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PARAMOUNT SCREWUP ON NEW RELEASES


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Something is going on with Paramount home video releases. Several film noirs: A DOUBLE LIFE, DARK MIRROR, BODY AND SOUL and the long awaited LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN and several other Republic films were first due for release this Spring, then they were set back to September. Now the studio seeems to have pulled these films from release all together. It also looks like they have pulled the MARTIN & LEWIS box set which was was due out in June. Lately Paramount has done a lousy job in releasing their film library to DVD. Such films as HOUDINI (Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh), ACE IN THE HOLE, FOREVER FEMALE (Ginger Rogers, William Holden) and THE PLEASURE OF HIS COMPANY (Fred Astaire, Debbie Reynold) have been totally ignored, in favor of repackaging films that were released several time before, e.g. TEN COMMANDMENTS and STALAG 17. Although the latter seems to be a remastered print. In addition, with rare exceptions Paramount's DVD's of classic films are plain wrap editions with no extras, not even a trailer from the film. This is a cruddy way to release film classics. Someone at Paramount needs to take a look what the other studios are doing in releasing their classics to DVD.

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Recently, Paramount seems to have finally seen the light in terms of their library and DVD releases. They didn't have alot of success back in the late 1990s with releases and that seemed to color the way they handled their classic films for years.

 

This is all according to the LATimes which also has recently noted that with the new regime at Paramount, they are taking another look at DVDs and their libraries due, in no small part, to the success that WBrothers has had with releases.

 

So, it might be possible that the titles got pulled so that they could be given proper treatment with remastered prints and extras.

 

Here's hoping.

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  • 3 weeks later...

DARK MIRROR and LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN, along with some others, were supposed to come out on May 16th but I never saw any announcement on why they were not released. Is it true that they will be released in September? Any date yet?

 

I doubt whether it has anything to do with better restoration, Liz--although both of them could use some extra bonus features.

 

Neil

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DARK MIRROR and LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN, along with some others, were supposed to come out on May 16th but I never saw any announcement on why they were not released. Is it true that they will be released in September? Any date yet?

 

I doubt whether it has anything to do with better restoration, Liz--although both of them could use some extra bonus features.

 

Neil

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Awww, that's why I could never find "The Dark Mirror" on Amazon! I've been checking and checking and whenever I type it in, the only result I get is "The Dark Mirror of Magick" Yikes!

 

I agree that Paramount does a terrible job on their classic releases. If they're not repackaging the same movies over and over, they're leaving out the trailer (for instance, The Carpetbaggers had a great trailer--TCM was showing it all the time when they leased it out--and yet, no trailer on the disc!)

 

Lately, I've noticed that a good deal of the older Paramount movies are being severely discounted. At Wal-Mart they have an entire display of Paramount titles for only $5 (mostly titles from the John Wayne collection), while Amazon has some listed for $5.95. I wonder what's going on with Paramount?

 

FWIW, I'd love to see a good copy of "Oh! What a Lovely War" on dvd. It was shown one time on Cinemax at 5 am and never again. Imagine my disappointment when the movie went from the letterbox format to full frame in the blink of an eye!

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Paramount has yanked these titles from release for now. I can't figure what gives with this studio. They had moved up the release dates to September and then cancelled that date also. There were other titles due for release including JOHNNY GUITAR and that has been pulled off the release schedule. Meanwhile the studio has scheduled a bunch of old TV shows for release. Go figure!! As for remastering, I wouldn't count on it. These releases were/are to be bare bones only, meaning the film and that's it.

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The sad reality is that any studio makes more money packaging old television shows for DVD than their classic films.

 

Paramount has had some troubled years recently and that includes financially. They may have moved the TV Show DVDs up the food chain in order to bring in some much needed cash.

 

The bad news for all of us waiting for more releases from their vaults, It's Paramount. What do we expect?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Paramount continues to sit on their classics. The following is announced for September. All this stuido seem to care about is TV.

 

Animated Adventures of Chico & Guapo: The Complete First Season. (WHO IS CHICO & GUAPO?). MTV's 8th & Ocean: The Complete First Season follows on 9/12, along with Wildboyz: The Complete Seasons 3 & 4 - Uncensored.

 

Meanwhile such films as THE HEIRESS, ACE IN THE HOLE go unreleased. And when will LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN WOMAN or THE DARK MIRROR (which had been announced for May) be released. Also, they supposedly own THE AFRICAN QUEEN and they are sitting on that one too!!! Unbelievable.

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Several years ago, I sent a letter to Sherry Lansing, the President & CEO of Paramount, beseeching her to pay more attention to Paramount's extraordinary library of vintage classics (I was writing primarily in response to several reviews circulating at the time commenting on the lousy DVD transfer and "vanilla" treatment of Stanley Donen's "Funny Face"). I also inquired as to why Paramount had no celebratory answer to MGM's "That's Entertainment!" or "When The Lion Roars" or even some of those good intentioned Fox television documentaries recalling their past glories. Of course, there was no answer and the indifferent treatment of classic Paramount titles on video seems to continue unabated. Very sad and even recalls how the studios abused their own history in the late 60's by trashing props and costumes.

 

There is indeed only one George Feltenstein but you only wish that Paramount could borrow him for a few weeks and have him explain to the VIPs what's in their vaults.

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I recently met someone on a flight from LA to Chicago that works for Paramount Home Entertainment. She told me there is no money in releasing classic catalog titles and that there is no money in releasing them and that they are very busy with releasing TV programs and "great" movies like Aeon Flux in HD..(Pathetic)! She said the reason why the Republic titles were canceled is because Paramount found out that they did not have the rights to the theatrical films, only the TV shows from Republic. She said that the Republic theatrical titles will eventually be released by Lions Gate. She also said that only 11 "classic" catalog titles are on the boards for 2007. Most of them reissue special editions. Very sad!!!

I mentioned the success of Warners and their boxsets set and her response was a frown with no comment.

She really seemed clueless!

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What, only 11 classic films from Paramount to be released on DVD in 2007!!!!!!!!!! What a pathetic distributor they are! God, I hope they come to their sense's and release Love with the Proper Stranger (1963) among this batch.

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Both LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN and the very rare THE RECKLESS MOMENT are being released on DVD simultaneously in Europe as part of a Marcel Ophuls package. Does Lions Gate own LETTER now and not Paramount? Sony supposedly owns THE RECKLESS MOMENT. I wonder if there is some sort of legal rights holding up LOVE WITH THE PROPER STRANGER? And what about THE PLEASURE OF HIS COMPANY which starred Fred Astaire, Debbie Reynolds and Lili Palmer?

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I specifically asked her about LOVE WITH THE PROPER STRANGER and she said it "had" been slated fro release at one time. I did say to PLEASE release that film. She wrote it down...who knows what she'll do with the info.

She was very pleased to say a new special edition of the "classic" "HEAVEN CAN WAIT (Warren Beatty) was coming.

She said THE CONFORMIST was going to be released as well when I asked her about that films statis.

 

She was also going to look into why LOOKING FOR MR GOODBAR had not been released.

As she left the aircraft I mentioned one more time to her LOVE WITH THE PROPER STRANGER.

Maybe a petition should be signed.

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Yes, it would be nice to also have The Pleasure of His Company(1961) on DVD. It must be about twenty years since I last saw that one. Another Paramount film I forgot about is Come Blow Your Horn(1963), it would be good to see that debut on DVD.

 

Message was edited by:

GOS

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The information is this thread makes me very sad. I have collected various Paramount TV shows in the past, but most of the ones worth anything have already been released. Do they actually think that some of these shows that were hardly noticed when they were on TV are going to sell more than some of the great classics?

 

I mean, the DVDs for the Star Trek shows or whatever where one thing. There is a big audience for that sort of thing.

 

But they don't have alot of shows like that still in their vault - shows that still have ready-made audiences who they can count on to buy these TV shows.

 

I really don't understand it.

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Do they actually think that some of these shows that were hardly noticed when they were on TV are going to sell more than some of the great classics?>>

 

Yes. The sad truth is that the classic film dvds are a niche market. The folks at Warner Bros have set the bar for how to appeal to this market. The bad news: it requires $$$$ to preserve and restore films and to transfer them to a digital format and provide the extras. Then there are the marketing $$$$ that have to be spent to promote the DVDs.

 

DVDs of past television series sell. Every studio can make more money converting their television library to DVD and selling those than they make off their classic film library.

 

For some studios, it's pure economics: you follow the money and the money is in television show dvds.

 

Paramount is coming off a bad couple of years. They are looking for hits both in their current film line-up and what they have in their vaults. They don't have someone with George Feltenstein's vision in Home Entertainment. On any given day, the folks at Paramount Home Entertainment seem to be quite clueless about their classic film library, how to market it and are loath to spend any money on what some at the studio consider to be a loser.

 

Thank goodness for Warners, Fox and Sony. Perhaps one of these days Paramount might be able to join them in the classic film market but for now, it's not likely.

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And what about THE PLEASURE OF HIS COMPANY which starred Fred Astaire, Debbie Reynolds and Lili Palmer?

 

A couple of months ago, I had my original one sheet (poster) from "The Pleasure Of His Company" signed by one of the surviving stars, Mr. Tab Hunter, and he was very good-natured and gracious about it and seemed to have good memories of the film (though I don't think Ms. Palmer was a favorite co-star, based on Mr. Hunter's recently published memoirs.)

 

The autograph prompted me to go back and look at my faded homemade VHS copy of "The Pleasure..." and the poor television print certainly made one long for a pristine DVD version. I kept wondering what Debbie Reynolds would like like without grainy green hair -- Yeah, the print was that muddy!

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