs.
If you have cash to burn, this is a solid value. Keep the films you like and auction off the few you don't.
As for not having any "special editions" as one poster mentions. These are the most special of editions! When you buy Criterion, you are getting the best transfer of these hard to find films (many of which have never been released on video or DVD previously in the US). many of the titles have phenomenal extras.
Also, the "Out of Print" titles are literally that. Criterion is no longer producing those DVDs. the fact that you can buy them elsewhere is simply because they are still in someone's inventory, but they ARE out of print.
Despite the clout of the Criterion Collection. This set is probably a little extreme. Its a lot of money to drop for the best films in their best treatments, especially because most of the films are not well known. But, its your thousands of dollars not mine.
Quite simply, this is *the* reference collection of cinema -- both world and American -- that everyone should own if they can afford it and adore the medium of film. Comedy from 'Trouble in Paradise' to 'Rushmore', Bergman from beginning to end. Does it contain every important film ever created? Of course not, but it has so many masterpieces, presented in gorgeous transfers with lavish care, that one's film experience isn't complete until watching some films in the collection.
So it doesn't contain the out-of-print DVDs: get over it. These titles are, yes indeed, out-of-print and therefore not readily available. Criterion is not a film studio, they don't "own" any films -- they "rent" out licenses from studios and sometimes, the rent expires. Several OOP titles can still be purchased separately through Amazon (such as Straw Dogs & The Bank Dick).
Without Criterion, I would never have been exposed to some of my now favorite films, such as: The Red Shoes/Black Narcissus, Charade, Cocteau's Beauty & the Beast, and the Passion of Joan of Arc [the greatest silent with the greatest performance]. As I said, if you have the money to burn or just want to become a film buff, buy this set while it is still available. HD-DVD isn't really a factor: many of these films are older and therefore weren't filmed with high-def in mind.
I doubt that anyone person will love every film in this set. Some of them may find you indifferent, some you may hate. But so many will open your eyes to what film is capable of, fill you with wonder and amazement, and stay with you forever.
However, even an avid Criterion fan like myself would not advise getting this collection, unless you were attempting to build a comprehensive film collection on DVD. The quality of the product is not the issue. Rather, it's a question of: How many of us would buy nearly 250 films on DVD in one fell swoop?
Even more importantly, this collection does not include The Criterion Collection's out-of-print titles. If it did, even I might have been tempted just a little. Off the top of my head, you'll be missing Criterion editions of John Woo's Hard-Boiled and The Killer (the latter of which fetches nearly $300 on eBay), David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers, RoboCop, Flesh for Frankenstein, even Notorious. The fast expiry of some of its titles is a problem Criterion has always wrestled with, possibly because it's harder to get even a limited license to release films that have been picked up by major studios. So while it's not the company's fault, it still damages the collectibility and investment value of this $5,000 set substantially.
Finally, keep in mind that many Criterion films, especially films like Chasing Amy, Armageddon, The Rock, Seven Samurai and Walkabout, are very easy to find in second-hand bins. If you're interested in enough of these, you will end up paying less by buying them individually.
Once again, however, my rating is not a negative comment on the quality of these DVDs. If a title is available on Criterion, it's almost always going to be a superior release than any other edition available. And I'm personally thankful to the company that after years of my begging, it's finally getting ready to release Akira Kurosawa's Kagemusha, my favourite Kurosawa film. This collection will be best for film scholars and historians who love every film ever made, or need access to thousands of films on DVD for teaching, study, and research purposes -- one of my old film-school professors would probably find this collection useful, for teaching his classes. The rest of us, however, may want to think twice about exactly how many DVDs we need to own before dropping $5,000 on the table.