Post-Bergman Boxing Speculation

The scuttlebutt on Criterion, Eclipse, and Janus Films. Lists and polls are STRONGLY discouraged.
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McCrutchy
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Re: Post-Bergman Boxing Speculation

#101 Post by McCrutchy » Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:18 pm

I must say, I have to agree with those who feel another director's box is unlikely, at least, unlikely to be on the level of Ingmar Bergman's Cinema.

While I appreciate what tenia is saying here, and I can certainly see where he's coming from, I do suspect Criterion have sold a large amount of these Bergman sets, many more than they were expecting. The reason I don't agree that the print run was that low is because Criterion must have known that Barnes and Noble were planning to run their sale in November, or that if they didn't, then they attempted to time the box to release during a sale, using the dates of past sales as a guide. But, regardless of whether Barnes and Noble and Criterion now pre-plan these sales together, I certainly find it difficult to believe that Criterion would have had absolutely zero inkling that the sale could happen over the release date of the Bergman box. In fact, I seem to recall that the Olympics box was released in December just after a Barnes and Noble sale, presumably to avoid issues like the Bergman set has had.

So, couple the release date with Criterion taking the unprecedented step of making the Blu-ray Discs region free, and it seems to me that Criterion, understandably, took steps to try to maximize the sales of this Bergman box set. Perhaps the sales for their Olympics box have been lower than most of their others, and this would certainly not be surprising as the Olympics box would not have as much appeal to the "classic" Criterion customer, while more libraries and institutions probably purchased the DVD edition than the Blu-ray edition. The Bergman box has no such concerns because we're all buying the same format.

Now, perhaps with the replication delays and the general waning of physical media these days, Criterion ended up being a bit conservative with the first print run, but I find it a bit hard to believe, given all the trouble they went to. And let's not forget that the Amazon orders for this must have been unnaturally large, since they matched the 50% off price for quite a while before the release date, too.

However, while I believe that Criterion struck gold with this box, I, like others, am struggling to think of another director who could have such a box set produced by Criterion. I think one thing to keep in mind about Fellini, Fassbinder, and so on, is that while they are big names to Criterion fans, a lot of their most well-known films have already been released by Criterion on Blu-ray. This is especially true of Fassbinder, who has fifteen films/series currently available in the Collection already and come February, six of those, including his oft-claimed masterpiece Berlin Alexanderplatz, will already be on Blu-ray, most or all of which use the latest (often 4K) masters. Likewise, Fellini currently has four of twelve in-print Collection titles on Blu-ray, but several of the others have been released in the UK. I'm sure Bergman may have been in a similar situation, but I think the upgrades of his most well-known films, as well as the overall sheer number of films in the set, and again, for the discounted price, created a perfect storm.

Kubrick seems like a possibilty at first, but I suspect WB has 4K plans for most or all of his films and so Criterion probably can't get access to enough films for a comparable box set. No, the only real possibility for me, like others, is Kurosawa. I know I've seen that a few of his films have been remastered in 4K subsequent to a Criterion Blu-ray, but considering that Criterion did the DVD box set, I'm not sure they would want to repeat themselves that way. And more frustratingly, I don't think many Japanese licensors would be amused at the prospect of 30-40 films in a Region A/Free Blu-ray box set for $150-$300, when the Japanese equivalent would probably be three or four separate box sets of not more than ten films each for a total of something like $1000. If Criterion released a Kurosawa set equivalent to the Bergman set, then during a 50% off sale, Japanese Kurosawa fans would probably go mad placing international orders and/or using resellers to import such a set, because surely even having it shipped internationally would be a significant savings over a comparative Japanese release.

One small possibility might be Takeshi Kitano, but I think a lot of his films are with Film Movement here. If they hadn't been released by them, perhaps Criterion would have stepped up to get his many films distributed by Bandai Visual, although the Japanese domestic releases having English subtitles probably makes releasing the films here less enticing.

So, for me, I would think the next of these sets will probably be themed. One possibility might be Godzilla, but I don't know what Criterion ended up doing with those after streaming (I think?), and Toho isn't likely to be a fan for reasons outlined above, even though they've released a lot of Godzilla / Kaiju films on Japanese Blu-ray already and don't seem in any hurry to release them again. In fact, some of those Japanese Blu-rays might be from 1080i HDTV masters, so perhaps Criterion wouldn't even want those.

I suppose one scant possibility is to do a complete box set of a classic serialized TV series. This format has been woefully neglected here in the US, and Criterion have dabbled in TV before, mostly with a couple of LD releases. However, it would likely be tricky, and the US market has shown a continuing disdain for television series that would probably make a Criterion-priced box set untenable. Still, it would be nifty to get a series like M*A*S*H (or more realistically, The Munsters, which is far less content) from Criterion.
Last edited by McCrutchy on Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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MichaelB
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Re: Post-Bergman Boxing Speculation

#102 Post by MichaelB » Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:27 pm

OldBobbyPeru wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 5:43 pm
I also vote for a Fellini box--long overdue for some upgrades there. The non-anamorphic And The Ship Sails On is sub-Criterion quality.
...and it needs the English soundtrack reinstated. Since the film is narrated onscreen by the great and inimitable Freddie Jones, I've never got on with the Italian dub, and I'd strongly argue that English shouldn't merely be included but actually made the default playback language.

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colinr0380
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Re: Post-Bergman Boxing Speculation

#103 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 8:48 am

That is a very well put post, McCrutchy!
MichaelB wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:20 pm
colinr0380 wrote:Something like the Olympic set (or Zatoichi, which is getting released in the UK this month) is probably the extreme other end where the films would never have been released any other way and so perhaps appeal more to the general Criterion buyer, as well as specific groups of people outside that who find the content particularly interesting.
Attracting non-cinephiles can be a very lucrative strategy. I don’t know about the Criterion editor, but I gather that Eureka’s Shoah is one of their all-time bestsellers, if only because every university and sixth-form history department could easily justify its purchase as part of their budget.

And there’s a reason why the BFI’s British Transport Films compilations have run to twelve two-disc volumes, including an eighteen-disc box at one point. They barely register with film buffs, but railway buffs seem to be a fair bit thicker on the ground if sales figures are anything to go by.
I would guess the BBC Shakespeare set would have been a similar situation for schools, as I remember the enormous VHS edition of that set taking pride of place in my Secondary school's library in the early 1990s, but it was such a prized possession that pupils were never allowed to rent it out and instead it was kept in a separate multimedia room (with the Apple Macs and CDi machine) and could only be viewed by making an appointment to book a quiet spot with the library television!

This specialised materials debate reminds me that in the early 2000s there were some great DVD sets put out through a label Spacecraft Films which showed raw footage from all of the NASA space missions. I wonder if that could be the basis for a collaboration on unique, specialised (but with similar wide appeal to buffs as the Olympics) big set?

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Re: Post-Bergman Boxing Speculation

#104 Post by McCrutchy » Sun Dec 02, 2018 3:18 am

Thanks, Colin, I appreciate it!

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MichaelB
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Re: Post-Bergman Boxing Speculation

#105 Post by MichaelB » Sun Dec 02, 2018 4:18 am

colinr0380 wrote: I would guess the BBC Shakespeare set would have been a similar situation for schools, as I remember the enormous VHS edition of that set taking pride of place in my Secondary school's library in the early 1990s, but it was such a prized possession that pupils were never allowed to rent it out and instead it was kept in a separate multimedia room (with the Apple Macs and CDi machine) and could only be viewed by making an appointment to book a quiet spot with the library television!
When the BBC Shakespeare project was first mooted in the mid-1970s, the commercial video market didn’t exist - but it’s because of that happy concurrent development that it went into profit much earlier than anticipated (circa 1982, if I remember rightly).

And because nobody has attempted anything similar since, it continues to sell to this day despite the lacklustre productions of many of the best known plays - the BBC Television Shakespeare cycle’s major strength was that the minor plays typically got superb productions, which is just as well as in many cases the BBC version remains the only one. (I can’t see them having another crack at King John or Timon of Athens any time soon.)

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movielocke
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Post-Bergman Boxing Speculation

#106 Post by movielocke » Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:25 pm

MichaelB wrote:
colinr0380 wrote: I would guess the BBC Shakespeare set would have been a similar situation for schools, as I remember the enormous VHS edition of that set taking pride of place in my Secondary school's library in the early 1990s, but it was such a prized possession that pupils were never allowed to rent it out and instead it was kept in a separate multimedia room (with the Apple Macs and CDi machine) and could only be viewed by making an appointment to book a quiet spot with the library television!
When the BBC Shakespeare project was first mooted in the mid-1970s, the commercial video market didn’t exist - but it’s because of that happy concurrent development that it went into profit much earlier than anticipated (circa 1982, if I remember rightly).

And because nobody has attempted anything similar since, it continues to sell to this day despite the lacklustre productions of many of the best known plays - the BBC Television Shakespeare cycle’s major strength was that the minor plays typically got superb productions, which is just as well as in many cases the BBC version remains the only one. (I can’t see them having another crack at King John or Timon of Athens any time soon.)
I bet it happens within five years on streaming. As a matter of fact, I should go pitch a complete Shakespeare project to Netflix and or amazon. ;)

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domino harvey
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Re: Post-Bergman Boxing Speculation

#107 Post by domino harvey » Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:34 pm

FYI I had no idea but Artificial Eye has already released a cheap but huge Chaplin Blu-ray box with all the Chaplin features you'd actually want to see (so no Hong Kong), the original mk2/Warners extras, and the revue shorts. An incredible value at £34.99 before VAT right now for all the movies and extras it includes

artfilmfan
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Re: Post-Bergman Boxing Speculation

#108 Post by artfilmfan » Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:37 pm

So, until Bergman set boxing record last month, Chaplin boxing was king. One only needs to watch City Lights for evidence of that. I still say to Criterion, bring Naruse into the rink now.

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dwk
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Re: Post-Bergman Boxing Speculation

#109 Post by dwk » Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:44 pm

If I'm not mistaken, some of the transfers in AE's Chaplin box are old, inferior to the transfers that Criterion released, and, most importantly, AE's Gold Rush is missing the silent version.

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Re: Post-Bergman Boxing Speculation

#110 Post by domino harvey » Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:59 pm

True on the Gold Rush, that would need to be supplemented with the Criterion, but otherwise I think a slight difference in picture quality versus paying like 8 times as much for the equivalent current and future Criterions is a no-brainer

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Lowry_Sam
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Re: Post-Bergman Boxing Speculation

#111 Post by Lowry_Sam » Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:24 pm

AE’s box also contains the original UK theatrical version of A King In New York rather than the 1972 release version & A Woman Of Paris & The Circus.

If Criterion were to do a Chaplin box, it would be great if they could negotiate the inclusion of the original unedited releases in a box as a sort of film school version of the set geared towards institutional sales for the purpose of historical preservation of film, rather than a mass market product (to appease the foundation).

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MichaelB
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Re: Post-Bergman Boxing Speculation

#112 Post by MichaelB » Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:28 am

DeprongMori wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:27 am
Hoping someone releases an “Early Hirokazu Kore-eda” set, whether it’s Criterion or Arrow.
I don't imagine you'll be too unhappy about this news...

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