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The 2006 Golden Gavel Awards

On February 5th, 2007, DVD Verdict announced their Golden Gavel awards for the best DVDs of 2006. The reviewing staff of DVD Verdict each drafted a list of their ten picks for the best of the year, and those lists were compiled into a master list based on the rankings given to each film. 140 DVDs appeared on the lists from the 23 voting staff members, and from those nominees emerged the ten winners.

1. Seven Samurai: Criterion Collection (Special Edition)
Read our review (Appellate Judge Dan Mancini)
Criterion releases a three-disc salute to the most enduring of Kurosawa's classics, and makes us all wish they would do this for every title in the director's catalog. Sure, you've seen it before, but never like this. Kurosawa takes his sweet time building up his army, and this extended, restored release makes every moment compelling. The transfer is excellent, the audio is clearer, and the extras meet and exceed a Kurosawa (and most film) fan's expectations. This is a package impossible to resist. Yoi ga deki mashita!
1st: 7
2nd: 3
5th: 1
6th: 1
7th: 2

2. Superman Ultimate Collector's Edition
If ever a disc set should be on the Golden Gavel list based on sheer numbers, this is certainly it. Fourteen discs makes for a hefty package, and for fans of the Man of Steel, it's well worth it. Two versions of both Superman: The Movie (the 1978 theatrical cut and the 2000 extended edition) and Superman II (the 1980 theatrical version as well as the new director's cut) are the star attractions, along with Big Blue's triumphant return to the screen, Superman Returns. (Oh yeah, Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest For Peace are here too, but don't let that stop you from buying it.) And extras? Even Superman might have trouble getting through all of them.
1st: 2
2nd: 1
3rd: 1
4th: 1
5th: 1
6th: 1
10th: 1

3. Kingdom Of Heaven: Four-Disc Director's Cut
Read our review (Judge Ryan Keefer)
A theatrical film left incomplete at the time of its release returned in a Director's Cut that flushed out much more to incomplete storylines, and completely changed perception of some characters of the film. Rarely does a director's cut create such a vastly different film experience, upping the importance and impact of the picture, as this does. The package is pretty much perfect, with DTS sound, audio commentary, an extensive look at the production (including a brief look at a failed Scott project), and you've got a keeper, and another in Charles de Lauzirika's epic library of outstanding DVD productions.
1st: 3
3rd: 2
4th: 1

4. Apocalypse Now: The Complete Dossier
Read our review (Appellate Judge Dan Mancini)
Despite the controversial decision to re-frame the movie at 2.0:1, it's never looked so good, and having both the original and redux versions is a huge plus. If the only gripe people have on a set is that it didn't include something you couldn't get, than you've done an outstanding job. Kim Aubry has worked with Francis Ford Coppola to pull together as much as they could possibly get for one of the definite war movies of all-time. Combine that with a commentary track from the verbally active director, and it's safe to say that this is as good as it will get. It's almost worth buying just for the featurette on Walter Murch and the birth of surround sound.
2nd: 1
3rd: 1
5th: 2
6th: 3

5. King Kong (2005): Deluxe Extended Edition
Read our review (Judge Dennis Prince)
Of all the criticisms leveled at Peter Jackson's 2005 remake—of which there were many—no one said that it was too brief. But that didn't stop the cinematically loquacious director from adding another quarter-hour to the film and releasing yet more bonus material to chronicle its making. Do we at DVD Verdict think that was a bad thing? Well, it's #5 on our Golden Gavels, so it's safe to say the answer is no.
2nd: 2
4th: 1
6th: 1

6. Oldboy: Ultimate Edition
Read our review (Judge Joel Pearce)
Tartan video decided to throw everything it could into this double-dipped release, and the verdict is magnificent. Housed in a metal tin with one of the film's many riveting sequences on it, the film boasts three (count 'em) commentary tracks, an improved picture and much-improved audio, and a lot of reminiscing by the stars and others in Park Chan-wook's amazing tale of vengeance that contained enough twists and turns to be one of the better film experiences in recent memory.
2nd: 1
3rd: 1
5th: 2

7. The Double Life Of Véronique: Criterion Collection
Read our review (Appellate Judge Rob Lineberger)
Krzysztof Kieslowski's powerful, universally loved meditation on personality and reality is the sort of material that brings out the best in the DVD masterminds at Criterion. Liner notes that are more like a Master's thesis, short films, and documentaries that methodically teach you about the life and work of Kieslowski—this is like film school in a box.
1st: 2
2nd: 1

8. Dazed And Confused: Criterion Collection
Read our review (Appellate Judge Brendan Babish)
When Criterion throws its weight behind some of the more modern favorites, the result is usually genius. This is one of those times. The DTS track sounds great pumping all that arena rock out there, the packaging is great, and there are a lot of pieces that look at the film before, during and after, featuring a lot of "Where are they now?" moments about the cast. Another great job from Criterion.
1st: 1
4th: 1
5th: 1
9th: 1
10th: 1

9. The Complete Mr. Arkadin: Criterion Collection
Read our review (Appellate Judge James A. Stewart)
Orson Welles wasn't around to make sure it's perfect, but this version of the movie—a testament to his monumental hubris and bitter need to prove his legacy in every surviving frame—comes the closest to realizing his vision for the story of a man who seeks clues to his own past.
1st: 1
4th: 1
5th: 1
9th: 1

10. A History Of Violence
Read our review (Appellate Judge Mike Pinsky)
Another early '06 that people have seemingly forgotten about, David Cronenberg's telling of a tale about a small-town restauranteur who may have a sinister past is both a droll dissection of American male identity and a clear-eyed summary of David Cronenberg’s career (even as it surprisingly veers away from many of his expected tropes). Cronenberg explains himself eloquently on the commentary track, which became one of the year's most necessary listens, and there is a long look at the production of the film, and a really nice piece on the reception it received at Cannes. Cronenberg's most mainstream film to date might be his best, so why shouldn’t it be a crucial DVD for 2006?
1st: 1
3rd: 1
6th: 1
10th: 1

Jury Voice Award: Pandora's Box: Criterion Collection
Our readers selected this sordid German silent film as our Jury Voice winner. The 1929 film by George Pabst tells the tale of Lulu, a dancer who uses sex to get everything she wants. It was reviled and heavily censored in its day, so it's the perfect film to be lovingly restored and appropriately dolled up on DVD by Criterion.

Other Nominees:

The Addams Family: Volume 1
The Adventures Of Brisco County Jr.: The Complete Series
All The President's Men: Two-Disc Special Edition
Andy Goldsworthy: Rivers And Tides: Working With Time
Arrested Development: Season Three
The Ballad Of Cable Hogue
Battlestar Galactica: Season 2.5
Beowulf And Grendel
Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls
The Booth
Brazil: Criterion Collection (3-Disc Boxed Set)
Brazil: Criterion Collection (Single Disc Edition)
Brokeback Mountain
A Canterbury Tale: Criterion Collection
Casablanca (HD DVD)
Charlie Chan Collection, Vol. 1
Christmas Evil
The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe (Four-Disc Extended Edition)
Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll: Ultimate Collector's Edition
Clerks II
The Constant Gardener
Dave Chappelle's Block Party
Demon Days Live (At Manchester)
The Descent: Original Unrated Cut
Doctor Who: The Complete First Series
Dog Day Afternoon: Special Edition
Double Indemnity: Universal Legacy Series
Dune: Extended Edition
Dungeons And Dragons: The Complete Animated Series
The Flash: The Complete Series
Forbidden Planet (Two-Disc 50th Anniversary Special Edition)
Forbidden Planet: Ultimate Collector's Edition
49 Up
The 400 Blows: Criterion Collection
Ghost Stories Semester 5: Graduation Ghoulies (Volume 5)
Gojira: The Original Japanese Masterpiece
Good Night, And Good Luck
The Green Mile: Two-Disc Special Edition
Grey Gardens / The Beales Of Grey Gardens: Criterion Collection
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe: Season Two, Volume Two
Hollywood Legends Of Horror Collection
Homicide Life on the Street: Complete Series Megaset
Howl's Moving Castle
Hustle And Flow
An Inconvenient Truth
It's A Wonderful Life: 60th Anniversary Edition
James Bond Ultimate Edition (Volume 1)
James Bond Ultimate Edition (Volume 2)
James Bond Ultimate Edition (Volume 3)
James Bond Ultimate Edition (Volume 4)
John Wayne-John Ford Film Collection
Johnny Cash: Live in Ireland 1993
The King
La Bete Humaine: Criterion Collection
La Commune
Lady Vengeance
The Little Mermaid: Platinum Edition
Lost: The Complete Second Season
The Maltese Falcon: Three-Disc Special Edition
Masters Of Horror: Dario Argento: Jenifer
Masters Of Horror: Don Coscarelli: Incident On And Off A Mountain Road
Masters Of Horror: John Carpenter's Cigarette Burns
Masters Of Horror: John Landis: Deer Woman
Masters Of Horror: John McNaughton: Haeckel's Tale
Masters Of Horror: Larry Cohen: Pick Me Up
Masters Of Horror: Lucky Mckee: Sick Girl
Masters Of Horror: Mick Garris: Chocolate
Masters Of Horror: Stuart Gordon: Dreams In The Witch House
Masters Of Horror: Takashi Miike: Imprint
Masters Of Horror: Tobe Hooper: Dance Of The Dead
Masters Of Horror: William Malone: The Fair Haired Child
Midnight Cowboy: Two Disc Collector's Edition
My Neighbor Totoro (Disney Release)
Network: Special Edition
The New World
The Notorious Bettie Page
The Office: Season Two
The Passenger
Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid: Special Edition
Paul McCartney: The Space Within US
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: Two-Disc Collector's Edition
Playtime: Criterion Collection
Police Squad! The Complete Series
The Poseidon Adventure: Special Edition
Preston Sturges: The Filmmaker Collection
The Prisoner: Complete Series Megaset (40th Anniversary Edition)
The Proposition
Queen: The Making Of A Night At The Opera
Reds: 25th Anniversary Edition
Ride The High Country
Rocky: Two-Disc Collector's Edition
Rollergirls: The Complete Season One
Saturday Night Live: The Complete First Season
A Scanner Darkly
The Searchers: Ultimate Collector's Edition
Shock Treatment
The Squid And The Whale
Street Trash: Meltdown Edition
Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut
Superman Returns: Two Disc Special Edition
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Two-Disc Ultimate Edition
Thank You For Smoking
3 Films By Louis Malle: Criterion Collection
Tristram Shandy: A Cock And Bull Story
24: Season Five
V For Vendetta: Two-Disc Special Edition
Wallace And Gromit In The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit
Walt Disney Legacy Collection: True-Life Adventures (Volumes 1-4)
Weeds: Season One
What's Eating Gilbert Grape: Special Collector's Edition
When The Levees Broke: A Requiem In Four Acts
Why We Fight
The Wild Bunch: The Original Director's Cut
The Wild, Wild West: The Complete First Season

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Previous Golden Gavel Winners:

• 2011
• 2010
• 2009
• 2007
• 2005
• 2004
• 2003
• 2002
• 2001

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