Janus Films Acquires Rights To Charlie Chaplin Catalogue, Is A Criterion Box Set Inevitable?

Along with the brand new cartoon that we here at Criterion Cast have been analyzing, the recent Criterion newsletter has also brought with it some really interesting news.

According to the newsletter, Janus Films has been able to acquire the rights to the entire Charlie Chaplin film catalogue, and will be bringing his films back to the big screen. The distributor will be bringing these films to theaters in a retrospective, called Chaplin, starting July 16 at the Film Forum in New York. The first film will be the 1928 film, The Circus, and will run for just one week.

Other films that will be showing include The Gold Rush, City Lights, Modern Times, The Great Dictator, Limelight, A King In New York, and also a collection of comedy shorts. The films will be getting new 35mm prints to be shown, and is a must see event for any cinephile. I haven’t seen Chaplin’s entire collection, but there is no doubting just how gifted and influential he was, and still is to this very day. Films like City Lights and The Great Dictator are some of the best comedies I’ve ever seen, and I really hope that these prints get released outside of New York, as this is something I would really love to check out.

Also, while nothing has been said about a DVD release of these films, one can only sit and wonder what Janus may have in store, if they indeed plan on releasing these new prints on DVD and/or Blu-Ray. Maybe an Eclipse box set? Maybe some much bigger? Who knows? It’s always fun to speculate though.


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11 Comments

  • This is big news. Chaplin's films fit right into Criterion's mission statement and the previous “definitive” DVD box sets (nice collections for their times) are now OOP and fetching up to $200 on Amazon.com. No Blurays of Chaplin films are available in R1 or anywhere else that I know of. Sure it's all speculation but if Janus has the rights but fails to get an authoritative DVD/Bluray release out of the deal I will be surprised and appalled! I hope it's not just a Kurosawa-style megabox though.

  • Oh yeah, it's huge news. Hopefully we will see either single releases for his features, or maybe a box set of a few of them, but what I think could be really interesting is if they went and did a box set of his short films, similar to what they did with the Golden Age Of Television box set. Hopefully these films will be able to hit the collection, because like you said, they fit exactly in the collection, down to its mission statement. I do also agree that it shouldn't be in a massive Kurosawa style mega-set. Maybe an Eclipse box set? Who knows.

  • An Eclipse box of early silent shorts, and regular Criterion deluxe-o packages of Modern Times, City Lights and other more fully-realized projects is the way I'd go about it.

  • Oh man, I sure hope that's how it happens. Maybe even like what they just did with the Sternberg silents. Release a collection of them as a box set, along with the option to buy each of the films in the set in singular Criterion releases. Then, throw in an Eclipse set of shorts, and Criterion would have my money without a doubt. It would be a must own.

  • An Eclipse box of early silent shorts, and regular Criterion deluxe-o packages of Modern Times, City Lights and other more fully-realized projects is the way I'd go about it.

  • Oh man, I sure hope that's how it happens. Maybe even like what they just did with the Sternberg silents. Release a collection of them as a box set, along with the option to buy each of the films in the set in singular Criterion releases. Then, throw in an Eclipse set of shorts, and Criterion would have my money without a doubt. It would be a must own.

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