Tuesday, April 26, 2005

As I mentioned in my previous post, Criterion just released F For Fake on DVD. While on their website to link to the page regarding that release, I noticed the fantastic news that The Browning Version is coming out in June. I just happened to catch this on television years ago, and was blown away. The professor's retirement speech gave me goosebumps. There's a fairly recent remake (it's based on a play) that actually wasn't too terrible, except that it gets bogged down in the various stories and loses focus (especially when the stories of the students fall into the familiar cliches of English boarding school life). Of course, the main flaw of the remake is that it pales in comparison to the original. The extras don't look too exciting (audio commentary with a film historian, interview with the remake's director), but that's alright, I'm just thrilled to get the film on DVD.

In looking over the extras for The Browning Version, I thought it odd that the director of the remake is included in the extras. It can be interesting, if the directer focuses on the original, and what he loved about it that made him want to remake it (and why he felt it necessary), but I think it's often just about a desperation to find extras to justify the MSRP (thought I doubt that's the case here--Criterion has proven again and again their discs are worth the premium). I bring this up because I just got Shall We Dansu? on DVD (as you might be noticing, my moratorium on purchasing more DVDs until I watch the ones I have isn't working out so great), and while I can't blame them for trying to cash in on the American remake, it seemed like they pushed the envelope, to the point where I would imagine a Richard Gere fan could buy it and reasonably think they were getting the remake. The cover shows two ballroom dancers from the waist down, who look European, not Japanese. And the back cover text has more to say about the remake, and the stars of it, than the movie being sold. And the extras on the disc include a documentary EPK about the remake. Now, I personally think anyone intending to purchase the remake would be lucky to have accidentally bought the Japanese version, but still, it just seemed like misleading marketing.

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