Sunday, July 26, 2009

Unreleased DVD Mid-Term Progress Report

Be Grateful for Crumbs

Sheesh. I don't think the major studios are all that interested in releasing classic movies any more. Back in December, I posted my wishlist for my most sought-after classic films not yet on DVD. Seven months later and only one has been issued: Johnny Eager (1942), the film that made me realize Robert Taylor was a much better actor than he's given credit for. Van Heflin won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for this film, as a sad, sympathetic drunken buddy of the Taylor's title character. The Warner Archive released the movie on its DV-R program, but I just never cottoned to the idea of paying a huge conglomerate $20.00 for a mere burn of a movie that costs them next to nothing to make the "regular" way. At least Turner Classic Movies has a few of my requested movies airing in the next few months, so if I even owned a recording device I could tape said films. But it just looks like we've entered an era of the new and the latest rather than catering to the niche market that classic film has become.

It wasn't that long ago that an Astaire-Rogers boxed set (two volumes!) or a Thin Man Collection would soar high in sales. Perhaps it's because there just aren't that many great films left to release? Now you know I don't believe that for a second. These gi-normous movie corporations could sell fire to the Devil if they put their marketing boys and girls to work on the job. So what gives? Why so few classic movies being released on DVD? Or more specifically, why aren't the movies *I* want being released? They must want to give bootleggers job security... Come to think of it, that's most gracious in these economically tough times.

How many of your unreleased DVDs have made it to disc this year? Which ones were they?


  1. There's several that I want to see on DVD. Most are ones you have mentioned I believe.

    The Ex Mrs. Bradford
    Star of Midnight with Powell and Rogers
    Primerose Path with Ginger Rogers
    Crossroads with Powell and Claire Trevor
    In fact any film with Trevor that hasn't been released.

  2. A gazillion of my favorites were never even released on VHS, let alone DVD... You'd think that if TCM manages to stay on the air with their subscribers (and no commercials) that there must be enough of us to warrant releasing classics on DVD, right?!

    However.. I think you should get some kind of recording device, even if it's just an old VCR to tape on-- I'm always terrified TCM will start showing more new films and less old ones (or only the popular old ones) one of these days, so I'm stockpiling practically every interesting film they show as if they were going to stop tomorrow! And a stack of DVD-R discs is like $20 for 100... instead of that sky-high $20 for ONE disc that WB charges! (though I think VHS tapes are still about $2 each.. but even that is still better than $20!)

  3. Hear, hear. If it weren't for DVD-R, I wouldn't know what to do with myself.

    Thank heavens for TCM. Didi-- I agree with your picks. And most of Ros Russell's stuff as well. Most not even available on VHS. Shame.

  4. Didi: The Ex-Mrs. Bradford is on TCM Aug 30 at 10:15 PM (est). Can't wait.

    Kate Gabrielle: Great advice, thanks! (but will I heed it..dope that I am)

    Juliette: I see we like much of the same stuff!

  5. TCM has already started showing far fewer old films in the UK, and now largely shows 1980s and 90s movies at peak time, with the older black and white films relegated to late night and early morning. Some goodies still turn up, but fewer than in the past.

    I had been hoping this was a temporary blip, but I fear it looks as if they have changed the channel for good... or for bad in my opinion.

    I also agree that there seem to be very few classic movies being released on DVD, and even fewer of them on my side of the pond. The Warner Archive series isn't available over here, but I agree with you that I'd be reluctant to pay all that money for just one burned DVR anyway!


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