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Christopher Nolan Reveals His Favorite Criterion Titles

Posted January 29, 2013 04:51 PM by Webmaster

CriterionAcclaimed director Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy) has revealed his favorite Criterion titles. Somewhat surprisingly, Criterion's recent Blu-ray release of his excellent first feature film Following (1998) isn't amongst them, but the director has chosen such important classics as 12 Angry Men, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, and Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence.

Here's Mr. Nolan's list with his comments (all info courtesy of Criterion):

1. The Hit (Stephen Frears, 1984).

"That Criterion has released this little-known Stephen Frears gem is a testament to the thoroughness of their search for obscure masterworks. Few films have gambled as much on a simple portrayal of the dynamics between desperate men . . ."

2. 12 Angry Men (Sidney Lumet, 1957).

". . . except perhaps this Sidney Lumet classic."

3. The Thin Red Line (Terrence Malick, 1998).

"What better than Malick's extraordinary vision of war to demonstrate the technical potential of a carefully mastered Blu-ray? Projecting this disc comes close to the original print quality, and it's hard to imagine a superior consumer format coming along anytime soon."

4. The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (Fritz Lang, 1933).

"Lang at his most wicked and entertaining. Essential research for anyone attempting to write a supervillain."

5. Bad Timing (Nic Roeg, 1980).

"Nic Roeg's films are known for their structural innovation, but it's great to be able to see them in a form that also shows off their photographic excellence."

6. Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (Nagisa Oshima, 1983).

"Few films have been able to capture David Bowie's charisma, but Oshima's wartime drama seems tailor-made for his talents. Tom Conti has rarely been such a sympathetic guide for the audience's emotions."

7. For All Mankind (Al Reinert, 1989).

"An incredible document of man's greatest endeavor."

8. Koyaanisqatsi (Godfrey Reggio, 1982)

"An incredible document of how man's greatest endeavors have unsettling consequences. Art, not propaganda, emotional, not didactic; it doesn't tell you what to think—it tells you what to think about."

9. The Complete Mr. Arkadin (Orson Welles, 1955).

"No one could make much of a case for Welles' abortive movie overall, but the heartbreaking glimpses of the great man's genius preserved here are the most compelling argument for the value of Criterion's dedication to cinema. "

10. "Which brings me to Greed, von Stroheim's lost work of absolute genius. Which is not available on Criterion. Yet. Here's hoping."


Source: Criterion | Permalink | United States [Country settings]

News comments (26 comments)


DVD Phreak
  Jan 29, 2013
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Greed has been available on iTunes for over 2 years. A DVD and/or Blu-ray would be nice but seems not too likely at this point. The closest Greed has got to being released was back in 2004 when TCM conducted a poll asking everyone to vote for the top 5 movies for DVD releases, but sadly Greed ranked #11.
Drewza89
  Jan 29, 2013
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I knew he had to be a fan of The Testament of Dr. Mabuse. Its influence on Batman Begins is obvious.
filliponi86
  Jan 29, 2013
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No offense, but why on Earth would Christopher Nolan list Following under his favorite Criterion titles? It'd be a really tacky move for a director to call one of his own movies one of his favorite films.

Brad1963
  Jan 29, 2013
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With all the great titles in the collection the man cannot list a current Criterion title for the 10th spot?

rollinwith26s
  Jan 29, 2013
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Chris Nolan is grand

retablo
  Jan 29, 2013
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Overrated.

Top reviewer
Badas
  Jan 29, 2013
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It's a nice list. Own a few of them.

joie
  Jan 29, 2013
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Nolan's No. 8 is "Koyaanisqatsi," not "The Qatsi Trilogy."

When will they make it available separately?

Top reviewer
deepbreathsanddeath
  Jan 29, 2013
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Yes. It's very suprising that a director didn't choose his own movie. Because every other filmmaker they've done this for has picked one of their own movies -.-

spanky87
  Jan 29, 2013
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Criterion, do Tarantino next.

CandyStalker
  Jan 29, 2013
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Shitty list, Chris. 12 Angry Men and For All Mankind are excellent but, try as I might, I cannot stand The Thin Red Line. It's supremely bloated.

Scholer
  Jan 30, 2013
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Thin Red Line is one of the greatest films ever made. And Nolan Is one of the greatest directors alive. Enough Said

Scholer
  Jan 30, 2013
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And ya the list is wonderful.

markjacobson
  Jan 30, 2013
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Tarantino couldn't make a list, because there haven't been 10 of his films released on Criterion.
Top contributor
Ace of Sevens
  Jan 30, 2013
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No Insomnia?

Poya
  Jan 30, 2013
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No The Killing or Paths of Glory? I thought Stanley Kubrick was Nolan's favorite filmmaker.

Bluyoda
  Jan 30, 2013
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Good list. The Thin Red Line is a masterpiece, as is every other Terrence Malick film.

Top contributor
repete66211
  Jan 30, 2013
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Interesting choices here. The Hit, like another Terence Stamp movie The Limey, just didn't live up to its potential. It's a pretty flat movie and I'm surprised it made his list. But what really surprises me is Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence. That movie, though it may be a good vehicle for David Bowie, was just bad on so many levels. And, to join in on The Thin Red Line comments. It is a bloated, meandering and self-indulgent movie. It's also a beautifully-shot movie. I wouldn't call it a success, but it's worth looking at at least once.

Top contributor
repete66211
  Jan 30, 2013
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@markjacobson: Yeah, but with so many samurai titles there are at least 10 Criterion movies Tarantino's ripped off--er, I mean, given *homage* to.

TheNakedGenius
  Jan 30, 2013
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A not really surprising list. Nolan's a great director, but ridiculously over-rated. Let's be honest.

PBateman87
  Jan 30, 2013
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Nolan is a good director, nothing more, nothing less. I don't see how he's so deified as one of the "greats" by so many already. Pretty decent taste in movies though it seems.

Top contributor
repete66211
  Jan 30, 2013
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Nolan is worshiped because he made a couple of comic book movies and man-children just love comic book movies.

The Brass Casanova
  Jan 30, 2013
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Nolan's technical expertise and the precision of his craft reminds me a great deal of Hitchcock. He is an extremely smart, capable filmmaker with an eye for unique, slightly macabre psychological dramas. It's not hard to imagine Hitchcock directing any of the films Nolan has helmed, save the Dark Knight trilogy.

This knee-jerk rejection of populist media is really getting old. His films are well-crafted and enjoyable. He's one of the best directors working today.

Get over it.

Boothill Gunslinger
  Jan 30, 2013
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@The Brass Casanova: AGREED!!!

The haters are just jealous! Pussies!

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nathanp
  Jan 30, 2013
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Once Nolan learns how to film action scenes properly and put characters on the screen that we actually care a little about, he'll be a much more complete director. I assume TDKR would've been a lot better if Ledger was still alive, not much Nolan could do about that I suppose.
6SIXX6
  Feb 01, 2013
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I would have guessed Insomnia would have been on the list, given the obvious...


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