Phantom LD

One of the slightly frustrating things about Criterion in the laserdisc days was a seemingly haphazard policy towards spine number assignment. Going through the complete list you will find various gaps and inconsistencies. To this day, some of us are wondering just what the heck spine 14 was going to be. Other times different pressings of the same title would get different spines. Sometimes this would be an obvious upgrade or a CLV pressing of a previous CAV special edition. Citizen Kane received at least two spine numbers and even a special edition with no enumeration at all.

Unlike today wherein Criterion almost always assures that a movie is in the production schedule before announcing its upcoming release and spine number on the schedule, in the 12-inch days it was a much looser affair. Titles would be announced with a spine ID, and then never be heard from again. While this accounts for some of the gaps in the chronology, it doesn’t explain why the titles never made it to market under the CC banner.

Below is a Good Intentions Gallery of titles that were announced and never officially released. I’ve provided some comments regarding some of them, but others are relegated to the recesses of the past.

  • 90 Caesar and Cleopatra – Released at part of Eclipse Series #20 in 2010.
  • 110 The Spirit of the Beehive – Released as 5-inch spine #351 in 2006.
  • 159 The Prince of Tides – This was pulled from production at the insistence of Barbra Streisand for reported spelling errors in the supplemental material and for some slight edits in the commentary. It was eventually re-released on laser as spine #227 with the changes in place.
  • 176 Truffaut Trio – The original package was going to be this documentary along with The 400 Blows and Jules and Jim. These two got their own LD releases and the documentary was relegated to a standard Voyager release but packaged as a “Criterion Collection Supplement.”
  • 194 Easy Rider – Released as 5-inch spine #545 in 2010.
  • 200 On the Waterfront – Released as 5-inch spine #647 in 2013.
  • 206 The Tragedy of Macbeth – Released as 5-inch spine #726 in 2014.
  • 213 Salt of the Earth – Released by sister company Voyager Press.
  • 217 The Fireman’s Ball – Released as 5-inch spine #145 in 2002.
  • 251 The Mikado – Released as 5-inch spine #559 in 2011.
  • 253 Orpheus – Released as 5-inch spine #68 in 2000.
  • 374-381 Godzilla – Gojira and King of the Monsters were released as 5-inch spine #594 in 2012.