Introduction to Janus Films 50th Anniversary
The Seventh Seal proved to be the new company's breakthrough film. Other important masterworks eventually acquired by Janus include Sergei Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible Part Two (1946), Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast (1946) and Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon (1950) and Yojimbo (1961), all shown during the TCM festival. Janus also spotlighted such hidden gems as Spain's Death of a Cyclist (1955, TCM Premiere), a psychological drama directed by Juan Antonio Bardem.
In 1965 Janus Films was acquired by documentary filmmaker Saul J. Turell and theater businessman William Becker, who worked to expand the company's holdings and create a library of established classics that could be preserved for distribution around the country and on television. Through the second-generation teaming of Jonathan Turell and Peter Becker, Janus has formed a close association with The Criterion Collection in bringing classic films to DVD.
by Roger Fristoe