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Criterion blind buys

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#1 of 23 Ben_@


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Posted May 03 2004 - 05:24 PM

I know the Criterion collection has lots of smart movies with presentations that are top notch. Man Bites Dog, The Tin Drum and Tokyo Drifter are of particular interest. Are these worth a blind buy at the higher price? Perhaps any other reccomendations?

#2 of 23 Christ Reynolds

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Posted May 03 2004 - 05:44 PM

havent seen the other two, but i bought man bites dog and liked it a lot. it depends on whether or not you can handle the subject material. man bites dog is pretty raw, and has one particular scene i'd rather not revisit anytime soon.

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#3 of 23 Drew Reiber

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Posted May 03 2004 - 07:08 PM

Tokyo Drifter is fun, but I think you would appreciate Seijun Suzuki's Branded to Kill more.

#4 of 23 Brian Kidd

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Posted May 04 2004 - 01:24 AM

THE TIN DRUM is a fantastic film. Definitely worth a blind purchase.
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#5 of 23 Matt_P


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Posted May 04 2004 - 01:35 AM

FYI, Home Vision has recently released a few Suzuki titles, as well.

Here's a couple reviews on dOc:

#6 of 23 Scott_MacD


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Posted May 04 2004 - 03:23 AM

Most of the Criterion blind-buys I have been highly appreciative of.

Running from memory :

Grand Illusion
Beauty and the Beast
The Rules of the Game
The Lady Vanishes (okay image, good commentary)
The Third Man
Do the Right Thing
Antoine Doinel box-set
Time Bandits
Children of Paradise
The 39 Steps
Naked Lunch
Pickup on South Street

And the Kurosawa movies. (I had seen Ikiru before having the Criterion edition, but the presentation is superb.)

All top notch..

#7 of 23 Rich Malloy

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Posted May 04 2004 - 03:37 AM

No. But they are each worthy rentals.

I happen to like "Tokyo Drifter" best among those three. But that's just my opinion. "The Tin Drum" has received more critical and popular praise, but I think it's one of the weaker New German Cinema films and I have much the same opinion of Schlondorff as a director. (I'd recommend you check out the Criterion Fassbinder titles if the New German Cinema is of interest to you.) But mostly I recommend that you put each of these titles in your Netflix queue, watch them all, and then decide which are worth paying top dollar to add to your permanent collection.
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#8 of 23 Derek Faber

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Posted May 04 2004 - 08:27 AM

How about Le Cercle Rouge?
Is that a good blind buy?

#9 of 23 Paul_Scott


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Posted May 04 2004 - 08:47 AM

last winter, when DDD was offering 20% off coupons, i took the opportunity to indulge in a bunch of Criterion blind buys.
i Picked up
Written On The Wind
Coup de torchon
The Lady Vanishes
and the Fassbinder BRD Trilogy.

haven't watched Contempt or the Fassbinder films yet,
but the others were VERY enjoyable.

in particular i was really impressed with Coup de torchon which reworks a pulp novel by Jim Thompson, and changes the setting from the American South to French West Africa in the 1930s.
its about a normally spineless, cuckolded Police Chief, who becomes tired of being everybodys doormat and snaps- but in a methodical, purposeful way.
as crime dramas/ character studies go, it one of the most entertaining and atmospheric i can remember.
i found the West African/ pre WWII Milieu absolutely intoxicating.

WOTW was great too, especially if you are into Doug Sirk Melodramas.

haven't seen any of the others you mentioned yet, unfortunately.

#10 of 23 Seth--L



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Posted May 04 2004 - 09:01 AM

While I think that Man Bites Dog is a pretty good films, it is one of those movies that really does manage to offend a lot of people (lots and lots of violence including a kid being killed and a gang rape). If you've never seen it you may want to rent it first.
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#11 of 23 Lyle H.

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Posted May 04 2004 - 09:55 AM

Throne of Blood and Sisters are my favorite films Criterion has release thus far.

#12 of 23 Lars Vermundsberget

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Posted May 04 2004 - 11:50 AM

I've got none of the titles mentioned in the initial post, but I will get "Der Blechtrommel".

I've got, however, almost half of the Criterion DVDs, practically all of them (except "The Third Man") were blind buys and most of them deserve high recommendation, in my opinion.

If you read a few comments and reviews before you buy, a "blind buy" may not be that "blind" after all, though.

#13 of 23 RichD



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Posted May 04 2004 - 01:24 PM

Check out the IFC channel. They occasionally show Criterion flicks. I've been able to sample a few that way.

Not too long ago they had Tokyo Drifter on really late. I saw the first few minutes before nodding off to sleep. (Not a commentary on the film, I was tired!)

#14 of 23 Ben_@


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Posted May 04 2004 - 04:59 PM

I don't have anything beyond basic cable. But thanks, i might keep an eye out for that kind of stuff when i go to my parents' house. Its cool to get a lot of views on this. Thanks for all the help.

#15 of 23 KamyarB



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Posted May 04 2004 - 08:50 PM

Hi Ben,

you might want to also check out the following:

My Man Godfrey

The Vanishing


Shock Corridor

These are some good ones!

#16 of 23 AlexHL


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Posted May 05 2004 - 01:36 AM

How about Le Cercle Rouge? Is that a good blind buy?

Yes! One of Melville's best.

I didn't think much of Man Bites Dog. It's a pretty shallow gimmick movie in my opinion. Get Peeping Tom (Criterion) and/or Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer instead. Both much better and more intelligent serial killer films.

#17 of 23 Brian Thibodeau

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Posted May 05 2004 - 02:37 AM

I think the out-of-print Criterion disc of SALO is a must have. Legit ones at ebay can be had for as little as $650.00

And then when you get it, you can lend it to me so I can finally see it! That'd be real swell! Posted Image

I've also picked up

BRAZIL 3 disc set. In my opinion, one of Criterion's most fully-realized treatments, including all the extras, interviews, documentaries and commentaries you could ever need to understand the troubled history of this fantastic film, as well as the alternate TV cut.

BLACK NARCISSUS: A personal fave amongst the Powell-Pressburger canon, if largely because it was daring enough, for its time, to imply that forcing religion on indigenous people and/or foreign cultures was (and is) not the way to go, and that humility, especially to those of high-minded faith, often comes at a price. Oh, and the cinematography's absolutely stunning.

I can also recommend TOKYO DRIFTER, which was a blind buy for me at a time when I was desperately tired of seeing Japanese cinema represented by the masters they chose to leak to the outside world as was thirsting to see some of their "pop" cinema, of which this is a fine example. There are probably better films from the era, many of which (GIANTS & TOYS comes to mind) have since hit DVD in the U.S., but as an entry point to the popular films actually watched by the masses of their day, this is a good place to start. BRANDED TO KILL is likewise good, if a little more weird and little less visually slick.

#18 of 23 Larry House

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Posted May 05 2004 - 02:45 AM

I usually recommend Black Narcissus, it's perhaps my favorite film. I could watch it right now. When they showed clips of it at the Academy Awards a couple of years ago (part of a tribute to cinematographer Jack Cardiff) the audience gasped. That's how much impact the impossibly rich Technicolor images had without any context whatever. The disc also has commentary from Martin Scorsese and co-directory Michael Powell, who was in his mid-80s at the time it was recorded (originally for the LD), a documentary about Jack Cardiff, and lots of production stills. Before I was very familiar with DVDs and on-line discounters I bought this at full price at a Tower Records (it was one of my first DVDs) ... it was worth every penny of $39.95.

#19 of 23 ShaunS


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Posted May 05 2004 - 05:58 AM

First off, Children of Paradise is... not "one of the"... but THE greatest film ever made. Often called the French Gone with the Wind, it's got everything you would ever want in a film: a love square (as opposed to a love triangle), jealousy, murder, and a mime! Great transfer, kinda highbrow commmentary though. Absolutely fantastic film.

Just watched "I Know Where I'm Going". My first foray into Powell-Pressburger, and it was great too. 'specially if you're Scottish (which I ain't).

An obvious required viewing for any film fan would be Fellini's 8 1/2 (great double disc set). The sort of movie that is such a heavy influence, seeing it will actually increase your appreciation of pretty much anything that came after it.

Oh, and forget Black Narcissus get Black ORPHEUS!! It looks great, sounds great. It is great.

Criterion is great.

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#20 of 23 Yee-Ming



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Posted May 05 2004 - 03:48 PM

Posted Image on Brazil. Wasn't blind for me since I'd seen the movie, but the set sets the benchmark for what a SE should be.

If you're into space movies, e.g. Apollo 13, or From The Earth To The Moon, For All Mankind is a must-buy. It's a documentary put together from footage actually shot by Apollo astronauts.