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Boston Blackie


nnorman77
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Quoting johnnyweekes70

> The Boston **** films were released,

> unfortunately, by Columbia, and we know how hard it

> is to see their most of their '30s and '40s stuff.

> Along with the Lone Wolf series, maybe one days Sony

> will put this stuff out.

 

I last saw some of the "Boston ****" series (staring Chester Morris) aired on Saturday nights on TV back in the '60's. I think the venue was called "All Night Mystery Theatre". They aired a lot of "Charlie Chan" and I think perhaps "The Shadow" and "Mr. Moto" films as well.

 

My question is why is it so hard to pry these old films loose from a studio such as Columbia? What is the major malfunction? For whom, or what are they "saving" them?

 

These B-films are dated, campy, sometimes silly and badly acted, but entertaining from a nostalgic point of view. My point is this: There is a shelf life to "nostalgia" and eventually there will be very few people who can remember, or be interested in these films. I'm the eldest (born 1948) in a family of seven siblings, four step-siblings, two sons, etc., but have never been able to successfully convey my passion for older, and especially older B&W films to any of them, and I'm not getting any younger. If "Columbia" for instance is saving them for a particular audience, their already small potential audience is, proportionally speaking, diminishing to a great degree every day.

 

 

There are so many films in the public domain, meaning that their copywrite has expired and has not been renewed. I would be interested in the status of these old films.

 

If there are plans in the works to restore these films: Great! If not, I'd rather see a scratchy old version than none at all.

 

Gypsy

 

 

 

 

 

 

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>>My question is why is it so hard to pry these old films >>loose from a studio such as Columbia? What is the major >>malfunction? For whom, or what are they "saving" them?

 

The answer is most likely money. Most old movies don't sell real well when released on VHS or DVD. It also costs money to lease them for showing.

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gyspybangles, I agree with your sentiment that these films appeal, or will appeal, to a relatively small audience but I have successfully turned two kids, a 12-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl, both relatively advanced for their ages but products of our media-crazed present, onto old-films via dumb Bob Hope comedies, Errol Flynn dramas and a bunch of diverse films like Stalag 17, Isle of the Dead, and even Torrent with Garbo (courtesy TCM), which Anna adored. I really believe companies like Sony and Universal underestimate the potential for their archive material. There is a market for this stuff. The Dick Tracy series and Mr. Wong series, long in public domain, have been successfully issued, and if a company like Kino can convince people to buy obscure silent stuff like Othello and The Loves of Jeanne Ney, and Warners can excel at putting out anything they feel like, I don't know why Boston **** or the Lone Wolf or even Henry Aldrich never made it to video when countless B movies continually hit the market and are forgotten in a year or less. If there's a market for The A-Team and Wanted: Dead or Alive, there's a market for these vintage crime films. It's reasonable to assume this stuff will be forgotten if it's not available and, if there's a market for The A-Team and Wanted: Dead or Alive, there's a market for these vintage crime films. I don't think the issue revolves around money; the cost of DVD production is, really, minimal when you consider what's out there. Something else is afoot. Even the films Cary Grant made for Paramount, owned by Universal, with minor exceptions, have never been available; it's logical to think that because almost all of Grant's later work was available on VHS and most of it's on on DVD Universal would put that stuff out, but they don't. I could cite numerous examples, but it's all very perplexing to me.

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I think one reason why Warner Brothers excels at putting out so much of their library on DVD is because of George Feltenstein.

 

He, more than anyone else in Home Entertainment, truly seems to understand how valuable the library is and how important film preservation is. Feltenstein has long been interested in film history and worked on the "That's Entertainment" films.

 

 

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Who knows, maybe Boston **** will emerge soon. Companies have to realize that if they intelligently release their back catalogs of films (such as Warners, Fox and now it seems Paramount), they will make money.

 

George Feltenstein IS the main reason we have so many Warners and MGM films available. His love for these old films has made a huge difference. He has "rescued" so many films - and out takes, shorts, etc. from the vaults and everyone is benefiting - including the corporations who own these films since they must realize that The Thin Man box set is number 1 on Amazon's DVD sales right now as I write this - not just number 1 for classic releases, but it is ahead of Sin City, both versions of Alexander and everything else.

 

When you think about it that's amazing!

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I had no idea The Complete Thin Man Collection was No. 1 on amazon.com. That's extraordinary, but fitting for the quality of those films above current drek and very telling about the demand for such product. I noticed The High and the Mighty was No. 3. Hopefully, it's a sign of things to come. With a slew of Paramount titles like We're No Angels, The Mircale of Morgan's Creek and Detective Story coming out, Universal and Sony really have to get their act together. I am impressed, however, that Sony is putting out a vintage Karloff film, The Man with Nine Lives, for Hallowe'en, but I'd be more impressed if it utilized the space better and was a double-feature disc. I'm not complaining, but I am...

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It's maybe of note that Fox is releasing the third Michael Shayne film, Dressed to Kill, in September. Though it's odd that Fox jumped to entry No. 3 for an initial DVD release, none of those films have ever been available before and it's at least a glimmer of hope that more like it will follow.

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I love the Boston **** movies and haven't seen them in ages. Columbia/Sony is notorious for their poorly run home video division. Currently they're discontinuing many of their widescreen DVDs in favor of pan & scan versions while the Sony TV division is pushing widescreen TV-go figure.

George Feltenstein is truly a wise man. He has a good sense of the marketplace and gets out what he can. Time Warner also blows away the competition regarding publicizing upcoming releases. Fox puts out a fair number of classics but they don't clean them up as well as Time Warner or stick to any kind of release schedule. Movies are announced, preorders taken, then they yank it from release with no reason given or no new release date. Also-Warner showcases their new DVD releases on TCM, even Fox releases, but Fox Movie Channel uses their time to flog trash like "Fever Pitch" in between Loretta Young movies.

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Johnnyweekes70 - sorry to disappoint, but Fox is not releasing the 3rd Michael Shayne film. The Dressed to Kill release is a colorized version of the public domain Sherlock Holmes film. Fox's intitial press release cited the wrong year for this title which has caused all kinds of confusion amongst retailers, etc.

 

Regarding Boston **** and Lone Wolf. I am fortunate in that I have copies of most of these films and they are great. Chester Morris and Warren William look like they had a ball making these. Eric Blore was perfect as the Lone Wolf's butler.

 

Most of my copies were sourced from 1990s showings of these films on the Encore Mystery Channel (which also showed Columbia's Crime Doctor series). To my knowledge these haven't been on TV anywhere since. It's a shame because most of the prints looked to be in very good shape although I have copies of copies so they're not as good as I'd like.

 

Classic films do sell quite well on DVD, but Columbia is one studio whose classic product is not well represented on DVD. I don't have any hope of these being released commercially.

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Thanks for the clarification, tcmviewer, about Dressed to Kill. There's about as much need for a colorized version of the Holmes film as much as their release of My Man Godfrey (or any film, for that matter). A shame.

 

I don't really have any hope of those classic crime films being released either but it never hurts to express the desire to see a commerical release.

 

Cheers.

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Too funny! I often get people to ask me questions out of the Silver Screen edition of Trivial Pursuit - keeps me on my toes and also lets me know what movies I need to see. :-)I don't play the game, I just answer the questions. hehe Anyway, last night I was stumped on one about Boston ****. My mom was surprised that I'd never heard of him. She says he was quite well known and quite good. Today I log on and find this thread. lol I guess I'll have to look into this. Does TCM ever show ANY of these movies?

 

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Agreed with movielovers regarding the Moto films. Fox had restored all of the Moto films in addition to the Chan films but only one of the restorations ever made it on air (it was a beautiful print of the first film in the series).

 

Also agreed with johnnyweekes70 about it never hurts to express the desire to see a commercial release. If you don't ask for it, you won't get it! Warner Home Video has made it clear that they do listen to consumer input. For example, Storm Warning is coming to DVD next year solely on the basis of customer requests! Of course the folks at Fox have ignored all the requests they get to release the Chan movies.

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just a footnote you can view Peter Lorre in Mr.Moto

movies on www.movie flix.com need to have real player

or download real player to view the movies. loliteblue

p.s. you can watch some movies for free or take the plus

package for 6.95 a month... hope this info helps!.....

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  • 1 month later...

Regarding the DVD release of Dressed to Kill, it looks like it really IS the Michael Shayne movie from 1941, and not a colorized version of the Sherlock Holmes film.

 

Look it up on Amazon.com. It has a picture of the Michael Shayne poster and a review from someone who apparently ordered it. I just ordered my copy.

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