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A Star Is Born (1937 version)


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I've recently taken a liking to the 1937 version of A STAR IS BORN after having recently seen it on TCM. Judging from all the DVD's available at Amazon.com, I assume it's now in the public domain. Can anyone recommend the best DVD version to purchase. I've read some good reviews on the Image DVD version and the Kino VHS version (the latter out of print). I'm mainly concerned with picture/sound quality, and could care less about special features (with a film that's nearly 70 years old, what features could there be anyway?) Please point me in the right direction.

 

Thanks!

TMS

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Great movie. I've seen a lot of bad versions of "A Star Is Born" because it is,indeed, PD. I have not seen the one from Image, but they do put our pretty good stuff. I recently picked up the Digiview edition at Wal-Mart for $1.00. It' the best of the cheap versions I've seen. For a buck, it might tie you over until you can find a better one. If you do get the Image version let us know how it is please.

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I picked up a copy of the Image DVD at Borders for $9.99. I am extremely satisfied with it. The colors were suprisingly bold, as we expect from 3-strip Technicolor (when even in its infancy the results were remarkable) and well defined. Overall the print is extremely clear, however there is graininess present in a number of spots, though it does not distract to a great extent. Age related artifacts (dirt, scratches, etc) are kept to a minimum. The box claims that the print was remastered from the original 35mm nitrate. Since these elements are nearly 70 years old, I will forgive the imperfections as the quality of the Technicolor is purely outstanding. Far better than the print that aired on TCM last week. The soundtrack is clear and sounds great--no gripes here. Overall this is a great disc and I recommend to anyone seeking a good DVD of this film to check out the one from Image... you won't be disappointed.

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Oops, hit the post button before I was done...

 

I should add that there are no special features on the Image disc except for some costume tests (in Technicolor) which can be accessed by the scene selection option. The costume tests will be found at the very end.

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  • 1 month later...

I also recently picked up a copy of the Digiview edition at Wal-Mart for $1.00, and it looks suprisingly good considering it is an el cheapo DVD. Not quite as good as the Image version, but still OK (and for a buck, ya can't go wrong)

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  • 3 months later...

Well I just went to "Shopping" on the TCM taskbar and Typed in "A Star Is Born" and I got many Results for DVD's and VHS's For sale...THe DVD was on sale for $8.89 or something like that...just a thought. From the TCM dvds that I know the special Features are usually interviews and commentaries or a short film or two...also very good sound and visual Quality.

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Movies can become public domain in several ways. If a film was produced by a big studio, say M-G-M, it was possible that through oversight a copyright just wasn't renewed. Now this sounds strange, but you have to remember that back then, there wasn't any real secondary market for movies. No TV. No DVD. No cable. Other than a rerelease from time-to-time of popular films, most older films weren't often shown and were thought to have little commercial value. In fact, many of today's "lost" films were a result of the studios destroying them just to save the storage costs. Today, of course, the film libraries have tremendous value and the studios have entire departments to look after copyrights.

 

Many times, while a major studio released a film, it was really produced by an independent producer who perhaps went out of business and his films passed through many different hands and nobody ever bothered to renew the copyrights.

 

And there could have been "technical" reasons a film wasn't copyrighted. If the film didn't have a proper copyright notice on the credits then it wasn't considered to have a copyright. Likewise, it was a requirement that the producer must deposit a print of the film in the Library of Congress. Many of the smaller studios never bothered to do that because they didn't want the expense of having an extra print made. And sometimes a film would be copyrighted in one country, but not in another.

 

There are other reasons, but these seem to be the most common.

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