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Angels With Dirty Faces


MEC
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Hello TCM Fans!

I am brand new to these boards, but certainly not brand new to TCM or classic movies. I have been all-consumed with classic films since I was 10 years old (half a century ago). I am a huge Jimmy Cagney, Bogart, Garfield, and Edward G. Robinson fan, as well as a film noir enthusiast.

Speaking of Cagney, I appreciate any time TCM schedules Jimmy’s films. However, as a long-time TCM viewer, I don’t ever recall seeing Angels With Dirty Faces in the rotation of films. Does anyone know why this is? Such a great Cagney film...imo, right up there White Heat and Roaring Twenties.

 

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"Don't shoot, Rocky! Word on the street and in my parrish is that this movie's broadcast rights have been held hostage by another other than TCM for a few years now."

(...ya gotta love Pat O'Brien...he never lies...well, at least not whenever he's wearin' one of those collars there)

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It's not just TCM with rights issues regarding the film. It's tough to find the Angels on DVD now, unless it's used. I saw one vendor on Amazon offering the (presumably new) 6 disc Warners Gangster Collection Vol. 1 (Angels, Petrified Forest, Public Enemy, Roaring 20s, Little Caesar, White Heat) for $104. Another is offering the collection used for $74.95.

To just get a new DVD of Angels by itself, though, appears to be a challenge. Warners Home Video obviously stopped producing it.

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5 minutes ago, LsDoorMat said:

This is a problem with several films that Warner Brothers made with Cagney - "Ceiling Zero", "Come Fill the Cup", and this film. Angels aired on TCM on a very regular basis until the end of 2009.

Yes though the problem was always there with the first two films, neither of which ever had a DVD release (though Ceiling Zero had been out on VHS). I found it strange and unexpected that Angels, after being very available for years both on TCM and home video, suddenly developed rights issues. I'm glad I still have my old DVD from the Warners Gangster Collection Vol. 1.

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And WELCOME TO THE BOARDS, MEC!  :) 

Please don't let the absence of that movie on TCM  keep you from joining in on the many different discussions here.  And frankly.....

When I think of how many times I've seen ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES  on the various "late, late show" programs for years before cable and TCM ever existed, it's absence now IS puzzling.  

Sepiatone

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35 minutes ago, TomJH said:

Yes though the problem was always there with the first two films, neither of which ever had a DVD release (though Ceiling Zero had been out on VHS). I found it strange and unexpected that Angels, after being very available for years both on TCM and home video, suddenly developed rights issues. I'm glad I still have my old DVD from the Warners Gangster Collection Vol. 1.

I can't find any hard information on it, but Cagney did have his own independent production company, starting in the mid 1930s. Also, he had a very strained relationship with his two adopted children.  Maybe they got left out of the will and maybe there is some kind of dispute over the estate that includes some portion of this film? Maybe it is some kind of rights dispute stemming from these two facts? 

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9 hours ago, LsDoorMat said:

I can't find any hard information on it, but Cagney did have his own independent production company, starting in the mid 1930s. Also, he had a very strained relationship with his two adopted children.  Maybe they got left out of the will and maybe there is some kind of dispute over the estate that includes some portion of this film? Maybe it is some kind of rights dispute stemming from these two facts? 

The formation of Cagney Productions was announced in 1942, so it had no ownership interest in Angels. The brothers James and William planned to produce movies that would be released through United Artists. They went broke pretty much after The Time of Your Life

Angels With Dirty Faces is public domain.

Edit 9 hours later: Maybe not.

 

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37 minutes ago, LuckyDan said:

Angels With Dirty Faces is public domain.

Yeah....and then I was thinking, it's such a great film, I bet someone's restoring it (hopefully Kino or Criterion) Then there will be a DVD release and it will be readily available to stream for $9.99!

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Just now, TikiSoo said:

Yeah....and then I was thinking, it's such a great film, I bet someone's restoring it (hopefully Kino or Criterion) Then there will be a DVD release and it will be readily available to stream for $9.99!

I've spent an hour or more looking for more information on why it isn't readily available. I know nothing about the mechanics of broadcasting movies or tv shows that were originally on film or tape. Why can't TCM for example, have an employee bring in a DVD copy to run? Is the DVD copyrighted? Must they air an actual print of the film? Has Warners opted not to make their prints available? In that case, no independent restoration is possible. 

But I can't find much information relative to any of these questions. My coffee is getting cool, and I'm losing interest.

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Another question about the business of commercial broadcasting I'd like to know but can't find an answer to:  Does TCM have some sort of agreement with distributors that forbids them from running public domain movies? So that the distributors don't have to compete with free stuff. Unlikely but possible I think.

 

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Here is an old thread on the topic of public domain movies on TCM.

And here is a 2012 NY Post piece where the TCM programming VP talks about accessing public domain movies. The money quote:

“There are some distributors that specialize in public domain movies. The better ones tend to have the better material,” Tabesh says. “We don’t pay a ‘license fee’ for the film, but we do pay to be able to access their version. In addition, we sometimes go to film archives that have good film prints; if we pay for the cost of mastering to video and credit them on-air we can often work out an agreement."

 

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2 hours ago, LuckyDan said:

Angels With Dirty Faces is public domain.

 

Are you sure of this, Dan and, if so, can you supply a source for this information?

Warners Home Video had the rights to release it on DVD in 2005, along with the other five gangster films in their Warners Gangster Collection Vol. 1. None of the other films are public domain (Public Enemy, Little Caesar, Petrified Forest, Roaring 20s, White Heat). I realize there is a rights issue of some kind with Angels now but I've never heard it's public domain. And if it is public domain why aren't we seeing multiple cheap looking copies of it around, such as is the case with Santa Fe Trail?

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11 minutes ago, Millenniumman said:

What is the cost to restore a film or does it depend on it's original production value ?

Do you mean is it dependent on the quality of the existing film materials? I would think so, yes, and the process can be very time consuming if the original materials are not in good shape. I would think a movie as beloved as Angels would have been kept in pretty fair condition, or as good as thexpassage of times allows. 

I recently discovered some old home movies my grandfather recorded as early as the 1950s on his hand-wound Bell and Howell camera. I'm planning on having them converted, as is if possible, to disk, and I'm hoping it won't be cost prohibitive, though restoration probably would be.

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Just now, TomJH said:

Are you sure of this, Dan and, if so, can you supply a source for this information?

Warners Home Video had the rights to release it on DVD in 2005, along with the other five gangster films in their Warners Gangster Collection Vol. 1. None of the other films are public domain (Public Enemy, Little Caesar, Petrified Forest, Roaring 20s, White Heat). I realize there is a rights issue of some kind with Angels now but I've never heard it's public domain. And if it is public domain why aren't we seeing multiple cheap looking copies of it around, such as is the case with Santa Fe Trail?

Search "angels with Dirty faces public domain" and you will see it listed as such on wiki commons and imdb.

Warners owned it so they would have no trouble selling copies of it on dvd. 

Why it isn't floating around in dollar bin copies is a question I'm still working on. I can only guess that Warner has prints and is guarding them from cheap copy makers. I don't know the answer.

 

 

 

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There are very few Warner Bros. features that are public domain. Even their trailers were copyrighted (renewal on those is another question). The ANGELS rights have "reportedly" reverted to Rowland Brown's estate. Brown wrote the original story.

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13 minutes ago, Ray Faiola said:

There are very few Warner Bros. features that are public domain. Even their trailers were copyrighted (renewal on those is another question). The ANGELS rights have "reportedly" reverted to Rowland Brown's estate. Brown wrote the original story.

It seems to me that a lot of time you hear of rights issues tied up in the estates/families of the writers originally involved who, of course, are now long gone. Sometimes it seems that we movie fans have to lose out in seeing noteworthy films of the past (or even a classic like Angels With Dirty Faces) because of lawyers involved claiming their territory and caring little, if anything, for the product or, certainly, a few movie fans wanting to seeing an old film to which they hold rights.

Errol Flynn's 1937 Perfect Specimen is another '30s Warners (at least once shown on TCM) that has rights issues preventing television broadcast or DVD release and I'll bet dollars to donuts it probably has something to do with the estate of the writers involved. I admit I have not looked into this. It's just a guess on my part.

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