There was a time when the last film ever made by Pier Paolo Pasolini was considered depraved and shocking. That time was the 70s. Then the film found its way onto DVD (no less a Criterion edition) during the 90s. After a brief run of DVDs, Criterion lost the rights to the film and the disc went out of print. Once again, the film became depraved and shocking, but also rare and collectible! Bootlegs abounded and people were selling factory-wrapped editions for upwards of $1,000.
And as if that weren’t fascism in a juvenile form itself, Criterion not only restored the film (in all its vile glory), but is now re-releasing the film in an edition chock full with special features on the making and history of the film. What’s next, a Blu-ray edition to promote their new line? As a long time patron of Criterion, with over 400 of their DVDs alone in my collection, I have to admit, it irks me the way they re-issue their films so much.
I find it interesting as well that the DVD (which people were previously ready to pay one month’s rent for) is now retailing for $39.95, when if you stop and think about it, Criterion probably could have just made a Special Collector’s Limited Edition Numbered Box Set complete with a door-size poster, 5 full color lobby cards, a film cell from an original print and a maybe a replica of the infamous final scene’s binoculars with which to watch the 120th day of sodom safe in your non-BDSM living room. Had they went this route, I bet they could retail ’em at like $999.95 and still make a profit.