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Emmys 2017
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Criterion DVDs give classics a new shine

Criterion DVDs give classics a new shine — EW finds out what goes into giving a movie ”the Criterion treatment”

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Criterion DVDs give classics a new shine

Not all DVDs are created equal. That’s why hardcore cinephiles are rabid for the 300 releases from the Criterion Collection. The special-edition pioneer ushered in the era of commentary, letterbox, and making-of docs with early laserdiscs like King Kong. ”We take our responsibility to film heritage seriously,” says president Peter Becker. ”We want our version to be the definitive version.” Criterion averages nine months of production, hunting down pristine prints and calling in teams of experts to digitally restore them and enhance the films’ soundtracks. It also takes the unusual step of inviting filmmakers to participate actively in transferring their visions to DVD. ”They’re up for including pretty much anything I want,” says Wes Anderson, whose Life Aquatic,his third Criterion release, streets May 10. But the distributor may finally have some competition. Warner has been upping the ante — working from original negatives, loading discs with extras — on such titles as GoodFellas and Gone With the Wind. ”Everybody realized giving DVDs ‘the Criterion treatment’ is a gold mine,” says Kevin Smith. ”They set the bar high and are the granddaddy of them all.”