Back in the day there was an urge to watch all the Criterion movies – after all, they’ve got completist-friendly catalog numbers and are self-described as “important.” Now I have lists, and lists of lists, and I don’t need to rely on any one distributor as a gatekeeper of excellence, but there’s still that urge, and I still keep track of what they put out, and subscribe to their streaming service, and believe in the back of my mind that if I was stuck at home for a long time, like say if there was a global pandemic, it’d be fun to watch them all. Early this year I realized I’ve seen almost all of their first 50 releases, so I decided to catch up with the last couple David Lean/Dickens films and some odds and ends.
These were released 1998-1999 before I had a DVD player, but I’d pick one up whenever I saw a sale, ended up owning about ten (or their reissues). 30 have come out on blu, and I’m not gonna count how many on streaming.
Movies I’ve written up here, roughly/hastily ranked:
Beauty and the Beast
The Red Shoes
The Seventh Seal
The 400 Blows
Wages of Fear
The Lady Vanishes
Branded To Kill
Nights of Cabiria
High and Low
Picnic At Hanging Rock
The Most Dangerous Game
And The Ship Sails On
The Long Good Friday
A Night To Remember
Blood For Dracula
Watched in the pre-blog dark days, ranked by how urgently I need to revisit:
The Naked Kiss
Flesh For Frankenstein
Taste of Cherry
Fishing With John
This Is Spinal Tap
Nanook of the North
The Silence of the Lambs
Sid & Nancy
Lord of the Flies
The Lady Vanishes add-on feature Crook’s Tour was decent.
The Steamroller and the Violin is on the Rublev blu.
Peter Weir’s Homesdale was on the Picnic at Hanging Rock reissue.
Haven’t caught most of the M extras or all ten hours of the Seven Samurai features.
I played every single thing on the Seventh Seal reissue, including the Bergman Island doc, not to be confused with the new Mia Hansen-Love feature.
Can’t remember which of the Beauty/Beast commentaries I’ve played, but reading Cocteau’s making-of diaries was enough… I didn’t make it very far into the Philip Glass opera audio option.
Not too interested in the Night to Remember material.
I see the Amarcord disc is full of good stuff and Walkabout has an hour-long David Gulpilil doc.
Even if I go on a John Woo kick, not sure those commentaries would be easy to find anymore (and why is Roger Avary on one?).
Missed the two shorts on the Insomnia disc.
I can’t remember how many of the Fishing With John audio commentaries I’ve heard, but I know I’ve played that Lounge Lizards music video more than a few times.
The new Taste of Cherry blu has a Kiarostami-produced “sketch film” I’d like to see and an A.S. Hamrah essay I just read online, but on the last half-price sale I bought the Koker Trilogy instead.
I remember flipping through The Red Shoes extras one day long ago, didn’t recall there being so much Jeremy Irons participation.
I probably did listen to that Armageddon commentary with Affleck’s infamous Michael Bay impression, and the Time Bandits commentary, but who knows for sure.
The Dead Ringers disc was one of my prize possessions, and I’ve watched that movie a couple times too many.
Haven’t seen the Clouzot doc, and ran out of steam before finishing all the Rublev docs.
I should get the two Sam Fullers for the interviews and TV clips and the Typewriter doc… oh wait, they’re all on streaming, I just saved $40.
Nine left to watch in the 51-100 block, but maybe I’ll mix it up and watch all the 700’s next time, or watch them in reverse order, or never revisit this project again, I dunno.