Dear Criterion: Blu-ray Upgrade Requests

by AP

Created 07/02/12

Edit List

My most-wished-for upgrades. Criterion, hear my prayer.

Also the following titles are confirmed new titles for forthcoming release (if there is any doubt, ask and I will cite my sources):

Barton Fink (Coen Brothers)
A Brighter Summer Day and Limite
Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy
David Cronenberg's The Brood
Nagisha Oshima's Boy
Wim Wenders Road Movies box set (Alice in the Cities, Wrong Move, Kings of the Road)
Peppermint Frappé (Carlos Saura)
I Was a Teenage Zombie
L'Argent (Robert Bresson)
The Trial of Joan of Arc (Robert Bresson)
Paris Nous Appartient (Jacques Rivette)
Midnight Cowboy
The Koker Trilogy (Abbas Kiarostami)


  • By DrawOhUa
    July 03, 2012
    01:02 PM

    Should add Autumn Sonata. I've never seen it but always looking forward to it.
    • By AP
      June 02, 2013
      01:23 PM

      Autumn Sonata will be coming, quite fittingly, in autumn of 2013.
  • By locke
    July 06, 2012
    08:18 PM

    I often wish they'd double the output of upgrading films to bluray, so many catalog titles need it!
    • By ggfanjase
      July 08, 2012
      05:41 PM

      Agreed. Within the first 200 spine numbers alone, you have so many in dire need of upgrading.
  • By TheAfterHours
    October 14, 2012
    10:07 PM

    Passion of Joan of Arc & Throne of Blood definitely need an upgrade to Blu!
  • By Bad-Dad
    December 08, 2012
    07:36 PM

    And of course... "The Mother and the Whore" by Jean Eustache "Walden" by Jonas Mekas Murnau's 'Der Letzte Mann' and 'Faust' Tarkovsky's 'Mirror' Visconti's 'Ludwig and 'The Damned' Werner Herzog's 'Kaspar Hauser' Agnes Varda's 'The Gleaners' 'Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders' from Mars by D.A. Pennebaker. and 'Punch and Judy' by Jan Švankmajer.
    • By AP
      June 02, 2013
      01:18 PM

      Well, none of those are even in the Collection. I was focusing on films that exist in DVD incarnations already in the Criterion Collection that I believe need to be upgraded to blu-ray, not new titles.
  • By Erich Wagner
    January 08, 2013
    01:27 AM

    La Dolce Vita needs to be upgraded I have no idea why it has not yet. Also The Bicycle Thief or Thieves should be put in blu-ray format
    • By AP
      June 02, 2013
      01:20 PM

      La Dolce Vita isn't even in the Collection on DVD. You'd have to take up that with Kino-Lorber, the publisher of the existing DVD.
    • By AP
      July 01, 2013
      12:24 AM

      Actually, the outcome of the recent lawsuit was in favor of Paramount, so maybe they will license it to Criterion. That wish may just come true...
  • By Derek
    February 28, 2013
    02:37 PM

    A second for Cries and Whispers. It's logical.
    • By AP
      June 14, 2014
      06:08 PM

      (Holds out fingers in Star Trek Federation salute)
  • By AP
    March 18, 2013
    06:35 PM

    List updated to reflect changes. Thank you Criterion for listening to our request to upgrade Wild Strawberries!
  • By John527
    June 22, 2013
    12:09 AM

    I really wish Criterion still had the rights to Robocop and This Is Spinal Tap.
    • By AP
      July 01, 2013
      12:26 AM

      I think they should negotiate to get back the rights to Robocop from MGM. I've heard the current blu-ray from 20th Century Fox sucks and is rendered plastic with DNR. One of the early MGM/Fox blu-ray botch jobs. I totally agree. But This Is Spinal Tap has a good blu-ray already with all of Criterion's supplements plus more.
    • By Eric Levy
      May 31, 2014
      02:37 PM

      I agree the MGM SPINAL TAP BD looks great, but there is an important difference between the extras. Namely, the Criterion DVD features two audio commentaries that are not available on the MGM DVD or BD: One featuring the three primary actors and another with Reiner, the producer, and editors. The MGM commentary also features the three actors, but *in character* as David, Nigel, and Derek--it's pretty hilarious too. So completists may want to hunt down the Criterion edition.
  • By TheAfterHours
    July 08, 2013
    05:44 PM

    Samurai Rebellion and The Third Shadow Warrior on Blu-Ray please!
    • By AP
      June 14, 2014
      06:03 PM

      They should upgrade the whole Rebel Sixties Swordplay Classics set.
  • By AP
    August 15, 2013
    05:28 PM

    Thank you Criterion for announcing Tokyo Story in not only a blu-ray upgrade from the 4k restoration, but a blu-ray/DVD combo edition! Coming this November, 2013.
  • By Del
    August 20, 2013
    02:05 AM

    I really wish Criterion gets the license for Bondarchuk's "War and Peace" (1968). That mammoth movie screams blu-ray.
    • By Ken Henderson
      August 29, 2013
      07:21 PM

      I have been thinking this again yesterday and I also want this. There should be a problem with the start of this film. Apparently, the original opening was a war explosion sequence but later releases had this section as a farm scene with either mass flowers or wheat. A friend took his ex-wife to this many years ago at a suburban Melbourne/Australia theatre that specialized in screening classics and when it started a a patron exclaimed :"They have used the tame opening!". The friend's wife was not impressed with the length of the film, telling him that he had better "not so that again".It was not the cause of their divorce!!!!! Another good Russian film is "The Cranes Are Flying" which has a very nice Jazz score which I have on Laserdisc. There must be a few other classic from Russian Cinema worth a look in Blu Ray. A Czech film, I liked but not seen since the 1970s in 16mm is Saddled with Five Girls(& other variations besie the original Czech-language name). A fun film, the storyline has a lot to do with Peter Sellers US film, The World of Henry Orient. Never found a DVD or VHS release of this film.
    • By AP
      September 02, 2013
      08:46 PM

      Ken Henderson, are you familiar with the unfortunate history of War and Peace (the Bondarchuk adaptation)? From what I've read, it was originally shot in 65mm, but Soviet authorities mandated such a "Russian" story should be shot on Russian film. Unfortunately, the Russian-made film stock was of such poor brittle quality, it would often be destroyed just running through the camera. In the original shoot, they lost approximately 10% of all the footage just from the negatives being ruined in just this way. The budget had to then be accommodating for three backup cameras and extra film to shoot every scene simultaneously. The 65mm camera negatives did not survive for long in storage, and has been considered lost forever, but the version that survived was pasted together from the other 35mm 4:3 B/C/D-roll negatives. I would think from what you've said the version that might be in circulation could be different than the original version, in terms of content.
  • By AP
    October 16, 2013
    04:27 PM

    Thank you Criterion for releasing Throne of Blood on blu-ray!
  • By David Ayoob
    February 11, 2014
    10:47 AM

    Waiting for years for Love with the Proper Stranger, Paramount 1963. Thought there might be a 50th anniversary release last year, but no luck. Great Pakula /Mulligan production with Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen in top form. Beautiful Elmer Berstein score and black white cinematography.
  • By M.
    February 13, 2014
    12:02 PM

    Please investigate releasing Paul Cox's wonderful van Gogh documentary: "Vincent" (1987). It's hidden gem that deserves the Criterion treatment.
  • By Eric Levy
    May 31, 2014
    02:47 PM

    Wonderful list AP! I agree with all of the ones on your list that I've seen--and definitely agree that ANDREI RUBLEV tops the list of titles in need of an upgrade. My other priorities are the Sternberg silents, L'AVVENTURA, and THE RIVER--all of which you have on your list already. Hope the PTB are paying attention to all these requests. And, yes, I'm very curious to know your sources for the forthcoming titles you list in your intro. ERASERHEAD and TOOTSIE were both hinted at in the New Year's cartoon (ERASERHEAD for the second year in a row), and MIDNIGHT COWBOY was a newsletter hint, but how do you know about the others? I hope you're right, as many of those are favorites of mine (especially the Ray, Wenders, and Kiarostami trilogies) and would be wonderful additions to the Collection. Finally, thanks for favoriting my Harry Dean Stanton list! Please check out my others.
    • By AP
      June 14, 2014
      06:41 PM

      A Brighter Summer Day was restored by Scorsese's World Cinema Project and the music rights have been finally cleared. The restoration premiered in San Francisco in spring of 2013 with Ed Yang's widow in attendance who confirmed it will get a Criterion release. The question is whether the four-hour film it will merit a stand-alone release or be included in the WCP vol II set? Paris Nous Appartient, Boy, L'Argent, The Trial of Joan of Arc, La Silence de la mer and more are on Hulu or were at one point. They have a lot of Fassbinder on Hulu as well. The Brood, like Scanners before it, is on Criterion's iTunes page Fellini Satyricon received a 4k restoration by director of photography Giuseppe Rotunno several years ago and somewhere Criterion confirmed it as being one of the titles they licensed from MGM/UA. Roma has been rumored as well. Criterion holds a press conference at the Wexner Center at Ohio State University annually, where they have confirmed the Apu trilogy, the Wenders Road Movies set and the Koker Trilogy. They have all been rumored for years. The Koker Trilogy is apparently quite imminent as Kiarostami was present at a retrospective of his work at the University of Indiana in May, where Criterion representatives took the opportunity to interview him for the upcoming project while he was in the country. Miramax has reportedly been cooperative in the rights for the trilogy. The turnaround from transfer to extras to finished product usually takes between three months to a year or two, depending on the level of work needed to make the films presentable, the scope of the project and whether the director is still alive to supervise the restoration. A lot of my sources come from perusing Criterionforum.org, criterioncast, World Cinema Project's website and just keeping eyes and ears open on the web or on streaming services. I am not an insider by any means, but I know a few who are. So you can take some of these as "rumors", but I am confident all predicted forthcoming titles I listed will come through in time. Also, Monte Hellman's two B-westerns for AIP will be released together in a box set. Monte confirmed it on his facebook page and described the quality of the digital tools used in restoring them to his original vision (additionally saying he will never go back to shooting film) and has posted pictures of revisiting locations in Utah for the CC special features on his page, with his three dogs in tow. I'm friends with Monte Hellman and Godfrey Cheshire on facebook. Cheshire confirmed Fellini Satyricon will come to CC and has expressed interest in writing the essay.
  • By bbosworth
    June 02, 2014
    07:31 PM

    I'm just curious, what's your source for Barton Fink coming into the collection? I love the film and have been hoping it would show up.
    • By AP
      June 14, 2014
      05:55 PM

      The Coen brothers both have "phantom pages". Many of the cast and crew of Criterion's titles have pages which list what other films in the collection they have been involved in. But it was discovered some time ago there exist pages for people who do not have anything in The Collection. People have figured these are placeholders for future releases. These "Phantom Pages" have caused a stir on forums as to whether CC is toying with us or if they really mean something. So far, many have come through. David Lynch has one, then Eraserhead appeared on Hulu. Lawrence Kasdan had one, then we got The Big Chill. Stanley Kramer had a page, then we got Madx4 World. There are other examples that have not yet come to pass, such as Woody Allen, Mike Nichols and Peter Greenaway. So far things have mostly checked out, but there was a question of reliability when Sergio Leone, Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach appeared and people figured the Dollars trilogy was coming in their new restorations, and Fox released it instead. But when Fox released their Coen Bros collection with Fargo, Miller's Crossing, Raising Arizona and Blood Simple, Barton Fink was conspicuously absent. In last year's New Year's wacky drawing, a man with a curly pompadour and glasses was in one of the windows of the building, resembling John Turturro's character in Barton Fink. Fox sometimes licenses films to Criterion. But it's worth noting CC also has a deal with Focus Features, which could mean The Man Who Wasn't There will be coming too.
  • By CPinheiro1914
    July 29, 2014
    10:32 PM

    Alice in the Cities, Cria Cuervos and Midnight Cowboy would be awesome. I also hope The Tenant is coming anytime soon. Great list!