Criterion Collection

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Re: Criterion Collection

Post by Randall » November 1st, 2019, 8:32 pm

Meanwhile, we have no B&N in Canada. But in my city, we do have a large, wonderful independent bookstore in town that modelled itself off of B&N, and they do carry a nice selection of Criterions (as well as Kinos and even some Warner Archive discs)…. for full (Canadian) retail price. Ouch!

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Re: Criterion Collection

Post by Dan » November 1st, 2019, 10:29 pm

So I get over to B&N after work. As I feared, they were sold out. They technically had two copies left, but they were pre-paid and waiting to be picked up. I decided to go ahead and pre-pay for a copy as well. I hung around so I could start mentally building up what I want to pick up through the rest of the sale.

Very shortly after I walk away from the counter, a guy walks up. I quickly realize he was one of the folks whose copy was being held and was there to pick up. Quite suddenly, he starts raising his voice in a frustrated tone. It appears he's of the opinion that his copy is damaged. He starts demanding the manager, demanding to know if there are any more copies, making it clear that he drove thirty minutes to get this, wanted it today, and is angry that his copy is damaged. After some very awkward back and forth, in which the guy just keep repeating the same things over and over, he makes his way to the front to get a refund.

After he leaves, I curiously ask what the damage was. The cashier and I examine that it was a silly little imprint from the rubber band used to mark the reserved copy. He got all worked up over that. I figure the only reason he would act out like that was if he was getting an absolute mint copy to never open, but it didn't seem like it to me. The cashier and I then look at one another.

Cashier: "You want it?"

Me: "Hell yeah!"

So I lucked out and got myself a copy of the set right as the sale started. 8)

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Re: Criterion Collection

Post by Randall » November 2nd, 2019, 2:27 am

Score! :)

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Re: Criterion Collection

Post by Ben » November 2nd, 2019, 4:51 am

Okay, I’m pretty anal about the state of sets...especially something like this...but that sounds nuts. Good for you!

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Re: Criterion Collection

Post by EricJ » November 3rd, 2019, 9:06 pm

Daniel wrote:
October 30th, 2019, 7:39 pm
Japanese version of King Kong vs. Godzilla. Note this has with non-removable English subs for the Japanese dialogue and burned-in Japanese subtitles (laserdisc right side style) for the English dialogue
If true, that sounds pretty awful.
Not sure if it is. (Just got the set, and started digging in chronologically--Hey, how about that, our B&N DID still have a Blu/DVD section after all, only reduced to a couple of Criterion Blu shelves in the middle of the store, next to the collector Vinyl LPs...Ordered on Friday, picked up on Saturday.)
The Japanese KKvG cut is on the Bonus Features disc, and the subs seem to be the same as all the others on the set.

My letdown was on the dubs: The "All-new international Toho-approved English dubs" only seem to exist for the four or five "indie" titles that UPA hadn't dubbed in the 60's. (Monster Zero, Destroy All Monsters, Son of, Megalon, etc.)
The classic 60's Ghidrah or Godzilla's Revenge dubs we remember are still part of Henry J. Saperstein's UPA collection owned by Classic Media, which is how CM could put out those dual-language DVD's back in the early 10's. Sony also did new clean dubs of the non-UPA Ebira/Sea Monster and Hedorah/Smog Monster when they put those titles on DVD, and Criterion apparently didn't have access to those either.
It would have been nice if Toho commissioned new anime-era English dubs that they could own for the more famous entries of the Showa era, but either they haven't thought of that, they just haven't bothered, or the involved parties still hold rights.

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Re: Criterion Collection

Post by Ben » November 4th, 2019, 12:40 pm

So...the English dub for Destroy All Monsters is the totally nuts one that I would have seen in the 80s and 90s, right? Major reason for picking up the set is the inclusion of that one track. "To the right, and down a little bit" is still quoted by friends...

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Re: Criterion Collection

Post by Daniel » November 7th, 2019, 3:34 pm

Someone uploaded the complete Japanese version of Godzilla Vs. King Kong on Youtube. It was good. In some ways, yeah, definitely superior. Enough to had bought the set for? Nah. I know deep down I wouldn't go out of my way to watch again. Still prefer the dub. If I'm not mistaken, the first scene in English has actually been redubbed!? I question the logic...

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Re: Criterion Collection

Post by Dan » April 13th, 2020, 8:29 pm


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Re: Criterion Collection

Post by Ben » April 13th, 2020, 8:43 pm

Oh Em Gee...I have literally been waiting for this since the VHS days, when a friend of my sister had a bunch of these on tape. I’ve been tempted by several DVD releases (not quite sure what they mean by together for the first time, since there have been at least two sets released?), but maybe they’re referring to Enter The Dragon, which was always controlled separately by Warners. Now that CC have their deal with them, we can get the original Lee films as well as that big-budget outing. So glad I didn’t fall for upgrading my DVD and go for the Blu that I saw cheap recently, and hope that they include the dubs on the early films...a lot of the over the top entertainment value comes from those tracks! Eggcellent Easter news!

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Re: Criterion Collection

Post by EricJ » April 13th, 2020, 9:06 pm

The '20 New Year's cartoon hinted at a "Bruised (Robert E.) Lee box", so I'm guessing this is the set, if not a retrospective.

Fists of Fury and The Chinese Connection are already public-domain, but think Warner still holds the leash on both Enter the Dragon and Game of Death.
(And I'm...not sure which the other ones are, since I've only seen Enter, and couldn't stop quoting Kentucky Fried Movie lines. And Game of Death, I only know from an anime Urusei Yatsura episode.) :oops:

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Re: Criterion Collection

Post by Randall » April 13th, 2020, 9:35 pm

Yes, "all together" in the sense of including Warner's Enter the Dragon.

The Shout Select discs seemed pretty good, as was the Enter the Dragon mini-UCE, but I'll likely be getting the Criterion box set, which should be definitive.

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Re: Criterion Collection

Post by Dan » April 14th, 2020, 3:01 am

So stoked about this set I can hardly contain myself. Spent years wondering if I should pull the trigger on getting the blu ray to Enter the Dragon. And now this baby's coming out. So cannot wait!

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Re: Criterion Collection

Post by Ben » April 14th, 2020, 4:42 am

"We need......total...concentration..." ;)

Yes, Eric, this is clearly a Bergman/Godzilla type set, not a retrospective (although it’s a retrospective set). I hope they can include the excellent I Am Bruce Lee, although it’s available pretty cheaply on its own.

As I said in my post, Dan, I was also tempted to upgrade the great WB DVD and get ETD on Blu, though fears of a dated transfer always put me off (plus it’s on TCM in HD what seems every other day!), but it would be cool if they’ve done a new 4K restoration for this collection.

Warners only owns ETD far as I am aware, since that’s the only one they actually produced. Essentially that film was a big Hollywood studio wanting to jump on the low-fi wagon and grab a piece of that action, but it’s something of a minor miracle that, despite the increased production values, it doesn’t totally abandon what made the earlier films tick.

If you’ve only ever seen ETD - and for most people that’s the case - then you’ve seen the "best" (as in the most conventionally structured/produced to western movie standards) of Lee's films and, for some, the earlier films can be something of a shock in how "bad" they are, in terms of their low-fi approach and their cheesy nature, especially in the stereotypical English dubs, which is really what Kentucky Fried Movie was spoofing more than anything.

But they are also more raw, and actually quite violent, with Big Boss and Game Of Death probably being the next two to check out first. Return Of The Dragon, of course, isn’t a sequel to ETD and has nothing to do with it - this is the film that Lee died during production of and it was kind of stitched together and then renamed to take advantage of the huge success of Enter, and as such it’s the one film that I’ve never seen all the way through.

I’m eager to see what archive extras they can include (I never really looked at the Shout discs for some reason, though I think there were mastering issues and I guess it eventually just passed me by) but I hope they can include the late 70s feature The Legend, documentary Martial Arts Master, and the aforementioned I Am Bruce Lee, which I have also come close to picking up in its single disc edition.

Glad I waited on all these! If they get the extras right, this should indeed be definitive. :)

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Re: Criterion Collection

Post by Dan » April 14th, 2020, 11:19 am

Here's the breakdown of the seven-disc set, according to the Criterion web site:
  • 4K digital restorations of The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, Game of Death, and The Way of the Dragon, with uncompressed original monaural soundtracks
  • New 2K digital restoration of the rarely-seen 99-minute 1973 theatrical version of Enter the Dragon, with uncompressed original monaural soundtrack
  • 2K digital restoration of the 102-minute “special-edition” version of Enter the Dragon
  • Alternate audio soundtracks for the films, including original English-dubbed tracks and a 5.1 surround soundtrack for the special-edition version of Enter the Dragon
  • Six audio commentaries: on The Big Boss by Bruce Lee expert Brandon Bentley; on The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, Game of Death, and The Way of the Dragon by Hong Kong–film expert Mike Leeder; and on the special-edition version of Enter the Dragon by producer Paul Heller
  • High-definition presentation of Game of Death II, the 1981 sequel to Game of Death
  • Game of Death Redux, a new presentation of Lee’s original Game of Death footage, produced by Alan Canvan
  • New interviews on all five films with Lee biographer Matthew Polly
  • New interview with producer Andre Morgan about Golden Harvest, the company behind Hong Kong’s top martial-arts stars, including Lee
  • New program about English-language dubbing with voice performers Michael Kaye (the English-speaking voice of Lee’s Chen Zhen in Fist of Fury) and Vaughan Savidge
  • New interview with author Grady Hendrix about the “Bruceploitation” subgenre that followed Lee’s death, and a selection of Bruceploitation trailers
  • Blood and Steel, a 2004 documentary about the making of Enter the Dragon
  • Multiple programs and documentaries about Lee’s life and philosophies, including Bruce Lee: The Man and the Legend (1973) and Bruce Lee: In His Own Words (1998)
  • Interviews with Linda Lee Cadwell, Lee’s widow, and many of Lee’s collaborators and admirers, including actors Jon T. Benn, Riki Hashimoto, Nora Miao, Robert Wall, Yuen Wah, and Simon Yam and directors Clarence Fok, Sammo Hung, and Wong Jing
  • Promotional materials
  • New English subtitle translations and subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Jeff Chang

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Re: Criterion Collection

Post by Randall » April 14th, 2020, 12:28 pm

Beat me to it!

No specific mention for I am Bruce Lee, but overall I'd have to say this is a pretty good-looking set.

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