Five More MGM Films Likely To Find A Home In The Criterion Collection

With the recent Criterion Collection e-mail newsletter hinting at an upcoming release of Brian De Palma’s Blow Out, I thought it was time to go over a few more MGM films that may end up in the Collection in 2011.

Towards the end of the summer, All Tomorrow’s Parties announced Criterion’s line-up of films that would be screening. Hidden amongst the Criterion films we all know and love, they threw in several titles that hadn’t been previously announced. A handful of them were MGM titles that have either gone out of print, or were in serious need of a proper DVD / Blu-ray release. A month later, I went through a list of ten titles from MGM, that were likely to find a home in the Criterion Collection.

Today I thought I’d show you five more titles that I believe will end up in the Collection. This information has been culled from private sources, as well as from different forum discussions. These haven’t been confirmed with Criterion yet, but I think it’s safe to start talking about these, given all of the MGM films that Criterion has announced.

All of these are available on Netflix in one form or another. How I Won The War, and The French Lieutenant’s Woman for example, are no longer available on DVD, but can be streamed on Watch Instantly. The rest are available as discs, and a couple are also available on Watch Instantly as well.

While we only have January’s titles confirmed at this point for 2011, all of the rumored releases are stacking up to have this be an inevitably incredible year for Criterion. I’m currently working up a list of ten upgrades I hope to see in 2011, but for now, chew over these five MGM films.

With the recent news that 20th Century Fox will be releasing several MGM titles as “on-demand,” similar to the Warner Archive, I hope that this doesn’t mean that Criterion won’t have as much access to some of the titles they’re interested in. Hopefully the fact that Criterion puts so much work into their releases, it will mean that MGM will be remain interested in licensing these out of print titles.

Let me know what you think of these films in the comments below. What do you think of the films? What sort of supplements would you like to see on the DVDs / Blu-rays?


French Lieutenant’s Woman

Karel Reiscz

Director Karel Reisz’s unforgettable masterwork uses a film-within-a-film framing technique to trace the parallel relationships of two ill-fated couples separated by a century. Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons portray the star-crossed, Victorian lovers Sarah and Charles, while doubling as the contemporary thespians who embark on their own tumultuous tryst as they’re filming a movie about ‘¦ the lives of Sarah and Charles.



King of Hearts

Phillipe De Broca

During World War I, Pvt. Charles Plumpick (Alan Bates) is sent on a mission to the French town of Marville to defuse a German bomb. But Plumpick discovers he’s not alone in Marville and is soon befriended by the “inmates” of the local sanitarium, who were left behind when the town was evacuated. Thanks to his handiness, the residents, in all their quirkiness, deem Plumpick the “King of Hearts.” With that honor, can he go back to the war?



La Cage Aux Folles

Edouard Molinaro

After son Laurent (Rémi Laurent) turns up and announces his impending nuptials, transvestite-nightclub owner Renato (Ugo Tognazzi) and his drag-queen star attraction, Albin (Michel Serrault), agree to keep their gay lifestyle under wraps for the benefit of the bride-to-be’s ultraconservative parents. When the prospective in-laws come to dinner, Renato and Albin masquerade as a straight, married couple — with farcical results.



My Beautiful Laundrette

Stephen Frears

Omar (Gordon Warnecke), a Pakistani, and his old school chum Johnny (Daniel-Day Lewis) use stolen drug money to renovate a laundrette in a squalid London neighborhood. But conflicting interests soon threaten their newfound success. Hanif Kureishi received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay, a stunning portrait of two boyhood friends who are struggling to survive in racially tense Thatcher-era Britain.



How I Won The War

Richard Lester

John Lennon and Michael Crawford star in Richard Lester’s stylized World War II comedy, a surreal collage of bizarre situations, slapstick humor and authentic newsreel footage that lampoons the absurdity of war. After being captured by German soldiers, woefully inept British Lt. Goodbody (Crawford) recounts the ridiculous misadventures of his army unit, whose members were killed off one by one, thanks to bad luck and his stupid mistakes.



Plot descriptions courtesy of Netflix.

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