'Citizen Kane' Ushers In Criterion's First 4K Releases

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Folks have been wondering when the Criterion Collection would make the leap to 4K, and the answer is now! Well, okay, not now now, but Criterion has just announced their first wave of 4K titles, revealing that the immortal classic Citizen Kane will be the first official 4K entry into the collection. The 4K releases will begin in November 2021, and full details are still forthcoming. For now, though, we know the Criterion 4K releases will include Citizen KaneMenace II Society, The Piano, Mulholland Dr., The Red Shoesand A Hard Day's Night.

When it comes to movies, Criterion is one of the biggest names in physical media. Year after year we hear the same standard refrain: studios want to phase out physical releases and stick to digital. I have no doubt that sooner or later, that will happen. And when it does, those of us who are nerdy about our physical media will need boutique labels like Criterion to keep us supplied. We're like junkies, and boutique Blu-ray labels are our pushers. Give us a fix, Scream Factory! We need a hit, Kino Lorber! Vinegar Syndrome, please, you gotta help me, I'm jonesing! And so on – you get the idea.

While regular Blu-rays are great, 4k is the next best thing (until someone comes along and invents something else). Some boutique labels have delved into 4K, but Criterion hasn't been one of them – leading many to ask, "When will Criterion finally dive into 4K?" Now we now – November 2021. Criterion made the announcement today that their November lineup is going to include their first official 4K releases. They add:

Each title will be available in a 4K UHD+Blu-ray combo pack including a 4K UHD disc of the feature film as well as the film and its special features on Blu-ray. Select films will be presented in Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos.

We'll know more details next week when Criterion sends them out. For now, though, this is exciting news.

The Films

As mentioned above, the first films headed to the collection are Citizen KaneMenace II Society, The Piano, Mulholland Dr., The Red Shoes, and A Hard Day's Night. And...I don't have to tell you what these movies are, right? I mean, you know what Citizen Kane is, at least, I hope. It's the film that inspired Mank, of course! And here's a scalding hot take: it's a good movie. In fact, it's one of the best movies ever made. It's earned that reputation.

Menace II Society is the 1993 film from the Hughes Brothers about a teenager who wants to break out of the Los Angeles projects. The Piano is Jane Campion's drama about a mute woman who travels with her daughter to start a new life in New Zealand. This is a particularly exciting release because DVDs and Blu-rays of The Piano are not easy to find (you can currently buy a non-4K Blu-ray of the film on Amazon for $53 bucks, which is mighty steep). Mulholland Dr. may be David Lynch's best movie (it's certainly near the top of the list). The Red Shoes is from legendary filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. And A Hard Day's Night features an obscure band called The Beatles [sic]. Never heard of them.

Here's how Criterion phrases things:

The most dazzling debut in cinema history, Orson Welles's Citizen Kane was Criterion's first laserdisc release 37 years ago. It now rejoins the library after a long absence, making its first appearance in 4K Ultra HD along with Allen and Albert Hughes's riveting breakthrough Menace II Society; Jane Campion's Academy Award–winning The Piano, starring Holly Hunter and Anna Paquin in her breakout role; David Lynch's Mulholland Dr., a tale of love and jealousy in the city of dreams; Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's singular Technicolor fantasia The Red Shoes; and Richard Lester's timeless movie musical A Hard Day's Night, which brought the Beatles' revolutionary talent and irreverent humor to the big screen.