PLEASE NOTE: This box set is only available from our website for HOME use. If you wish to purchase this collection for a school or library please contact: Criterion


An uncompromisingly independent filmmaker, Les Blank (Burden of Dreams) made documentaries for nearly fifty years, elegantly disappearing with his camera into cultural spots rarely seen on-screen—mostly on the peripheries of the United States, but also occasionally abroad. Seemingly off-the-cuff yet poetically constructed, these films are humane, sometimes wry, always engaging tributes to musicians, food, and all sorts of regionally specific delights. This collector’s set put out by Criterion (see review) provides a diverse survey of Les Blank’s vast output, including the warmly funny, The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins, about the legendary Texas musician; Always for Pleasure, which captures the vivacious spirit of New Orleans; Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers, a hilarious celebration of the pungent, flavorful “stinking rose” of the title; and eleven other unexpected features, plus eight of Blank’s short films.


Box Set contains 14 Les Blank films remastered by Criterion (average price $6.25 per film!) 

A Well Spent Life (1971)
Always for Pleasure (1978)
Dry Wood (1973)
Gap-Toothed Women (1987)
Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers (1980)
God Respects Us When We Work, but Loves Us When We Dance (1968)
Hot Pepper (1973)
In Heaven There Is No Beer? (1984)
Spend It All (1971)
Sprout Wings and Fly (1983)
Sworn to the Drum (1995)
The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins (1968)
The Maestro: King of the Cowboy Artists (1994)
Yum, Yum, Yum (1990)


• New 2K digital restorations of all fourteen films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks

• Excerpt from Les Blank: A Quiet Revelation, an upcoming documentary by Gina Leibrecht and Harrod Blank

• New interviews with director Les Blank’s sons, Harrod and Beau; Blank documentary subject Gerald Gaxiola (a.k.a. the Maestro); filmmakers Skip Gerson, Maureen Gosling, Taylor Hackford, Tom Luddy, and Chris Simon; and chef and author Alice Waters

• Blank’s short films Lightnin’ Les (1968), Mr. Charlie, Your Rollin’ Mill Is Burnin’ Down (1968), The Sun’s Gonna Shine (1968), More Fess (1978), Julie: Old Time Tales of the Blue Ridge (1991), My Old Fiddle: A Visit with Tommy Jarrell in the Blue Ridge (1995), and The Maestro Rides Again (2005)

• PLUS: An essay by film scholar Andrew Horton

Product Details

Release Date: 11/25/2014
UPC: 715515119412
Source: Criterion
Region Code: A
Presentation: Special Edition / Restored
Time: 9:23:00
Format: Blu-ray
This is a home use license (not for public screenings)