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Ten Years of Rialto Pictures

Ten Years of Rialto Pictures
Rialto / Criterion
1949 - 2000
B&W and Color
Ten features
Street Date October 28, 2008

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Film distributorship in the 21st century has become increasingly risky, with the theatrical market turning away hundreds of features every year. The majority of theater screens are tied up with the top twenty studio features given enormous advertising budgets. One of the success stories of the past ten years is Rialto Pictures, which has specialized in releases and re-releases of restored classics. Rialto has done a splendid job with specialty titles, revered classics and relatively unknown titles. More often than not, one might hear about a Rialto release by a favorable review on National Public Radio, or in a newspaper article.

Many famous foreign films were never given actual, official releases in the United States. Rialto made big news in 2004 and 2006 with Ishiro Honda's original Gojira and Jean-Pierre Melville's Army of Shadows. Rialto's well-publicized presentations were in fact American premieres, 50 and 37 years after the fact.

Savant's notice for the Ten Years of Rialto Pictures deluxe DVD box is less a review than an announcement of a commemorative set that also happens to be a bargain. The ten features included are all Criterion releases that retail at $40 dollars apiece; instead of an invitation for double-dipping this set is more of a gift opportunity, a "pricey bargain."

As it happens, DVD Savant has reviewed all of the original discs. I'll simply link to my original reviews in the list that follows:

The Third Man
      1949, Carol Reed

Touchez pas au Grisbi
      1954, Jacques Becker

      1955, Jules Dassin

      1962, Alberto Lattuada

Billy Liar
      1963, John Schlesinger

Band of Outsiders
      1964, Jean-Luc Godard

au hasard Balthazar
      1966, Robert Bresson

Army of Shadows
      1969, Jean-Pierre Melville

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
      1972, Luis Buñuel

Murderous Maids
      2000, Jean-Pierre Denis

Rialto has seen no letup in interesting theatrical releases. This year's It Always Rains on Sunday is a 1947 British crime film that's gone largely unseen in the United States. It stars Googie Withers, was directed by Robert Hamer and reportedly had a hard time with the censors when new. In theaters now is Max Ophuls' Lola Montès, his legendary final film in CinemaScope and Color.

The ten discs in the Ten Years of Rialto Pictures DVD box are packed in slim cases to make a compact package.

October 28, 2008

DVD Savant Text © Copyright 2008 Glenn Erickson

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