Double Trouble

Dec 7, 2007

It’s been one of those weeks. First we learned we’d made a mastering error on our Mala Noche edition. Then the first run of the new collectors’ set Ingmar Bergman: Four Masterworks shipped with the wrong disc—the Essential Art House: 50 Years of Janus Films edition of The Seventh Seal—in the Criterion special edition package. I’m just hoping these things don’t come in threes.

We’ve stopped all shipments of both products, but if you got one of the problem discs, please send it to us. We’ll replace it and send you a $10 gift certificate (good at criterion.com) to offset the postage. Please don’t send the whole package, just the actual Mala Noche or Essential Art House Seventh Seal disc in an envelope. Send your disc to the Criterion Collection, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003, and mark it “Attn: Jon Mulvaney.” Be sure to include a mailing address in the U.S. or Canada for the replacement as we cannot ship outside of North America. Please also include your email address in the package and we’ll send your gift certificate by email once we’ve mailed you replacement DVD(s).

We all hate it when we make mistakes like these. As Stephane, who heads up our QC and restoration group, says, “I wish we could go back in time.” We did all the requisite hunting around to figure out exactly how this happened, but in the end they were just mistakes. Mala Noche is mostly in black and white, but about twenty-three minutes in, there are three color shots that total ten seconds and twenty-two frames. In our version, they appear in black and white. No one caught it. The Bergman problem happened at the manufacturer’s. It was just a matter of a couple of letters on a chart—SEV100 vs. SEV100-JF—but as Jon said, “It's lucky we’re not doing surgery. An R or an L on a chart could make a world of difference when you go in to have your leg amputated!”

Fortunately it’s a little easier for us to make up for our mistakes. The Mala Noche master has been fixed and is being reauthored starting Monday, but it doesn’t look like we'll have replacement copies ready until January. We should be ready to replace The Seventh Seal discs starting next week. And as for this week . . . well, TGIF.