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Ford at Fox at a Good Price


sewhite2000
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I saw the Ford at Fox box set at Half Price Books tonight for $70 and am thinking about getting it. It's 24 films Ford directed at the studio between 1924 and 1952, so from both the William Fox and the Darryl Zanuck eras. Plus an alternate version of The Iron Horse (1924) released in the UK only and the documentary about Ford's early career Becoming John Ford. There are some biggies on here: Judge PriestThe Grapes of WrathDrums Along the MohawkHow Green Was My ValleyYoung Mr. Lincoln and Wee Willie Winkie, plus lesser-known films in all sorts of genres.

I found some online reviews and articles from when this set was originally released in 2007, and the list price then was $300! Holy crap. In retrospect, it seems this was pretty much the end of these massive box sets. It was just before the 2008 stock market crash, and suddenly people didn't have so much discretionary income. Also, the streaming era was in its infancy. I don't know that there's really been any DVD box set of this scope since then. Fox and TCM worked out some kind of cross-promotional agreement where a number of these films were shown on TCM, and I remember watching a few of them back in '07.  

The original price listing seems pretty insane in hindsight. But I could purchase it now for less than $3/movie. Sounds pretty good ... right?

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The intersection of DVD to Blu, the stock market/economy crash of 2008, and the advent of streaming which came earlier than anyone expected killed the big box sets. I think Murnau/Borzage at Fox was the last of the big box sets at Fox, and it was released at the end of 2008. The last of the big box sets for Warner Bros. was "Warners Home Front Collection" which came out in the fall of 2008. Think of the insanity of having 1943's "This is the Army" on pressed DVD with commentary and Showboat is in the Warner Archive on DVD-R. At one time WB was planning on putting all three Showboat films on Blu in one big set. I haven't heard anything about that for about five years.

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6 hours ago, calvinnme said:

The intersection of DVD to Blu, the stock market/economy crash of 2008, and the advent of streaming which came earlier than anyone expected killed the big box sets. I think Murnau/Borzage at Fox was the last of the big box sets at Fox, and it was released at the end of 2008. The last of the big box sets for Warner Bros. was "Warners Home Front Collection" which came out in the fall of 2008. Think of the insanity of having 1943's "This is the Army" on pressed DVD with commentary and Showboat is in the Warner Archive on DVD-R. At one time WB was planning on putting all three Showboat films on Blu in one big set. I haven't heard anything about that for about five years.

Warner's terror of getting back on the horse after one or two badly sold/mismarketed vintage boxsets crippled what was once a thriving collector restoration-set market, and banished it all to "Mad King Ludwig's dungeon" when the studio went on its doomed seven-year quest to sell us Flixster downloads singlehandedly.  While the individual titles from Warner's Fred Astaire, Busby Berkeley, Val Lewton and B-Movie boxes eventually found homes in the Archive, the collector bonus material didn't, and third-party labels like Shout Factory have taken up the hard work of taking some of the Lewton titles to Blu.

So, yeah: If you see a vintage Fox or Warner collector-boxset being sold on clearance, BUY IT.  Preserving the more film-tolerant 00's is what permanent disk was made for.

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