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Classic money-makers not on DVD


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> I write about these facts in the present tense, because to me, these are still viable titles in today's market. I don't care if they were made a thousand years ago.

 

If you think they're viable, sign a contract with the studios to restore them, transfer them to the appropriate media, and claim your share of the profits.

 

And while you're at it, when you're rolling around on a bed of gold coins bought by the profit you've made, tell Kevin Brownlow how stupid he is for thinking these movies can't make any money. He's clearly an idiot who knows nothing about the movies.

 

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Please don't pit me against Brownlow. He won't win.

 

I believe in the potential of classic film. I know that many of these titles outperform what's released today.

 

I should create a thread that brings these films forward, adjusted for inflation...then we will compare them with latter-day releases and see how it all stacks up.

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> About 4 years ago I bought a dvd of "Song of the South" from a guy in Hawaii and it was a decent copy. I bought worse copies of legal film here. At least I could show it to my grandkids { they loved it } and watch it once more myself.....

 

Maybe that's what I need to do...buy it from someone in Hawaii. I bet it sells like hotcakes in Alaska, too. LOL

 

Actually, I have a feeling that Disney has no problem marketing this film in countries where there is a small percentage of blacks.

 

I also have a feeling that Hattie McDaniel's relatives/descendants probably like this film. If she did not have a problem making it, then we should not have a problem watching it.

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

> Please don't pit me against Brownlow. He won't win.

 

Do Billy Wilder and Izzy Diamond write your material? Because it's funny stuff. Totally divorced from reality, but funny stuff nonetheless.

 

> I believe in the potential of classic film. I know that many of these titles outperform what's released today.

 

Then post the sales figures proving it.

 

> I should create a thread that brings these films forward, adjusted for inflation...then we will compare them with latter-day releases and see how it all stacks up.

 

Just because (warning, I'm picking a figure and a movie out of thin air just to make a point) 19 million of the Americans of 1940 plunked down their hard earned bucks to see *Millionaires in Prison* doesn't mean that the Americans of 2010 want to see it.

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*Just because (warning, I'm picking a figure and a movie out of thin air just to make a point) 19 million of the Americans of 1940 plunked down their hard earned bucks to see Millionaires in Prison doesn't mean that the Americans of 2010 want to see it.*

 

Or that they will spend the money to buy *Millionaires in Prison* on DVD.

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I didn't realize these threads had summer re-runs... and in December yet! (I feel as though we've discussed this sooo many times...)

The fact is that those in charge of such things do not see that classic films have respectable sales possibilities at the moment - whether that has to do with the crappy economy is another matter entirely. Classic films are a niche market and silent films are a niche market within that niche market. The studios would rather put out a bazillion copies of the latest Adam Sandler atrocity (90% of which will end up in close-out bins). A case in point: Universal reissued THE WOLF MAN to tie in with the DVD release of the new version. the new version tanked & so did the reissue. Now putting aside that this is the third or fourth time (I've lost track) that Universal has put out the Lon Chaney version and putting aside that a number of people (including me) had issues with the quality of the transfer, Universal saw the lower-than-hoped-for sales as an indication that there was no market for their classic horror titles. This was the 75th Anniversary year for BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and they did nothing about it (unlike their 75th Anniversary editions of FRANKENSTEIN, THE MUMMY and DRACULA).

This, by the way is inside dirt, not mere speculation on my part.

I will speculate, however, and say that where I think the studios are wrong is that the classic titles may sell more slowly than "hot" new releases, the continue to sell, while the newer titles have a very short window of gotta-buy status and then just collect dust on the shelves. But if we live in an age of opening weekend figures for films in theaters, we also do in terms of DVD releases. The first few weeks are all the studio execs are tracking.

You may not like it & I may not like it, but the only way we're going to see classic titles on DVD is on the burn-on-demand titles such as the Warner Archives or from boutique labels such as Kino & Criterion. If the studios release anything themselves it'll be the too-famous-to-ignore titles such as GONE WITH THE WIND and CASABLANCA.

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

> 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.

 

What law is preventing the commercial release of this film in the United States?

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On Disney's decision not to market this film...the consensus is that political action groups in the U.S. have put pressure on the mouse not to re-release SONG OF THE SOUTH. The same groups pressured CBS to yank Amos 'n Andy from network television in 1966...the series has not been syndicated since that time nor has it been released to consumers on video. (Almost all the episodes, however, exist as bootleg copies.)

 

Meanwhile, many of the OUR GANG short films have had scenes deleted that were found to contain offensive racial humor. Some of the shorts would require extensive cutting (that would destroy story continuity) and have essentially been pulled off the market/banned.

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In 1971 I was hired as film editor for KBSC Ch 52 in L.A. My first job there was to edit the "Our Gang" shorts and edit any scenes that were considered politically incorrect and get them back on the air. Kaiser Industeries which owned the station in L.A. and several other TV stations around the country had the broadcast rights to them and they had pulled them from pressure from civil rights groups.So once a week NAACP members would come in and view the edited shorts and give their OK. I then had to send my notes to all the other Kaiser stations and King features so they could edit them and start showing them again. One day I got a call from the lobby and they said a Stymie Beard was there to see me. I went down and introduced myself and took him up to my editing bay and had a nice long talk with him. A very soft spoken gentleman and a nice man. He told me that these films should not be touched and the editing was a shame. "That was the way things were then and you should not try to change history" He said the films showed that children could play together regardless of race and we should learn from them. I agreed with him then and I still do.There were some films I could do nothing with. One I remember there was one where the kids put on the play of "Uncle Toms Cabin", it was funny as hell with everything going wrong behind the scenes, but there was so much I had to edit there was nothing left to air......In case anyone doesn't know who Stymie was, he was the little Africian American boy in the bowler hat....

 

Edited by: fredbaetz on Dec 13, 2010 1:53 AM

 

Edited by: fredbaetz on Dec 13, 2010 2:03 AM

 

Edited by: fredbaetz on Dec 13, 2010 2:04 AM

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

> He said the films showed that children could play together regardless of race and we should learn from them.

 

Exactly! I felt that way, while watching them in the early 60s. They were really ahead of their time, in demonstrating the equalit of, and unequal treatment of, black kids.

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

> Beautiful post, Fred. Thanks for being a primary source about this particular issue.

>

> Recently, I looked at which OUR GANG short films TCM has scheduled in January. Some of them have had scenes removed. I don't think TCM will air them in their original versions.

 

 

If not it probably isn't up to TCM but whoever owns the rights of Our Gang films.

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Well, I have a feeling that TCM's programmers probably picked the ones that have had the least amount of editing and have the least offensive content.

 

Remember part of the goal in airing things on cable television is to stimulate video sales. So they are going to pick OUR GANG titles that have the broadest appeal.

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

> Recently, I looked at which OUR GANG short films TCM has scheduled in January. Some of them have had scenes removed. I don't think TCM will air them in their original versions.

 

How could you possibly know that?

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