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My private film library...


fxreyman
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On January 7, 2011 I started a thread titled LISTS on the Favorites Forum. My goal was to list films in my library at the time and to really just get members involved with listing their library of films, or any type of list of any films, actors, directors and so on. The thread has over 63 pages as of now. But because I have deleted over 100 films from my original list of films, I thought it was time to see how many films I have and which decade led my list.

My second post on that thread showed how many films I had at that time in my personal library. A total of 621 films were listed. Of those, 113 films were still on VHS. Since moving back to the Chicago area in January of 2015 from Colorado Springs, I deleted all 113 VHS films from my library. And since that time I have added 16 new DVD titles giving me my present day number of films in my current library of 524. Of those 524 films, 12 films can be found in my iTunes library.

The breakdown of my films per decade are as follows:

1920's:  12

1930's:  70

1940's:  88

1950's:  83

1960's:  82

1970's:  52

1980's:  33

1990's:  58

2000's:  38

2010's:     8

Based on many conversations we have had over the years here on the message board about what possibly could indicate older films versus newer films, or at least when the split between older studio era films and newer Hollywood films occurred, I ma making the case that 1969 was the last year of the old Hollywood system and the new era of filmmaking started in 1970. Many of the conversations have centered on when the old Hays Code was abolished and that was in November of 1968. That code was replaced by the newer MPAA code with the letter codes, G, PG, R and X. Over the years these codes have changed somewhat but are still basically the same as when they were adopted in 1968.

So I have decided that according to the films I have in my library, 1969 will be the break between old Hollywood and new Hollywood.

With this in mind, my library includes 335 films made between 1923 and 1969, or 63.93% of all of my films.

189 films are in my library which were produced after the start of 1970 and that equals 36.07% of my films.

Easily, most of my films in my library are from the older Hollywood production period.

Not too bad.

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Y'know,  when I developed a film "library", my only concerns were finding something to keep the tapes( it was started before DVDs) neat and orderly and easy to get at, and placing them in alphabetic order.   Since I've got a lot of time on my hands(being retired and all) I might go through them and see how many movies in how many different decades I've acquired.

Nice idea.  :) 

Sepiatone

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I gave up trying to keep track of how many VHS tapes I have.  About 5000?  90+ boxes full of tapes over the past thirty-something years.

I have 2 Blu-Ray discs:  RECORD CITY (1978) -and- SKATETOWN, U.S.A. (1979).  

I reckon I've got about 125 DVD/DVD-R's. 

All else is *mylar*!  I ♥ old tapes.  

I have especially enjoyed searching out the 1st homevideo releases of popular movies/movies that were released multiple times on VHS over the years like JAWS, THE HOWLING, THE WAR WAGON, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, THE THING '82 and many others like THE OUTFIT and POINT BLANK.

I have noted JAWS is now available in 4k for those who are interested.  I like to watch "Jaws" on the 1980 MCA Videocassette, inc. tape.  JAWS didn't need remastering when this release came out; the movie was only 5 years old.  Just a transfer of a film print, admittedly not in W/S.  I have 5 copies of JAWS on tape and the other 4 are all W/S releases with various bonus features/deleted scenes/outtakes, but I really •wanted• to get hold of the '1st-issue' VHS release of "Jaws" for my stash about 15 years ago.   🙂 

The only thing I've had to do is use double-sided tape to keep the spine label from falling off the videocassette.  I reckon the glue holding the label on simply dried out after all these years.  Those old videocassettes were like ▬ bricks ▬! 

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I have my film collection catalogued on a web-based database.  This allows me to search my collection by a variety of criteria, depending on what type of movie I feel like watching.  And since it's online, I can access it with my phone.  This is very helpful to see if I already own the movie when I'm out and about and see something I'm interested in.  I also catalogued my DVR contents when Dish removed the ability to search the DVR by actor.  When I delete movies from the DVR, I delete them from the database.

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I have a very large DVD library of thousands of discs (probably around 11,000), both pre-recorded as well as copies of films I've put on blank discs.

Most I never put on after initially seeing them. They just sit there. Lately, though, I have been dismayed to discover that some of the older discs are freezing up on me. Call it laser rot or DVD rot or whatever, I have now been forced to try to replace some of my DVDs with newer versions of them for that reason. This has not only happened to some of the pre recorded DVDs but to some blank DVD-Rs upon which I made recordings, as well.

Some years ago TCM showed a beautiful copy of a John Barrymore silent, When A Man Loves. It was such a lovely image that after copying it onto a blank DVD-R I then made a backup copy of it on another blank just in case something happened to it. Sound paranoid? Two weeks ago I put on that first copy of the film and after seven minutes it started to freeze up on me. Thank God I made a backup, I thought. Ten minutes into the backup being played it started freezing up on me, too, and then stopped playing. As a result of this I wound up purchasing a Warners Archive DVD of the film but I was lucky that the film still existed as a MOD DVD. If it hadn't, well, that would be one film to strike off my list that I thought I had.

Bottom line, much as I hate to say it, nothing lasts forever. You can make these lists and think you've got a great collection but until you actually put the disc on to see that it still plays you don't really know if you've got it. Fortunately, so far, the freezing or complete non playing issues have only happened to a small percentage of discs. I keep thinking, though, with more time passing, how many more?

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I heard a lifespan of 20 years max for dvdr i have a few hundreds in the 15 year range there is also the compatibility factor,some dvd-r are better than others. i never by new dvds,the only one i bought was the 2 cd set of Citizen Kane a long time ago ,i rarely rewatch a movie, some i do but not many. And i watch about 500-600  films a year.

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I have a modest DVD library (certainly nothing to match the posters above), including some PAL titles as well as some programs recorded from British television. I also had a large number of films and programs on my DVR. But alas! My cable company replaced my cable box, and now I'm back to square one with that part of my library.

I do remember the first movie I purchased on video; and the first on DVD:

Video: King of the Zombies (1941): I SO had to have this movie, that I purchased it even before I had a VCR, when I was quite young.

DVD: Last Year at Marienbad (1961): It sounds like a more sophisticated choice than my first video, but they're really quite similar! 😊

I also have a fair number of videos and DVDs of programs I produced; meaning programs presented live that were recorded.

 

 

 

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@Swithin:  I've got plenty of PAL-format VHS tapes amongst my stash of tapes.  I had a multi-standard VCR for approximately 9 years.  I wore it out.  I'd bought it used.  Was a Panasonic.  I enjoyed playing my PAL tapes on that unit.  Really made 'em look good.   

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When you move often, which I was doing from 2004 to 2016 (every 18 months it seemed) you start to give your collection away.

I remember giving VHS tapes to friends, thinking I would just keep the DVDs because they'd be easier to ship to the new place. At one point I had a walk-in closet of 2000 VHS tapes so that was a lot of films I gave away!

Then I started giving DVDs away to friends or donating them to the local libraries, because I decided I didn't want to ship those when I moved again...because I was now buying films on streaming sites and amassing a digital collection.

I would only keep the rare films that I had on DVD that were not yet available on any streaming platform. 

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29 minutes ago, Mr. Gorman said:

@Swithin:  I've got plenty of PAL-format VHS tapes amongst my stash of tapes.  I had a multi-standard VCR for approximately 9 years.  I wore it out.  I'd bought it used.  Was a Panasonic.  I enjoyed playing my PAL tapes on that unit.  Really made 'em look good.   

I have a separate PAL DVD player, but I have to hook it up each time I want to use it. So I've dedicated my Apple Super Drive to PAL use, and I generally watch PAL DVDs on my laptop, which I can also hook up to my TV.

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15 hours ago, Ray Faiola said:

My private film library.

film_vault.jpg

This is very impressive, thanks for posting.  I hope you don't mind me asking some questions:

- Is there an organization to the rows/stacks?  Alphabetical, by theme?  Not sure how you find things.

- Is it climate controlled?

- Are there any nitrate prints in there?  Forgive my ignorance of the current state of keeping real films.

Looks like an amazing collection.

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Well Ray's response was my first reaction too, I only have 2 films in my collection but I have tons of movies on DVD. And sorting/organizing them has been difficult through the years.

I keep "box sets" of categories (classic horror, pre-codes, sci-fi) in old round film cans (like Ray's) that often get honed down to 6 disk clamshells when there's too many by one star (Bette Davis, John Barrymore, Ginger Rogers) or by director like Fritz Lang.

But the worst are all the multiple titles recorded from TCM that don't belong anywhere! Sometimes I can shuffle similar titles to burn on a disk together or even couple two odd titles by decade.

Looking for a particular movie in this mess starts with the organized "Sets" then if not found goes to the "By Decade" shoebox. It's amazing that sometimes it works & I find something right away. I have been frantically looking for a few "missing" disks and realize I had mailed them to a friend who was shut-in alone in 2020. She's now in a nursing home & I hope her family sends the envelope back to me! That's why I keep DVDs-to share. Plus having zero memory recall, re-watching a movie can be like the first viewing.

This is why I compile my TCM recording list a month in advance: I compile my list, then try to figure out how to group them to burn to a disk. 

 

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I did mention before(in a similar thread) that my collection of VHS copies and "store bought" tapes were numbered and cataloged in a binded plastic cover  reference type booklet that was kept in a lower compartment of my entertainment center.  In my basement was a shelving unit I built with a matching unit joined together on one side by hinges that closed and opened with a rolling caster on the bottom of one while the "mate" of that shelving unit was fastened to a wall.  One side of the shelves that opened was left open for tape removal while the "outside" was closed with a large sheet of plexiglass that allowed anyone to see the tapes.

Sepiatone.

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In regards to movie organizing . . . I've endeavoured to try and categorize all my tapes and small number of DVD by label in alphabetical order.  I've got most of my Paramount VHS tapes -- which fill up 4 banana boxes -- in alphabetical order so I can find tapes without much fuss.  But it's a chore to keep it updated since I'm still pickin' up tapes here 'n' there. 

My most recent Paramount VHS pick-up is COPPER CANYON (1950-Color/Western) with Ray Milland and Hedy Lamarr.  

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One way I would organize the films I recorded off TCM is by doing it alphabetically. But never by the lead star's last name.

For example, in my list under "A" I would have:

All Aboard for a Western (a disc that had UNION PACIFIC and WHISPERING SMITH)

All a Mother Wants for Her Daughter (a disc with LADY FOR A DAY and MILDRED PIERCE)

Ann Sheridan in the 1940s (a disc that had NORA PRENTISS, GOOD SAM and I WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE)

Ashes to Ashes (a disc with RETURN FROM THE ASHES and ASH WEDNESDAY)

***

Sometimes I would deliberately record a movie twice if it fit under another theme and I wanted to have a back-up copy.

So MILDRED PIERCE might also be on a disc called Joan Crawford in the 40s, or on a disc called Directed by Michael Curtiz.

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7 hours ago, cmovieviewer said:

This is very impressive, thanks for posting.  I hope you don't mind me asking some questions:

- Is there an organization to the rows/stacks?  Alphabetical, by theme?  Not sure how you find things.

- Is it climate controlled?

- Are there any nitrate prints in there?  Forgive my ignorance of the current state of keeping real films.

Looks like an amazing collection.

For the most part, the features are in alphabetical order. However, I do have my Sherlock Holmes together, L&H together, A&C together, W&W together and Charlie Chan's together.  The shorts and cartoons are all grouped by series or studio. And trailers are on reels by studio.

Climate control is, thankfully, natural. my theater building has a concrete foundation and is built into the side of a mountain of water. So it's naturally cool year-round. No nitrate. Everything is 16mm.  I have only a few films with mild vinegar. And everything is kept out of cans so they can breathe.

Features go from BIRTH OF A NATION to BAD SANTA.

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1 hour ago, Sepiatone said:

Seems easier(and more accessibly efficient) to simply list them alphabetically by movie title.  

Sepiatone

That would work for the discs that only had one movie on them.

But most discs had two, three or four movies on them that I had recorded from TCM, so I grouped them by theme, and then alphabetized the themes, as my previous post illustrates.

I seldom put just one title per disc, because I didn't want 2000 discs like I had 2000 videotapes. I was trying to save space and prevent myself from having to ship all that stuff every time I moved.

Streaming made my life easier, when I was able to start doing away with DVDs. LOL

***

Labeling the discs by theme came in handy after I stopped subscribing to cable...because then I could do my own theme nights independent of what TCM had scheduled for a given evening.

And when I switched mostly to streaming then I could give those themed discs to friends and relatives.

My niece loved ice skating so I gave her the disc that said "Sonja Henie Ice skating musicals."

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I had about 1,000 VHS tapes that contained 2,100 movies. Except for a precious few, they are gone. In early 2016 I moved to a much smaller place and moved all the boxes to a storage unit.  But 2017 I moved and had to make a decision about the storage.  Bye-bye movies.  I didn't regret it and I don't now. I don't see it as the colossal waste of money that it probably is because I enjoyed so much building the collection.  I made a firm decision that my collecting days were over, the next generation would have been of course Compact Discs. No way. I have a simple Word document listed in alphabetical order with the number of VHS that I put on the box.  I still have that list but it means nothing to me. I do collect a little bit, but there is no mania as before. I have about 35 DVDs with movie that seem dear to me, e.g., a boxed set of The Fanny Trilogy of the 30s, but most are of operas, miniseries (e.g., Deadwood), Shakespeare, but very few Golden Age.

(flashback :  I was live-in caretaker for about two years beginning in 1994. I paid no rent and had a phone job, great situation. They set me up in the house. I had my own room and brought in cable. TCM was launched that same year and that was it all started. I bought blank VHS. Oh, what fun!!!!)

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Because of the thousands of discs I own space became a problem. It has helped that I have made purchases of nylon CD/DVD binder cases, each with a 400 disc capacity. So far I have 32 of them (some earlier cases with a capacity of 320 only). They take care of a significant number of the discs, though they still dominant a floor in one small room.

I will designate each binder alphabetically. One binder, of example, has titles A to E, with others F to L, M to R and S to Z. However I just lump the discs together under their title's first letter. The As are altogether, for example, but in no particular order since I'm adding titles all the time so it can still take a while to find a specific film. It's not quite so difficult a search, though, since I at least know the letter to look under.

These binders are strictly for the blank DVD-Rs upon which I have made recordings. The pre-recorded DVDs are filled in plastic cases (29 in a case), or are in the drawers of some cupboards. While I have a few of them together in groups (silents, James Bond, Disney animated features, horror films) most DVDs can be scattered anywhere within these cases or cupboards. It can be agonizingly slow finding some of these titles at times, I admit.

 

AmazonBasics Nylon CD/DVD Binder Case (400 Disc Holder Storage Capacity)

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33 minutes ago, laffite said:

it means nothing to me. I do collect a little bit, but there is no mania as before. I have about 35 DVDs with movie that seem dear to me, e.g., a boxed set of The Fanny Trilogy of the 30s, but most are of operas, miniseries (e.g., Deadwood), Shakespeare, but very few Golden Age.

(flashback :  I was live-in caretaker for about two years beginning in 1994. I paid no rent and had a phone job, great situation. They set me up in the house. I had my own room and brought in cable. TCM was launched that same year and that was it all started. I bought blank VHS. Oh, what fun!!!!)

That's the word for it sometimes...mania. :) 

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I keep my collection in tall, skinny bookshelves.  All the individual titles are alphabetized, regardless of format, boutique label name, genre, director, etc.  I have my complete Fox Film Noir DVD set separate and organized by volume number.  Then I have the multi-film sets together.  Then I have all my box sets together, roughly alphabetized by subject.  The alphabetizing is a little fast and loose, due to the size of the shelves.  Then I have my Criterion separated and alphabetized. I also separated my movies and have the classics (1979 and earlier) and the modern (1980-present) titles separated. 

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Not that this is going to be too different, but here is part of my stash.

 

This is what my situation looks like.

https://moviecollectoroh.com/pics_to_hotlink_on_TCM/mcoh-vault-1.jpg

 

A little bit closer.

https://moviecollectoroh.com/pics_to_hotlink_on_TCM/mcoh-vault-2.jpg

 

Each of these black boxes is at least a 4TB external hard drive that can each hold about 800 movies after they are processed, the newer ones are more like 6TB I think.  So 1200 movies on each of those?    I have about 10 of these so far, with the newest one at my archiving computer.  Nice and compact.  This is the latest phase of my collecting, with the older phases being about 500 store-purchased DVDs and maybe about 1500 burned DVDs in Case Logic folders.   I also have a box or two of VHS cassettes somewhere, long replaced by newer media.

https://moviecollectoroh.com/pics_to_hotlink_on_TCM/mcoh-vault-3.jpg

 

I'll bet some are wondering what is inside the 50 cal. ammo box.

 

 

 

:D

 

 

 

 

Ah yes, old trusty.

 

https://moviecollectoroh.com/pics_to_hotlink_on_TCM/mcoh-vault-4.jpg

 

Just kidding.  Actually I use that box to store extra rodent poison, as it is airtight, so it doesn't attract rodents while in storage.

 

Just for kicks, here is a Blisslight BL-50 from my production days - a  sort of modern-day "Brenograph", which I plan to use someday to turn my basement into an "atmospheric theater", after I get things rearranged in here.  No bouncing ball with lyrics though.  Just moving stars and clouds.  No crown molding and no great room or cathedral ceilings, just a drop ceiling.  It will have to suffice.

This isn't my viewing area, just an open space for this picture, while I get things moved around.  Maybe this will end up on the first floor, where there is more room.

https://moviecollectoroh.com/pics_to_hotlink_on_TCM/mcoh-brenograph-1.jpg


Well that was fun. 

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