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PaulaJo

Why are vintage Paramount films so hard to come by?

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I have just finished the TCM book-of-the-month *Edith Head* by Jay Jorgensen. She was predominantly at the Paramount studios, so most of the movies mentioned in this book are Paramount films. I went on and on trying to find the movies mentioned, but they don't seem to be available on DVD. As far as I can tell from paramount.com, none of their vintage movies are available. Why is that??

 

Paula Jo

 

Edited by: PaulaJo on Jan 21, 2011 6:54 PM

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*As far as I can tell from paramount.com, none of their vintage movies are available. Why is that??*

 

Paula,

 

The problem is because Paramount does not own the films it made from 1931-1948. They sold that part of their library to MCA (Universal) in the 1950s when MCA was looking for films to lease to television.

 

The good news is that TCM and Universal recently reached a rental agreement so more of Universal's film library (including the Paramount films) should be showing up on TCM over the next year.

 

The bad news for DVD is that Universal is not known for really caring about their classic film library when it comes to DVD releases. They make more money releasing their classic tv shows in box sets than they do on classic films.

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Thank you so much for your reply. I knew I was sure to receive some kind of response on TCM, but I had no idea a historian, preservationist and archivist would be answering my question. You are a treasure trove of information! I will be watching and waiting for those Paramount films that were costumed by Edith Head in the coming year.

 

Thank you...Merci...Danke...Grazie

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Paramount Silent films made between 1923 and 1929 are even harder to come by because Paramount has retained the copyrights. Better than 95% of surviving titles have never been released on DVD. They seem to have no interest in releasing even the biggest titles such as THE COVERED WAGON, STAGE STRUCK, A KISS FOR CINDERELLA, BARBED WIRE, CHILDREN OF DIVORCE, and WINGS. It's a shame because Paramount has numerous great classics in it's library that few people ever get to see.

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Can Criterion or Warner Archive buy those films back so they can be properly restored and released?

 

It's so sad Universal is behind them in caring about remastering great films such as Arise My Love-an Academy Award winner for story as an example. They are completely neglecting the Paramount catalog....the "forgotten stepchild" unfortunately...many Leisen movies are not out on DVD to be seen. And actors such as William Holden and Ray Milland have films that have not seen a release to DVD.

 

Edited by: Reneerose242000 on Jan 6, 2013 2:50 AM

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Since this thread was started "Wings" has been released at least. Speaking of Ray Milland and William Holden (and Veronica Lake)-where is "I Wanted Wings?" Leisen took over filming after it had already started shooting in Texas, since Leisen had a pilot's license they thought he would be a good fit.

 

Edited by: ericsvdwsi8 on Jan 6, 2013 9:40 AM

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You can try doing what I did. When I wanted to see the old Troy Donahue films I wrote directly to Warner and asked them to release a boxed set, which they did not too long after (and grateful I am). I don't know if it will help, but writing to them and letting them know there is a fan base that will purchase sometimes helps.....

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