Posted March 17 2009 - 11:25 AM
| Originally Posted by MichaelEl |
You're misquoting me here. I said in fact that many of the classic films in the Criterion Collection have appeal NOT ONLY to film students, BUT ALSO to people with even a mild interest in film.
Actually, I was not misquoting you. I agreed with the first part of your original statement and disagreed with the second part. I do think they have films in their catalog that would be great viewing for film students but I think it is way off base to say their collection appeals to "anyone with a mild interest in film."
Let's take this conversation down a couple of notches by looking at what we agree on.
First, I'd say we are both film fans with more than a mild interest in film.
We both obviously have spent some time watching Criterion DVDs.
Third, I'd say we both have an interest in seeing as wide a possible selection of classic films and films we consider "good" available to the general public.
No, I am not trolling and no, I don't just want to pay more for the DVDs I buy and no, I'm not an elitist.
I don't think my opinion on film is any more important than the next guy's take. I don't think I'm better than anybody because I'd rather watch The Third Man again instead of American Idol. As far as I'm concerned people are free to entertain themselves with whatever they like and what appeals to one person may not appeal to the next.
If you walk into a Best Buy, a Walmart, or a Target, what sort of selection of Criterion discs do you find on their shelves? Probably at most two or three if you are lucky. The only title I've ever seen with any consistency in any nationwide chain is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Probably because Johnny Depp is in it. This is because the films in the Criterion Collection are not widely popular. They may be widely known, among film scholars and fans, but they are not blockbusters...well Armageddon may have been. This is why you won't find them on the shelves of a Best Buy, Target, or Walmart, they are just not films that interest most people. Sure, "worldwide" there are people that know them but these are people with much more than a mild interest in film. In fact, I'd find it pretty odd to find somebody that loves Wild Strawberries and does not know much about film.
According to what you are saying Best Buy, Target, and Walmart are elitist because they are not stocking the Criterion Collection on the shelves of their stores. This means people need a computer and an internet connection to find them. People with low incomes are less likely to be able to afford a computer and an internet connection so does this mean Dell, Apple, HP, and every ISP is elitist? They too are participating in the conspiracy to prevent low income households from seeing the Criterion Collection.
I'm not trying to be sarcastic, I'm just saying your "elitist" theory just seems like a complete invention and makes no sense.
It breaks down to the simple fact that you think Criterion charges too much for their discs. This is fine, if that's how you feel, ok.
You seem to be rating the Criterion discs purely on how great the audio and video presentation is and touting the fact that you were wise enough to wait for DVD. So, on this point as well your argument seems more than slightly askew. We now have Blu-Ray and likely there will be a format after Blu-Ray and based on what you have been saying you should still be waiting until we reach "the ultimate format" or something along those lines.
When I talk about how Criterion treats a film I'm referring to the overall package they assemble and present to film fans. Look at the work they did on Welles films like Mr. Arkadin or F For Fake, look at the presentation of Days of Heaven, or The Third Man. Look at how they made the effort to put out a great disc of Bad Timing, a film called by the people who paid for it a piece of garbage...but to film fans that was a huge release. They involve people who worked on or know about the films and collect materials related to the films to try to give you a complete package designed exactly for people who love film.
Yes, they charge more but not a lot more than other companies. Heck, the MSRP on most new discs is now $29.99 (I recently went to buy the new Guy Ritchie film RocknRolla and the two disc MSRP is $34.99!) and some stores charge that for them. You can get them for less and you can get Criterions for less too as there are plenty of sales each year on these discs.
The thing is Criterion seems to put a lot more effort into giving film fans a great total package for their money and if Criterion charged less and went under due to this fact...think of the hole that would leave!
Look at what has happened to a company like Anchor Bay. They could not stay afloat and so they were sold and they have not been the same company since. I believe the guy that played a large part in making Anchor Bay interesting went to Severin and who knows what kind of condition that company is in.
So, sure wait for the sales to get your Criterions but I do think a huge cut in their prices would hurt them as a company more than it would help you improve your collection.