A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Andy Hardy Film Collections

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Take a tour of cinema history, and especially series of films featuring the same lead character, and the list is not necessarily a short one.

    Most recently, we were made aware of the 50th Anniversary of James Bond, and via that celebration were treated to all 23 of the Eon productions on Blu-ray, ranging from stellar quality to embarrassments when linked to anything celebretory. But it was many the secondary characters which remained in place over the years.

    Readers can help with the list.

    There are the Tarzans. Quite a few over the decades, with a myriad of different actors in the lead. There's the Thin Man series, but that's only six films. Mr. Chan may top the list. Warner Oland was featured in 16, while Sidney Toler bested him with 22.

    But consider one of the most wholesome and beloved family series, which had basically the same cast over 22 years and 16 films.

    The Great Family Hardy.

    Beginning in 1937, based upon a stage play, and with Lionel Barrymore as Judge Hardy, the series continued non-stop through 1942, then slowed down for the final three visits with the family in 1944, 1946 and the homecoming in 1958.

    Starring one of the greatest, and most popular actors in the youth segment, Mickey Rooney, the films seemed more to be A- or B+ productions, taking advantage of some contract players who may have had a few days to kill between bigger pictures (Judy Garland), or introducing others, such as Kathryn Grayson to to the screen.

    The Warner Archive didn't have an easy job bringing these to market.

    Volume 1, which gives us six films (You're Only Young Once (replacing Lionel Barrymore with Lewis Stone) - 1937, Judge Hardy and Son - 1939, Out West with the Hardy's - 1938, Andy Hardy Meets Debutante - 1940, Andy Hardy's Private Secretary - 1941 and Life Begins for Andy Hardy - 1941, seemed to release what was relatively easily available at the time.

    Volume 2, which is 10 films on 5 discs, completes the series, returning to the original, A Family Affair - 1937, and then jumping to the third film, Judge Hardy's Children - 1938, Love Finds Andy Hardy - 1938, The Hardy's Ride High - 1939, Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever - 1939, The Courtship of Andy Hardy - 1942, Andy Hardy's Double Life - 1942, Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble - 1944, Love Laughs at Andy Hardy - 1946, and the finale, bringing together Mickey Rooney, Fay Holden, Sara Haden and Cecilia Parker, two decades later in Andy Hardy Comes Home - 1958.

    The problem bringing these films to the public has been elements.

    Every original nitrate negative in the series, fifteen films, was lost in a nitrate fire. What survived are fine grain masters. But strangely, where masters would normally have little wear, these seemed to have been a bit over-loved. That on top of exhibiting a bit of wear that would have been found in the nitrate original negatives, when protection elements were produced.

    I was expecting serious problems, but have come away, not only pleased by what has been released, but rather shocked at the generally fine quality. As these have all been produced from pre-print material, gray scale and grain are very acceptable, with decent blacks and shadow detail. A bit of minus density here. An errant light scratch there. But nothing to cause any problems.

    The 16 films are currently available via Amazon for under $95. That's under $6 per disc. They're a bit more direct from WB.

    Image - 3.75 (average)

    Audio - 4.5

    Recommended.

    RAH
     
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  2. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    Shouldn't this also be posted in the standard DVD section? I know plenty of people who haven't gone Blu and never visit this forum, but would be interested in reading this review.
     
  3. moviebuff75

    moviebuff75 Supporting Actor

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    I bought the first collection early on and was lucky enough to get a Mickey Rooney signed copy.
     
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  4. Cineman

    Cineman Stunt Coordinator

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    What an amazing talent Mickey Rooney was and still is. One of the all-time movie greats from the PRE-Golden Age (he was starring in short films in the 1920s!), a top box office star during the Golden Age, his acting chops matched or surpassed the best of them and he is working on another movie this very year! I can't find the actual quote, but I'd heard that Lawrence Olivier once sited Mickey Rooney as the best film actor in the business. If he didn't really say it, there was still plenty of justification for him to have said it, imo. I'm not sure one can find an uninspired or lazy Mickey Rooney performance in any of his hundreds of film appearances, much less a bad one..
     
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  5. LouA

    LouA Screenwriter

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    Vol. 2, which i just ordered is made up of pressed silver DVD's . How about Vol 1? Pressed or DVD-r's ?
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I seldom look, because it doesn't matter.
     
  7. Jacksmyname

    Jacksmyname Second Unit

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    Thanks for posting this Robert. These are favorites in our house.
     
  8. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    Not that it matters much to me either, but the first set were produced on DVDr discs. They are excellent with just some age showing at times.
     
  9. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    I've had more unplayable MODs than I've ever had with pressed DVDs, so it can matter.

    On another note, why is this thread in the Blu forum?
     
  10. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    . I have only had three that were bad out of about 400. WAC replaced them with out question and they worked. Not problems here. Just looked at at a ICE PALACE which was in their first couple of months and it played fine.
     
  11. John Hermes

    John Hermes Screenwriter

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    ICE PALACE might have played fine, but it was manufactured back in the day when WB only used single-layer discs. Too many minutes in that film for single-layer. Plus now it's on hold due to "rights" issues. Anyway, I have had few problems with MOD discs either - unlike those early double-sided pressed discs.
     
  12. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Screenwriter
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    I had occasional trouble with Warner discs only in the first few months of the program. Some discs wouldn't play from day one. And I could tell without putting the disc in the player that I would have trouble, because of a spiral pattern on disc. Warner's customer service sent me out a replacement every time and I haven't had the problem in quite a few years now.

    I've never had a disc go bad over time.
     
  13. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    I've had issues with about four discs and was able to get replacements. But my librarian friend says they have had problems with several of the Warner, but none of the Columbia MODs they purchased for their collection. Requesting replacements has been very easy however and I do agree that the situation has improved a great deal since the MOD programs started. The problem for me is that i have several MODs I haven't watched yet, so I just have to hope they're ok. I don't have time to watch or check everything i purchase right away,

    The only trouble I ever had with pressed discs were the DVD -18s that Universal used to use, so my confidence is a little stronger with pressed. In any case, I stand by my post in saying that it can indeed matter when buying an MOD over a pressed disc.
     
  14. MattPriceTime

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    We've been over this quite a bit but no matter what we always have to admit neither is perfect. So far no problems with any mod discs from Warner, but i've had pressed discs stop working on me and had to replace them. Both have different weakpoints but either way, depending on what your own system set up is like and just plain luck, different people may have very different experiences. It really sucks if you have a lot of bad ones, but we should admit it can happen. The silver lining of course being it appears the majority are good and as time goes on the numbers of bad ones aren't skyrocketing (like some predicted would happen) The best news however is that Warner is sticking by it's policy of replacing them should they go wrong.

    However as minor addendum to this convo, years ago i ordered two dvd-r discs off ebay and those things are still completely fine after years of use. If some cheap earlier technology of the type is doing fine after all this time, i have good trust these WB discs will hold up for pretty long, except in the cases that sometimes you can get bad ones, since after all i've gotten several bad pressed discs.
     
  15. LouA

    LouA Screenwriter

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    I'm not sure about the longevity and quality of DVD-r's vs pressed DVD 's , but has anyone noticed that WB Archives always makes it a point to announce when a release is being pressed? Sort of makes you think these releases are special.
     
  16. Paul Penna

    Paul Penna Supporting Actor

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    They do it based on their projections of high initial sales for particular titles (note that after the standard pressings sell out these titles then go to DVD-R); in sufficient quantity, standard replication has a lower cost per unit vs. burning. So they're not bestowing some honor on these releases, just taking advantage of the economies of scale. But as for making the announcements in advance of release, I'm sure they're aware that there's some incentive-to-purchase value for some customers.
     
  17. verneaux

    verneaux Stunt Coordinator

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    Just made it through all 16 films. The final film, Andy Hardy Comes Home, was a surprise. It is widescreen with perspecta sound. It is still black & white - I imagine that was a decision made to facillitate the use of clips from the older films. Unfortunately this is the weakest film in the set and is weakened further by a mickey mouse score that sounds like a tv sitcom of the era.
     
  18. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    Perspecta Sound, really? The sound moves from speaker to speaker? How is it encoded on the DVD, 5.1? This is the first I'm hearing of this. I don't think actual Perspecta has ever been used on video before.
     
  19. verneaux

    verneaux Stunt Coordinator

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    It uses a stereo track. I don't think perspecta breaks down to more than two channels.
     

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