Top 10 Masters Of Cinema

Thursday, July 18 2013
Top 10 Masters Of Cinema

Eureka’s groundbreaking Masters Of Cinema label, often described as the UK’s answer to the Criterion imprint, has just unveiled its line up for the next couple of months, as is now the case, through an announcement on Twitter and elsewhere online.

It’s an apt route for the MoC label, it has built its impeccable credentials through speaking with the fans and, essentially, being “one of them”, thinking and acting like a film enthusiast.

The comparison to the Criterion label is flattering, sure, but MoC has earned it with the effort it puts into both selecting its titles and then bringing them to market.

As it unveiled its latest batch of titles, we thought what better time to look back at its successes so far, assessing the 10 best sellers from Masters Of Cinema so far…

1. Metropolis
The gift that keeps on giving for Eureka and its Masters Of Cinema label. The company, in keeping with many independents, has had a tough few years of it, stretching back to, in its formative years, the collapse of EUK and then Virgin, through to recent retail woes in the business, taking in, along the way, the devastating loss of stock in the Sony DADC post-riots blaze. In the past year or two, Metropolis, the classic sci-fi film, in all its forms, including the Giorgio Moroder update from 30-odd years ago, has helped the company see out the rough times, thanks to its regular sales. “It’s like the rent coming in every month,” says Eureka’s Ron Benson.

2. Nosferatu
Another classic black and white selection, Nosferatu appeals to both horror fans – it set the template for the genre on film and was both the first fully-fledged horror and effectively the first screen adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula – as well as classic cinema fans, as FW Murnau’s vision is unforgettably brought to life (if life is the right word) by Max Schrek. A fully restored version, with a massive booklet included, is a perfect example of the MoC’s modus operandi. Its sales will get a further boost thanks to carefully timedtheatrical and home video releases of an eagerly awaited new restoration of the film. Nosferatu’s UK theatrical
run will open in selected cinemas nationwide on October 25, just in time for Halloween, and will feature as part of the BFI’s Gothic season. Blu-ray and DVD releases will follow in early November 2013.

3. Sunrise
A mainstay of the Masters Of Cinema catalogue, the first to be released on DVD and the first on Blu-ray, the latter was the first time it had been released in high definition anywhere in the world. Another black and white classic.

4. Grey Gardens
One of the more esoteric items in the MoC catalogue, it’s a groundbreaking documentary by the Maysles and Master Of Cinema’s edition represented its first ever DVD release in the UK.

5. Kwaidan
Another title like Nosferatu that crosses over from cineastes to horror films, as Masaki Kobayashi’s film was arguably the starting point for J-horror. Available in its most complete version ever in the UK, complete with sequences never before seen on these shores, helping take the film’s running time beyond the three-hour mark.

6. Onibaba
Another ground breaking Japanese release – MoC has done as much as anyone in bringing films from the territory to the UK market, giving this Kaneto Shindo masterpiece its first ever outings on first DVD and then Blu-ray. Complete with all the requisite extras, including a commentary from the maestro Shindo himself.

7. Vampyr
Carl Theodor Dreyer’s first talkie presented in a fully restored version with a slew of admirable additional features including, as part of a commentary track, Guillermo Del Toro talking about the film’s influence…

8. Fantastic Planet/La Planete Sauvage
Seminal (trying to avoid overusing that word in this feature) animated title that appeals to the anime and Studio Ghibli fans for the influence it had, and to soundtrack and particularly hip-hop heads for the amazing soundtrack…

9. Silent Running
One of the more recent entrants into the MoC catalogue, it saw the label cementing its deal with Universal and picking up a classic slice of sci-fi that was warmly received by many, including much championing from critic Mark Kermode.

10. A Touch Of Evil
Orson Welles’ classic and a personal favourite of this writer. This again showed the importance of the MoC’s relationship with Universal. It’s a gem from the studio’s library and given the MoC treatment was a winner for all parties.

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