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Classic money-makers not on DVD


MyFavoriteFilms
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A few of these surprise me, given the popularity of the lead actors.

 

1. There are quite a few Betty Grable films not on DVD...what's up with that, Fox???

 

- FOOTLIGHT SERENADE

- CONEY ISLAND

- BILLY ROSE'S DIAMOND HORSESHOE

- THAT LADY IN ERMINE

- WABASH AVENUE

- MOTHER WORE TIGHTS

- WHEN MY BABY SMILES AT ME

 

2. Some more Fox hits not on DVD include

 

- MARGIE

- COME TO THE STABLE

- FOREVER AMBER

- THE EVE OF ST. MARK

- A BELL FOR ADANO

- DESIREE

- SMOKY

- WILSON (not a 'hit' but an important Fox release)

 

3. Paramount has some big hits waiting in the vaults for DVD release:

 

- THE GLASS KEY

- TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST

- DEAR RUTH

- WELCOME STRANGER

- HOLD BACK THE DAWN

 

4. And so does Columbia/Sony:

 

- THE LOVES OF CARMEN

- PORGY AND BESS

 

5. Then there's Disney/Buena Vista:

 

- SONG OF THE SOUTH (not on DVD in the United States)

 

I am sure this is just the tip of the iceberg...

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The unreleased Betty Grable catalogue shows that Fox is asleep at the wheel. They have released nearly every Alice Faye picture on DVD and pretty much covered all of Marilyn's, even her lesser films...and Ty Power has been given full attention. But to ignore so many Grable classics is unfathomable. Especially THAT LADY IN ERMINE which was directed by the legendary Ernst Lubitsch near the end of an illustrious career. That should've been one of the first ones they released. At any rate, they still owe the public another boxed set with those remaining Grable films.

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Also missing from the DVD scene is *Betty Hutton*...namely, her Paramount output (many titles now controlled by Universal).

 

hutton_betty1.jpg

 

Only HERE COME THE WAVES (with Bing Crosby) and THE PERILS OF PAULINE are out on DVD. All these others are being held hostage in the vaults, kept from eager consumers:

 

- THE FLEET'S IN (with Dorothy Lamour and William Holden)

- LET'S FACE IT (with Bob Hope...definitely should be on DVD)

- HAPPY GO LUCKY (with Dick Powell and Rudy Vallee)

- THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK (It's a Preston Sturges picture...come on, release it already)

- AND THE ANGELS SING (with Fred '****' MacMurray)

- DUFFY'S TAVERN (Bing Crosby, Paulette Goddard, Betty Hutton & Alan Ladd...megawatt stars)

- INCENDIARY BLONDE

- CROSS MY HEART

- DREAM GIRL

- RED, HOT AND BLUE

- LET'S DANCE (with Fred Astaire...it would sell like hotcakes!)

- SOMEBODY LOVES ME (Betty's last picture at Paramount)

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> How many of these movies are really money-makers? I'm a movie buff, or else I wouldn't be posting here. And +I+ haven't heard of some of these.

 

Excellent question. I will answer it thusly:

 

How many films that made a profit in 2010 will be remembered 65 years from now?

 

How many films are unknown because they do not receive the marketing they need in order to find an audience (such as through VHS or DVD release, or instant play on the internet)? Just because you have never heard of it does not mean it wasn't big back in its day.

 

All of the films I mentioned in the original post, with the exception of WILSON, are listed in the top 20 of their respective release years, in terms of profit. And remember that in the 30s and 40s, before television, there were sometimes well over 500 releases in a given year in Hollywood (it slowed a bit during the war years).

 

So these are definitely big ticket sellers. And if you adjust for inflation, they outperform a lot of what is being sold in movie houses today.

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Thanks for correcting me on that. I figured they had released all the Sturges vehicles. But on the TCM database page, there is no sales link for MORGAN'S CREEK. I should've cross-referenced with Amazon like you did. Again, thanks for the correction.

 

The other Hutton titles though are definitely unavailable to consumers in DVD format at this time. I have no idea if any were ever released on VHS...I suppose one could check ebay.

 

The point is that Universal has agreed to boxed sets for Marlene and Claudette...they need to do the same for Betty and her legion of fans.

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> {quote:title=MyFavoriteFilms wrote:}{quote}

> Thanks for correcting me on that. I figured they had released all the Sturges vehicles. But on the TCM database page, there is no sales link for MORGAN'S CREEK. I should've cross-referenced with Amazon like you did. Again, thanks for the correction.

>

 

 

I just knew it was out there because it is on my Netflix queue. :)

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Rex Ingram's *THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE (1921),* James Cruz *THE COVERED WAGON (1923),* King Vidor's *THE BIG PARADE, (1925)*. Herbert Brenon's *BEAU GESTE (1926),* and William Wellman's *WINGS (1927),* are probably the top 5 glaring emissions from the Silent Era that survive.There is also *OVER THE HILL (1920),* but it is probably a lost film.

 

Vidor's *HIS HOUR (1924)* is the the film that made John Gilbert a Mega-Star. So that has to be considered a Biggie. William Haines *BROWN OF HARVARD (1926),* Chaney's *TELL IT TO THE MARINES*, and Lubitsch *OLD HEIDELBERG* should be mentioned as well. I'll also include *WHAT PRICE GLORY? (1926), THE PATENT LEATHER KID (1927), LILAC TIME (1928),* and *RAMONA (1928).* Which is not lost. A print resides in a Czech archive.

 

Warner's has by all indications showed very little interest in *THE PATENT LEATHER KID,* or *LILAC TIME* Same goes for Marion Davies *LITTLE OLD NEW YORK (1923)*, and *BEVERLY OF GRAUSTARK (1926).* Fox has exhibited none in *WHAT PRICE GLORY?* Paramount was supposed to be preparing *WINGS,* but nothing has come of it so far. And that was a couple years ago. They probably are not even aware that they own *BEAU GESTE.*

 

Al Jolson's *THE SINGING FOOL* was a much bigger hit than *THE JAZZ SINGER* had been. It is the film that really started to bring the Silent Era to a close. *WHOOPEE! (1931)* is an early Technicolor talkie with Eddie Cantor that must have made allot of Money back in the day.

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As far as Fox goes, they've proved numerous times that the company has little interest in releasing many their classic films on DVD or even show on their own Fox Movie Channel.

 

I'll bet that the Paramount films will eventually be released on manufactured to order DVDs.

 

PORGY AND BESS is locked up in a long-standing rights issue with the Gershwin estate which hates the film and wanted all the prints destroyed. As for its eventual release...we should live that long.

 

Disney just doesn't want to deal with controversy connected with SONG OF THE SOUTH.

 

And I haven't a clue about THE LOVES OF CARMEN.

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MGM hits not on DVD

 

- ROSE MARIE...the original with Jeanette MacDonald & Nelson Eddy

- TORTILLA FLAT...with Spencer Tracy

- GREEN DOLPHIN STREET...This was the sixth highest earner in 1947

- THE GIRL FROM MISSOURI...Jean Harlow picture was ninth in earnings in 1934

- PERSONAL PROPERTY...Harlow's penultimate film, rereleased after her death to earn more

- SARATOGA...Harlow's last film, second highest earner in 1937, not on DVD

 

UNITED ARTISTS/SAM GOLDWYN

 

- THE RICHEST GIRL IN THE WORLD...starring Miriam Hopkins was number six at the box office for the year 1934

- THESE THREE...another Hopkins vehicle, it was fourth in 1936

 

WARNER BROTHERS

 

- THE STORY OF LOUIS PASTEUR, with Paul Muni, still not on DVD

 

RKO

 

- Ingrid Bergman as JOAN OF ARC, circulates in Europe but not North America

 

FOX

 

- More Betty Grable films not on DVD include:

SPRINGTIME IN THE ROCKIES (fifth place in ticket sales for 1942)

SONG OF THE ISLANDS (also a moneymaker from 1942)

SWEET ROSIE O'GRADY (seventh place in 1943)

- Two Clifton Webb hits not on DVD:

MR. BELVEDERE GOES TO COLLEGE

MR. BELVEDERE RINGS THE BELL

- A HATFUL OF RAIN, from 1957, still not on DVD

 

PARAMOUNT

- THE EMPEROR WALTZ with Fred Astaire and Joan Fontaine...moneymaker from 1948

- THE CARPETBAGGERS, a hit from 1964

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> {quote:title=MyFavoriteFilms wrote:}{quote}

> > How many of these movies are really money-makers? I'm a movie buff, or else I wouldn't be posting here. And +I+ haven't heard of some of these.

>

> Excellent question. I will answer it thusly:

>

> How many films that made a profit in 2010 will be remembered 65 years from now?

 

Nobody is currently looking to be selling those movies on DVD in 2075.

 

> How many films are unknown because they do not receive the marketing they need in order to find an audience (such as through VHS or DVD release, or instant play on the internet)? Just because you have never heard of it does not mean it wasn't big back in its day.

 

The marketing they need to find the money making audience would, I'm sorry to say, likely cost all the money that the DVD releases would otherwise make.

 

> All of the films I mentioned in the original post, with the exception of WILSON, are listed in the top 20 of their respective release years, in terms of profit. And remember that in the 30s and 40s, before television, there were sometimes well over 500 releases in a given year in Hollywood (it slowed a bit during the war years).

>

> So these are definitely big ticket sellers.

 

Were, not are.

 

> And if you adjust for inflation, they outperform a lot of what is being sold in movie houses today.

 

Again, you've got the tense wrong. Their inflation-adjusted box-office takes may be more than many of the films of today, but that doesn't mean the audiences of today would be interested in buying them.

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There is a Public Domain version from Delta Entertainment. It looks like a VHS copy of the Photoplay Productions restoration with the Tints muted to zero and a completely different musical score. Technically, FOUR HORSEMEN is Public Domain. But MGM re-released the film in 1926. That version is still under-copyright, and Kevin Brownlow used it as the basis for his restoration I believe. Actually the rights must be fairly complex, because Kevin when asked why the film wasn't on DVD indicated as much.

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Fedya,

 

Kevin Brownlow has said in various public forums that the silent and classic film era movies are a very niche market. Aside from the tentpole, well-known titles, most studios don't make their money back on releasing classic films to DVD.

 

The collapse of the economy has had a very chilling affect on studio budgets for film restoration and preservation and all of that affects classic films.

 

As for why not all the films ever made are shown on TCM or available on DVD, here's an old thread about some of the reasons why:

 

http://forums.turnerclassicmovies.com/jive/tcm/thread.jspa?messageID=7833902

 

I would also add that the former Turner library is the largest studio film library and the idea that all those films from pre-1986 MGM, pre-1949 WBrothers and all of RKO should by now be on DVD ignores the financial amount it will take to restore, preserve and present those titles.

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> {quote:title=MyFavoriteFilms wrote:}{quote}

> SONG OF THE SOUTH was the top earner of 1946. There were probably reissues. The racial aspects aside, it was definitely a crowd pleaser and people threw money at it. This is where political correctness has overtaken economics.

 

This is textbook economics. I haven't followed any debates about releasing this, but I can't imagine Disney execs are concerned with being sensitive for reasons other than their pocketbooks. They can make a lot of money by releasing this, but the concern must be that a potential backlash could cost them long term. It's classic cost-benefit analysis on their part.

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> {quote:title=Edgecliff wrote:}{quote}

> LOVES OF CARMEN which stars Rita Hayworth was released by Sony DVD. THE CARPETBAGGERS is also available on DVD, ditto THE EMPEROR WALTZ with Bing Crosby not Fred Astaire.

 

Sorry...I meant Bing, not Fred...big difference! LOL

 

Glad to hear Hayworth's CARMEN is out, but it seems hard to find.

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They have been selling SONG OF THE SOUTH overseas...so clearly, they will make money on it wherever they can. I think they're afraid of certain groups in the U.S. There will be a long-term backlash from these groups, but not all. I can see many people willingly choosing to buy SONG OF THE SOUTH in 2011. Again, it's an example of political correctness going too far. It's a new form of Prohibition and censorship, whatever you want to call it.

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> {quote:title=gagman66 wrote:}{quote}

> There is a Public Domain version from Delta Entertainment. It looks like a VHS copy of the Photoplay Productions restoration with the Tints muted to zero and a completely different musical score. Technically, FOUR HORSEMEN is Public Domain. But MGM re-released the film in 1926. That version is still under-copyright, and Kevin Brownlow used it as the basis for his restoration I believe. Actually the rights must be fairly complex, because Kevin when asked why the film wasn't on DVD indicated as much.

 

 

Thanks for clearing that up. It really is a shame that so many great silents are not on DVD.

 

I recorded The Student Prince (which you mentioned in your post) off TCM when they aired it during Shearer's SUTS. I am glad I did because it's one of my favorites. I also have a recordings of The Big Parade and The Crowd. I guess for now that is the best silent film fans can do be thankful for what TCM plays.

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