MALICK’S MOTLEY MUSKETEERS OR MIFUNE’S MAGENTA MANE? [TRAVIS PREDICTS!]

I exhausted Criterion’s samurai flicks entirely too early — ravenously blew through them as if there were no tomorrow.  I suppose I assumed they’d just keep coming out here and there, but I was surely wrong.  Now, I spend my days pacing around in hurried circles, scratching at my skin and stopping only to cradle my knees in the corner and rock back and forth, slobbering.  Feudal Japan withdrawal is the most insatiable demon.

When I saw the cryptic sketch in this month’s Criterion newsletter, I first thought, “wow, that lion kinda looks like me.  I wonder if he misses samurai flicks, too.”  Then, I thought, “hey, could this be a hint at a release of Kihachi Okamoto’s AKAGE, also titled RED LION?  That’s got Toshiro Mifune in it…AS A SAMURAI!”  Then, I spent about thirty minutes licking my lips and laughing and talking to myself.

After that, though, I right-clicked the image and noticed that the file name was “thinredlion.jpg.” My fantasies of swordplay where thwarted, but my heart remained eager.  This could mean only one thing:

Terrence Malick’s THIN RED LINE is coming to the Criterion Collection on DVD and Blu-Ray

It makes perfect sense that Criterion would want to capitalize on the success and positive feedback they’ve been receiving from the Blu-Ray release of DAYS OF HEAVEN.  They’ve been using the Blu-Ray platform to showcase auteurs known for their arresting cinematography, and Malick is already an established director in the Collection.  We can officially look forward to the likes of George Clooney, Nick Nolte, Woody Harrelson, John C. Reilly, and a slew of others making their way into the club.

My level of certainty:  85%

While it would be extraordinary to receive some more Okamoto from Criterion (and while they should definitely still consider a RED LION release), all signs point to THIN RED LINE as the answer to our March clue.  Though I’m more than excited about this gem, it looks like I’ll be twitching and mumbling for the foreseeable future…

5 Comments

  • Great post Travis, it made me laugh. I had similar thoughts but you expressed them much more humorously! It's been a looooong time since Criterion put out fresh samurai flicks – sure the Yojimbo/Sanjuro reissues are nice, and Mishima/Patriotism are samurai films “of a sort.” But just go backward through the spine numbers listed on their website, you'll see very little in the way of thrilling swordplay… Fanfan la Tulipe, maybe? Sansho the Bailiff has some period details… but I guess we have to go back to Ran, and even that's not really a samurai film in the pure sense of the word. Who would have expected Harakiri and the Rebel Samurai box to be Criterion's (possibly) final release of classic Japanese swordplay?

  • Great post Travis, it made me laugh. I had similar thoughts but you expressed them much more humorously! It's been a looooong time since Criterion put out fresh samurai flicks – sure the Yojimbo/Sanjuro reissues are nice, and Mishima/Patriotism are samurai films “of a sort.” But just go backward through the spine numbers listed on their website, you'll see very little in the way of thrilling swordplay… Fanfan la Tulipe, maybe? Sansho the Bailiff has some period details… but I guess we have to go back to Ran, and even that's not really a samurai film in the pure sense of the word. Who would have expected Harakiri and the Rebel Samurai box to be Criterion's (possibly) final release of classic Japanese swordplay?

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