Perkus Tooth

A category of The Completion that recognizes and celebrates those people who have taken their love and interest in the Criterion Collection and used it as a catalyst for their own artistic endeavors.


Perkus Tooth is a Manhattan author and pop culture critic. Years ago he made a local name for himself with a series of public art installations that incorporated stealth sidewalk broadsides. Often compared to Slavoj Zizek and Paul Nelson, Tooth has carved out a somewhat smaller niche on many larger topics. While little is known objectively about his past and upbringing, much can be gleaned about his outlook based on the artists he champions. Among others, Tooth has written many words about Norman Mailer, John Cassavetes, and Marlon Brando.

Over the years Perkus Tooth has written for The Village Voice, New York Rocker, and had a very short lived major column in Rolling Stone. Other than these magazine appearances his published works have been more rare, but do include two Dylan-influenced books entitled Fool’s Gold Mouthpiece, and The Hollow Horn: Admixtures of Contemporary Plight.

Mr. Tooth has a long history with the Criterion Collection working on supplements, particularly liner notes for some of the early, Susan Eldred produced titles in the DVD era. They include:

  • The City is a Maze – Von Tropen Zollner
  • Prelude to a Certain Midnight – Fritz Lang
  • Recalcitrant Women – Orson Welles
  • The Unholy City – Orson Welles
  • Echolalia – Werner Herzog

All of these titles are OOP and now so rare as to be virtually impossible to find on eBay or even images on Google. Other than Echolalia, none of the them have been reissued by the current rights holders including StudioCanal and Beatrice Welles.


Echolalia, recently re-released on bluray in the Herzog Collection, uses much of Tooth’s supplemental research regarding the subject matter: Morrison Groom’s famously unreleased Marlon Brando feature Nowhere Near.

A few years ago, Perkus Tooth interviewed Spike Jonze for the CC release of Being John Malkovich:

The Original Piece of Wood I Left in Your Head



Tom Sanford

Perkus Tooth

“Haven’t you wondered why the average consumer is uncomfortable with letterboxed movies? It isn’t because most people are programmed to be Philistines, though they are. Cable channels go on offering scan-and-pan versions to keep people from having to consider that frame’s edge, which reminds them of all they’re not seeing. That glimpse is intolerable. When your gaze slips beyond the edge of a book or magazine, you notice the ostensible texture of everyday reality, the table beneath the magazine, say, or the knee of your pants. When your eye slips past the limit of the letterboxed screen, you’re faced with what’s framed and projected in that margin—it ought to be something, but instead it’s nothing, a terrifying murk, a zone of nullity. But the real reason it’s so terrifying is because it begs the question of whether they’re the same thing. Maybe the tabletop or the knee of your pants bears no more relation to the contents of the magazine than the images on the screen do to the void above and below.”

Chronic City

Excerpt From: Jonathan Lethem. “Chronic City.” iBooks.

Jonathan Lethem | Criterion | New Republic | Ryan Haines | NY Times