Friday, June 6, 2008

Criterion Collection does Blu movies

I was wondering last night when (or whether) Criterion would start producing Blu-ray DVDs. So I set out this morning to check for that information.

The Criterion Collection is in the process of preparing their first Blu-ray releases. Buried in their website, is this announcement:

We’ve got some exciting news for this fall: our first Blu-ray discs are coming! We’ve picked a little over a dozen titles from the collection for Blu-ray treatment, and we’ll begin rolling them out in October. These new editions will feature glorious high-definition picture and sound, all the supplemental content of the DVD releases, and they will be priced to match our standard-def editions."

The announcement says that the first twelve titles to be released will be:

The Third Man

Bottle Rocket

Chungking Express

The Man Who Fell to Earth

The Last Emperor

El Norte

The 400 Blows

Gimme Shelter

The Complete Monterey Pop



For All Mankind

The Wages of Fear

I kind of feel sorry for Criterion in one regard: They started out doing laserdiscs, then with the advent of DVDs, they got pushed back nearly to square one of their production process. I say "nearly" because, while they did have to remaster everything, they didn't have to do new transfers, since the resolution of LDs and DVDs are the same. [1]

Now it seems like Blu-ray will require them to go all the way back to square one and do new hi-def transfers of movies they've already released before (and released twice or more times in many instances -- they've already done at least two DVDs of Cocteau's "La Belle et la B

On the other hand, I don't feel sorry about the fact that they'll make a freakin' fortune from selling Blu-ray DVDs.


[1] Long ago, I did a side-by-side comparison of the laserdisc and DVD of "The Red Shoes," and noticed that they appeared to be from the same source transfer. Both editions had identical flaws -- scratches, color instabilities, etc.

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