Criterion doesn't make it a habit of disappointing their fans - to call them the greatest and most selflessly wonderful company in the history of human commercialism would be something of an understatement. That being said, their recently announced November line-up of DVD and Blu-rays is pretty incredible, even for them.
Within the span of a few minutes this afternoon, Criterion teased out confirmation of several of their most hotly rumored titles. The biggest bombshell was incontestably a box-set titled "America Lost and Found: The BBS Story," an anthology of films produced by film pioneers Bob Rafelson, Bert Schneider, and Steve Blauner that includes Head, Five Easy Pieces, The Last Picture Show, Easy Rider, The King of Marvin Gardens, A Safe Place, and Jack Nicholson's directorial debut Drive, He Said. All titles are receiving new, restored high-definition digital transfers, and all titles are available on blu-ray in glorious 1080p. The set streets on 11/23 and at $99.99 is an absolute steal, and one of Criterion's finest coups yet.
As if that weren't enough, Criterion guaranteed that they'd be receiving plenty of Black Friday attention by also announcing a DVD / blu-ray of Charlie Chaplin's classic Modern Times for release on 11/16, complete with audio commentary, an interview with the Dardenne brothers, 2 Chaplin shorts, a beautiful short called For the First Time about a Cuban projectionist who shows Modern Times to audiences for the first time, and more. It's the first of several Chaplin releases that Criterion has in the works, and it's totally spectacular.
As if that weren't enough (and it so, totally was enough), they've also announced that the same day will see the release of Charles Laughton's masterpiece, The Night of the Hunter. Described by Criterion as "Cinema's quirkiest rendering of the battle between good and evil," the film will receive the full treatment its fans have been eagerly anticipating. Neat extras include a clip from The Ed Sullivan Show in which cast members perform a deleted scene, a feature called Charles Laughton Directs 'The Night of the Hunter' which features over 150 minutes(!) of outtakes from the film, and the blu-ray will even feature an uncompressed monaural soundtrack.
And as if THAT weren't enough (and now it's really getting ridiculous) Criterion is going to be releasing Lars von Trier's beloved, pastoral family film Antichrist on 11/9. Talking animals, a husband that works too hard... it's practically a Disney movie. Fans who have patiently resisted buying the film's all-region blu-rays will be rewarded with a new transfer, audio commentary by von Trier himself, and a documentary lovingly titled Chaos Reigns at the Cannes Film Festival 2009 about the film's storied world premiere.
Criterion. I love you. Let's make a child.
Head on over to Criterion for more details and to check out the gorgeous cover art.