My Two Cents

Criterion March, new Twilight Time and a digital cautionary tale from Amazon & Disney

December 17, 2013 - 4:00 am   |   by
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Morning, folks!

Criterion has just announced their March Dual Format BD/DVD release slate, and here’s what’s coming: David Gordon Green’s George Washington (Cat #152 – due 3/11), Errol Morris’ A Brief History of Time (Cat #699 – 3/18), Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress (Cat #116 – 3/18), Paul Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty (Cat #702 – 3/25), Ingmar Bergman’s Persona (Cat #701 – 3/25) and Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor’s The Freshman (Cat #703 – 3/25).  [Read on here…]

We’re pleased to see that The Hidden Fortress will feature a new 2K digital restoration, with both uncompressed monaural audio and an alternate 5.1 surround track that preserves the original Perspecta simulated stereo effects in DTS-HD Master Audio.  You’ll also get a new audio commentary by film historian Stephen Prince and new English subtitle translation.  Also included will be the previous Criterion DVD extras, among them the 2003 Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create documentary segment, a 2001 interview with George Lucas, the trailer and a booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Catherine Russell.  Very nice.

Here’s a look at the cover art for A Brief History of Time, The Hidden Fortress and Persona.  Amazon pre-order links have been updated...

A Brief History of Time (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)    The Hidden Fortress (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)    Persona (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)

Also today, Twilight Time has The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973), Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977) and Royal Flash (1975) available on Blu-ray Disc in limited editions of 3000 units.  SRP is $29.95 each.  Visit Screen Archives Entertainment to place your orders.

And here’s a little cautionary tale of the digital downloading age: Amazon may have recently pulled access to select Disney holiday titles from their Amazon Instant Video streaming service – at Disney’s request – even to customers who had purchased “ownership” of the titles.  One of the titles in question was Prep & Landing 2: Naughty vs. Nice.  Customers who experienced lack of access to this title were initially told by Amazon customer service reps that their access was pulled because Disney wanted to make the titles exclusive to their own channels for a limited time during the holidays.  But then Amazon hastily changed their tune in e-mail replies, saying instead:

“The problem you experienced was a temporary issue with some of our catalog data and it has been fixed.  If you still have problems, please let us know.  Customers should never lose access to their Amazon Instant Video purchases.  If they have any issues accessing purchased videos, they should contact customer service.”

Still, the Amazon Instant Video terms of use do say:

“Purchased Digital Content will generally continue to be available to you for download or streaming from the Service, as applicable, but may become unavailable due to potential content provider licensing restrictions and for other reasons, and Amazon will not be liable to you if Purchased Digital Content becomes unavailable for further download or streaming.”

Bottom line: When you “buy” digital content, you’re not really buying anything concrete and your access can be denied at any time, for any number of reasons.  This kind of thing has been a problem before and it will absolutely be a problem again.  Caveat emptor.  More on all this here at

Stay tuned…

- Bill Hunt


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