“Thief” Comes to Criterion Collection


2 of 5 stars
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Michael Mann’s 1981 masterpiece “Thief” comes to The Criterion Collection in March of next year. This is good news.

I wrote a little about “Thief” two years ago when I posted some thoughts about Nicholas Winding Refn’s “Drive”. Where many hailed “Drive” as an original auteurist work, I saw it more as a superb homage to “Thief.” Both are worth viewing.

As usual, Criterion’s release looks lavish; it’s mastered from a new 4K transfer, with a 5.1 surround soundtrack; it comes with interviews and audio commentary from the director and his star; and it includes a companion booklet by critic Nick James. (Who doesn’t love a good booklet?)

It also features new cover art, designed by Fred Davis, that mercifully improves on the DVD cover issued by MGM some years ago.


The designers at Criterion justly get a lot of praise for the often extensive liberties they take in packaging their reissues, but I think the best thing that can be said about their art direction is that it is almost unfailingly appropriate. The artwork for this version of “Thief,” is wholly more true to the film, even if it uses the exact same visual assets that would have been available to MGM; it just benefits from having much, much better taste. That’s the difference-maker.

More about “Thief” on Criterion here.

  1. In my high school film class, Jim Belushi (an alum of the school – Wheaton Central H.S.) came to visit the class and talk about the film, right when it was released. He wore the silk jacket they gave to all the cast members, which is about all I remember from this distance.

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