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Silence Of The Lambs Criterion vs. S.E.

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34 replies to this topic

#1 of 35 OFFLINE   Steve Lockwood

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Posted August 19 2001 - 07:39 AM

Hello, I already own a copy of SOTL criterion and was wondering if I should get the new special edition? Is anyone else who has the criterion getting the s.e. and are there any differences in the two versions? Thank you for your time and help. ------------------ -Everybody knows that the dice are loaded-™
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#2 of 35 OFFLINE   Scott Weinberg

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Posted August 19 2001 - 07:57 AM

The following is an excerpt from DVDFile's review of the new SE coming out this Tueday:


But first the bad news. The terrific audio commentary that Criterion produced back in in the mid-90s, which featured director Jonathan Demme and actors Anthony Hopkins and Jodie foster, among others, is not included here. Many considered that track one of the finest, if not the best, commentary tracks ever recorded. I'm inclined to agree - it was incredible. Also not included on this new DVD is the "FBI Crime Classification Manual," the "Voices Of Death" serial killer transcripts, and Jonathan Demme's storyboards and conceptual art. However, as is the case these days with most Criterion supplements, when it comes time for another studio or distributor to produced a DVD edition, Criterion chooses not to license their materials for whatever reason, so alas the fans lose out. Too bad. These are great extras, especially the commentary, but the Criterion DVD is now out of print and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future.

The full review of the SE is available here while their review for the Criterion version is can be seen here.

Hope that helps. I was never able to pick up the CC version, so you can bet that I'll be getting this SE come Tuesday!


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#3 of 35 OFFLINE   GuyCrawford



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Posted August 19 2001 - 08:15 AM

The new SE in anamorphic while the Criterion is not. So naturally I will have both in my collection. ------------------ A hopeless addict of this damn hobby.

#4 of 35 OFFLINE   Peter Overduin

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Posted August 19 2001 - 08:39 AM


A hopeless addict of this damn hobby.

Don't curse the activity for your inability to restrain your total lack of personal discipline in regards to your personal involvement in it! Posted Image

I have retained a sealed copy of the CC SOTL in the hope that it would retain a collector's status. Also, because I was not convinced that MGM, with its record, could put out a product so complelling that it would render the CC obsolete and the object of disdain by DVD collectors.

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#5 of 35 OFFLINE   Craig


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Posted August 19 2001 - 08:52 AM

The new disc sports a really nice looking transfer. I don't think anyone will be unhappy with this DVD in terms of the video quality. My understanding is that the Criterion DVD had the same transfer as the Orion version. If that's the case then the new S.E. will be an improvement visually. It's better looking than the older non-enhanced Orion version I had. I guess the Criterion still has the upper hand as far as extras, but in terms of visual quality I think you'll find the new S.E. is noticably better.

#6 of 35 OFFLINE   Mark Ward

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Posted August 19 2001 - 09:01 AM

My policy of never re-buying a movie already I own on DVD is being strained to say the least over this title. Posted Image

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#7 of 35 OFFLINE   Carl Bradshaw

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Posted August 19 2001 - 09:15 AM

I have both and the new anamorphic transfer was the main reason for buying the film again. It was well worth it in my opinion.

#8 of 35 OFFLINE   cafink



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Posted August 19 2001 - 09:17 AM

Does the new MGM version use the proper burnt-in subtitles, or do they instead use "soft" dvd subs?


#9 of 35 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted August 19 2001 - 09:57 AM

My understanding is that the Criterion DVD had the same transfer as the Orion version.
No, they're very different. The Orion version (actually, Image) has cooler colors that are much closer to the original LD release. The Criterion transfer (used on both their LD and the DVD) has a much warmer colors and a somewhat softer image. Only the Criterion version was supervised by DP Tak Fujimoto. I haven't yet seen the new MGM version. Probably tomorrow. M.
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#10 of 35 OFFLINE   Greg_Y



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Posted August 19 2001 - 10:13 AM

Michael, if you could post your impressions of the video transfer after viewing the new MGM disc, I'd appreciate it. I'm still not convinced that I should be buying this (especially with some of the other upcoming fall titles.)

#11 of 35 OFFLINE   Kevin Matthews

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Posted August 19 2001 - 10:21 AM

This version in addition to a sharper transfer (I have yet to see this for myself but the criterion disc IMO had some problems in this erea) will also have captioning which as many of my deaf friends will tell you is a very good thing to have and was not on the other releases.
You know as much as I like Criterion I have always had a problem with their (until a few years ago) non-captioned attitude towards films, I know they are a small company & it costs a bit of cash but deaf people want the best in film too. This seemingly is a moot point "nowadays" as far as Criterion goes but Anchor Bay still has a ways to go in this erea themselves...or have they changed their policy as well? I hope so because there is still no good copy of Halloween or Martin or Night of the living Dead available with captions as yet.


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[Edited last by Kevin Matthews on August 19, 2001 at 01:34 PM]
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#12 of 35 OFFLINE   Jeff Adkins

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Posted August 19 2001 - 12:09 PM

My understanding is that the Criterion DVD had the same transfer as the Orion version. If that's the case then the new S.E. will be an improvement visually. It's better looking than the older non-enhanced Orion version I had.
Actually, the Orion transfer was a more recent transfer than the Criterion. The Criterion transfer was struck in the 1994 or 1995 for the Criterion laserdisc, and they just used that for the DVD. Do you want a brand new anamorphic high-def downconversion or a 7 year old laserdisc transfer??? To me it's a no-brainer! Jeff

#13 of 35 OFFLINE   Matt Stone

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Posted August 19 2001 - 02:35 PM

I am also a firm advocate of the "BUY BOTH DAMMIT! Policy" ...I figure, best of both worlds...

...hmm, wonder why I don't have any money to eat.

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#14 of 35 OFFLINE   Colin Jacobson

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Posted August 19 2001 - 03:12 PM

While I agree that the MGM DVD looks clearer than the Criterion one, frankly, I think it looks TOO clear. To me, the whole thing appeared excessively bright and sunny. Well, "sunny" may be an exaggeration, but I thought older versions more aptly communicated the general tone of the film; this one simply seemed to lack the morbid character of the older ones.

I'd be curious to know if anyone else feels the same way. I honestly don't know which comes closer to the filmmaker's intentions, but I felt that curiously uninvolved as I watched the MGM DVD. Even though I've seen the film many mes, it always managed to hit me in the pit of my stomach, but that wasn't the case with the new disc. I never got that impression of foreboding and doom that always went with prior viewings...

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#15 of 35 OFFLINE   Calvin Cullen

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Posted August 19 2001 - 03:40 PM

Buy both and treat them like a really excellent two-disc set. Shouldn't set you back too much since you already own the CC version. The MGM release also apparently has more deleted scenes, a rather in-depth documentary and a few other extras not on the older releases.

#16 of 35 OFFLINE   Brian Kleinke

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Posted August 19 2001 - 07:43 PM

The SE has a DD5.1 track while the CC disc only has Pro-logic since Criterion won't mess with the original Soundtrack. I'm getting the new one for that and anamorphic, but I love the commentary track on the CC disc and will keep that one as well ;-) Brian

#17 of 35 OFFLINE   Colin Jacobson

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Posted August 19 2001 - 09:40 PM

At the risk of sounding like Mr. Whiner, I also preferred the old 2.0 soundtrack to the new 5.1 edition. I directly compared the MGM DVD's audio with that of the old Criterion LD, and the latter was a clear winner; it sounded much deeper and richer...

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#18 of 35 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted August 20 2001 - 12:28 AM

I think if you've already got the Criterion, then the prime reason to buy the SE as well is if you want the new extras or (very good point, Kevin) subtitles. The issue of picture quality is a moot point. The SE is definitely sharper and brighter, the Criterion more muted and subtle. Both have their good and bad points (personally I prefer the Criterion, but this is a subjective, not objective opinion). I suppose an added reason to buy the SE is to compare and contrast the transfers of the SE and Criterion to illustrate how radically different two acceptable transfers can be.

#19 of 35 OFFLINE   Jeff


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Posted August 20 2001 - 12:42 AM

Scott listed the bad news. Now here is the good:
No less than the third version of The Silence Of The Lambs to be released on DVD, this new MGM special edition sports a brand-new matted 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer downconverted from a new high-definition master. To be honest, I was never a fan of the previous THX-certified Criterion laserdisc and DVD transfer, as it was excessively grainy, lacking in detail and generally unstable in appearance. This new version is a noticeable improvement and, for me, finally delivers an image that takes full advantage of the capabilities of the DVD format. The print is near pristine, with only the occasional minor blemish to distract. Blacks are spot on and contrast excellent. The added resolution afforded by anamorphic enhancement is amply evidence by the greatly improved shadow delineation. Backgrounds and the film's many dark scenes sport fine detail previously murky or indecipherable on past transfers. Colors are somewhat inconsistent, but reflects the stylistic approach of director of photography Tak Fujimoto perfectly. The early scenes in the film are intentionally muted, except for very smart, clever uses of key colors such as red. But then watch how during key scenes the colors are much more vibrant, such as the legendary "screaming of the lambs" confrontation between Starling and Lecter. Edge enhancement is almost nil, as is artifacting. Though The Silence Of The Lambs has a different feel and visual style than its recently released sequel Hannibal, it is a testament to the quality of this new transfer that this DVD looks just about as good but yet is ten years older. Great work, and proof positive of why striking new high-definition masters is so important to delivering the best-quality DVD product. Finally, the smooth, clean, three-dimensional looking transfer I've always wanted! (Note: MGM is also releasing a separate pan and scan version of The Silence Of The Lambs concurrent with the widescreen edition. Both include the same features, soundtracks options and list price.)

#20 of 35 OFFLINE   Paul_D



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Posted August 20 2001 - 03:55 AM

I think the idea of owning 2 different copies of one film is ludicrous. For my money, the Criterion release, though non-anamorphic, is still a really good transfer, supervised by the DP. Its only in 2.0 Surround, but the 5.1 remix is almost exactly the same as the original mix. Where the suppplements are concerned, all the good deleted scenes on the new disc also appeared on the criterion release, and the documentary, while long and in-depth, is fairly standard stuff. The commentary on CC disc is the only supplement worth having! A 'no-brainer'? Yeah. Stick with the criterion. If you want to waste money on improved resolution, and some extras which you wont watch more than once. Go ahead!
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