Sign in to follow this  
filmlover

Warner Bros. offers video archives directly to consumer

66 posts in this topic

>>On the first page of this thread, calvinnmen did the service of putting together the titles WB had there. I just noticed WB's count is now up to 155, so here is an updated list (with new titles in the list bolded):

 

You might want to make note that CRIME AND PUNISHMENT is actually properly titled as CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, USA, which starred George Hamilton.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got my copy of *Malaya*. I had it on VHS, but that just wasn't good enough for me. :P

 

It arrived in what I thought was a pretty big box for a DVD - but I appreciate that it was so well protected. The DVD seems excellent. The clamshell is a little funny because it doesn't open as easily as all the other ones I know, but I'm not complaining.

 

The image quality was very, very good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

New article about the Warner Archive titles over at cnet.com:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10213915-1.html

 

(I do agree with the writer, it might be a win-win situation for Warner to offer the titles through Amazon.com as well)

 

Warner Archive DVDs: A hands-on evaluation

by John P. Falcone

 

Recently, Warner announced its new DVD-on-demand program. Dubbed "Warner Archive," it's a Web site that allows the company to market more obscure titles from its back catalog. Consumers choose the specific titles they want, and Warner manufactures them as needed and mails them directly to the consumer in under a week.

 

At least two of the debut movies caught my eye, so I decided to give it a try. My test movies were "Countdown" and "The D.I." The former is a 1968 movie with James Caan as an astronaut scrambling to beat a Soviet space mission to the moon. In addition to a pre-"Godfather" pairing of Caan and costar Robert Duvall, it's of interest to me as an early Robert Altman film (years before his better known 70s hits "M.A.S.H." and "Nashville"). "The D.I.," meanwhile, is a 1957 flick directed by and starring Jack Webb as a tough-as-nails Marine drill instructor. This one is a gift for my father, who's been searching for this old favorite for years.

 

Both movies arrived in a padded envelope less then a week after my order. They're packaged in standard DVD keepcases, and I appreciated the lack of cellophane and other redundant packing materials. The front and back covers are obviously based on a template, but they are customized with photos, blurbs, cast lists--it certainly has a budget feel, but it's a step-up from some of the truly no-frills custom DVDs I've ordered in the past.

 

The disc itself also has a professional looking label. According to The Digital Bits, "the discs will be burned rather than pressed which raises obvious concerns over longevity, although a proprietary burn technology is being used that Warners feels is much more reliable than what one can do at home on one's own computer." Indeed, the case includes the warning "This disc is expected to play back in DVD video 'play only' devices, and may not play back in other DVD devices, including recorders and PC drives." That said, we had no trouble playing it in several Blu-ray players, Windows PC DVD drives, or Xbox 360s. Only some PS3 models balked: the original 60GB PlayStation 3 didn't recognize the disc, but newer 40GB and 80GB models did.

 

Menus are bare-bones. A scene selection menu is absent, but the movies are auto-chaptered at 10-minute intervals, so it's easy enough to jump to key scenes. Extras are also basically nonexistent, though "Countdown" does include the original theatrical trailer (though it's nonanamorphic wide-screen).

 

As for the quality of the movies themselves: I'd say it's strictly in the "good enough" territory. Both films are in their original wide-screen aspect ratio ("Countdown" is anamorphic 2.35:1, "The D.I." is anamorphic 1.85:1). The colors on "Countdown" had the somewhat dull, faded look of many films of the late 60s, and there was occasional grit and scratches. ("The D.I." is black and white.) But the prints were good overall, and nothing will detract from your enjoyment of the film. Remember, none of these films are popular enough to warrant the cost of a full-scale frame-by-frame restoration. The victory here isn't that it's a pristine, videophile-friendly print of the movie--it's that you can see these movies at all. Unless you're stumbling across them on Turner Classic Movies or finding a worn VHS copy at a yard sale, these on-demand DVDs and digital downloads (see below) are the only way to see these movies.

 

That said, my biggest issues with the Warner Archive program remain price and availability. On the pricing front, I'd like to see the movies cost closer to the $8-15 range, rather than the default $20; a "buy 2, get 1 free" sale might be one way to achieve this, for instance.

 

The larger problem is that the Warner Archive site is the only place where these movies are surfaced. And so far, Googling the titles doesn't even help you find the Warner site. What Warner should do is partner with Amazon. Amazon already supports third-party vendors and on-demand book publishers, so this wouldn't be a stretch. They'd show up as available on Amazon and the Amazon-owned Internet Movie Database site, both of which would make them much easier to find via Google and other search engines.

 

Interestingly, the Warner Archive titles are also available as digital downloads via a partnership with CinemaNow. I didn't bother investing in those versions because the FAQ made them look to be overcomplicated, DRM PC files. The preference here, again, would be partnering with larger digital distributors--Netflix or Amazon Video On Demand.

 

And that's pretty much my bottom line. I love the fact that these more obscure movies and TV shows are becoming available on DVD and digitally, and I hope that other studios follow Warner's lead. I'd just like the movies to be easier to find, available via more distributors (digitally or otherwise), and for them to be more affordable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I ordered five titles and have watched two of them so far, Strange Interlude and Ice Follies of 1939. Both looked and sounded great, but no extras, not even a trailer on the first one. I was happy to see them offered and had been waiting a long time for some of these titles to surface, so it doesn't really matter. Warners has done a great job so far with their box sets and single title classics, as have Turner and 20th Century Fox.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mentioned this in the DVD forum but thought I would mention here since there were some here who have bought them:

 

WB has just announced new titles for the Warner Archive

 

A Woman Rebels

Spitfire

Joy of Living

Luxury Liner

The Mad Miss Manton

Return of the Bad Men

Tall Street

Quality Street

The Little Minister

Meet the People

Having Wonderful Time

Break of Hearts

Christopher Strong

Carson City

Thousands Cheer

 

 

http://www.wbshop.com/Warner-Archive/ARCHIVE,default,sc.html?adid=wacurl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't believe I forgot to mention this. In the email I got from them today, they said:

 

*"Buy 2, Get 1 Free when you order by 4/27/09" Enter Coupon Code: SPITFIRE*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks filmlover for the tip! I was about to place an order, good thing I read this thread first! I'm also very pleased to read that "Strange Interlude" looks good, whoever it was who mentioned it. I'll be sure to order it now. I'm so glad to see four Norma Shearer titles in the mix thus far. For years now I've been hoping for a full fledged box set of her movies but I think she's too forgotten to warrant that kind of release. The last one they did was for Natalie Wood (deservedly) but a box for Shearer wouldn't draw enough buyers, even though every movie is an A list MGM production. So hopefully we see a few more of her movies released, including "Smilin' Through" which also has great performances from Fredric March and Leslie Howard. Aside from Shearer I'd also love to see "George Washington Slept Here" with Jack Benny and Ann Sheridan. It's such a great comedy from the 40's with a great cast and has always been a favorite of mine, even though it's not as well remembered as I think it should be. Another title I'd love to see is "Primrose Path" with Ginger Rogers and Joel McCrea. The performances in this movie are incredible, way above what you'd expect from Rogers and McCrea and from an early 40's RKO melodrama. The whole cast is amazing, especially Marjorie Rambeau - it's easily her greatest performance.

 

Does anyone know if there's a place where we can request titles on the Warner website? I don't see an option for that and I'd love to suggest the titles I just mentioned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Holey Moley, it's MovieJoe!

 

Hey Joe, we sure do miss you around here!

 

Hope all is well in your world!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Liz!

 

Thanks for the welcome back. Things are fine, and I hope to be posting more on the boards. I see that Moira is around again and that Mongo is posting great stuff as always! Nice to see that you guys are still here!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Filmlover, you realy know your stuff! How incredibally in-depth & not only on this topic but most. Again, is your writing anywhere else? Plus, due to your living in Hollywood area-(had sooo-many things could go-over with you on that aspect alone) You can likely back me up on this one-(if not, please chime-in) I had wanted to see M-G-m in Culver City since I was a kid of 15 in 1979. Thanx to Mr. Kirkorian as all know-(the Gordon Ghekko of destroying Tinsel-town) & his 1971 lobotomy of the grandest of all "Dream Factories"-(once 200 acres in it's prime, now reduced to 44 at the most) & Sony instead? I finally did get to tour whats left in 0ct. of 2005. Among the most dispicable travesty's was when they removed all previous MGM BP ACADEMY AWARD WINNING Posters & replaced them with Columbia's, in the still-there 4-now anyway: *"Thalberg building." They have some lil' buildings titled>*The K. Hepburn, *Spencer Tracy, *L. Barrymore, *Gable, Garbo or Mickey Rooney bldg though.-(these probably weren't even there back during the Studio-System. & the row of buildings that were usually dubbed the writers row are still-there. I did get quite a few photos though & thanx to a nice-lady tour guide, she let us hang around awhile afterward & take more. Now onto whats thee greatest of all Tinsel-Town tours WB's V.I.P. tour-(only a tag-line, all are called this) It's museum alone is almost worth it's price! S.U.P.E.R.B. It's at the beginning of the lot & in it is a place us fans could hang-out all-day. The old-guy in the souvenir shop right near-it knew likes of>*Cagney & Edward G. They must lock camera's under the seat of tour cart though But will later let u get many, many shots. There's the NYC Hell's Kitchen st.-("Angels With Dirty Faces" & others) Upper crust NYC st-(like in "The Big Sleep" "Life With Father" & of course many *B. Davis movies) Plus, the almost legendary stairs *Cagney died on in "Roaring 20's" also used in "Little Caesar"-(got shots of most of these) The Town Sq. from "Arsenic & 0ld Lace" "Music Man" & all of the :Four Daughters' flix. They were filming a tv thing there "Dukes of Hazzard: Go to Hollywood" Then there was the largest s. stage on the planet! I asked a sec. guard of whom musta' been 90. where "0ld Man & the Sea' was finally filmed after coming back from Cuba & he told tour guide to go past it. They were filming *G. Clooney's "A Perfect Storm' inside right then. Even his ever present basketball net was out frt.

About 80% of tv series' are now filmed on the Burbank lot. "Sienfeld" "Friends" "ER" & most others. Next time u happen to catch a repeat of "M*A*S*H" or "Little House..." look for the huge mountain in the background. it's pt of the other side of the Hollywood sign mtn. This is obviously not all about it's dvd releases, but some fun on where it all came from (P.S. WB's was originally located in mid Hollywood though. Now KTLA-TV.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How could I forget something that literally gave me the chills! the tour cart actually rode through a huge sound stage, now or in Nov. of '99 was used as a warehouse for props, clothes-(tv again for the most part) & there it was Fenced-off very tightly & under lock and key. A small section of the original prison mill from 1949's "White Heat" Which was transformed-(same huge sound stage) into the classic sequence of Cody Jarrett's flip-out bit in the prison mess hall as well!!! W.O.W!

However, here no-matter how much asking, people were not permitted a photograph. Again to Peter, not certain which s. stage your fav. *"Casablanca' was shot-in though. As you are aware the famed finale though was done at the Burbank & now also Glendale Airport-(did get a couple great shots of that, from a distance during a 5 & 1/2 hour tour that also included Mulholland Dr.)

Can you believe this though The tour-guide that drove cart was fairly certain that forementioned Town Square was not ever used for the great, great screwball comedy Arsenic & 0ld Lace" (l944 filmed in '41) Though i knew it looked like it was 1 in the same. So, I get back to motel & there it was in print. it was filmed right there GO-FIGURE

 

Message was edited by: myidolspencer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us