Janus Films
Janus Films is a film distribution
Film distributor
A film distributor is a company or individual responsible for releasing films to the public either theatrically or for home viewing...

 company. It was one of the first distributors to bring what are now regarded as masterpieces of world cinema to the United States. In this regard, Janus can be credited with helping to introduce American audiences to the films of Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI was an Italian modernist film director, screenwriter, editor and short story writer.- Personal life :...

, Sergei Eisenstein
Sergei Eisenstein
Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein , né Eizenshtein, was a pioneering Soviet Russian film director and film theorist, often considered to be the "Father of Montage"...

, Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman
Ernst Ingmar Bergman was a Swedish director, writer and producer for film, stage and television. Described by Woody Allen as "probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera", he is recognized as one of the most accomplished and...

, Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI , was an Italian film director and scriptwriter. Known for a distinct style that blends fantasy and baroque images, he is considered one of the most influential and widely revered filmmakers of the 20th century...

, Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa
was a Japanese film director, producer, screenwriter and editor. Regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema, Kurosawa directed 30 filmsIn 1946, Kurosawa co-directed, with Hideo Sekigawa and Kajiro Yamamoto, the feature Those Who Make Tomorrow ;...

, François Truffaut
François Truffaut
François Roland Truffaut was an influential film critic and filmmaker and one of the founders of the French New Wave. In a film career lasting over a quarter of a century, he remains an icon of the French film industry. He was also a screenwriter, producer, and actor working on over twenty-five...

, Yasujirō Ozu
Yasujiro Ozu
was a prominent Japanese film director and script writer. He is known for his distinctive technical style, developed during the silent era. Marriage and family, especially the relationships between the generations, are among the most persistent themes in his body of work...

 and many other well-regarded directors. Janus has a close relationship with The Criterion Collection
The Criterion Collection
The Criterion Collection is a video-distribution company selling "important classic and contemporary films" to film aficionados. The Criterion series is noted for helping to standardize the letterbox format for home video, bonus features, and special editions...

 regarding the release of its films on DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

, and is still an active theatrical distributor.

The company's name and logo
A logo is a graphic mark or emblem commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition...

 comes from the two-faced Roman god
Roman mythology
Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans...

-General:*Janus , the two-faced Roman god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings, and endings*Janus , a moon of Saturn*Janus Patera, a shallow volcanic crater on Io, a moon of Jupiter...


Janus Films was founded in 1956 by Bryant Haliday
Bryant Haliday
Bryant Haliday was an American actor, as well as producer, of film and stage, who was instrumental in providing a showcase for international film titles in the United States by co-founding Janus Films with his partner Cyrus Harvey Jr.-Early Life and Stage Career:After entering Harvard to study...

 and Cyrus Harvey Jr.. Haliday ran the 55th Street Playhouse in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 and used it as a primary location for exhibiting Janus-distributed films. He was also an actor, appearing in films such as Devil Doll
Devil Doll (film)
Devil Doll is a horror film about an evil ventriloquist, "The Great Vorelli", and his dummy Hugo. Decades after its initial release, it was featured on a 1997 episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.-Plot:...

, Curse of Simba and Tower of Evil
Tower of Evil
Tower of Evil, also known by the title Beyond the Fog in the United States and Horror of Snape Island and Horror on Snape Island in Canada, is a 1972 British horror film...

. Haliday purchased the historic Brattle Theater, a Harvard Square
Harvard Square
Harvard Square is a large triangular area in the center of Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue, Brattle Street, and John F. Kennedy Street. It is the historic center of Cambridge...

 landmark in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Greater Boston area. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders. Cambridge is home to two of the world's most prominent...

. With Harvey, Haliday converted the Brattle into an art film moviehouse in the mid-1950s. In 1966, Haliday sold the Brattle, as well as Janus. Harvey continued to manage the Brattle into the 1970s.

Janus was later acquired by Saul J. Turell
Saul J. Turell
Saul J. Turell was a producer and maker of documentaries, and a distributor for classic film. He founded Sterling Films in 1946. In the early sixties, Sterling Films merged with the Walter Reade Organization, becoming Reade-Sterling, of which Turell was president...

 and William Becker
William Becker
William Becker may refer to:*William D. Becker , American politician and 39th mayor of St. Louis, Missouri*William W. Becker , American creator of the Motel 6 concept*William Henry Becker , U.S. federal judge-See also:...

. Their sons, Jonathan B. Turell and Peter Becker, who own The Criterion Collection
The Criterion Collection
The Criterion Collection is a video-distribution company selling "important classic and contemporary films" to film aficionados. The Criterion series is noted for helping to standardize the letterbox format for home video, bonus features, and special editions...

, are at present involved in the business of Janus.

On October 24, 2006, in celebration of 50 years of Janus Films, the Criterion Collection released 50 of the films that Janus distributed in a large boxset containing 50 DVDs and a 200-page essay on the history of art house
Art film
An art film is the result of filmmaking which is typically a serious, independent film aimed at a niche market rather than a mass market audience...

 films The package is called Essential Art House: 50 Years of Janus Films. A.O. Scott chose the set as his DVD pick when he co-hosted At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper. As part of its 44th Festival in 2006, the New York Film Festival
New York Film Festival
The New York Film Festival has been a major film festival since it began in 1963 in New York. The films are selected by the Film Society of Lincoln Center...

 presented a series called 50 Years of Janus Films, a tribute to the company.

In 2009, Janus Films released Revanche
Revanche (film)
Revanche is a 2008 Austrian thriller film written and directed by Götz Spielmann. It centers on the ill-fated love story between a Viennese ex-con and a Ukrainian prostitute who get involved in a bank robbery....

, its first first-run theatrical release in nearly 30 years.

Then, in 2010, Janus acquired domestic theatrical and home video rights to the Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE was an English comic actor, film director and composer best known for his work during the silent film era. He became the most famous film star in the world before the end of World War I...

 library under license from the Chaplin estate and worldwide distribution agent MK2
MK2 can refer to:* Mark II, a second version of a product, frequently military hardware. "Mark", meaning "model" or "variant"* Mk 2 grenade, a hand grenade used by the United States military starting in World War II...

, and its Criterion division is preparing the Chaplin library for re-issue on DVD and Blu-Ray, in addition to theatrical release.

External links

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