Essential Art House: 50 Years of Janus Films  (50-DVD box set)

Essential Art House: 50 Years of Janus Films
(50-DVD box set)

Essential Art House: 50 Years of Janus Films  (50-DVD box set) (Essential Art House DVD)

Essential Art House DVD

50 Discs

SRP: $850.00

Criterion Store price:$650.00

Collector's Set Info

Janus Films opened American viewers’ eyes to the pleasures of Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, and François Truffaut at the height of their artistic powers. Celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of this world-renowned distribution company with Essential Art House: 50 Years of Janus Films, an expansive collectors’ box set featuring fifty classic films on DVD and a lavishly illustrated hardcover book that tells the story of Janus Films through an essay by film historian Peter Cowie, a tribute from Martin Scorsese, and extensive, all-new notes on all fifty films, plus cast and credit listings and U.S. premiere information.

Collector’s Set Includes

The 400 Blows box cover

The 400 Blows

François Truffaut 1959

Told through the eyes of François Truffaut’s cinematic counterpart, Antoine Doinel, The 400 Blows sensitively re-creates the trials of Truffaut’s own childhood, unsentimentally portraying aloof parents, oppressive teachers, and petty crime.

Seven Samurai box cover

Seven Samurai

Akira Kurosawa 1954

In Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai), sixteenth-century villagers hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits. This thrilling three-hour ride is one of the most beloved movie epics of all time.

The Seventh Seal box cover

The Seventh Seal

Ingmar Bergman 1957

Much studied, imitated, even parodied, but never outdone, Bergman’s stunning allegory of man’s search for meaning was one of the benchmark foreign imports of America’s 1950s art house heyday, pushing cinema’s boundaries and ushering in a new era of moviegoing.

Wild Strawberries box cover

Wild Strawberries

Ingmar Bergman 1957

Traveling to accept an honorary degree, Professor Isak Borg—masterfully played by veteran director Victor Sjöström—is forced to face his past, come to terms with his faults, and make peace with the inevitability of his approaching death.

Beauty and the Beast box cover

Beauty and the Beast

Jean Cocteau 1946

The spectacular visions of enchantment, desire, and death in Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête) have become timeless icons of cinematic wonder.

La strada box cover

La strada

Federico Fellini 1954

Federico Fellini’s wife Giulietta Masina plays Gelsomina, a naive girl sold into the employ of a brutal strongman in a traveling circus, in this poetic fable of love and cruelty, winner of the 1956 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.

L’avventura box cover


Michelangelo Antonioni 1960

Michelangelo Antonioni invented a new film grammar with this masterwork.

Jules and Jim box cover

Jules and Jim

François Truffaut 1962

Hailed as one of the finest films ever made, Jules and Jim charts, over twenty-five years, the relationship between two friends and the object of their mutual obsession.

The 39 Steps box cover

The 39 Steps

Alfred Hitchcock 1935

A heart-racing spy story by Alfred Hitchcock, The 39 Steps follows Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) as he stumbles upon a conspiracy that thrusts him into a hectic chase across the Scottish moors.

The Third Man box cover

The Third Man

Carol Reed 1949

Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, black-market opportunist Harry Lime—and thus begins this legendary tale of love, deception, and murder.

Loves of a Blonde box cover

Loves of a Blonde

Miloš Forman 1965

A tender and humorous look at a young woman’s journey from the first pangs of romance to its inevitable disappointments, Loves of a Blonde immediately became a classic of the Czech New Wave and earned Milos Forman the first of his Academy Award nominations.

The Rules of the Game box cover

The Rules of the Game

Jean Renoir 1939

Considered one of the greatest films ever made, The Rules of the Game (La règle du jeu), by Jean Renoir, is a scathing critique of corrupt French society cloaked in a comedy of manners.

Rashomon box cover


Akira Kurosawa 1950

A riveting psychological thriller that investigates the nature of truth and the meaning of justice Rashomon is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made.

Alexander Nevsky box cover

Alexander Nevsky

Sergei Eisenstein 1938

Sergei Eisenstein drew on history, Russian folk narratives, and the techniques of Walt Disney to create this broadly painted epic of Russian resilience, the story of Teutonic knights vanquished by Prince Alexander Nevsky’s tactical brilliance.

Ashes and Diamonds box cover

Ashes and Diamonds

Andrzej Wajda 1958

On the last day of World War II, Polish exiles of war and the occupying Soviet forces confront the beginning of a new day and a new Poland. In this incendiary environment, we find Home Army soldier Maciek Chelmicki, who has been ordered to assassinate an incoming commissar.

Ballad of a Soldier box cover

Ballad of a Soldier

Grigori Chukhrai 1959

A milestone in Russian cinema, Grigori Chukhrai’s Ballad of a Soldier follows Alyosha as he journeys home once he is granted a visit with his mother after single-handedly fending off two enemy tanks.

Black Orpheus box cover

Black Orpheus

Marcel Camus 1959

Winner of both the Academy Award for best foreign-language film and the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or, Marcel Camus’ Black Orpheus (Orfeu negro) brings the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice to the twentieth-century madness of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.

Brief Encounter box cover

Brief Encounter

David Lean 1945

After a chance meeting on a train platform, a married doctor (Trevor Howard) and a suburban housewife (Celia Johnson) begin a muted but passionate, and ultimately doomed, love affair.

The Fallen Idol box cover

The Fallen Idol

Carol Reed 1948

Elegantly balancing suspense and farce, Carol Reed and Graham Greene’s tale of the fraught relationship between a boy and the beloved butler he suspects of murder is a delightfully macabre thriller of the first order and a visually and verbally dazzling knockout.

Fires on the Plain box cover

Fires on the Plain

Kon Ichikawa 1959

An agonizing portrait of desperate Japanese soldiers stranded in a strange land during World War II, Kon Ichikawa’s Fires on the Plain is a compelling descent into psychological and physical oblivion, and one of the most powerful works from one of Japanese cinema’s most versatile filmmakers.

Fists in the Pocket box cover

Fists in the Pocket

Marco Bellocchio 1965

Tormented by twisted desires, a young man takes drastic measures to rid his grotesquely dysfunctional family of its various afflictions in this astonishing 1965 debut from Marco Bellocchio.

Floating Weeds box cover

Floating Weeds

Yasujiro Ozu 1959

An aging actor returns to a small town with his troupe and reunites with his former lover and illegitimate son, a scenario that enrages his current mistress and results in heartbreak for all, in Yasujiro Ozu’s color collaboration with the celebrated cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa.

Forbidden Games box cover

Forbidden Games

René Clément 1952

A timeless evocation of childhood innocence corrupted, René Clément’s mythical and heartbreakingly real Forbidden Games tells the story of a young girl orphaned by war and the farm boy she joins in a fantastical world of macabre play.

Grand Illusion box cover

Grand Illusion

Jean Renoir 1937

Jean Renoir’s antiwar masterpiece Grand Illusion, hailed as one of the greatest films ever made, stars Jean Gabin and Pierre Fresnay as French soldiers held in a World War I German prison camp.

Häxan box cover


Benjamin Christensen 1922

Benjamin Christensen’s legendary silent film uses a series of dramatic vignettes to explore the scientific hypothesis that the witches of the Middle Ages suffered the same hysteria as turn-of-the-century psychiatric patients. Häxan is a witches’ brew of the scary, gross, and darkly humorous.

Ikiru box cover


Akira Kurosawa 1952

One of the greatest achievements by Akira Kurosawa, Ikiru shows the director at his most compassionate—affirming life through an explora­tion of death.

Ivan the Terrible, Part II box cover

Ivan the Terrible, Part II

Sergei Eisenstein 1958

Visually stunning and powerfully acted, Ivan the Terrible charts the rise to power and descent into terror of this veritable dictator. Stalin detested the portrait in the second film—with its summary executions and secret police—and promptly banned it.

The Importance of Being Earnest box cover

The Importance of Being Earnest

Anthony Asquith 1952

Oscar Wilde’s enduringly hilarious story of two young women who think themselves engaged to the same nonexistent man is given the grand Technicolor treatment. Seldom has a classic stage comedy been so engagingly transferred to the screen.

Le jour se lève box cover

Le jour se lève

Marcel Carné 1939

In this compelling story of obsessive sexuality and murder, the working-class François (Jean Gabin) resorts to killing in order to free the woman he loves from the controlling influence of another man.

Kind Hearts and Coronets box cover

Kind Hearts and Coronets

Robert Hamer 1949

Dennis Price is sublime as an embittered young commoner determined to avenge his mother’s unjust disinheritance by ascending to her family’s dukedom in one of Ealing Studios’ greatest triumphs, and one of the most wickedly black comedies ever made.

The Lady Vanishes box cover

The Lady Vanishes

Alfred Hitchcock 1938

In Alfred Hitchcock’s most quick-witted and devilish comic thriller, a young woman finds herself drawn into a complex web of mystery and high adventure while traveling across Europe by train. The Lady Vanishes remains one of the master filmmaker’s purest delights.

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp box cover

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger 1943

Considered by many to be the finest British film ever made, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, is a stirring masterpiece like no other.

Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday box cover

Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday

Jacques Tati 1953

Monsieur Hulot, Jacques Tati’s endearing clown, takes a holiday at a seaside resort, where his presence provokes one catastrophe after another.

Miss Julie box cover

Miss Julie

Alf Sjöberg 1951

Swedish filmmaker Alf Sjöberg’s visually innovative, Cannes Grand Prix-winning adaptation of August Strindberg’s renowned 1888 play brings to scalding life the excoriating words of the stage’s preeminent surveyor of all things rotten in the state of male-female relations.

Pygmalion box cover


Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard 1938

Cranky Professor Henry Higgins (Leslie Howard) takes a bet that he can turn Cockney guttersnipe Eliza Doolittle (Wendy Hiller) into a “proper lady” in a mere six months in this delightful comedy of bad manners, based on the play by George Bernard Shaw.

Richard III  box cover

Richard III

Laurence Olivier 1955

In Richard III, director, producer, and star Laurence Olivier brings Shakespeare’s masterpiece of Machiavellian villainy to ravishing cinematic life

The Spirit of the Beehive box cover

The Spirit of the Beehive

Víctor Erice 1973

Widely regarded as the greatest Spanish film of the 1970s, Victor Erice’s The Spirit of the Beehive is a visually arresting, bewitching portrait of a child’s haunted inner life.

Summertime box cover


David Lean 1955

In David Lean’s visually enchanting Summertime, Katharine Hepburn plays a lonely American spinster whose dream of romance finally becomes a bittersweet reality when she meets a handsome—but married—Italian man while vacationing in Venice.

The Wages of Fear box cover

The Wages of Fear

Henri-Georges Clouzot 1953

Four desperate men sign on for a suicide mission to drive trucks loaded with nitroglycerin over a treacherous mountain route—a white-knuckle ride from France’s legendary master of suspense, Henri-Georges Clouzot.

The Virgin Spring box cover

The Virgin Spring

Ingmar Bergman 1960

Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring is a harrowing tale of faith, revenge, and savagery in medieval Sweden.

Viridiana box cover


Luis Buñuel 1961

Novice nun Viridiana does her utmost to maintain her Catholic principles, but her lecherous uncle and a motley assemblage of paupers force her to confront the limits of her idealism. Luis Buñuel’s irreverent vision of life as a beggar’s banquet is regarded by many as his masterpiece.

The White Sheik box cover

The White Sheik

Federico Fellini 1952

The style and themes which made Federico Fellini world famous are already apparent in this charming comedy (his first solo directorial effort), featuring such long-time collaborators as his wife, actress Giulietta Masina, and composer Nino Rota.

Umberto D. box cover

Umberto D.

Vittorio De Sica 1952

This neorealist masterpiece by Vittorio De Sica follows an elderly pensioner as he strives to make ends meet during Italy’s postwar economic recovery.

Il posto box cover

Il posto

Ermanno Olmi 1961

When young Domenico ventures from the small village of Meda to Milan in search of employment, he finds himself on the bottom rung of the bureaucratic ladder in a huge, faceless company in Ermanno Olmi’s tender coming-of-age story.

Pandora’s Box box cover

Pandora’s Box

Georg Wilhelm Pabst 1929

Sensationally modern, G. W. Pabst’s lurid, controversial melodrama follows the downward spiral of the fiery, brash, yet innocent showgirl Lulu (Louise Brooks), whose sexual vivacity has a devastating effect on everyone she comes in contact with.

M box cover


Fritz Lang 1931

Peter Lorre stars as serial killer Hans Beckert in Fritz Lang’s harrowing masterwork M, a suspenseful panorama of private madness and public hysteria that to this day remains the blueprint for the psychological thriller.

Three Documentaries box cover

Three Documentaries

Saul J. Turell 1962

Three delightful tributes to Hollywood: The Great Chase, a rollicking compendium of the greatest hits of silent-cinema chase sequences, The Love Goddesses, a look at cinema’s most alluring female sex symbols, and the Oscar-winning remembrance Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist.

Knife in the Water box cover

Knife in the Water

Roman Polanski 1962

A husband, a wife, a stranger, a knife: Roman Polanski sets them all adrift on a weekend filled with simmering resentments and gut-churning suspense in his seminal psychological thriller, still one of the greatest feature debuts in film history.

Pépé le moko box cover

Pépé le moko

Julien Duvivier 1937

Pépé le moko is a wanted man: women long for him, rivals hope to destroy him, and the law is breathing down his neck at every turn. On the lam, Pépé is safe from the clutches of the police, until a Parisian playgirl compels him to risk his life. Pépé le moko is a landmark of poetic realism.

Ugetsu box cover


Kenji Mizoguchi 1953

Moving between the terrestrial and the otherworldly, Ugetsu reveals essential truths about the ravages of war, the plight of women, and the pride of men.

Disc Features

  • Hardcover, linen-bound box set with 240-page, full-color book and 50 DVDs
  • Dimensions: 12.5” x 12.75” x 3.5”
  • Weight: 14 lbs.
  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: 1
  • Each DVD features a pristine digital transfer of the film in its original language. Foreign-language films come with optional English subtitles; English-language films with English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.


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