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Essential Art House, Volume 1

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Overview

Janus Films was one of the premiere U.S. distributors of classic European cinema in the 1950s and 60s, bringing key works by Ingmar Bergman, Francois Truffaut, Federico Fellini, Roman Polanski and Akira Kurosawa to American audiences when viewers in the United States were just beginning to discover the power of international filmmaking. The Criterion Collection, America's best and most prestigious DVD label, has often partnered with Janus Films to bring classic titles from their library to the digital format, and...
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Overview

Janus Films was one of the premiere U.S. distributors of classic European cinema in the 1950s and 60s, bringing key works by Ingmar Bergman, Francois Truffaut, Federico Fellini, Roman Polanski and Akira Kurosawa to American audiences when viewers in the United States were just beginning to discover the power of international filmmaking. The Criterion Collection, America's best and most prestigious DVD label, has often partnered with Janus Films to bring classic titles from their library to the digital format, and in 2006 Criterion released Essential Art House: Fifty Years of Janus Films, a special collector's set that featured fifty important movies from the Janus archives on disc. While the idea behind the set was more than admirable, the bulk (and the cost) of the set put it out of the reach of many cinephiles, so Criterion has begun using it as the model for a series of smaller box sets devoted to classic foreign films. Essential Art House, Vol. 1 is the first such collection from Criterion, containing six acknowledged masterworks -- Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast, Jean Renoir's Grand Illusion, Roman Polanski's Knife In The Water, Peter Brook's Lord Of The Flies, Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon and Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries. All six films have been transferred to disc in their original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1 (the newest title, Lord Of The Flies, was released in 1963, before widescreen framings had become a universal phenomenon), and the audio for each film has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, retaining the original sound mix. As is usually the case for Criterion's releases, the transfers are uniformly excellent, looking sharp and well-detailed regardless of the age of the film, and the source materials are in excellent condition (there are occasional speckles on the print used for Lord of the Flies, though this probably reflects the picture's deliberately grimy visual style). The presentation follows the efficient template of the initial Essential Art House set (and Criterion's subsequent Eclipse collections) -- the discs are no-frills items, and while the transfers are first-rate, they include only optional English subtitles, no commentaries or language options, and each film is packaged with a slim booklet featuring a short but literate essay on the movie in question. (All six are also available in more elaborate editions from Criterion, and the pared-down versions in this set can be purchased separately.) These discs may lack the bevy of bonus materials that have become the company's trademark, but Essential Art House, Vol. 1 is an eclectic and well-curated set of important films from the golden age of foreign cinema, and it's an affordable way to begin a collection of important films.
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
Jean Cocteau's most popular film, this 1946 masterpiece is perhaps the most faithful of the many film versions of the 1756 fairy tale written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. Though the ending is a bit on the strange side -- the Beast morphs into a prince who looks exactly like Belle's hapless suitor, and her disappointment is unmistakable -- the film features tight, economical storytelling and enough visual fireworks including many stunningly executed optical effects to enrapture viewers from beginning to end. The actors are uniformly wonderful: Josette Day makes a stunning Belle, and Cocteau regular Jean Marais excels in a triple role that includes the magnificent Beast. The real stars of the film, though, are Cocteau himself, who gives the film a shimmering, romantic look, and the brilliant costume and set design. The Beast's make-up, in particular, works beautifully; it's just realistic enough to be convincing, while allowing Marais to emote through his eyes and subtle facial tics. The unforgettable sets, which include human arm candelabras and moving statues, are a marvel of impressionistic romanticism, filled with symbolism that hints at the story's darker implications. Forget Disney -- this is the closest anyone's come to capturing the essence of a fairy tale on film. Mark Pittillo
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/9/2008
  • UPC: 715515031929
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 9:30:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Technical Credits
Akira Kurosawa Director
Roman Polanski Director
Ingmar Bergman Director
Jean Cocteau Director
Jean Renoir Director
Peter Brook Director
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Beauty and the Beast
1. Once Upon a Time [3:22]
2. Wicked Sisters [3:53]
3. La Belle [3:48]
4. Enchanted Forest [5:33]
5. La B├ęte [8:33]
6. The Price of a Rose [2:22]
7. Beauty Meets Beast [8:55]
8. A Strange Proposal [3:50]
9. Observations [5:07]
10. A Broken Heart [10:35]
11. Stripped of Everything [1:32]
12. Belle's Promise [4:41]
13. A Tearful Reunion [2:31]
14. Riches to Rags [4:11]
15. Old Ways Anew [7:57]
16. The Sisters Revenge [3:27]
17. Mirror Images [4:39]
18. Closing In [2:50]
19. Miracles [5:31]
1. Color Bars [:00]
Disc #2 -- Grand Illusion
1. Logos/ Opening Credits [2:07]
2. Shot Down in Germany [5:36]
3. First Taste of Prison Camp [9:22]
4. The Tunnel [9:24]
5. Dressing Up [2:51]
6. The Sound of Marching [:39]
7. Putting On a Show [9:35]
8. Frustration at the Eleventh Hour [5:49]
9. Ending Up at Wintersborn [3:09]
10. Touring the Property [8:14]
11. Officers and Aristocrats [2:13]
12. Preparing the Escape [13:14]
13. The Magic Flute [11:45]
14. De Boeldieu a Hero [4:29]
15. Refuge at the Farm [12:56]
16. A Christmas Romance [4:11]
17. The Parting [7:21]
1. Color Bars [:00]
Disc #3 -- Knife in the Water
1. The Hitchhiker [7:21]
2. The Dock [7:44]
3. "Are We Moving?" [6:20]
4. The Reeds [2:32]
5. Noon [6:30]
6. Lunch [5:04]
7. In Circles [5:22]
8. Sailing [6:17]
9. Aground [3:20]
10. Forfeit [11:43]
11. Light Sleepers [7:44]
12. Overboard [6:40]
13. "You're Just Like Him" [9:09]
14. "Where Are We Going?" [8:17]
1. Color Bars [:00]
Disc #4 -- Lord of the Flies
1. Opening Credits [4:04]
2. Piggy and Ralph [3:43]
3. The Conch [6:49]
4. "Who Knows we're here?" [7:40]
5. Signal Fire [6:43]
6. "We Need Meat!" [4:38]
7. Assembly [7:56]
8. The Beast [5:41]
9. Faces in the Dark [4:51]
10. Two Tribes [9:23]
11. "Who'll Join My Tribe?" [3:44]
12. Kill the Beast! [4:21]
13. "It Wasn't What You Said" [2:39]
14. Last Attempt at Reason [9:26]
15. The Hunters and the Hunted [8:40]
1. Color Bars [:00]
Disc #5 -- Rashomon
1. Rashomon Gate [7:38]
2. Evidence of a Crime [3:51]
3. The Trial Begins [4:01]
4. Tajomaru's Story [20:57]
5. Lies [2:23]
6. The Woman's Story [9:55]
7. Confusion [1:56]
8. The Dead Man's Story [10:19]
9. Frustration [:00]
10. The Woodcutter's Story [2:44]
11. The Way of the World [14:38]
12. Redemption [5:06]
1. Color Bars [4:15]
Disc #6 -- Wild Strawberries
1. Isak Borg [2:18]
2. Opening Credits [1:13]
3. A Weird Dream [4:33]
4. Change of Plans [5:03]
5. A Revealing Ride [4:33]
6. Wild Strawberries [6:57]
7. Family Meal [3:31]
8. Tears and Song [2:51]
9. Sara, Anders and Viktor [3:08]
10. Hysteria and Catholicism [5:53]
11. Old Friends [2:51]
12. Philosophy and Lunch [3:01]
13. Visiting Mother [7:24]
14. Looking in the Mirror [5:24]
15. Examination [6:38]
16. Loneliness [5:30]
17. Evald and Marianne [4:13]
18. Marianne's Decision [3:14]
19. At Evald's [2:03]
20. The Ceremony [2:26]
21. No Intimacies [3:53]
22. Father and Son [2:03]
23. Childhood Memories [2:14]
1. Color Bars [:00]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Beauty and the Beast
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Disc #2 -- Grand Illusion
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Disc #3 -- Knife in the Water
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Disc #4 -- Lord of the Flies
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Disc #5 -- Rashomon
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      Subtitles: On/Off
Disc #6 -- Wild Strawberries
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Customer Reviews

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