It has been about six months since the release of the last volume in this series, whilst the original volumes were an almost quarterly deal. I can only suppose this means that Criterion/Janus have not found them to be a lucrative series (which I would fault on lacklustre third and fourth volumes… although the fifth more than made up for it!).
The point of this thread is to ascertain what kind of demand Criterion fans have for these disks. Who out there opts for Essential Art House disks instead of full volumes (or perhaps purchases them for family and friends), and what kind of selection would you expect from a Volume 6?
I wish they had some sort of thematic connection, rather than just “oh hey these are essential so buy them without context”.
I wish they weren’t movies with supplemental versions, either… the completionist inside me kicks the shit out of the cheapskate inside me if I even think of buying an EAH.
I would really like it if they re-issued some of the early bare-bones discs from the mainline in the EAH. The only EAH I have is “Variety Lights” because that’s the only one where they’ve done this. The EAH has such a strange position because it’s kind of like an in between Eclipse and the main line. I think they look at a film and if it is impossible for them to find any supplements, but they don’t have access to related films to put in an Eclipse set, they’ll “dump” it into EAH.
Still, as I said before, there are early releases like “Diaboliques” or “Shock Corridor” that don’t even have trailers on them and they still sell them for $30. I’d love to see either Criterion drop the price to $20 or put them in EAH. (Although, personally, I think the two titles I used as examples could probably use a full BR treatment.)
I’m fine with Criterion releasing bare-bones versions of some of their products, the way they used to with laserdiscs. I’d buy a lot more of their releases if they were about $20 cheaper, and minus the bells and whistles of extras and commentaries.
For me, it’s about supplementals. I enjoy the special features and commentary.
But with that being said, I do have a few EAH titles, such as the ones they never released on the Criterion Collection like “Last Holliday”, "Mayerling, “Le Jour Le Seve” and “Gervaise”. I made a mistake and forgot to buy “Kapo” during the last Criterion B&N sale.
I also purchased “Black Orpheus” (didn’t know it would be re-released) and “Pygmalion” since the original Criterion were barebones as well.
December titles announced and still no Vol. VI! These sets always make for great holiday gifts. Oh well.
Here would be what I’d like to see in the next volume:
Kind Hearts and Coronets
The Rules of the Game
The Seventh Seal
These five are from the big Janus set, of which the majority of these Art House picks come from (and I see they have already designed the individual covers for them). The sixth should be as was done in the last few sets: a surprise new release that is as good and semi-obscure as Kapo or Mayerling, and previously unreleased by Criterion.
While I agree that part of the attraction of Criterion releases are the features, EAH titles are a good starting point for those who either have less money or time to spend on each film. I purchase so many films, Criterion and non-Criterion alike, that I hardly have time to watch any special features unless they really interest me. For example, most of the Powell&Pressburger films I have bought the non-EAH version, as the docs are of interest to me. On the other hand, I don’t particularly care to watch features on films like Gervaise or Le Jour se Leve.
I was going to begin collecting these EAH’s to have some great movies at my fingertips whenever I want, but it seems they’ve discontinued the series.
Yes, I e-mailed Criterion to ask if they were going to continue the EAH series. Their answer was ambiguous at best, saying that we have no Essential Art House releases at this time. Not that they were stopping it all together, but just that they aren’t at this time. I have bought up all of these releases to date and find them truly a major part of my movie collection. The special editions are good, but for a guy on a budget these are more reasonable. The other reason why I e-mail them was because their page on EAH has other titles there with artwork. However, there is no box set indicated on the page. These movies are:
Fists in the Pocket
Spirit of the Beehive
The Virgin Spring
Since I told them this, they still haven’t fixed this on the their site. I don’t know if this is a glitch and they are not making them. Or these are potential films for a volume VI. If so, I am look very forward to it.