By all appearances, the fine people at Criterion really love Stanley Kubrick. While they’ve only been able to wrest 4 titles so far from the studios in the 5-inch age, they published a strong 6 in the 12-inch era. Each of these had varying degrees of involvement from Mr. Kubrick himself and all made Criterion’s short list of Director Approved editions. It is very sad indeed that Kubrick died in the beginning of the DVD days and wasn’t able to participate as much in the development of the newer editions put out by Criterion and/or Warner.
The true heyday of the Laser Disc (such as it was) also coincided with the beginning days of the World Wide Web as we have come to know it. Criterion (or more specifically, Voyager), had a site to tout their wares to the discerning laser lover. By all modern tastes, this is one ugly site with horrible resolution and a geocities/angelfire vibe that is hard not to chuckle at. Make no mistake, this was your parents internet, kiddos!
As the Laser Disc was a digital device delivering an analog presentation, this new web offered a way to provide more content (or at least similar content in a different way). For a fair share of the Director Approved editions, Criterion offered a mini “In-Depth” page on their site, of which Kubrick got 6 for all of his releases on the label. In fact, he even got his own page to more easily present these pages!
Ultimately they aren’t really much more than a fancy presentation of the essays found on the back of the laser discs themselves, but they offer an intriguing glimpse into where Criterion was headed in the modern online era.
Please click on the buttons below to be taken to these sites. Being able to go further with the embedded links on each page is up to the vagaries of the Internet Archive. Nonetheless, enjoy these snapshots of a time and format gone by.