Who owns the rights to Pirates of Penzance?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Mark Bendiksen, Jul 23, 2002.

  1. Mark Bendiksen

    Mark Bendiksen Screenwriter

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    This is one movie that I truly long to own on DVD. Does anyone know who currently owns the rights? Is it Universal? I've never seen Pirates of Penzance in its correct aspect ratio. Heck, I don't think I've ever even viewed it with stereo sound!
    This is one catalog title that deserves some attention...NOW!!!!! [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    Yep, it's Universal- I have it on CED videodisc in pan and scan, but it is in stereo!
    Interesting note about this movie, as an experiment they ran it on HBO once BEFORE it opened in theaters.
     
  3. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    The way rights change hands now it's hard to say, but I'm betting Universal still owns it. I managed to tape a widescreen edition of this from some cable channel (Bravo?), and it has whetted my apetite for a decent DVD.
     
  4. Sarah S

    Sarah S Second Unit

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    I can remember going over to a friends house and watching this on their laserdisc player. Must have been the only movie I ever saw on that format. Definitly belongs on DVD.

    Universal, I merely remind you of the fact that you have this movie & leave the rest to your sense of duty!
     
  5. Mark Bendiksen

    Mark Bendiksen Screenwriter

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    I know that thread bumping is frowned upon but I figured once every six months would be acceptable.
    Has anyone heard anything at all in recent months? Probably not...but I figured I'd ask. This is one DVD that I really really want to get my grubby little hands on.
     
  6. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

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    I have the old MCA LD (from 1983, I think). It's pan & scan, but it is stereo and the sound is quite good. Actually, right and left are reversed (the directional dialogue is a giveaway).

    I'd love to see this in widescreen.
     
  7. Nick Senger

    Nick Senger Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm with you Mark--I would buy this the moment it was released. Let's hope it happens soon.
     
  8. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    Which version are we talking about? There's a Kevin Kline/Linda Ronstadt dvd of this available right now. I assume this is the same as the LD.
     
  9. Nick Senger

    Nick Senger Stunt Coordinator

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    No, I believe the version you're referring to is a 1980 recording of a live Central Park performance (which did indeed star Kline, Ronstadt and Smith). But as far as I know, the movie from 1983 is still unavailable on DVD--at least in Region 1.
     
  10. RobertSiegel

    RobertSiegel Screenwriter
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    Yes, that would be the live version, which is an old video tape that looks like a high school tape, in video qiality that is. I had it and sold it. It was still a great show thought and it was fun to watch Patricia Routledge of "Keeping Up Appeaances" playing Ruth, but Angela is the best!

    Also true that when Pirates was released, they were just starting to test pay-per-view. Universal's first movie fopr pay per view was PIRATES. Because of this, 80% of the theatre chains across the country boycotted the movie, so it only played in maybe one theatre in every area. Unfortunate because I think it would have made a good amount of money for Universal.

    In Angela Lanbury's biography, she says that this was the first role she was scared to take, because the singing was way out of her range. She states she was never really a trained singer. Boy, after listening to MAME and PIRATES and BEDKNOBS and BEAUTY & BEAST, could have fooled me.

    I remember when the laserdisc came out. After seeing the movie 9 times at the Hopkins theatre in Minneapolis, I ordered it next day air, and when it came, watched it maybe 20 times that week. The left and right channels were reversed, but for it's time, the sound quality was very good. But it suffers so, this is one of those movies that loses ALOT in the pan and scan format. People are missing, choreography ruined, and people are singing you cannot even see.

    I know for a fact Universal owns the rights, as one time (out of about 150) they wrote me back and said they have no plans to release this film. You would think that a Gilbert and Sullivan musical with the likes of Ronstadt, Kline, Lansbury, and so on, would make for an attractive release. Instead, we are going on the 6th different version of American Pie. What's with this company?

    The film was remastered for home video about 5 years ago. Now I know the theatrical and laserdisc (Identical) soundtrack by heart. They changed it, bringing all those great stereo voices into the center channel. The dialogue was all mono on the new video-tape transfer. I prey they use the original version, should they ever get around to releasing a dvd. If you write to Universal for this film (go to UNIVERSALSTUDIOS.COM and click on CONTACT, then HOME VIDEO DEPARTMENT) please mention the soundtrack issue, I am trying to make them aware that there is a better one, the original, shopuld someone that tinkered with it not be there anymore, and no one realizes what they did.

    The day this disc is released, I will be at the store the minute they open, and have the day off. This is, to me, the best musical since Fiddler on the Roof.

    Thanks Mark for the opportunity to discuss this great film.
     
  11. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    I did see this, I think on Bravo, and it was just so well done!

    C'mon Universal!

    If you don't want to release it, farm it out to Criterion!
     
  12. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    This DVD is up for pre-order at DVD Planet. No info about aspect ratio (it is supposed to be 2.35:1). The retail is quite high at $24.95, so I would certainly hope it's OAR.
     
  13. RobertSiegel

    RobertSiegel Screenwriter
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    Dick, this is not the movie, it is the live stage version that had most of the same cast except for Angela Lansbury. While this is a fun movie, the video quality is mono and a very poor dated video taping of the show, nothing like the film version. I still appreciate your checking [​IMG]
     
  14. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    I tapped the film when it was show on Bravo - in widescreen. The film does need to be viewed in it's correct OAR. A DVD with stereo sound would be most welcome. Don't know why Universal hasn't released this one yet, even if they use the Bravo transfer.
     
  15. Mark Bendiksen

    Mark Bendiksen Screenwriter

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  16. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    …For I am a Pirate King!
    And it is, it is a glorious thing,
    To be a Pirate King!


    It is!
    Hurrah for the Pirate King!
     
  17. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    The above post is not meant to condone or advocate illegal activities.
     
  18. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Cinematographer

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  19. RobertSiegel

    RobertSiegel Screenwriter
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    Mark, you're welcome. I have really strong feelings about this issue. They waste time on 6 versions of films and leave great movies unreleased.

    If you have never seen this in widescreen, I have to tell you you have really not seen the movie. Case in point, the song IT REALLY DOESN'T MATTER, when they're all singing near the end, Angela and Kline are coming through the doors on the sides, it's gone. And this is the case throughout the movie. They really used the 2:35 screen for this film heavily, and it doesn't make sense in some scenes without it.

    I don't know Universal's mail, have you tried to go to Universalstudios.com and click ?contact" opn the top bar, I am not sure if they have a written address there, but if you find one, I would love to have it too. I want to also request FLOWER DRUM SONG, the only Rogers and Hammerstein film not on dvd (aside from the State Fair remake). It's more important for them to release Pufnstuf and Don Knotts I guess, which I admire, but come on, this is Rogers and Hammerstein!
     
  20. RobertSiegel

    RobertSiegel Screenwriter
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    Ted, I read your post and STRONGLY disagree, but we all have our tastes. I also saw the stage version live and while I thought is was incredible, I thought they did an excellent job on the movie, this movie is in my top 20 of all time. To each his own I guess.
     

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