"No one can see every release during the calendar year - so we hope our lists can introduce and expose some of the many lauded DVDs that surfaced during 2006. Hopefully there are a few interesting surprises. We see no viable reason to discriminate based on regional limitations or broadcast standards. Expanding the borders of your cinema horizons has always been the primary goal of this website."

DVDBeaver

 

Another exciting year and DVDBeaver are proud to announce our voting results for DVD of the Year - 2006. As well as many of our astute ListServ members choices this year we are proud to include esteemed journalists Jonathan Rosenbaum, Daryl Chin, Acquarello plus the staff of Slant Magazine, Masters of Cinema archivists/principal Doug Cummings and many more. Big thanks to Adam Lemke for his Herculean effort of both organization and tallying. 

      

Balloters (click name to access votes):

 Maikel Aarts     Acquarello      Kurtis Beard   Jordan Benedict    Noel Bjorndahl 

  Travon Boykins    Tom Charity       Daryl Chin      Doug Cummings      Tony Dale     

  Thomas Daniel     Marshall Deutelbaum      Maurizio Di Marino       Karim Drissi    

   Yunda Eddie Feng     Gregg Ferencz      Jerry Gerber      Steven Harrison

   Rob Janik         Craig Keller     Adam Lampe      Adam Lemke    Irina Lutsky

Tom Mahaffey     Bill McAlpine      Gregory Meshman     Mike Monson

   John Nelson     Jason Overbeck    Fred Patton     James Proffitt

        Jonathan Rosenbaum       Rafael Blasco Rozas    Slant Magazine Staff

  Daniel Stenvall     Per-Olaf Strandberg      Mikkel Leffers Svendstrup    Gary Tooze

         Chris Ullsperger       Ross Wilbanks     Giles Wright      Nick Zegarac

The Totals (click to access)

THE TOP TEN    11th - 62nd   

Best Production Design      Best Audio Commentary

Best Budget Release     Best Transfer    Best Boxset     Best Extras

Best Cult/Horror Release    Best TV on DVD      Best Criterion release (non-boxset)

Most improved re-release (title that was available in a lesser edition)

Best Contemporary release (any film made in the last 2 years)

Best New DVD Label       Best DVD Label

Discovery         Bad Bad Bad!

 

DVDs that received at least one vote or a mention

(CLICK COVERS for more info/Beaver reviews - where available):

 

         

 

 

Maikel Aarts
Netherlands
1. Mikio Naruse Vol. 1 [Repast 1951/Sound of the Mountain 1954/Flowing 1956] MoC; R2
2. 3 Films by Louis Malle (Louis Malle, 1971-87, 4 Discs) Criterion; R1
3. Funeral Parade of Roses (Toshio Matsumoto, 1969) MoC; R2 PAL
4. The Busby Berkeley Collection (Various, 1933-35, 6 Discs) Warner; R1
5. Jean-Luc Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville: Four Short Films (1993-2002) ECM Cinema; R0
6. Oskar Fischinger: Ten Films (Oskar Fischinger, Various) Center for Visual Music; R0
7. Celine and Julie Go Boating (Jacques Rivette, 1974) bfi; R2 PAL
8. De Films van Alex van Warmerdam (A-Film, Various) R2; PAL
9. The Quay Brothers - The Short Films 1979-2003 (Quay Brothers, 2 Discs) bfi; R2 PAL
10. The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970) Paramount; R1

 

Comments: It was a great year, there were so many great releases I had a very hard time nailing them down to ten. I tried to include as much diversity in my list as I could, trying to reflect my taste as best as possible. It isn’t really a ‘best of list’ purely in terms of DVD quality per se, but more a mixture of viewing pleasure, discoveries, personal treasures and important historical releases. And yeah, I did leave out the Rohmer set… don’t ask me why. Furthermore I want to put a word in for the amazing ‘Star Spangled To Death’ by Ken Jacobs which is available through his website.

 

 

Acquarello
http://www.filmref.com
1. Johan Van Der Keuken, Vol.1 + 2, Coffret 3 DVD (Various) Arte Vidéo; R2 PAL
2. Norman MacLaren: The Masters Edition (Norman McLaren, Various, 7 Discs) Home Vision; R1
3.
Oskar Fischinger: Ten Films (Oskar Fischinger, Various) Center for Visual Music; R0
4. Coffret 6 Films de Luc Moullet (Luc Moullet, Various, 4 Discs) Blaqout; R2 PAL
5. Coffret Jean-Paul Civeyrac 3 DVD [+DVD-Rom] (Various) Blaq Out; R0 PAL
6. Krzysztof Kieslowski Polish Documentaries (Kieslowski, Various, 2 Discs) Polish Audiovisual Publishers; R2 PAL
7. Coffret 1 de la collection Miklňs Jancsň - 3 Films (Mon chemin, Silence et Cri, Psaume Rouge) Clavis; R2 PAL
8.
Funeral Parade of Roses (Toshio Matsumoto, 1969) MoC; R2 PAL
9.
Celine and Julie Go Boating (Jacques Rivette, 1974) bfi; R2 PAL
10. Sátántangó (Béla Tarr, 1994) Facets; R1
 

 

Kurtis Beard
Vancouver, BC
1.
Pandora’s Box (G.W. Pabst, 1929) Criterion; R1
2.
Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967) Criterion; R1
3.
The Passenger (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1975) Sony; R1
4.
The Double Life of Veronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991) Criterion; R1
5.
The Spirit of the Beehive (Víctor Erice, 1973) Criterion; R1
6. Crumb (Terry Zwigoff, 1995) Sony; R1
7.
The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970) Paramount; R1
8.
Saraband (Ingmar Bergman, 2003) Sony; R1
9. The Jayne Mansfield Collection (Various, 3 Discs) 20th Century Fox; R1
10.
Sam Peckinpah’s Legendary Westerns Collection (Various, 4 Discs) Warner; R1
 

 

Jordan Benedict
Evanston, Illinois

1. Runin: Banished (Eiji Okuda, 2004) Taki Corporation; R2 [Japan] NTSC
2. The Proposition (John Hillcoat, 2005) First Look Pictures; R1
3. Batman Begins [HD-DVD] (Christopher Nolan, 2005) Warner; R1
4. Joyeux Noël (Christian Carion, 2005) Sony; R1
5. The Banquet (Xiaogang Feng, 2006) Media Asia; R0
6. Renaissance (Christian Volckman, 2006) Fox Pathe [France]; R2 PAL
7. Faust (F.W. Murnau, 1926) MoC; R0 PAL
8. Black Narcissus (Powell and Pressburger, 1947) Warner [France] Institut Lumiere; R2 PAL
9. Raise the Red Lantern (Zhang Yimou, 1991) ERA [Remastered]; R0 NTSC
10. The Maltese Falcon [SE] (John Huston, 1941) Warner; R1
 

 

Noel Bjorndahl
Winmalee, Australia
1. A Distant Trumpet (Raoul Walsh, 1964) Warner; R2 PAL
2. Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales (Eric Rohmer, Various, 6 Discs) Criterion; R1
3. Max Ophüls’ Films x4 (Madame De..., Le Plaisir, The Reckless Moment, Letter from an Unknown Woman) Second Sight; R2 PAL
4. Twenty-Four Eyes (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1954) MoC; R2 PAL
5. L'Armée des ombres (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969) bfi; R2 PAL
6. The Double Life of Veronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991) Criterion; R1
7. John Wayne - John Ford Film Collection (John Ford, Various, 10 Discs) Warner; R1
8. The Fountainhead (King Vidor, 1949) Warner; R1
9. Coffret Kenji Mizoguchi, Vol. 1, Coffret 5 DVD (Mizoguchi, Various) Film Sans Frontieres; R2 PAL
10. The Shepherd of the Hills (Henry Hathaway, 1941) part of John Wayne: An American Icon (Various, 2 Discs) Universal; R1
 

Comments: With such an abundance of quality releases during 2006, choosing the final 10 is bound to reflect this week's preferences which could just as easily be modified next week, depending on mood: box sets and collections from WB, Fox, and Universal all contributed greatly to the general adrenalin rush, particularly The Astaire/Rogers Ultimate Collectors Edition, Film Noir 3, The 3-disc Maltese Falcon, both Clark Gable sets (WB and Fox), The Jayne Mansfield Tashlins, Betty Grable Vol 1 (with Alice Faye in the pipeline!!), various Dietrich Collections, many others. Other greatly prized acquisitions include Rediscovering Jacques Feyder (though it would be great to have a Rediscovering Jean Gremillon as a sequel!); Robert Webb's western sleeper The Proud Ones, with the estimable Robert Ryan; Fuller's Merrill's Marauders (R2, France) and The Saga of Gosta Berling (maybe the release of the Stillers will inspire some Sjostroms for the 2007 calendar).

 

 

Travon Boykins
Augusta, GA
1. The Complete Mr. Arkadin (Orson Welles, 1955, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1
2. Seven Samurai [remastered] (Akira Kurosawa, 1954, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1
3. The Proposition (John Hillcoat, 2005) Tartan; R2
4. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (Russ Meyer, 1970) 20th Century Fox; R1
5. When the Levees Broke (Spike Lee, 2006) HBO; R1
6. Patton (Franklin Schaffner, 1970) 20th Century Fox; R1
7. Elevator to the Gallows (Louis Malle, 1957) Criterion; R1
8.
The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970) Paramount; R1
9. Reds (Warren Beatty, 1981) Paramount; R1
10. A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005) New Line; R1

 

Comments: A solid year. At first I thought it was going to be a problem coming up with ten new releases. But overall, a solid list. Also glad to see movies like Reds and The Conformist get released on DVD (only been able to catch on TCM). Now looking forward to Salo coming out in '07. Hopefully, Criterion will continue to re-release other discs in more definitive sets.

 

 

Tom Charity
Vancouver, BC
1.
A Canterbury Tale (Powell & Pressburger, 1944) Criterion; R1
2.
Preston Sturges - The Filmmaker Collection (Preston Sturges, 1940-44, 7 Discs) Universal; R1
3.
Edvard Munch (Peter Watkins, 1974) New Yorker; R1
4.
Sam Peckinpah’s Legendary Westerns Collection (Various, 4 Discs) Warner; R1
5.
Yi Yi (Edward Yang, 2000) Criterion; R1
6.
The Complete Mr. Arkadin (Orson Welles, 1955, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1
7. Blissfully Yours (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2002) Second Run; R2 PAL
8.
Apocalypse Now - The Complete Dossier (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979) Paramount; R1
9.
Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales (Eric Rohmer, Various, 6 Discs) Criterion; R1
10.
Mikio Naruse Vol. 1 [Repast 1951/Sound of the Mountain 1954/Flowing 1956] MoC; R2 
 

 

Daryl Chin
Brooklyn, NY
Daryl Chin is an artist and writer living in Brooklyn, New York who has been on the board of directors of NewFest and Apparatus Produtions, co-founded the Asian-American International Film Festival, and began his career as Managing Editor of Film Culture Magazine in 1976-77.

1. Star Spangled to Death (Ken Jacobs, 2004) starspangledtodeath.com; R0
2.
John Wayne - John Ford Film Collection (John Ford, Various, 10 Discs) Warner; R1
3.
Max Ophüls’ Films x4 (Madame De..., Le Plaisir, The Reckless Moment, Letter from an Unknown Woman) Second Sight; R2 PAL
4a.
Mikio Naruse Vol. 1 [Repast 1951/Sound of the Mountain 1954/Flowing 1956] MoC; R2
4b.
Toni (Jean Renoir, 1935) MoC; R0 PAL
5.
Winter Soldier (Winter Collective, 1972) Milliarium Zero; R0
6. The Other Cinema Collection [15 discs, including Tribulation 99 1991/Sonic Outlaws 1995/Spectres of the Spectrum 1999/Sins of the Fleshapoids 1967/Anxious Animation] The Other Cinema; R0
7. Marlene Dietrich: The Glamour Collection (Josef von Sternberg, 1930, 35; Rene Clair, 1941; Mitchell Leisen, 1947) Universal; R1
8.
The Complete Mr. Arkadin (Orson Welles, 1955, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1
9. Wanda (Barbara Loden, 1970) Parlour Pictures; R1
10. El Doctor, Joy Street & Asparagus (Suzan Pitt, 1979-2006) First Run Features; R1

 

Comments: This was one of the richest years yet for DVD releases, from every end of the spectrum, from "budget" releases (such as The Glamour Collections of Marlene Dietrich, Carole Lombard and Mae West) to massive releases (such as Essential Art House - 50 Years of Janus Films, courtesy The Criterion Collection). Essential Arthouse was so overwhelming that it was impossible to process. Nevertheless, I tried to highlight some of the "essential" works of cinema which finally made their way to DVD this year (such as titles by John Ford, Max Ophüls and Mikio Naruse), as well as notable independent works on small labels or on self-distributed labels (cf. Wanda and Star Spangled to Death). I felt that the three-volume set of Mr. Arkadin was exemplary as an example of how the DVD format can be used as an educational medium to highlight the variations in release prints. This year, there was so much released on DVD that any list can only be the tip of the iceberg, but more, much more remains. Nevertheless, I've tried to highlight independent and experimental cinema as much as I can.

 

 

Doug Cummings
Los Angeles, CA
Masters of Cinema, Filmjourney.org
1.
Sátántangó (Béla Tarr, 1994) Artificial Eye; R2 PAL
2.
Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales (Eric Rohmer, Various, 6 Discs) Criterion; R1
3.
Free Cinema: The Definitive Film Collection (Anderson, Tanner, etc., 1952-63, 3 Discs) bfi; R2
4.
Michael Brault Oeuvres 1958-1974 (Brault, 15 Films, 5 Discs) National Film Board of Canada; R1
5.
Krzysztof Kieslowski Polish Documentaries (Kieslowski, Various, 2 Discs) Polish Audiovisual Publishers; R2 PAL
6.
Winter Soldier (Winter Collective, 1972) Milliarium Zero; R0
7.
Johan Van Der Keuken, Vol.1 + 2, Coffret 3 DVD (Various) Arte Vidéo; R2 PAL
8.
Oskar Fischinger: Ten Films (Oskar Fischinger, Various) Center for Visual Music; R0
9. Le Plaisir (Max Ophuls, 1952) Second Sight; R2 PAL
10. The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961) bfi; R2 PAL
 

 

Tony Dale
Greensboro, NC
1. Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales (Eric Rohmer, Various, 6 Discs) Criterion; R1
2.
Mikio Naruse Vol. 1 [Repast 1951/Sound of the Mountain 1954/Flowing 1956] MoC; R2
3. Free Cinema: The Definitive Film Collection (Anderson, Tanner, etc., 1952-63, 3 Discs) bfi; R2
4. Sátántangó (Béla Tarr, 1994) Artificial Eye; R2 PAL
5.
Seven Samurai [remastered] (Akira Kurosawa, 1954, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1
6. The Spirit of the Beehive (Víctor Erice, 1973) Criterion; R1
7. Look Both Ways [3-Disc Version] (Sarah Watt, 2005), Madman; R4
8. The Red Desert (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964) Madman, R4 PAL
9. Howl's Moving Castle [2-Disc Limited] (Hayao Miyazaki, 2005), Madman; R4
10.
Funeral Parade of Roses (Toshio Matsumoto, 1969) MoC; R2 PAL 

 

Comments: For me this was a great year because a number of titles I'd been hanging out for finally saw release (Satantango, The Spirit of the Beehive, Funeral Parade of Roses), and also it was the year that Australian Region 4 DVDs houses started to really step up and produce work that was competitive on the world stage. On the down side, low resolution of NTSC continues to be a limiting factor on enjoyment, especially with the great number of essential titles released on NTSC in great transfers, but still limited by those 480 lines of vertical resolution. And no resolution of the HD wars in sight.

 

 

Thomas Daniel
Kona, Hawaii USA
1.
Seven Samurai [remastered] (Akira Kurosawa, 1954, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1
2. Astaire & Rogers Collection, Vol. 2 (Various, 6 Discs) Warner; R1
3. Late Spring (Yasujiro Ozu, 1949) Criterion; R1
4.
The Maltese Falcon [SE] (John Huston, 1941) Warner; R1
5. A Canterbury Tale (Powell & Pressburger, 1944) Criterion; R1
6. Pandora’s Box (G.W. Pabst, 1929) Criterion; R1
7. Marlene Dietrich - 6 Discs Screen Goddess Collection (Various) Universal UK; R2; PAL
8. Twenty-Four Eyes (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1954) MoC; R2 PAL
9. Abhijan (Satyajit Ray, 1962) MoC; R0 PAL
10. King Kong [3-Disc Deluxe Edition] (Peter Jackson, 2005) Universal; R1

 

Comments: I've spent part of the year exploring classic Indian cinema. Most people know only Satyajit Ray if they know any names at all, but he's only one of several world-class directors that country has produced. Unfortunately, the DVDs released so far are horrible, with MoC/Eureka's Abhijan being perhaps the only classic Indian film on DVD in a decent edition. My wish is that they, Criterion's new label, or someone else, will see fit to release not only more Ray, but also the films of Guru Dutt, Bimal Roy, and some of the Raj Kapoors, in better quality DVDs.

 

 

Marshall Deutelbaum
West Lafayette, Indiana
1.
The Double Life of Veronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991) Criterion; R1
2.
The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970) Paramount; R1
3. Retour de Flamme - The Fabulous Days Of The Early Cinema Vol. 5 (Various) Lobster Films; R2
4. Oldboy [Ultimate Collector's Edition] (Park Chan wook, 2004) Tartan; R1
5.
The Red Desert (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964) Madman, R4 PAL
6.
Paris nous appartient (Jacques Rivette, 1960) bfi; R2 PAL
7.
Max Ophüls’ Films x4 (Madame De..., Le Plaisir, The Reckless Moment, Letter from an Unknown Woman) Second Sight; R2 PAL
8. 3 Films de Jean Renoir [La Fille de l’eau / Sur un air de Charleston / La Petite marchande d’allumettes] Studio Canal; R2 PAL
9. Warning Shadows (Arthur Robison, 1923) Kino; R1
10. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Park and Box, 2005) DreamWorks; R2

 

Comments: Not a 10-best list, but a list of significant films released for the first time on DVD and a pair of special editions that repay study. Retour de Flamme 05 merits inclusion for a 1908 stop-motion version of A Trip to the Moon, a hand-tinted 1912 Cyrano de Bergerac with sound on disc, and a newly discovered early John Ford western, By Indian Post (1919), lacking the first reel. 

 

 

Maurizio Di Marino
Italy
1. Nazarin (Luis Buńuel, 1958) Yume Pictures; R2 PAL
2. Fists in the Pocket (Marco Bellocchio, 1965) Criterion; R1
3. Eraserhead (David Lynch, 1977) Absurda/ Subversive; R1
4. Double Indemnity [Universal Legacy Series] (Billy Wilder, 1944) Universal; R1
5.
Elevator to the Gallows (Louis Malle, 1957) Criterion; R1
6.
A Canterbury Tale (Powell & Pressburger, 1944) Criterion; R1
7. Amarcord (Federico Fellini, 1973) Criterion; R1
8. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Cristi Puiu, 2005) Tartan; R1
9. When Father was Away on Business (Emir Kusturica, 1985) Artificial Eye; R2
10. Quatre etoiles (Christian Vincent, 2006) Studio Canal; R2 France
 

 

Karim Drissi
Sacramento, CA, USA
1.
Sátántangó (Béla Tarr, 1994) Artificial Eye; R2 PAL
2. Why Does Herr R. Run Amok?
(Fassbinder, Fengler. 1970) Fantoma; R1
3. Saraband (Ingmar Bergman, 2003) Sony; R1
4. Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Two Takes (William Greaves, 68/05) Criterion; R1
5. The Double Life of Veronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991) Criterion; R1
6.
Seven Samurai [remastered] (Akira Kurosawa, 1954, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1
7. Louis Malle Collection - Vol. 1 (1957-63, 4 Discs) Optimum; R2 PAL UK
8. L’Enfant (Dardenne Brothers, 2005) Blaq Out; R2 PAL
9. Match Point (Woody Allen, 2005) Dreamworks; R1
10. Keane (Lodge Kerrigan, 2004) Magnolia; R1

 

Comments: Louis Malle Collection - Vol. 1 is listed solely for its inclusion of Le Feu Follet. Also, this is the second year that an edition of Saraband has made my list (the former list including the best edition available, the latter list including the best edition available for English-speaking audiences). If one is ever in a cinematic slump, then one only needs to watch the films on this list in order to be reminded of the power of cinema. From Sátántangó to Keane, this list includes films -- presented rather nicely on the DVD format -- that foster insight into the human psyche on the part of the viewer. According to Roethke, “In a dark time, the eye begins to see.” How true. Enjoy. (P.S. “Best Contemporary releases” that were made slightly before 2004 include Bergman’s Saraband (Sony R1; MK2 R2), as well as Gallo’s The Brown Bunny (Sony R1; Kinétique R2).

 

 

Yunda Eddie Feng
Austin, Texas
1.
Seven Samurai [remastered] (Akira Kurosawa, 1954, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1
2. Kingdom of Heaven [Director’s Cut] (Ridley Scott, 2005, 4 Discs) 20th Century Fox; R1
3.
The Double Life of Veronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991) Criterion; R1
4. United 93 [2 Disc Special Edition](Paul Greengrass, 2006) Universal; R1
5. Yi Yi (Edward Yang, 2000) Criterion; R1
6. Un Coeur en Hiver (Claude Sautet, 1992) Koch Lorber; R1
7. Star Trek - The Animated Series (Gene Roddenberry, 1973) Paramount; R1
8. An Inconvenient Truth (Davis Guggenheim, 2006) Paramount; R1
9. The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Philip Kaufman, 1988) Warner; R1
10. The World (Jia Zhang Ke, 2004) Zeitgeist; R1

 

Comments: While my list seems to indicate a preference for Criterion’s products, I think that Criterion as a whole is (slightly) over-praised. Criterion releases many stand-out DVDs, but Warner Bros. releases hundreds of catalog titles each year with decent video and audio as well as low, low prices. Comparatively speaking, Warner offers consumers the most bang for the buck. Just missing my Top Ten is the ERA release of Raise the Red Lantern, which is bare-bones but has high-quality video and audio--essential for one of the greatest movies ever made.

 

 

Gregg Ferencz
Rockaway, New Jersey
1. The Passenger (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1975) Sony; R1
2. The New World (Terrence Malick, 2005) New Line; R1
3.
Faust (F.W. Murnau, 1926) MoC; R0 PAL
4. Dog Day Afternoon [2-Disc Special Edition] (Sidney Lumet, 1975) Warner; R1
5. The Wild Bunch [2-Disc Special Edition] (Sam Peckinpah, 1969) Warner; R1
6. Pandora’s Box (G.W. Pabst, 1929) Criterion; R1
7. Young Mr. Lincoln (John Ford, 1939) Criterion; R1
8. Some Like it Hot [2-Disc Collector’s Edition] (Billy Wilder, 1959) MGM; R1
9. Seduced and Abandoned (Pietro Germi, 1964) Criterion; R1
10. Why We Fight (Eugene Jarecki, 2005) Sony; R1

 

Comments: I was happier with DVD releases this year than what came out in theaters. Some long awaited titles finally made it to DVD and quite a few of them were films I had only heard about and finally was able to experience.

 

 

Jerry Gerber
New York City
1.
Mikio Naruse Vol. 1 [Repast 1951/Sound of the Mountain 1954/Flowing 1956] MoC; R2
2.
Max Ophüls’ Films x4 (Madame De..., Le Plaisir, The Reckless Moment, Letter from an Unknown Woman) Second Sight; R2 PAL
3.
Sátántangó (Béla Tarr, 1994) Artificial Eye; R2 PAL
4.
Coffret Kenji Mizoguchi, Vol. 1, Coffret 5 DVD (Mizoguchi, Various) Film Sans Frontieres; R2 PAL
5.
Norman MacLaren: The Masters Edition (Norman McLaren, Various, 7 Discs) Home Vision; R1
6.
Celine and Julie Go Boating (Jacques Rivette, 1974) bfi; R2 PAL
7.
The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970) Paramount; R1
8. 3 Films by Louis Malle (Louis Malle, 1971-87, 4 Discs) Criterion; R1
9.
Toni (Jean Renoir, 1935) MoC; R0 PAL
10. Carol Lombard: The Glamour Collection (Various, Various) Universal; R1

 

Comments: Exciting year. Filled in many vacuums, films that have been longed for and hunted for ages. My vote went to titles we haven’t had before like (Lombard) rather than (Dietrich) which were available in other regions. Missing from above Shoeshine, Seven Men from Now, Bellissima, L’armee des Ombres, Herzog docs, Red Desert, The Double Life of Veronique, Criterion’s Mr. Arkadinn, Ŕ nos amours, Children are Watching, Hands Over City and Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales, Ginger and Fred, Funeral Parade of Roses, Harlan County, the 2 John Ford boxes from Warners, The Nun's Story. It has been a great year.

 

 

Steven Harrison
Greensboro, NC
1.
Mikio Naruse Vol. 1 [Repast 1951/Sound of the Mountain 1954/Flowing 1956] MoC; R2
2. Dragnet Girl (Yasujiro Ozu, 1933) Panorama; R3
3. Whisper of the Heart (Kondo Yoshifumi, 1995) Walt Disney; R1
4.
Phantom (F.W. Murnau, 1922) Flicker Alley; R1
5. Oshima Nagisa Vol. 1, 2, 3 (Oshima Nagisa, Various) Shochiku; R2
6.
Gueule d’amour (Jean Gremillon, 1937) Rene Chateau Video; R2 PAL France
7.
Duelle / Noroît Coffret - 2 DVD (Jacques Rivette, 1976) Aventi; R2 PAL
8. Japan's Longest Day (Kihachi Okamoto, 1967) Animeigo; R1
9.Uchida Tomu Box Set: Bloody Spera on Mt Fuji, Killing of Yoshiwara, and Fugitive From The Past (Uchida Tomu, Various) Wild Side; R2 PAL France
10.
Michael Brault Oeuvres 1958-1974 (Brault, 15 Films, 5 Discs) National Film Board of Canada; R1

 

Comments: As I posted on this list last year, to me the strong point of DVD is its affordability and accessibility, leading me to get excited about films that I can enjoy again and again in my own home (preferably with subtitles, but sometimes without.) I believe this list reflects this, and shines a somewhat dimmer light on contextual material and ideal video representation (though those companies that aspire to such heights of quality have my utmost respect.) Some other discs that deserve mentioning are Fantoma's R1 Red Angel (Masumura), TOHO's R2 Yukoku AKA Patriotism (Mishima), Criterion's R1 The Spirit of the Beehive (Erice), and MoC's R2 Funeral Parade of Roses (Matsumoto) and Fantastic Planet (LaLoux).

 

 

Peter Hourigan
Melbourne, Australia
1.
Sátántangó (Béla Tarr, 1994) Artificial Eye; R2 PAL
2.
Coffret Kenji Mizoguchi, Vol. 1, Coffret 5 DVD (Mizoguchi, Various) Film Sans Frontieres; R2 PAL
3.
Max Ophüls’ Films x4 (Madame De..., Le Plaisir, The Reckless Moment, Letter from an Unknown Woman) Second Sight; R2 PAL
4. Paris nous appartient (Jacques Rivette, 1960) bfi; R2 PAL
5. It’s Always Fair Weather (Kelly/Donen, 1955) Warner; R1
6. Essential Egoyan Box Set [4 Features, 3 Shorts] (Egoyan, 4 Discs) Zeitgeist; R1
7. Lust For Life (Vincente Minnelli, 1956) Warner; R1
8.
Free Cinema: The Definitive Film Collection (Anderson, Tanner, etc., 1952-63, 3 Discs) bfi; R2
9. Toni (Jean Renoir, 1935) MoC; R0 PAL
10. Werner Herzog DVD Edition - Documentaries & Shorts (Herzog, Various, 6 Discs) Herzog Film; R0
 

Comments: My selection nods as much to important films it is a treasure to have available on DVD as to quality transfers. I’ve sneaked in some other outstanding releases by putting them into other categories. It’s been promising to see companies delving into more interesting areas of the cinema tradition. And I won’t get my Naruse box set in time for this year’s poll.

 

 

Rob Janik
Boston, MA USA
1. The Ingmar Bergman Collection (Ingmar Bergman, Various, 30 Discs) Tartan; R2 PAL
2.
Johan Van Der Keuken, Vol.1 + 2, Coffret 3 DVD (Various) Arte Vidéo; R2 PAL
3. Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Impassioned Eye (Heinz Bütler, 2003) Palm Pictures; R1
4. Coffret Kieslowski 5 DVD (Krzysztof Kieslowski, Various) MK2; R2 PAL
5.
Coffret Jean-Paul Civeyrac 3 DVD [+DVD-Rom] (Various) Blaq Out; R0 PAL
6. Michael Brault Oeuvres 1958-1974 (Brault, 15 Films, 5 Discs) National Film Board of Canada; R1
7.
Werner Herzog DVD Edition - Documentaries & Shorts (Herzog, Various, 6 Discs) Herzog Film; R0
8.
Coffret Kenji Mizoguchi, Vol. 1, Coffret 5 DVD (Mizoguchi, Various) Film Sans Frontieres; R2 PAL
9.
Twenty-Four Eyes (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1954) MoC; R2 PAL
10. Yűkoku (The Rite of Love and Death) (Mishima Yukio, 1966) Toho; R2
 

 

Craig Keller
Plainsboro, U.S.A.
1. The Complete Mr. Arkadin (Orson Welles, 1955, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1
2.
Coffret 6 Films de Luc Moullet (Luc Moullet, Various, 4 Discs) Blaqout; R2 PAL
3.
Duelle / Noroît Coffret - 2 DVD (Jacques Rivette, 1976) Aventi; R2 PAL
4.
Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales (Eric Rohmer, Various, 6 Discs) Criterion; R1
5. Ŕ nos amours (Maurice Pialat, 1983) Criterion; R1
6.
Jean-Luc Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville: Four Short Films (1993-2002) ECM Cinema; R0
7.
Sátántangó (Béla Tarr, 1994) Artificial Eye; R2 PAL
8. Star Spangled to Death (Ken Jacobs, 2004) starspangledtodeath.com; R0
9. Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967) Criterion; R1
10. Edvard Munch (Peter Watkins, 1974) New Yorker; R1

 

Comments: Nothing can beat Criterion/Droessler/Bartemes’s painstaking reconstruction of ‘Mr. Arkadin’; everyone involved has delivered a major entry of Welles’s cinema back to the world, where it belongs and in close to the form in which it was conceived. Were it not for ‘Arkadin,’ the Luc Moullet box from BlaqOut (Region 0, NTSC, English subs) would have taken my top spot. And yet another earth-shattering major-masterwork rarities release: the appearance of ‘Duelle’ and ‘Noroît’ on DVD overloads the synapses — although both films come unsubbed. The Rohmer ‘Six Moral Tales’ (and much more) collection is the finest Criterion box set since ‘John Cassavetes: Five Films,’ and arrived packed with even more films ; as if that weren’t enough, the new Rohmer interviews are to die for. Three quick notes (1) I’d like to bring attention to the French book+DVD ‘Jean-Luc Godard: Documents’ as possibly THE major, major cinephile event of 2006 — the magnitude of the scholarship and arcana contained in this volume CANNOT BE STRESSED ENOUGH! (2) Regarding Tag Gallagher’s video essays on the Second Sight Ophuls’s discs I will quote Brad Stevens : “This is film criticism of the highest order.” (3) I have refrained from “officially” voting for The Masters of Cinema Series releases due to all the usual full-disclosure reasons, but I’ll use this space to tender the opinion that ‘Buster Keaton: The Complete Short Films 1917-1923’ is possibly not only the best release by MoC to date, but the best release of 2006, period.

 

 

Adam Lampe
Darwin, Australia
1. The Fountainhead (King Vidor, 1949) Warner; R1
2. Celine and Julie Go Boating (Jacques Rivette, 1974) bfi; R2 PAL
3.
The Double Life of Veronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991) Criterion; R1
4.
Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales (Eric Rohmer, Various, 6 Discs) Criterion; R1
5. Humphrey Bogart - The Signature Collection Vol. 2 (Various, 7 Discs) Warner; R1
6. The Busby Berkeley Collection (Various, 1933-35, 6 Discs) Warner; R1
7.
Sátántangó (Béla Tarr, 1994) Artificial Eye; R2 PAL
8. The Red Desert (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964) Madman, R4 PAL
9.
Seven Samurai [remastered] (Akira Kurosawa, 1954, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1
10. The Cecil B. DeMille Collection (DeMille, Various, 5 Discs) Universal; R1

 

Comments: The DeMille set is overpriced and the transfers only reasonable, yet the selections define DeMille’s decadence and wild, no-holds-barred filmmaking on big budgets. I found all the films in the collection fascinating. This year’s Rivette releases, including Paris nous appartient, were hugely welcome; and in the light of Sátántangó, perhaps we’ll get to see the full-length Out 1 in the not-too-distant future. The Humphrey Bogart - The Signature Collection Vol. 2 is hugely satisfying with its offerings of minor treasures like Passage To Marseille and Across the Pacific, along with the generous inclusion of the two earlier versions of The Maltese Falcon.

 

 

Adam Lemke
Syracuse, NY
http://www.moviemiser.com
1.
Late Spring (Yasujiro Ozu, 1949) Criterion; R1
2. The World (Jia Zhang Ke, 2004) Zeitgeist; R1
3.
Sam Peckinpah’s Legendary Westerns Collection (Various, 4 Discs) Warner; R1
4.
Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales (Eric Rohmer, Various, 6 Discs) Criterion; R1
5.
Astaire & Rogers Ultimate Collector’s Edition (Various, 1933- 1949) Warner; R1
6. Marlene Dietrich: The Glamour Collection (Josef von Sternberg, 1930, 35; Rene Clair, 1941; Mitchell Leisen, 1947) Universal; R1
7.
The Passenger (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1975) Sony; R1
8. The Emilio Miraglia Killer Queen Box Set [1971, 2 films] NoShame; R1
9. Werner Herzog DVD Edition - Documentaries & Shorts (Herzog, Various, 6 Discs) Herzog Film; R0
10. The Proposition (John Hillcoat, 2005) First Look Pictures; R1

 

Comments: I confess that I have yet to view The Complete Arkadin Set, MoC’s Mikio Naruse set and a dozen other fantastic releases that I’m sure could have made this list if only time permitted me a chance to view them. Although my list doesn’t reflect it, this year was most impressive for the number of high quality cult/horror releases that are often neglected by dedicated cinephiles. Companies like NoShame, CasaNegra, Blue Underground, and Synapse films are changing the way I look at cinema with every release. Running this poll has illuminated the existence of so many titles that I can’t wait to get my hands on, it promises to be a great year indeed, here’s hoping each of you will find some treasures as well!  

 

 

Irina Lutsky
Chicago, USA
1. Essential Art House - 50 Years of Janus Films (Various, 1922-73, 50 Discs) Criterion; R1
2.
Max Ophüls’ Films x4 (Madame De..., Le Plaisir, The Reckless Moment, Letter from an Unknown Woman) Second Sight; R2 PAL
3. 3 Films by Louis Malle (Louis Malle, 1971-87, 4 Discs) Criterion; R1
4.
Elevator to the Gallows (Louis Malle, 1957) Criterion; R1
5.
The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970) Paramount; R1
6.
The Passenger (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1975) Sony; R1
7.
Sátántangó (Béla Tarr, 1994) Artificial Eye; R2 PAL
8. Rediscover Jacques Feyder: French Film Master (Jacques Feyder, 3 Discs) HVE; R0
9. Beyond the Rocks (Sam Wood, 1922) Milestone; R0
10.
The Busby Berkeley Collection (Various, 1933-35, 6 Discs) Warner; R1
 

 

Tom Mahaffey
Troy, Michigan
1. La Double vie de Véronique - Édition spéciale (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991) MK2; R2 PAL - Beautiful film in every aspect, from lighting, story, photography, direction, and soundtrack.
2. Innocence (Lucile Hadzihalilovic, 2004) Artificial Eye; R2 PAL - Fresh and mesmerizing. This was mostly a visual experience for me. “The director was influenced by two directors, Bresson & Argento” Enough said.
3. The Virgin Spring (Ingmar Bergman, 1960) Criterion; R1 - I appreciated Ang Lee’s introduction to the film having seen the film for the first time at age 23 in 1974. Nice transfer!
4.
Saraband (Ingmar Bergman, 2003) Sony; R1 - Dialogue in a way only
Bergman could do.
5. The Memory of a Killer (Erik Van Looy, 2003) Sony; R1 - Great acting job by Declair. I first saw this film at Detroit Film Theatre and loved re-watching it on DVD.
6. The Cremator (Juraz Herz, 1968) Second Run; R0 PAL - Hypnotic, horrific, creepy, and cool movie from the Czech Republic.
7. Ab-Normal Beauty (Pang Brothers, 2004) Tartan Video; R1 - Top-notch photography and direction in this very intense Pang film.
8. A State of Mind (Daniel Gordon, 2004) Kino; R1 - A documentary I would recommend to everyone, as it clearly shows the effects of indoctrination and isolation over time in North Korea.
9. Re-cycle (Pang Brothers, 2006) Universe Laser; R3 NTSC - Strange and surreal but a little bit moralistic at times in its feelings on the choice of abortion and its ramifications in the afterlife. Overall, a nice visual experience.
10. Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man (Lian Lunson, 2005) Lions Gate; R1 - The best parts of this concert DVD are the conversations and reflections by Cohen on his life’s memories.
 

 

Bill McAlpine
Ontario, Canada
1.
Late Spring (Yasujiro Ozu, 1949) Criterion; R1
2.
3 Films by Louis Malle (Louis Malle, 1971-87, 4 Discs) Criterion; R1
3.
The Double Life of Veronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991) Criterion; R1
4. Phantom of the Paradise (Brian De Palma, 1974, 2 Discs) Opening; R2 France
5. Dr. Mabuse - The Gambler (Fritz Lang, 1922) Kino; R1
6.
Yi Yi (Edward Yang, 2000) Criterion; R1
7.
Kwaidan (Masaki Kobayashi, 1964) MoC; R2 PAL
8. Manderlay (Lars von Trier, 2005) IFC; R1
9. Mike Oldfield - Live at Montreux (1981) Eagle Vision; R1
10. Pink Floyd - Pulse (1994) Sony Music; R1
 

 

Gregory Meshman
Raleigh, NC
1.
The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970) Paramount; R1
2.
The Complete Mr. Arkadin (Orson Welles, 1955, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1
3.
Preston Sturges - The Filmmaker Collection (Preston Sturges, 1940-44, 7 Discs) Universal; R1
4.
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (Russ Meyer, 1970) 20th Century Fox; R1
5. Dark Waters [2 DVD Special Limited Edition] (Mariano Baino, 1994) NoShame; R1
6.
The Busby Berkeley Collection (Various, 1933-35, 6 Discs) Warner; R1
7. Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol.3 (Various, 1947-52, 6 Discs) Warner; R1
special mention: more Film Noir –
Double Indemnity, Fox Film Noir series
8.
Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967) Criterion; R1
special mention: more Criterion reissues –
Amarcord, Seven Samurai
9.
3 Films by Louis Malle (Louis Malle, 1971-87, 4 Discs) Criterion; R1
special mention: more Malle –
Elevator to the Gallowss
10. Cabin in the Sky (Vincente Minnelli, 1943) Warner; R1
special mention: more Lena Horne - Stormy Weather; Ziegfeld Follies
 

 

Mike Monson
1.
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (Russ Meyer, 1970) 20th Century Fox; R1
2.
The Savage Innocents (Ray, 1959) MoC; R0 PAL
3.
The Busby Berkeley Collection (Various, 1933-35, 6 Discs) Warner; R1
4.
Double Indemnity [Universal Legacy Series] (Billy Wilder, 1944) Universal; R1
5.
The Complete Mr. Arkadin (Orson Welles, 1955, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1
6.
Sam Peckinpah’s Legendary Westerns Collection (Various, 4 Discs) Warner; R1
7. We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen (Time Irwin, 2005) PlexiFilm; R1
8. Luciano Ercoli's The Death Box Set [Death Walks on High Heels/ Death Walks at Midnight] (Ercoli, 1971) NoShame; R1
9. The Vampire Collection: El Vampiro & El Ataud del Vampiro (Fernando Méndez, 1958) CasaNegra; R1
10. Burst City (Sogo Ishii, 1982) Discotek Media; R1 
 

 

John Nelson
Maryland, USA
1.
Seven Samurai [remastered] (Akira Kurosawa, 1954, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1
2. Woman in the Dunes (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1964) bfi; R2 PAL
3. Kwaidan (Masaki Kobayashi, 1964) MoC; R2 PAL
4.
Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophüls, 1948) Second Sight; R2 PAL
5. Shoeshine (Vittorio De Sica, 1946) MoC; R0 PAL
6. L'Armée des ombres (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969) bfi; R2 PAL
7.
La Double vie de Véronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991) Criterion; R1
8. Preston Sturges - The Filmmaker Collection (Preston Sturges, 1940-44, 7 Discs) Universal; R1
9.
Sátántangó (Béla Tarr, 1994) Artificial Eye; R2 PAL
10.
Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales (Eric Rohmer, Various, 6 Discs) Criterion; R1 

 

Comments: What an embarrassment of riches this year. Almost impossible to narrow down the top 10 to actually 10, thus I cheated and threw in two collections.

 

 

Jason Overbeck
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.bentclouds.com

1.
Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales (Eric Rohmer, Various, 6 Discs) Criterion; R1
2.
Sátántangó (Béla Tarr, 1994) Artificial Eye; R2 PAL
3. Metropolitan (Whit Stillman, 1990) Criterion; R1
4.
Celine and Julie Go Boating (Jacques Rivette, 1974) bfi; R2 PAL
5. The Fallen Idol (Carol Reed, 1948) Criterion; R1
6.
The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970) Paramount; R1
7. Sam Peckinpah’s Legendary Westerns Collection (Various, 4 Discs) Warner; R1
8. The Wire: Season 3 (David Simon, 2004) HBO; R1
9. A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005) New Line; R1
10. Petulia (Richard Lester, 1968) Warner; R1  
 

 

Fred Patton
California
1.
Celine and Julie Go Boating (Jacques Rivette, 1974) bfi; R2 PAL
2.
The Passenger (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1975) Sony; R1
3. Duelle / Noroît Coffret - 2 DVD (Jacques Rivette, 1976) Aventi; R2 PAL
4. Moses and Aaron (Straub & Huillet , 1975) Kinokuniya; R2
5. The Silence Between Two Thoughts (Babak Payami, 2003) Multimedia San Paolo; R2
6. L' Étrange Madame X (Jean Grémillon, 1951) Rene Chateau; R2 PAL
7.
Paris nous appartient (Jacques Rivette, 1960) bfi; R2 PAL
8.
Mikio Naruse Vol. 1 [Repast 1951/Sound of the Mountain 1954/Flowing 1956] MoC; R2
9. From Today Until Tomorrow (Danielle Huillet et Jean-Marie Straub, 1997) Kinokuniya; R2
10.
Essential Art House - 50 Years of Janus Films (Various, 1922-73, 50 Discs) Criterion; R1

 

Comments: Honorable mentions must go to A Nos Amours (Maurice Pialat, Criterion), Sátántangó (Bela Tarr) and Gueule d’amour (Jean Gremillon). Bravo Italiani for releasing The Silence Between Two Thoughts. It's all the more moving due to the ravaged print. I’ve not paid so much attention to re-releases. Both previous Gaumont DVD releases, Maurice Pialat L’Integrale volumes 1 and 2, steal much of the thunder of the new Criterion, but it does provide a grand introduction to the English-Only world. I really did try to avoid the Rivette hat trick. What a year it’s been! It makes dream releases of Gremillon’s La Petite Lise, Rivette’s Out 1, and both Straub / Huillet’s Not Reconciled and Othon much more tenable. Where are the Kira Muratova films?

 

 

James Proffitt
Pacifica, California
1. Astaire & Rogers Ultimate Collector’s Edition (Various, 1933- 1949) Warner; R1
2. Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967) Criterion; R1
3. Tennessee Williams Film Collection (Various, 1951-64) Warner; R1
4.
The Busby Berkeley Collection (Various, 1933-35, 6 Discs) Warner; R1
5. Preston Sturges - The Filmmaker Collection (Preston Sturges, 1940-44, 7 Discs) Universal; R1
6. The Marlon Brando Collection (Various, 1953-80, 6 Discs) Warner; R1
7. The Bette Davis Collection Vol. 2 (Various, 1937- 62, 6 Discs) Warner; R1
8. Memoirs of a Geisha (Rob Marshall, 2005) Sony; R1
9. Liza with a “Z” [Collector’s Edition] (Bob Fosse, 1972 - TV) Showtime; R1
10. Rent (Chris Columbus, 2005) Sony; R1 .
 

 

Jonathan Rosenbaum

Chicago, Illinois

1. Coffret 6 Films de Luc Moullet (Luc Moullet, Various, 4 Discs) Blaqout; R2 PAL
2. Stephen Dwoskin: 14 Films (Stephen Dwoskin, Various) RenardFilms; R0 PAL
3. Onde Jaz O Teu Sorrioso? (Pedro Costa, 2001) Assirio & Alvim; R2 PAL
4. A Canterbury Tale (Powell & Pressburger, 1944) Criterion; R1
5. Martin Arnold: The Cineseizure (Martin Arnold, Various) Index/Re:Voir; R0 PAL
6. The Red and the White (Miklós Jancsó, 1967) Second Run; R0 PAL
7. The Complete Buster Keaton Short Films (Various, 4 Discs) MoC; R2 PAL
8. Michael Brault Oeuvres 1958-1974 (Brault, 15 Films, 5 Discs) National Film Board of Canada; R1
9.
Paris nous appartient (Jacques Rivette, 1960) bfi; R2 PAL
10. Lubitsch in Berlin - The Oyster Princess/I Don’t Want to Be a Man (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919) Kino; R1

 

 

Rafael Blasco Rozas
Zaragoza, Spain
1.
Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales (Eric Rohmer, Various, 6 Discs) Criterion; R1
2.
Sam Peckinpah’s Legendary Westerns Collection (Various, 4 Discs) Warner; R1
3.
3 Films by Louis Malle (Louis Malle, 1971-87, 4 Discs) Criterion; R1
4. John Wayne - John Ford Film Collection (John Ford, Various, 10 Discs) Warner; R1
5. The Passenger (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1975) Sony; R1
6. Classic Musicals from the Dream Factory (Various, 5 Discs) Warner; R1
7. Astaire & Rogers Collection, Vol. 2 (Various, 6 Discs) Warner; R1
8.
Tennessee Williams Film Collection (Various, 1951-64) Warner; R1
9. The Busby Berkeley Collection (Various, 1933-35, 6 Discs) Warner; R1
10. The Complete Mr. Arkadin (Orson Welles, 1955, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1
 

 

Slant Magazine Staff
NYC, New York
http://www.slantmagazine.com/index.asp
1.
Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales (Eric Rohmer, Various, 6 Discs) Criterion; R1
2.
Pandora’s Box (G.W. Pabst, 1929) Criterion; R1
3. Apocalypse Now - The Complete Dossier (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979) Paramount; R1
4.
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (Russ Meyer, 1970) 20th Century Fox; R1
5. Monty Python and the Holy Grail [Extraordinarily Deluxe Two-Disc Edition] Sony; R1
6. Miami Vice - Theatrical Cut (Michael Mann, 2006) Universal; R1
7. Deadwood - The Complete Second Season (Various, 2004, 6 Discs) HBO; R1
8.
Late Spring (Yasujiro Ozu, 1949) Criterion; R1
9.
The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970) Paramount; R1
10.
Preston Sturges - The Filmmaker Collection (Preston Sturges, 1940-44, 7 Discs) Universal; R1
 

 

Daniel Stenvall
Sweden
1.
The Double Life of Veronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991) Criterion; R1
2.
Yi Yi (Edward Yang, 2000) Criterion; R1
3.
Late Spring (Yasujiro Ozu, 1949) Criterion; R1
4.
A Canterbury Tale (Powell & Pressburger, 1944) Criterion; R1
5. The War Game/Culloden (Peter Watkins, 1965/1964) New Yorker; R1
6. The Virgin Spring (Ingmar Bergman, 1960) Criterion; R1
7. Faust (F.W. Murnau, 1926) MoC; R0 PAL
8.
The Spirit of the Beehive (Víctor Erice, 1973) Criterion; R1
9.
The Passenger (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1975) Sony; R1
10.
Sátántangó (Béla Tarr, 1994) Artificial Eye; R2 PAL 
 

 

Per-Olof Strandberg
Helsinki, Finland
1.
Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales (Eric Rohmer, Various, 6 Discs) Criterion; R1
2.
Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967) Criterion; R1
3.
The Double Life of Veronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991) Criterion; R1
4.
The Passenger (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1975) Sony; R1
5.
Sam Peckinpah’s Legendary Westerns Collection (Various, 4 Discs) Warner; R1
6. Pandora’s Box (G.W. Pabst, 1929) Criterion; R1
7. Elevator to the Gallows (Louis Malle, 1957) Criterion; R1
8. Woman in the Dunes (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1964) bfi; R2 PAL
9. The Red Desert (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964) Madman, R4 PAL
10. Yi Yi (Edward Yang, 2000) Criterion; R1 
 

Comments: Every new film ends up as DVD, so I didn't vote for the following films (even though they are in my TOP TEN for the 2006 films on DVD): Allen’s Match Point, Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers, Wenders’ Don't Come Knocking, Reygadas’ Battle In Heaven, and Haneke’s Cache

 

 

Mikkel Leffers Svendstrup
www.DVDsnak.topcities.com
Odense C Denmark
1.
Sátántangó (Béla Tarr, 1994) Artificial Eye; R2 PAL
Bela Tarr’s Sátántango is an overwhelming experience - Seven hours of pure cinematic pleasure. The black and white cinematography is stunning, the ambient soundscape is haunting, and the slow pace is just right – masterpiece. Artificial Eye presents this masterpiece of epic proportions beautifully over 3 discs in its original 1.66:1 widescreen aspect ratio.
2. The Red Desert (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964) Arthaus, R2 PAL DE
Finally it’s time to give up the good old VHS copy. The Red Desert is a personal favourite, and it’s wonderful that it’s now available in an anamorphic transfer preserving the films original aspect ratio. The German Arthaus release is marginally better transfered than its region 4 counterpart. Take notice that this release contains no English subtitles, only German
3. Battle in Heaven (Carlos Raygadas, 2005) Tartan; R0 PAL UK
I liked Japón, but felt it had substantial problems. Battle in Heaven on the other hand is a fullblown and rather disturbing masterpiece. The Tartan release is beautiful, and should be a part of any filmlovers collection.
4.
Woman in the Dunes (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1964) bfi; R2 PAL
The texture of this film never stops to amaze me. Woman of the Dunes is one of the most haunting films, I’ve ever seen – Japanese film at its best. The 2006 release from BFI is a gem.
5.
The Passenger (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1975) Sony; R1
Another Antonioni must-have-masterpiece made widely available in 2006 was The Passenger. This release besides from being beautiful contains a great commentary track by Jack Nicholson.
6.
Seven Samurai [remastered] (Akira Kurosawa, 1954, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1
This is one of the greatest DVD releases ever. Kurosawa’s 207-minute epic has been released a thousand times before. But Criterions re-release is a beauty to behold. The 3-disc set contains lots of valuable extra material and 56-page book. The transfer is stunning although it is window-boxed.
7. The Valerio Zurlini Box Set: The Early Masterpieces (Zurlini, 1961) NoShame; R1
Surprise hit of the year goes to NoShame Films for their Zurlini bix. The two films in this early masterpiece collection are Violent Summer and Girl with a Suitcase. Why these films are not widely known is a mystery. The DVD release is wonderful, both films are presented in their respective original aspect ratios.
8. The Searchers [Ultimate Collector’s Edition] (John Ford, 1956) Warner; R1
Warners re-release of John Ford’s The Searchers is a milestone improvement. There have been some discussion of the colors on this release – I think they’re just fine, and the detail level is stupendous. Great Film, great transfer and lots of extras.
9. A.W Sandberg Set [The Golden Clown & "Hill Park Mystery] (Sandberg, 1923, 26) DFI; R0 PAL
The Danish Film Insitute continued their silent classics line with a double feature release of A.W. Sandberg’s The Golden Clown and the Hillpark Mystery. The HD scan that serves as master for The Golden Clown is stunning and so is the DVD transfer.
10. Army of Shadows (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969) Universal; R2 PAL DK
Army in the Shadows was released both in the UK by BFI and in Scandinavia by Universal. The Danish released was released at mid-price. It looks more or less the same as the BFI edition but cheap as dirt.
 

Comments: 2006 was a great another great year for film enthusiasts. Some honorable mentions in all genres outside my official top ten are: Martino’s weird giallo/crime/comedy Suspected Death of a Minor from Sazuma, Sokurov’s The Sun from Artificial eye, Bergman’s Autumn Sonata from SF Film (vastly superior to the CC release), Sam Peckinpah’s Legendary Westerns Collection from Warner, Bertolucci’s The Conformist from Paramount, The Danish releases of Tran’s The Scent of Green Papaya and Fellini’s The City of Women, BFI’s Godzilla disc and Tartan’s release of the Hillcoat/Cave collaboration The Proposition. And yes, I liked Singer’s Superman Returns a lot. The Danish Images of the Middle East Box from Electric Parc is definitely worth a watch as well.

 

 

Gary Tooze

Toronto, Canada

1. Essential Art House - 50 Years of Janus Films (Various, 1922-73, 50 Discs) Criterion; R1 – although stripped of any Criterion supplements, this is easily the greatest DVD collection ever put together. With towering film inclusions such as L'avventura, Ikiru, Pandora's Box, The Rules Of The Game, Seven Samurai, The Seventh Seal, The Spirit Of The Beehive, La Strada, Ugetsu, Umberto D. etc. etc. it handily eclipses any package ever released in the short history of DVD.
2.
Late Spring (Yasujiro Ozu, 1949) Criterion; R1. Even with windowboxing, Criterion’s digital restoration transfer is beyond the most ambitious desires of many patient cineophiles.
3.
Mikio Naruse Vol. 1 [Repast 1951/Sound of the Mountain 1954/Flowing 1956] MoC; R2. Valuable cinema delivered with MoC’s usual care and elegance.
4. Black Narcissus (Powell and Pressburger, 1947) Warner Home Vidéo; R2 PAL FR. Even superior to Network’s 2005 release, it staggers the imagination to believe this film was made in the 40’s.
5.
The Passenger (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1975) Sony; R1 – an imperfect DVD release, but the film's past ‘captivity’ and two included commentaries escalate its importance on my list.
6. The Savage Innocents (Ray, 1959)
MoC; R0 PAL. Another imperfect image, but the entire package exudes the passion put into it. Possibly Ray’s most defining and unforgettable film.

7. Double Indemnity [Universal Legacy Series] (Billy Wilder, 1944) Universal; R1– where would my list be without a representative from the Film Noir style? Definitive DVD package of an essential film. Fabulous extras.
8.
The Fountainhead (King Vidor, 1949) Warner; R1 – making its first appearance on digital – in sterling form - a film that I love for its deviant uniqueness (and unexpected sexual themes).
9.
A Canterbury Tale (Powell & Pressburger, 1944) Criterion; R1. Another improved transfer - narrative cinema approaching the lyrical ideal.
10. The Lover’s of the Arctic Circle (Medem, 1998) Home Vision; R1. Finally a good release of a favorite film showing vastly improved video quality. Unfortunately Home Vision, as we knew them, are no longer with us and this final selection is my minor way of saluting their diligent and important work. Absent but not forgotten.

 

Comments: I tried to spread the wealth attempting not to let any one production company (Criterion) dominate my list, ditto for director and era. There is so much to choose from and so many I have omitted. My final selections are simply personal favorites.
In my opinion this was the year for improved transfers of important cinema to DVD. Many that I have chosen had been previously released on digital disc, but the above listed 2006 editions are the definitive for a combination of cinema value, availability, video quality and supplements. I’ve left out so many – Criterion’s Rohmer Box, Seven Samurai, Viridania,
Playtime, Pandora’s Box, Double Life… and many more from them. MOC’s Twenty-Four Eyes, Kwaidan, Assassination, Toni, Shoeshine etc should be more recognized. Second Run's The Cremator and The Red and the White. Further omissions – Sátántangó, The Conformist, The World (“Shi Jie”) and The New World, Region 1 boxsets - Wayne/Ford, Bette Davis 2, Busby Berkley, Tough Guys etc., massive Region 2 boxsets – Bergman, Dietrich, Hammer Horror - classic television diversions: Perry Mason, Mission Impossible, Get Smart (yes it is available) etc. – it goes on an on. There has never been a more rewarding time to be a film fan. Cineophiles should, respectfully, feel immensely fortunate. 

 

 

Chris Ullsperger
1. Invasion of the Thunderbolt Pagoda (Ira Cohen, 1968) Arthur/Saturnalia/Bastet; R0
2.
Young Mr. Lincoln (John Ford, 1939) Criterion; R1
3.
Max Ophüls’ Films x4 (Madame De..., Le Plaisir, The Reckless Moment, Letter from an Unknown Woman) Second Sight; R2 PAL
4. Long Voyage Home (John Ford, 1940) Warner; R1
5.
The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970) Paramount; R1
6.
The Marlon Brando Collection (Various, 1953-80, 6 Discs) Warner; R1
7.
Oskar Fischinger: Ten Films (Oskar Fischinger, Various) Center for Visual Music; R0
8.
Mikio Naruse Vol. 1 [Repast 1951/Sound of the Mountain 1954/Flowing 1956] MoC; R2.
9. Why Does Herr R. Run Amok?
(Fassbinder, Fengler. 1970) Fantoma; R1
10. The Prisoner of Shark Island (John Ford, 1936) MoC; R2 PAL

 

Comments: Well, there are DVDs and there are DVDs. Ira Cohen’s “Invasion of the Thunderbolt Pagoda” is the next best thing to Kenneth Anger’s masterpieces and/or Cammel/Roeg’s “Performance”. Those will be the best DVDs of 2007. Ira gets my congratulations for seeing his film released on DVD first. It’s beautiful. Soundtrack by Angus Maclise, R.I.P. Nothing else especially matters, except Ford getting the Criterion treatment. Can we pray that The Sun Shines Bright is treated similarly (or better?). Ophuls’ Le Plaisir may not be the best DVD of 2006, but it may be the best movie released on DVD in 2006.

 

 

Ross Wilbanks
Charlotte, North Carolina
1.
Faust (F.W. Murnau, 1926) MoC; R0 PAL
Other great releases from MOC: Buster Keaton: The Complete Short Films: 1917-1923, Prisoner of Shark Island,
The Savage Innocents, Funeral Parade of Roses
2. Star Spangled to Death (Ken Jacobs, 2004) starspangledtodeath.com; R0
3.
Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967) Criterion; R1
Other great releases from Criterion: Mr. Arkadin,
Pandora’s Box, Late Spring, Viridania, A Canterbury Tale, Young Mr. Lincoln, Tales of Hoffman, Hands Over the City, Sweetie
4. Winter Soldier (Winter Collective, 1972) Milliarium Zero; R0
5. Su Friedrich Collection Volumes 1-5 (Su Friedrich, mid 70’s to present) Outcast; R0
Other great filmmaker collections enjoyed: Jean Painleve (Les Documents Cinematographiques), Jospeh Cornell (Voyager Foundation), Oskar Fischenger(Center for Visual Music), Jean Luc Godard (ECM, the DVD as a part of the Documents book),
Norman MacLaren (NFB)
6. Coffret 6 Films de Luc Moullet (Luc Moullet, Various, 4 Discs) Blaqout; R2 PAL
Two excellent collections also from Blaq Out: Raoul Ruiz & Jean Paul Civeyrac
7. Phantom (F.W. Murnau, 1922) Flicker Alley; R1

Other joys from small labels: Red Psalm (Clavis), Resistances (Lo Wave), Dietmar Brehm (Index), Edvard Munch (Doriane), David Holzman's Diary (Second Run), India Song (Benoit Jacob), Duelle/Noroit (Les Films de ma Vie), Class Relations/Moses and Aaron (Kinokuniya), Gueule d’amour (Rene Chateau), Inside/Out (Cinema Parallel), The Peach Girl (SF Silent Film Festival), The Joy of Life (Frameline), The Wonderfully Strange and Surreal Animation of Suzan Pitt (First Run Features), Sins of the Fleshapoids (Other Cinema)
8. Route One USA (Robert Kramer, 1989) Éditions Montparnasse; R2 PAL
9.
Celine and Julie Go Boating (Jacques Rivette, 1974) bfi; R2 PAL
Thanks to the BFI for: Paris Belongs to Us, Master of the House, Gertrud, Ordet, Day of Wrath and all the great short films that accompany them, Chris Welsby,
Army of Shadows
10.
Sátántangó (Béla Tarr, 1994) Artificial Eye; R2 PAL

 

Comments: I didn’t have time to get to see any of the Stephen Dwoskin or Michael Brault sets but one guesses they are worth checking out. I can’t believe I couldn’t fit in the Second Sight set of four releases by director Max Ophüls’ Films x4 (Madame De..., Le Plaisir, The Reckless Moment, Letter from an Unknown Woman) Second Sight; R2 PAL

 

 

Giles Wright
London, UK
1.
Sam Peckinpah’s Legendary Westerns Collection (Various, 4 Discs) Warner; R1
2.
Elevator to the Gallows (Louis Malle, 1957) Criterion; R1
3.
Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol.3 (Various, 1947-52, 6 Discs) Warner; R1
4.
Pandora’s Box (G.W. Pabst, 1929) Criterion; R1
5.
The Prisoner of Shark Island (John Ford, 1936) MoC; R2 PAL
6.
Free Cinema: The Definitive Film Collection (Anderson, Tanner, etc., 1952-63, 3 Discs) bfi; R2
7.
The Complete Buster Keaton Short Films (Various, 4 Discs) MoC; R2 PAL
8.
The Reckless Moment (Max Ophüls, 1949) Second Sight; R2 PAL
9. The Gladiators (Peter Watkins, 1969) New Yorker; R1
10. The Chess Players (Satyajit Ray, 1977) Kino; R1

 

Comments: Some obvious omissions here, as many of my purchasing this year have been catching up with output from the last two years - also too late a release in the year for me to have a proper look at Naruse. Best week of the year was the w/c July 17th. Warner Noir III, Tough Guys Collection & The Passenger in the same 7 days - just how are we supposed to cope with that?

 

 

Nick Zegarac

Windsor On. Canada
1. The Ultimate James Bond Collection - Vol. 1 – 4 (Various, 1962-2005) MGM; R1
MGM’s original less-than-stellar transfers have been replaced with pristine Lowry Digital clean ups and a mountain of extras that truly take the viewer to Bond and beyond. No point in beating around the bush – these sets are a MUST HAVE!!!
2.
The Fountainhead (King Vidor, 1949) Warner; R1
Based on Ayn Rand’s monumental novel of rugged individualism, the film (long neglected and overlooked) is a distinct and unique classic that celebrates the strength of belief in one’s self against almost insurmountable collective adversity. The Warner DVD is cheap on extras but the transfer is glorious.
3. The Rodgers & Hammerstein Collection [remastered] (Various, 1945-1967) 20th Century Fox; R1
Fox has at long last remedied the gross oversight of not presenting these films at their utmost quality and perfection by offering the best of Broadway’s most celebrated composers in one deluxe box set. The extras are nice but the real reason to cheer is the digital clean ups that make even the most problematic of prints from previous transfers shine as they probably did on opening night. A must have!
4.
The Searchers [Ultimate Collector’s Edition] (John Ford, 1956) Warner; R1
Ford’s mammoth opus magnum about the crumbling illusion of the old west and a man struggling to find his place in a burgeoning new world remains an epic for all time. Warner’s new 2-disc edition rectifies the color fidelity of the original VistaVision presentation. Monument Valley in glorious Technicolor – WOW!
5. Marie Antoinette (W.S. Van Dyke II, 1938) Warner; R1
Opulent, lavish and gargantuan beyond all expectation, Irving Thalberg’s interpretation of the doomed French monarch rises head and shoulders above anything Hollywood had previously done. Today, the film is a classic example of studio film making at its most spell-bindingly satisfying and with Norma Shearer in the lead – this epic is truly one that continues to never disappoint!
6. Kings Row (Sam Wood, 1942) Warner; R1
The patina of sinister manipulation and sadistic self-destruction in this brooding and powerful classic about small town bigotry and deceptions behind all those courtly lace curtains has lost none of their power. The story is just as shocking, bold and ultimately satisfying as it was in 1942 – and just as universal in spirit and theme as one might expect.
7. The Towering Inferno [SE] (Irwin Allen & John Guillermin, 1974) 20th Century Fox; R1
The good people at Fox worked overtime to give this much beloved disaster classic all the bells and whistles this time around. A stunning anamorphic transfer, a ton of extras combined with a deluxe collectors packaging augment the all star cast and stunning chills and thrills. Special effects continue to hold up under close scrutiny. Burn baby, burn! This one will ignite your player!
8. Down Argentine Way (Irving Cummings, 1940) 20th Century Fox; R1
The frothiest Fox musical of the decade continues to be a delightful romp through backlot South America. Betty Grable, Don Ameche and Carmen Miranda do their thing and it doesn’t seem to date for a moment. Songs are abundant and charming. Fox’s transfer is eye-popping in glorious restored Technicolor. Beautiful – simply and perfectly.
9.
The Maltese Falcon [SE] (John Huston, 1941) Warner; R1
Often copied but never duplicated, Huston’s inimitable hard boiled detective thriller is given a magnificent restoration and deluxe 2 disc presentation via Warner’s usual stellar commitment to the classics. Bogie, Greenstreet, Lorre and Astor never looked better. The film holds up like few of any vintage can or do. This one is still ‘the stuff that dreams are made of!’
10. Best Foot Forward [Amazon Exclusive] (Edward Buzzell, 1943) Warner; R1
If you’ve never heard of this one before you need to. It’s Lucille Ball’s greatest glamour gal flick. She plays herself en route to date a cadet at Winsocki military academy. The laughs are plentiful and the music is first rate – given the lavish orchestrations and star power that MGM in its heyday was well known for. Buckle down and shop Amazon for this exclusive release. It is a must have for musical/comedy film fans.

 
 
 

 

THE WINNERS

 

First Place with 100.75 pts – is Criterion's Eric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales Boxset. The multifaceted, deeply personal dramatic universe of Eric Rohmer has had an effect on cinema unlike any other. One of the founding critics of the history-making Cahiers du cinéma, Rohmer began translating his written manifestos to film in the sixties, standing apart from his new-wave contemporaries, like François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, with his patented brand of gently existential, hyperarticulate character studies set against vivid seasonal landscapes. 

                   

 

 

Second Place with 90.5pts – is Artificial Eye's Sátántangó directed by Béla Tarr in 1994. The PAL DVD came out November of 2006. Based on Krasznahorkai's novel by the same name, Sátántangó tells the story of group of people in a poor Hungarian agricultural collective after the fall of Communism, and how their despair is – not changed, but – altered by the arrival of a stranger, who in turn cheats them for their money and hopes. It is divided into twelve sections, telling several stories, which, while the film is meant to be seen in one viewing, can be seen individually to be reflected upon....

          

 

 

Third Place with 76pts – is Criterion's edition of The Double Life of Véronique. This DVD surfaced on November 21st, 2006. Krzysztof Kieslowski's international breakthrough remains one of his most beloved films, a ravishing, mysterious rumination on identity, love, and human intuition. Irčne Jacob is incandescent as both Weronika, a Polish choir soprano, and her double, Véronique, a French music teacher. Though unknown to each other, the two women share an enigmatic, purely emotional bond, which Kieslowski details in gorgeous reflections, colors, and movements.

                   

 

 

Fourth Place with 73.5pts – is Sony's The Passenger directed by Michelangelo Antonioni in 1975. This NTSC DVD became available in April of 2006. Antonioni takes his own uniquely unanswerable and elliptical look at the basic precepts of identity and truth. Character study, suspense and road picture wrapped up into one intentionally-paced masterpiece of pure cinema. Not unlike Antonioni's L'Avventura and Blow-Up we are introduced to a mystery - soon to uncover an even deeper one hidden under its emotional surface.

                   

 

 

Fifth Place with 70.5pts – is Criterion's remastered Region 1 package of Akira Kurosawa's beloved epic Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai). It tells the story of a sixteenth-century village whose desperate inhabitants hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits. This three-hour ride—featuring legendary actors Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura—seamlessly weaves philosophy and entertainment, delicate human emotions and relentless action into a rich, evocative, and unforgettable tale of courage and hope.

                 

 

 

Sixth Place with 68.25pts – is Eureka - Masters of Cinema's 3 disc Naruse Volume One released in December of 2006. This box set contains Repast / Meshi (1951), Sound of the Mountain / Yama No Oto (1954) and Flowing / Nagareru (1956) and represents the first DVD release of any Mikio Naruse films in the English-speaking world and prefigures more Naruse releases by the British Film Institute (UK) and the Criterion Collection (USA) throughout 2007. The director's non-judgmental cinema bridges an unsentimental balance between compassion and sensitivity. It is steeped in subtly deep melodrama but frequently with an overall bleak and pessimistic outlook. 

       

 

 

Seventh Place with 60pts – are Second Sight's Region 2 PAL releases of 4 Max Ophul's classics - Madame De..., Le Plaisir, The Reckless Moment and Letter from an Unknown Woman. A valuable find for the unjustly neglected Ophuls whose cinema flowed with elegance imbued with the director's distinctive style which frequently utilized a moving camera, frames within frames and unrestricted deep focus.

                 

 

 

Eighth Place with  55.5pts – is Paramount's edition of Bernardo Bertolucci's The Conformist. The film makes a provocative connection between repressed sexual desires and fascist politics. It's an intriguing, elegantly photographed study of the twisted Italian character of the 1930s.

                   

 

 

Ninth Place with 51.75pts – is Criterion''s 3-disc package of The Complete Mr. Arkadin that came out in April of 2006. Orson Welles’s Mr. Arkadin (a.k.a. Confidential Report) is one of cinema’s great mysteries. How did a globetrotting narrative of espionage, amnesia, and backstabbing come to be itself marked by these qualities? In the film, small-time American smuggler Guy van Stratten is hired by elusive billionaire Gregory Arkadin to investigate the tycoon’s past. What follows is a dizzying descent into the Cold War landscape of a Europe trying to erase its history.

                   

 

 

Tenth Place with 51.5pts – is the Criterion Collection's treatment of Yasujiro Ozu's immortal classic Late Spring released in May of 2006. One of the most powerful of Yasujiro Ozu’s family portraits, Late Spring tells the story of a widowed father who feels compelled to marry off his only, beloved daughter. Loyal Ozu players Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Hara command this poignant tale of love and loss in postwar Japan, which remains as potent today as ever—almost by itself justifying Ozu’s inclusion in the pantheon of cinema’s greatest directors.

                   

 

   
 

Comments: A new trend amongst film fans has been gaining prominence - impatient whining about classic cinema not yet released on digital has given way to excessive choices of availability - our problem is no longer 'why can't I watch' but instead 'what shall I watch'. Criterion's new sub-label - Eclipse - will only intensify this happy problem. 

Our TOP 10 of the Year for 2006 has a listing of directors that would make any cineophile swoon - Romer, Tarr, Kieslowski, Antonioni, Kurosawa, Naruse, Ophuls, Bertolucci, Welles and Ozu. One has to consider that if The Masters of Cinema release of Naruse Vol. 1 had come a few weeks earlier - and hence reached more voters - would it have eclipsed all and been recognized as number 1? It is quite probable. Still, there can be few complaints of the quality of cinema that region-free viewers can potentially be exposed to. Another grand year in the blossoming history of DVD! I'll say it again - "This is the best time in history to be a film fan!"

 

11th - 62nd

11. 50.5pts - Sam Peckinpah’s Legendary Westerns Collection (Various, 4 Discs) Warner; R1
12.47pts - Pandora’s Box (G.W. Pabst, 1929) Criterion; R1
13.44.5pts -
Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967) Criterion; R1
14.40.5pts -
3 Films by Louis Malle (Louis Malle, 1971-87, 4 Discs) Criterion; R1
15.39.5pts -
Celine and Julie Go Boating (Jacques Rivette, 1974) bfi; R2 PAL
16.36.5pts -
The Busby Berkeley Collection (Various, 1933-35, 6 Discs) Warner; R1
17.35pts -
A Canterbury Tale (Powell & Pressburger, 1944) Criterion; R1
18.33.5pts -
Faust (F.W. Murnau, 1926) MoC; R0 PAL
19.32pts -
Coffret 6 Films de Luc Moullet (Luc Moullet, Various, 4 Discs) Blaqout; R2 PAL
20.32.5pts -
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (Russ Meyer, 1970) 20th Century Fox; R1

21. 31pts - Elevator to the Gallows (Louis Malle, 1957) Criterion; R1
22.28.75pts - Preston Sturges - The Filmmaker Collection (Preston Sturges, 1940-44, 7 Discs) Universal; R1
23.28pts -
Free Cinema: The Definitive Film Collection (Anderson, Tanner, etc., 1952-63, 3 Discs) bfi; R2
24.27.5pts -
Yi Yi (Edward Yang, 2000) Criterion; R1
25.25pts -
The Fountainhead (King Vidor, 1949) Warner; R1  
26.23.5pts -
Essential Art House - 50 Years of Janus Films (Various, 1922-73, 50 Discs) Criterion; R1
27.22pts -
Star Spangled to Death (Ken Jacobs, 2004) starspangledtodeath.com; R0
28.21pts -
Coffret Kenji Mizoguchi, Vol. 1, Coffret 5 DVD (Mizoguchi, Various) Film Sans Frontieres; R2 PAL
28.21pts - John Wayne - John Ford Film Collection (John Ford, Various, 10 Discs) Warner; R1
29.20pts -
Duelle / Noroît Coffret - 2 DVD (Jacques Rivette, 1976) Aventi; R2 PAL
29.20pts -
Oskar Fischinger: Ten Films (Oskar Fischinger, Various) Center for Visual Music; R0
29.20pts -
Paris nous appartient (Jacques Rivette, 1960) bfi; R2 PAL
29.20pts -
Woman in the Dunes (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1964) bfi; R2 PAL
33.19.5pts -
Astaire & Rogers Ultimate Collector’s Edition (Various, 1933- 1949) Warner; R1
34.19pts -
Double Indemnity [Universal Legacy Series] (Billy Wilder, 1944) Universal; R1
34.19pts -
Phantom (F.W. Murnau, 1922) Flicker Alley; R1
36.18.5pts - L'Armée des ombres (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969) bfi; R2 PAL
36.18.5pts - Winter Soldier (Winter Collective, 1972) Milliarium Zero; R0
38.18pts - Saraband (Ingmar Bergman, 2003) Sony; R1
39.17.5pts -
Michael Brault Oeuvres 1958-1974 (Brault, 15 Films, 5 Discs) National Film Board of Canada; R1
40.15.5pts -
The Spirit of the Beehive (Víctor Erice, 1973) Criterion; R1
41.15pts -
Norman MacLaren: The Masters Edition (Norman McLaren, Various, 7 Discs) Home Vision; R1
42.14.5pts -
The Red Desert (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964) Madman, R4 PAL
42.14.5pts - The Savage Innocents (Ray, 1959) MoC; R0 PAL
44.14pts -
Johan Van Der Keuken, Vol.1, Coffret 3 DVD (Various) Arte Vidéo; R2 PAL
44.14pts -
Young Mr. Lincoln (John Ford, 1939) Criterion; R1
46.13pts -
Astaire & Rogers Collection, Vol. 2 (Various, 6 Discs) Warner; R1
46.13pts -
Kwaidan (Masaki Kobayashi, 1964) MoC; R2 PA
46.13pts - Twenty-Four Eyes (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1954) MoC; R2 PAL
46.13pts -
The Virgin Spring (Ingmar Bergman, 1960) Criterion; R1
50.12pts -
 Apocalypse Now - The Complete Dossier (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979) Paramount; R1
50.12pts -
Coffret Jean-Paul Civeyrac 3 DVD [+DVD-Rom] (Various) Blaq Out; R0 PAL
50.12pts - Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol.3 (Various, 1947-52, 6 Discs) Warner; R1
50.12pts- Funeral Parade of Roses (Toshio Matsumoto, 1969) MoC; R2 PAL
50.12pts - Toni (Jean Renoir, 1935) MoC; R0 PAL
55.11pts - Jean-Luc Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville: Four Short Films (1993-2002) ECM Cinema; R0
55.11pts - Krzysztof Kieslowski Polish Documentaries (Kieslowski, Various, 2 Discs) Polish AP; R2 PAL
55.11pts - Tennessee Williams Film Collection (Various, 1951-64, 7 Discs) Warner; R1
55.11pts - Why Does Herr R. Run Amok? (Fassbinder, Fengler. 1970) Fantoma; R1
59.10.5pts - Kingdom of Heaven [Director’s Cut] (Ridley Scott, 2005, 4 Discs) 20th Century Fox; R1
59.10.5pts - The World (Jia Zhang Ke, 2004) Zeitgeist; R1 - 10pts - 2 vote - 1 mention
59.10.5pts - The Proposition (John Hillcoat, 2005) First Look Pictures; R1
62.10pts - Black Narcissus (Powell and Pressburger, 1947) Warner [France] Institut Lumiere; R2 PAL
62.10pts - A Distant Trumpet (Raoul Walsh, 1964) Warner; R2 PAL
62.10pts - La Double vie de Véronique - Édition spéciale (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991) MK2; R2 PAL
62.10pts - The Ingmar Bergman Collection (Ingmar Bergman, Various, 30 Discs) Tartan; R2 PAL
62.10pts - Invasion of the Thunderbolt Pagoda (Ira Cohen, 1968) Arthur/Saturnalia/Bastet; R0
62.10pts -
Johan Van Der Keuken,Vol. 2 Coffret 3 DVD (Various) Arte Vidéo; R2 PAL
62.10pts - The Maltese Falcon [SE] (John Huston, 1941) Warner; R1
62.10pts - The Marlon Brando Collection (Various, 1953-80, 6 Discs) Warner; R1
62.10pts - Nazarin (Luis Buńuel, 1958) Yume Pictures; R2 PAL
62.10pts - The New World (Terrence Malick, 2005) New Line; R1
62.10pts - Runin: Banished (Eiji Okuda, 2004) Taki Corporation; R2 [Japan] NTSC
62.10pts - The Ultimate James Bond Collection - Vol. 1 – 4 (Various, 1962-2005) MGM; R1

 


Best Production Design

Winner with 23% of the vote - Seven Samurai [remastered] (Akira Kurosawa, 1954, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1

Criterion - REISSUE Package (CLICK to enlarge)


Best Audio Commentary

  
 

Winner with 16% of the vote - “I don’t listen to commentaries
 

Runner-up with 13% of the vote - Jonathan Rosenbaum and James Naremore on The Complete Mr. Arkadin (Orson Welles, 1962, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1
 


Best Budget Release

 

Winner with 32.5% of the vote - retail price $10.99 US - The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970) Paramount; R1

 



Best Transfer

Winner with 12% of the vote - Seven Samurai [remastered] (Akira Kurosawa, 1954, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1
 

Runner-up with 10% of the vote - Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967) Criterion; R1
 


Best Box Set

Winner with 20% of the vote - Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales (Eric Rohmer, Various, 6 Discs) Criterion; R1
 

Runner-up with 14.8% of the vote - Astaire & Rogers Ultimate Collector’s Edition (Various, 1933- 1949) Warner; R1
 

Runner-up with 13.5% of the vote - Essential Art House - 50 Years of Janus Films (Various, 1922-73, 50 Discs) Criterion; R1  

Best Extras

Winner with 18.5% of the vote - The Complete Mr. Arkadin (Orson Welles, 1962, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1
 

Runner-up with 12% of the vote - Tag Gallagher video essays on Max Ophüls’ Films x4 (Madame De..., Le Plaisir, The Reckless Moment, Letter from an Unknown Woman) Second Sight; R2 PAL
 


Best Cult/Horror release

Winner with 16% of the vote - Hollywood’s Legends of Horror Collection (Various, 1932-39, 3 Discs) Warner; R1


Runner-up with 12% of the vote - Dust Devil - The Final Cut (Richard Stanley, 1992) Subversive Cinema; R1



Best TV on DVD

 

3-way-tie with 11% of the vote each -


Deadwood - The Complete Second Season (Various, 2004, 6 Discs) HBO; R1

 
Perry Mason - Season One, Vols. 1 & 2 (Jack Arnold and etc, 1957, 10 Discs) Paramount; R1


The Wire: Season 3 (David Simon, 2004) HBO; R1
 

 



Best Criterion Release (non-boxset)


Winner with 14% of the vote -
Seven Samurai [remastered] (Akira Kurosawa, 1954, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1
 

Runner-up with 12% each - Late Spring (Yasujiro Ozu, 1949) Criterion; R1

The Complete Mr. Arkadin (Orson Welles, 1962, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1



Most improved re-release (title that was available in a lesser edition)


Winner with 36% of the vote
Seven Samurai [remastered] (Akira Kurosawa, 1954, 3 Discs) Criterion; R1
 

Runner-up with 14% of the vote Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967) Criterion; R1


For your consideration… The
Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales (Eric Rohmer, Various, 6 Discs) Criterion; R1 over the old Fox Lorber’s was a probably the most dramatic improvement that we can think of.


Best Contemporary release (any film made in the last 2 years)

Winner with 10% of the vote A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005) New Line; R1

Runner-up with 9% of the vote Caché (Michael Hanake, 2005) Sony; R1

For your consideration... Match Point, Brokeback Mountain, The New World and Kingdom of Heaven

 

Best New DVD Label


Winner with 17% of the vote - No Shame DVD  


Runner-up with 12% - CasaNegra DVD  

 

For your consideration... New Yorker offshoot - Project X - Oliver Groom's work is top notch!



Best DVD Label

Criterion - 54% of the vote 
Masters of Cinema - 23.5% of the vote  
Warner Home Video - 20% of the vote   

Discovery

 

Overwhelming Winner - Winter Soldier (Winter Collective, 1972) Milliarium Zero; R0

 
Runners-up (each getting a couple mentions):
Rediscover Jacques Feyder: French Film Master (Jacques Feyder, 3 Discs) HVE; R0
Saga of Gosta Berling / Sir Arne’s Treasure / Erotikon (Maurice Stiller, Various) Kino; R1
Roma Citta Libera (Marcello Pagliero, 1946) No Shame Films; R1

 

 

 

BAD BAD BAD (general but valid rants - in no order)

 

  • Window boxing trend by Criterion

  • TCM Archives - Forbidden Hollywood Collection, Vol. 1 (Waterloo Bridge 1931 / Baby Face / Red-Headed Woman) (1933) - Major disappointment – from mislabeled disks to complete lack of special features to too few included titles.

  • Black Girl without color sequence in color (New Yorker video)

  • The dissapointing transfer of Anthony Mann’s otherwise excellent The Naked Spur.

  • The HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray format war aka Two High Definition formats

  • Minimally improved reissues marketed as upgrades (double dip)

  • Interlaced transfers still not uncommon

  • Films with an OAR greater than 1.37:1 being released on DVD without anamorphic enhancement (e.g., Sátántangó; 1.66:1).

  • Yellow subtitles.

  • Forced piracy warnings et al.

  • Security Snaps on cases (mainly on Paramount and Universal discs)

  • Every single new horror or comedy movie coming out in an Unrated Edition.

  • Olympia (Leni Riefenstahl, 1936-38) Pathfinder Home Entertainment; Region 1 USA

  • Botched PAL to NTSC transfers continue.

  • Hypocrital bluenoses who freak out at boobs ‘n bush on DVDBEAVER.

  • The Searchers” Transfer .

  • Worst packaging for Hammer Film Noir Collection from VCI - 3 discs on the same spindle.

  • Big studios keep repackaging same films over and over again without paying any attention to their back catalogue. It’s nice to see Paramount, Sony, Universal, MGM to get back in the game of releasing their classic films.

  • Suzuki Seijun's Taisho Trilogy (KIMSTIM’s soft transfers, burnt in subs, high prices)

  • The subtitles and audio on The Death of Mr. Lazerescu (Tartan; R1)
     



 

 
 

 

 
 


 




 

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