Best DVDs of 2001
Making a top-ten DVD list is a little more difficult than making a top-ten film list because in any given year there are over a thousand DVD’s released that cover the entire history of cinema. And too the word ‘best’ has a different meaning because some DVD’s – like Pearl Harbor or Planet of the Apes while undoubtedly brilliant DVD presentations are hardly (in my opinion) the year’s best films. So this ‘best of’ list is a combination of the wonderment of DVD’s that have used the DVD medium well, combined with a list of great films that have after long last made it onto DVD. I’ve also tried to mix up the list and include a wide range of choices rather than load it up with a list of best sellers. And I've also included a list of eleven DVD's because who really likes round numbers anyway? – Matt Langdon.
1) Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs – (Disney Studios) If you didn’t already love Disney’s first animated feature film then the DVD should make you a fan – and a knowledgeable one at that. The phenomenal amount of extras on two discs alone are more than worth the price.
2) 8 ½ - (Criterion) Fellini’s masterpiece about an artist having 'creativity block' has never looked better for home viewing. And the numerous extras on the two disc set are great because they help decipher some of the film’s ‘difficult’ but gorgeous black-and-white dreamlike sequences.
3) Citizen Kane – (Warner Bros. Video) Finally, one of the greatest films ever made gets superlative treatment on this two disc DVD set. Now, we must patiently wait for Welles' other masterpiece The Magnificant Amberson’s to arrive.
4) The Stunt Man – (Anchor Bay) This cult film from the 1980’s by Richard Rush is fast, funny, dramatic and exciting. In a word it’s uncategorizable (is that a word?). And it deserved a wider release but at least it gets the kind of top-drawer treatment usually reserved for lesser films.
5) Sullivan’s Travels – (Criterion) Preston Sturges was the king of comedy writing /directing in 1940’s Hollywood and Sullivan’s Travels is arguably his best film. The DVD looks terrific, sounds wonderful and has a bevy of extras worthy of the film’s status as one of the best Hollywood comedies ever made.
6) The Godfather DVD Collection – (Paramount) Francis Coppola’s Mafia family masterpiece comes with a hefty price and a few hours of watching but it is worth every dollar and every minute for fans and newcomers alike.
7) Carl Theodor Dreyer Special Edition Box Set – (Criterion) This box set, which includes Day of Wrath, Ordet, Gertrud and a Documentary on Danish master Carl Dreyer is like a film class in a box. Every film is important and the presentation is stunning. Plus – considering these are rarely seen or projected films they are worth a look.
8) Dr. Strangelove: or, how I learned to stop worrying and Love the Bomb SE – (Columbia) This Special Edition is - to date - the best DVD release of a Stanley Kubrick film. It’s also arguably his best film because after multiple viewings it holds up better than any of his others.
9) Fawlty Towers - The Complete Series – (Warner Home Video) Outrageous, obnoxious, absurd and all together hilarious this famous British TV comedy with John Cleese only ran for twelve episodes but it’s proof that the British never milk a series longer than they need to go. The DVD looks great and the modest extras add just enough to make the series essential viewing.
10) The Legend of Suram Fortress/Ashik Kerib – (Kino Video) This DVD provides two films for the price of one made by Armenian filmmaker Sergei Paradjanov - one of the unknown masters of world cinema. Subtle – but necessary – extras and more than worth a look if you’re curious about art films concerning Byzantine myths or just interested in quality films made (way) outside of Hollywood.
11) Frank Lloyd Wright – (PBS Home Video) This great documentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick is about a great artist, a big personality and the history of 20th century architecture. Intensely interesting and involving it also features some extras proving that documentaries on DVD don’t have to be treated differently than features.
- Matt Langdon
DVD Talk Reviewers and Columnists take on the Top DVDs of 2001 :
DVD Talk Main Best of 2001 Page
Brian R. Boisvert
Glenn Erickson (DVD Savant)
G. Noel Gross (CineSchlock-O-Rama)