Originally Posted by Schils
...label me a shallow fool as well then, not the least bit ashamed to admit I've never heard of any of those, not to mention vaugley hearing of the studio itself (but don't get me fully wrong, I understand this is still very good news for BR and these all important steps towards toppling DVD) - only peeked into this thread to see what new titles might be coming, oh well, moving along...
For those who do not yet know: Criterion is less a studio, and more of an invitation-only hall of fame for classic and important films. Beginning with the LaserDisc format, they were responsible for hand-picking classing films that were being largely ignored on home video or had simply been released in a shoddy way. Criterion were responsible for implementing a number of practices that no one else was at the time, which paved the way for many of the features we have enjoyed on DVD for so long. When a movie was selected by Criterion, the following happened:
1) The film underwent a full restoration or was transferred from the best available elements in existence.
2) The transfer was made in the original aspect ratio.
3) A commentary was recorded by the filmmakers, or a historian if the filmmakers had passed away.
4) Interviews, making-of docs, and retrospective pieces were produced to give the viewer the most complete background on the making of the film and its impact available.
5) The entire package was approved by the director, if living.
Yes, much of these are all standard on DVD and Blu-ray now, but keep in mind, no one else was doing this when Criterion first came on the scene. It is because of this organization that we now find these features on nearly every DVD release. Needless to say, their numbered collection contains many of the most influential movies made over the past century+. If you haven't heard of them, okay... most here would consider you merely a casual movie buff. However, if you feel like digging deep into the history of this art form and discovering some true gems, the Criterion Collection is the perfect place to start. As a director, being contacted by Criterion for a release of one of your films is an honor on par with getting an Oscar for Picture of the Year.
*stepping off soapbox*