As you’ve no doubt heard, the ‘Star Wars‘ series has been officially announced for release on Blu-ray later this yet. Rumors are also running wild that the ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Indiana Jones’ franchises may be coming soon too. With that in mind, we’d like to know what other “holy grails” you’re still waiting to see released on Blu-ray.
Here are the staff’s wishes:
- ‘Twin Peaks‘ – I could be snide here and say that I’m still waiting for the original ‘Star Wars’ Original Trilogy, but I think I’ve made my feelings about that perfectly clear already. Failing that, I desperately want the entire ‘Twin Peaks’ series in a high-def replication of Paramount’s “Definitive Gold Box Edition” DVD set. It must include the original broadcast version of the pilot episode, of course. (A seamlessly-branched version of the “European” alternate cut might be nice to have too, but is less important.) I’d pay any amount of money for this. Really. If I’m fantasizing here, I should say that I’d also like Paramount to license the ‘Fire Walk With Me’ film to put in the same box set, but that seems unlikely to happen. So we’ll need New Line/Warner to put that out separately. (The movie is currently available on Blu-ray in France, but unfortunately the disc is locked to Region B.)
- ‘The Passion of Joan of Arc‘ – This may sound lame, but with ‘Star Wars’ out of the way, my holy grail would have to be something else classic and epic, even if I’m dying for ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ on Blu-ray. My go-to would be ‘The Passion of Joan of Arc’, one of the greatest films ever made, and probably the best silent film ever, from director Carl Theodor Dreyer. Maria Falconetti’s performance as the titular character bests any other version of the French legend without question. It’s one of those once-in-a-generation moments in acting where a film becomes secondary to how truly great one performer is. Sadly, due to the state of the film (the degraded prints, variations in speed), I doubt this film will ever be one that Criterion sees worthy of re-remastering. Only so much can be done with what we already have, and this 83-year-old classic may never have a better print come forward than the one restored for the Criterion DVD released in 1999.
- The Woody Allen Collection: Sets 1-3 – As I’ve said in the past, I’m a Woody Allen fan. For my money, he’s the most talented writer/director since Billy Wilder – only Billy didn’t act, so Woody wins. So far, one fantastic Allen film has hit Blu-ray in the U.S., along with one disastrous misfire. I have yet to see the Wood-man’s most recent release, so I can’t speak for his February 15th Blu-ray special delivery. As is so often the case, I’m hopeful, but cautious in my optimism. In the past 20 years, I’d say that I’ve loved around 50% percent of his projects, enjoyed 30%, and been depressed by 20%. While I firmly believe there’s always something interesting in his work, I have to admit that a greater number of his recent films than I’d like to admit (usually the scripts that clearly sat in mothballs for a few decades) have been more than a bit underwhelming. Still, I’ll defend the man to the death. Whatever people’s opinions of Allen’s work since the personal and professional turning point of ‘Husband’s and Wives’, I’m sure they’d agreed that his most consistently great work came during his periods at United Artist and Orion Pictures. From 1971’s ‘Bananas’ to 1991’s ‘Shadows and Fog’, Allen produced a string of uncompromising movies in his signature style, filled with the kind of slapstick comedy, dry humor, fatalistic wit, and love of jazz for which Woody is so famous. With 1992’s ‘Husband and Wives’, Allen briefly moved to TriStar Pictures, endured the wildly public and professionally damaging implosion of his personal life, and began a still-ongoing game of hopscotch from one distributor to the next, often from picture to picture. While the past 20 years have been painfully uneven, the previous 20 were golden. It’s that collection of films, previously released on DVD by the always financially-troubled MGM, that I would love to see hit Blu-ray. Alas, such a move is looking increasingly unlikely these days, but I can always hope. Perhaps the film rights could be sold off to the Criterion Collection in a studio fire sale, so the best in the business can be preserved for posterity by… well… the best in the business. That would certainly make life worth living, along with, oh, Groucho Marx… Louis Armstrong’s recording of “Potatohead Blues”… Swedish movies, naturally… Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra… and High-Def Digest, certainly…
- ‘God of Gamblers‘ – My holy grail is ‘God of Gamblers’. That, and any number of other Hong Kong action, Chow Yun-Fat, and kung-fu movies. Basically, I’m looking to replace my VHS collection of horribly low-res imports.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
- ‘Jaws‘ – It’s one of the few essential Spielberg films that’s not already on Blu-ray and isn’t heavily rumored to hit high-def before the year’s out. We’re talking about the movie that defined what a summer blockbuster is. It also happens to top my All-Time Favorites list. ‘Jaws’, at least for my money, is perfect. More than a decade of reviewing has made me a pretty relentless nitpicker, but with ‘Jaws’, there’s not a role I’d recast, not a line I’d tweak, not a note in the score I’d change, and not a shot I’d reframe. ‘Jaws’ ranks right next to ‘UHF’ as the two movies I’ve watched and re-watched just about to the point of rote memorization. I don’t just want ‘Jaws’ on Blu-ray… I need it.
- ‘The ‘Burbs‘ – Thinking back to my childhood in the ’80s and early ’90s, there were a few movies that became staples in my life – movies that I watched constantly while growing up. Most of those movies have recently received Blu-ray releases like the ‘Back to the Future‘ trilogy and ‘The Goonies‘. However, there is one movie that has so far eluded the format. That would be the comedic classic about how strange suburbia can get. That’s right, the movie I’m jonesing for on Blu-ray is ‘The ‘Burbs’, starring Tom Hanks and an insanely funny Bruce Dern. I can’t count the number of times I watched ‘The ‘Burbs’ while growing up. There may have been a few months there where I watched it at least once a week. I know that we’re all excited that ‘Star Wars’ is finally getting a Blu-ray release, but I won’t be truly happy until I see ‘The ‘Burbs’ in one of those little blue cases.
Chris Boylan (Big Picture Big Sound)
- ‘Lord of the Rings’ Extended Editions – For me, it has to be the ‘Lord of the Rings’ Extended Edition trilogy. I’m not a fan of double-dipping, but I think that New Line’s first high-def release of the theatrical-only versions of the films with lackluster transfers was unforgiveable. Bring us the full versions of the films, and actually put in some effort to make them look and sound as good as the format allows. If you remaster it… they will come.
- ‘Ed Wood‘ – My outstanding “holy grail” movie is Tim Burton’s ‘Ed Wood’. It’s an odd choice, sure, but think about who’s choosing. Tim Burton is a well represented director when it comes to high definition, mostly because his movies are such consistent box office powerhouses. (I’m not really sure who was begging for the up-rezzed edition of ‘Big Fish‘, though.) Unlike, say, Brian De Palma or David Cronenberg – a pair of my favorite directors who have been egregiously overlooked on Blu-ray – Burton’s very-nearly-complete oeuvre is readily consumable. This makes ‘Ed Wood’, his greatest film, such a standout. I’ve been pretty outspoken about how madly in love I am with black-and-white movies on Blu-ray. The high definition makes the image look like it was cut from strips of velvet… and that is very good indeed! Or maybe I just want to hear Martin Landau, as a strung-out Bela Lugosi (a role for which he won an Oscar), bellow “Let’s shoot this fucker!” in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound. (And Howard Shore’s score? Forget about it!) I’m sure it will happen one day, when Disney figures out what to do with its more obscure back catalog. (Thankfully, it’s not a Miramax film, but was a Touchstone release.) I’ve got my Blu-rays grouped by director, and this is a pretty sizable hole for a movie that will eventually come in such a slim box.
Now that we’ve told you what we’re waiting for, which holy grails of yours have yet to be released on Blu-ray?