MGM: When The Lion Roared

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Brian Thibodeau, Mar 29, 2004.

  1. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    I'm not usually one to post queries about the possibility of releasing to now unavailable titles on DVD, but I noticed mention of an MGM Studio documentary in the thread about the MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS 2-DVD set. I can't stand Judy Garland or her movies but was curious if Warner would include the same quality extras of their other two-disc editions and upon reading the HTF review it seems so.

    But that documentary really got me to thinking about this Turner documentary from the 90's called MGM: WHEN THE LION ROARED, which was shown on TV in three two-hour blocks, hosted by Patrick Stewart on some nicely designed art-deco sets, and absolutely crammed with publicity material and clips from all the MGM classics. It's basically an excuse to revisit footage from the MGM library, but offers a surprising amount of behind-the-scenes politics and backstabbery, sort of a warts-and-all look at the rise and eventual fall of the stidio, culminating in it's literal and figurative destruction during Kirk Kerkorian's reign, during which they show footage of bulldozers plowing through classic movie sets.

    It's quite possibly one of the best documetaries on Hollywood I've ever seen and I was wondering if anyone else is aware of it, remembers it, or knows if it might one-day turn up on DVD. I have the VHS box set they put out years back, but would love to have this upgraded to DVD.
     
  2. BryanV

    BryanV Stunt Coordinator

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    I SECOND THE MOTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I bougtht the Warner Legends set mostly for the Heres looking at you doc. So please MGM lets see this awsome doc. on disk.[​IMG]
     
  3. Conrad_SSS

    Conrad_SSS Second Unit

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    MGM doesn't own this docu.

    Warner Bros. does by virtue of its ownership of the former Turner library.

    I too, would love to see this excellent 6 hour docu-series released on DVD.

    The old laserdisc boxed set was gorgeous!
     
  4. ChrisRose

    ChrisRose Stunt Coordinator

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    I watched this documentary on TV when I was very young (I've always been a fan of MGM, their musicals in particular) and I've been dying to see it again... My local library has a copy but somebody stole the second VHS (grr!) so that's no good.

    I'd buy it on DVD, in a heartbeat. I just worry that maybe Warner's not interested in releasing it because... it promotes MGM...not Warner Bros. But hopefully they wouldn't be that petty. It's a good sign that they're releasing That's Entertainment [​IMG]
     
  5. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

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    I dunno; since Warner controls most of the films covered now, it actually would be promoting the Warner video library, and they've put out quite a few SEs of MGM films with documentaries that don't hide the fact the movies were from another studio. I don't think it would be too big a deal.

    I would love to see this doc on DVD. I remember watching it on TNT in the early '90s and being fascinated. It was really a great production.
     
  6. John Whittle

    John Whittle Stunt Coordinator

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    Since you brought up the Turner Doc, let's get them to release the other one as well on RKO. Turner did these before the Warner Bros. merger so it's questionable what form the original material is in (might be on D-2 tape and certainly not 16x9 on any widescreen titles).

    They should look at these titles, update them, clean them up and release them on their own.

    It seems like they would be a perfect fit with the planned release of the box set of "That's Entertainment". And of course the first one of those dates back to the work that Jack Haley, Jr. did with Wolper on Hollywood: The Fabulous Era, Great Stars, and others.

    John
     
  7. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    All this talk about great Hollywood documentaries made another pair pop into my mind.

    They're not quite as good as WHEN THE LION ROARED, but in the early 90's, Republic released a couple of fairly informative documentaries hosted by Leonard Maltin. Both, I recall, were over 90 minutes. One was THE REPUBLIC PICTURES STORY and the other was CLIFFHANGER SERIALS or some such. Both were decent overviews of the Republic films that were available at the time on VHS, so they really were like feature length commercials with extended clips from many of the greats. I still have the VHS tapes for both of these and the MGM docs, and now I'm feeling like watching them all again!

    Just thought of another one, I think this was from Republic as well, called THE FABULOUS FLEISCHER CARTOONS, also hosted by Maltin. This, too, is sitting at home in a box and will likely be revisited soon.

    Then, of course, there's the absolute crown jewel: Kevin Browlow and David Gill's HOLLYWOOD: A CELBRATION OF THE SILENT FILM, a 13-part series narrated by James Mason that really seems captures the heady spirit of those formative years. Here's a link to the VHS set over at Amazon
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...glance&s=video
    It took me years just to track down six of the tapes in this series (before the advent of online shopping) before I switched over to DVD. one can only hope someone sees fit to release this on DVD.
     
  8. Conrad_SSS

    Conrad_SSS Second Unit

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    If the documentary you're referring to is the 6-part history of RKO that ran on A&E in the late '80s (hosted by Edward Asner), that series isn't owned by Warner, nor was it produced by Turner. It was produced by the BBC and apparently they have the rights, but there are some kind of issues preventing its distribution.

    Hence, we haven't seen this series re-run anywhere (at least in the U.S.) nor distributed on video.

    I believe the UK version was hosted by someone else.

    I wonder if any HTF members in the UK can report having seen this broadcast in their part of the world in recent years?

    Based on what I've heard about this (very well done)show, I would guess the answer is no.
     
  9. John Whittle

    John Whittle Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, that's ashame but on the other hand Warners does have a relationship with BBC releasing a number of their productions on DVD here AND Warners does hold the US copyright to the RKO titles. One problem with the RKO Library is that Warners (and Turner before) only hold either US or Western Hemisphere rights. The offshore rights were sold many many years ago and changed hands many times. At one time I think they were owned by Tony Morris in London who was a major television distributor in the UK and the Continent.
     
  10. Nick Eden

    Nick Eden Stunt Coordinator

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    As far as I am aware, outside of USA and Canada, the rights to the RKO library is with Universal.

    The RKO Story was shown over here in Britain many years ago, when it was originally made and I am sure that Edward Asner was the host.To my knowledge it has never been repeated.I guess it must have been shown in the mid 1980s.

    There were 6 episodes and they were titled "Birth of a Titan","Let's Face the Music and Dance","A Woman's Lot","It's All True","Dark Victory" and "Howard's Way".
     
  11. Art_AD

    Art_AD Stunt Coordinator

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    We might see this special as this year it is MGM's 80th anniversary and Warner would do well to jump on the bandwagon. Also as MGM is part owner in the film That's Entertainment III they must be working with Warner's on the three film set (with regards to the last film only as the other two films are 100 % Turner owned), so maybe there is more cooperation between these two companies. Also the RKO documentary is excellent I hope it also comes out (along with the Hollywood silent film series).
     
  12. Nicholas Vargo

    Nicholas Vargo Second Unit

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    WOW! I thought this documaentary was forgotten. When I first got TCM on my basic cable service a few years back, this was shown a lot. I just rememebered how interesting it was to watch because I wanted to learn more about the film studios of the present and how they got here. My only qualm on my initial viewing was at the end of the third part, they didn't talk about the MGM of the six years after they moved out of the Culver City lot, but when they showed it again, I realized why, because it was only about MGM at the Culver City lot.

    I would kill to own this on DVD. It ranks up there with the documentaries about 20th Century Fox.
     
  13. Nicholas Vargo

    Nicholas Vargo Second Unit

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    BTW, while I was in Vegas visiting some reletives this week, they showed all three parts of the documentary on TCM, and I can see why it won the Emmy for Best Documentary in 1992. I have continued to love this doc since I first saw it a few years back. Too bad it is 7 hours in its entirity, because I have to put a lot of time in to watch it, but like I said, I would kill to have it on DVD.
     
  14. Everett Stallings

    Everett Stallings Supporting Actor

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    I have the laser disc set of When the Lion Roared in perfit
    condition if some one would want to buy it?
     
  15. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Hi Brian

    Thanks for that link, too bad it is not released yet on dvd, hopefully someday it will be

    Oscar
     
  16. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    I'm assuming your referring to the link I posted above to the 13-part HOLLYWOOD series. What I wouldn't give to see that on DVD. This thread recently put me in the mood to watch the episode on the early stuntmen (a personal favorite) all over again.
     
  17. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    I love doc's sbout the movies, and would probably pick up all the above mentioned.

    There was a 6 part series on PBS called "American Cinima" that was pretty good from the early 90's, with each episode concentrating on a genre. (This is all from memory, i have it on tape and it's currently boxed up.) It would make a decent set as well, I have no idea if it's schedualed to be released or not.
     
  18. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    Just ordered another upcoming Hollywood documentary DVD that makes the old VHS obsolete. It's called GOING HOLLYWOOD: THE WAR YEARS and I think it's from the late 80's. It's not the longest, most in-depth thing you'll ever see, but it's quite enjoyable, with plenty of clips. It's hosted by Van Johnson. Not sure who's releasing it, but Warner released the original VHS. Good price at Deep Discount, too:

    http://www.deepdiscountdvd.com/dvd.cfm?itemid=SHA003208
     
  19. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport Cinematographer

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    Was there ever a documentary on United Artists. I have to say they were my favorite "studio." They had The Beatles, Pink Panther, James Bond, among others.
     
  20. Jerome

    Jerome Second Unit

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