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Paramount Pre-1950 Films owned by Universal

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Greg_M, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. Greg_M

    Greg_M Well-Known Member

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    Universal owns the rights to the Paramount features made before 1950 due to a distribution sale they made for Television years ago.

    Of course as most on this forum know, Universal doesn't release many catalog titles, esp pre 1970's.

    Can these titles be licensed out?

    Does Universal even care?

    Can Paramount buy them back?

    It would be ashame to lose these films, is there anything that can be done?
     
  2. Thomas T

    Thomas T Well-Known Member

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    "Can Paramount buy them back?" God forbid! I mean it's not as if Paramount is doing anything with their classic catalog, is it? In fact, while Universal may not be doing enough to satisfy classic film fans, they are still doing a Hell of a lot more than Paramount.
     
  3. Marcel H.

    Marcel H. Well-Known Member

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    First of all, Universal is releasing catalog titles this year through their new Backlot Series and among them, there are also Paramount titles and let's hope they continue in 2010. And yes, Universal licenses/d out some of their Paramount titles to Criterion.
    I have no idea whether Paramount can buy those titles back but with Paramount not even releasing the stuff they own, it would be worse than today.
    The only thing that can be done is, buy the stuff that's getting released to show that there is a market and keep asking for titles.

    And god knows, maybe they start their own burn on demand programm for lesser known stuff.
     
  4. ahollis

    ahollis Well-Known Member

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    The Pre-1948 (almost all of the sound films and no silent films) Paramount films were originally sold to MCA in 1955. In 1958 MCA (Music Corporation of America) purchased Universal so that was when Universal obtained control of the Paramount films.

    One well know film that did not go with the purchase was The Buccaneer (1938) along with a couple of others. The reason for the Buccaneer was the anticipation of a remake in the works. The major silent pictures stayed with Paramount since MCA saw no monetary value for television sales. The story goes that Paramount sold their films to raise money for their legal bills in fighting the Consent Decree.

    Universal has licensed some of the Paramount titles to Kino, specifically some 1930's musical titles with Maurice Chevalier and some to Criterion such as Sullivan's Travels and Lady Eve, both titles were latter released by Universal in a Preston Sturges collection.

    It is not that Universal does not care, it is just that they can not get a plan to work that will bring in income. They are trying hard to do so with the Pre-Code release this past spring and the up coming Claudette Colbert Collection (which by the way I like her, but this collection just does not interest me). One other side note is that looking at what Universal has released in the past 10 years they have given the Paramount titles more attention than the Universal titles (where is Hellzapoppin'?).

    I am sure that if the price was right Paramount could buy them back, but Paramount has a worse record in releasing catalog titles than Universal does, Samson and Delilah has never been released on DVD at all let alone a lot of those great westerns.

    The only thing that can be done is to keep the pressure on Universal as everyone is doing and purchasing their releases (yes I am going to buy the Claudette Collecton) in hopes that they finally hear us.
     
  5. DeWilson

    DeWilson Well-Known Member

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    As mentioned in another thead, there's also the issue of the quality on the existing negative/prints on these films to keep in mind.
     
  6. ahollis

    ahollis Well-Known Member

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    Correct, it was MCA that made the decision to scape the nitrate negatives. They only saw a use to sell the films to local TV stations and at that time the stations were using 16mm so MCA did not see a reason pay the cost to store the negatives since they got what they wanted off of a dup. MCA never anticipated a longer life than twenty years for those films.

    I do think that if the films went directly to Universal in the first place, they would have understood the need to keep the negatives, but MCA was a Music Company, Talent Agency and producer of early television shows and everything to them had a beginning and an ending.
     
  7. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Well-Known Member

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    On top of the titles already mentioned, Universal is the only studio with a substantial Noir catalog that is virutally untapped. "The Glass Key" & "The Blue Dahlia" anybody?

    ....and where are the remaining Billy Wilder titles? I would love to see them make a new boxset of his films (minus Double Indemnity). This would include "Five Graves to Cairo", "The Major and the Minor" (already released), "The Lost Weekend" (I'm sure this could use a new transfer, "A Foreign Affair", & "The Emperor Waltz" (Already Released). On top of those, they could include some of his early screenwriting credits including "Hold Back the Dawn", "Arise My Love", and "Bluebeard's Eighth Wife".

    I think the problem with Universal is that they don't seem to have any vision of their catalog outside of the Classic Monsters. I don't get it at all!!!
     
  8. Marcel H.

    Marcel H. Well-Known Member

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    "Bluebeard's Eighth Wife" is part of the Colbert Collection. :)
    But Eric is right, Universal has to get those Noirs out.
     
  9. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Well-Known Member

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    I forgot about Bluebeard being included in that set. I just wish that they would put out a focused Billy Wilder set. I guess it amazes me that Preston Sturges got one, but not Wilder. They are both major filmmakers of the era, but to compare them now, Wilder wins hands down. What gives?
     
  10. Miguel M Santos

    Miguel M Santos Well-Known Member

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    Many of these titles have been released across Europe, especially the noir and the Marlene titles, and in the UK they often sell for a few pounds so it might be worth have a look if you have the capability to play R2 discs.
     
  11. Charles H

    Charles H Well-Known Member

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    DeMille (NORTHWEST MOUNTED POLICE, THE STORY OF DR, WASSELL, THIS DAY AND AGE), Gary Cooper (SOULS AT SEA, THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP, DESIRE), RUGGLES OF RED GAP, ARISE, MY LOVE, HOLD BACK THE DAWN, REMEMBER THE NIGHT, THE GREAT MAN'S LADY, MRS. WIGGS OF THE CABBAGE PATCH, IF I HAD A MILLION, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, MILLION DOLLAR LEGS, THE EAGLE AND THE HAWK, ANGEL, A FOREIGN AFFAIR, DESIRE, THE ACCUSED, MAN ABOUT TOWN, THE BIG BROADCASTs, ARTISTS AND MODELS (and ABROAD), THANKS FOR THE MEMORY, THE FLEET'S IN, CROSS MY HEART, DREAM GIRL, RED, HOT, AND BLUE, INCENDIARY BLONDE, THE REMARKABLE ANDREW, BLAZE AT NOON, TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST, THE GLASS KEY, THE BLUE DAHLIA, OUR HEARTS WERE YOUNG AND GAY (and GROWING UP), DEAR RUTH, DIXIE, WELCOME STRANGER, NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, ARE HUSBANDS NECESSARY?, LET'S FACE IT, AND THE ANGELS SING, PRIVATE WORLDS, CALCUTTA, SAIGON, AND NOW TOMORROW, CHINA, THE GILDED LILY, TONIGHT IS OURS, HERE IS MY HEART, THE LIGHT THAT FAILED, THE WELL-GROOMED BRIDE, BAHAMA PASSAGE, THANKS FOR THE MEMORY, VIRGINIA, MISS TATLOCK'S MILLIONS, DISHONORED, THE VIRGINIAN, INTERNS CAN'T TAKE MONEY, THE PERFECT MARRIAGE, UNTAMED, MINISTRY OF FEAR, SO EVIL, MY LOVE, ALIAS NICK BEAL, SING YOU SINNERS, TILLY AND GUS, MISSISSIPPI, THE GRACIE ALLEN MURDER CASE, CHINA, SPAWN OF THE NORTH, BROKEN LULLABY, THE BIG POND, A BEDTIME STORY, THIS IS THE NIGHT, BELLE OF THE NINETIES, CHICAGO DEADLINE, ROPE OF SAND, DESERT FURY, VARIETY GIRL, SHE LOVES ME NOT, HAPPY GO LUCKY, SEALED VERDICT, REACHING FOR THE SUN.....Now here's the rub: suppose that the only way that these or any of the Universal classic films would ever see the light of day in any venue/context, would be if Universal started a website comparable to the Warner Archive website.....would you as a consumer accept/patronize it?
     
  12. John Morgan

    John Morgan Well-Known Member

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    I think Universal kept the original negatives for the technicolor Paramount films. One thing, when the elements are in great shape, they look terrific. The old VHS of SUPERNATURAL is superb, as is MURDERS IN THE ZOO. I recently ran my DVD of MY FAVORITE BLONDE (my favorite Bob Hope film) on my home theater screen. Upconverted, it almost looked like a Blu Ray release.
    I think Universal made a deal with TCM similar to the Columbia deal and many of their films will appear on TCM starting next year.
    Another pre 1948 Paramount that stayed with Paramount was the Sturges film THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK. It looks terrific.
     
  13. ColbyCo82

    ColbyCo82 Well-Known Member

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    That is very exciting news! Just thinking of all the obscure pre-codes that will probably never get a DVD release makes me happy.
     
  14. DeWilson

    DeWilson Well-Known Member

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    It will be interesting to see what pops up on TCM - more than just the 'same old same old'.
     
  15. ahollis

    ahollis Well-Known Member

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    The deal with TCM is one of the reasons Universal is timidly releasing some older product such as the Pre-Code collection this past spring. Does anyone know if it sold well? I certainly hope so for I would love another couple of collection on my shelves.
     
  16. Jon Hertzberg

    Jon Hertzberg Well-Known Member

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    Great! I hope, one way or another (DVD or TCM), I can finally see THE STORY OF TEMPLE DRAKE.
     
  17. Garysb

    Garysb Well-Known Member

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    The print that TCM uses for " Remember the Night (1940)" about An assistant D.A. who takes a shoplifter home with him for Christmas.
    is terrible. It has the old MCA TV logo without the Paramount logo. It really looks like an old 16 MM local TV print. TCM is showing it again in December. I hope they get a better print and that the other pre 48 Paramount films are in much better shape.
     
  18. WESTEGG

    WESTEGG New Member

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    I'd like to see Universal's KING OF JAZZ (1930) appear on TCM. Even AMC used to run it in the early 1980s!
     
  19. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if this one is now in the hands of Universal, but it's one that I've wanted on DVD for a long time: "I Walk Alone" (1948) Paramount property according to IMDb
     
  20. DeWilson

    DeWilson Well-Known Member

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    I'm not holding my breath for better prints :) Due to the existing shape of the library.
     

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