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African Queen Release in R1?


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#1 of 26 OFFLINE   Joel Vardy

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Posted March 08 2003 - 05:45 AM

Any chance we will ever see The African Queen released in R1? I understand that R2 has had this one available in pretty good form (with a commentary track) for some time.

After seeing rereleases of 2nd and 3rd rate titles in SE and Ultimate SE versions I am dismayed that there has been very little said by either the studios nor here at the HTF. Meanwhile we hear, ad nauseum, speculation about SW and IJ. Is there any doubt that either will eventually be released? IJ is already being readied for this year and SW will undoubtedly get the largest release in the format's history when it gets here. I find it curious that the best known collaboration between two American screen icons like Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburne has not evoked more interest. Does anyone have either any news or something to say about the apparent lack of discussion?

Joel

#2 of 26 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted March 08 2003 - 05:49 AM

The lack of discussion is partly due to the confusion as to which company has the dvd rights in Region 1. If for instance, if it was well-known that Warner or MGM had the rights to this film then I'm sure there would be more discussion and pressure asserted on which ever studio own those rights. Crawdaddy

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#3 of 26 OFFLINE   Rain

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Posted March 08 2003 - 07:41 AM

I'd be thrilled to see this movie on DVD, as it is one of my all time favourites. Unfortunately, I cannot provide any real information. Hopefully MGM is not the owner of this film, given their second rate treatment of "classics" on DVD. I'm confident that Warner would do a splendid job of it if it is their property.
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#4 of 26 OFFLINE   Gordon McMurphy

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Posted March 08 2003 - 08:43 AM

Doesn't Fox own the rights? It was they who released the most recent VHS edition.

I would be happy with Fox handling the DVD edition.

But they obviously couldn't issue it under their "Studio Classics" series.

If it is indeed Warner who own the rights, then I would be equally comfortable.

It wouldn't surprise me if the film elements need some 'restoration'. The region 2 edition is good, but it isn't great. The colours are a bit faded and the famous 'velvety quality' of Technicolor is absent.

It would be great if Criterion had secretly acquired the rights; they are SO sly with what they are doing these days (Fear And Loathing?! Straw Dogs?! They surprised EVERY last one of us! ) and a rights-limbo title like African Queen is ripe for their magical ways. Posted Image

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#5 of 26 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted March 08 2003 - 08:57 AM

I believe the dvd rights reverted back to a production company and not a studio. Horizon which was one of the production companies of the film had several of their films released by Columbia such as the following:
  • The Swimmer (Being release later this month)
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • On the Waterfront
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai
I thought a read where a British production company had the rights to it. Maybe, Carlton.




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#6 of 26 OFFLINE   Walter Kittel

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Posted March 08 2003 - 09:05 AM

The African Queen was released on LD by Fox, under the CBS/Fox banner. I'm fairly certain that in a studio feedback thread one or two years ago, Mr. Staddon indicated that Fox no longer had the rights to The African Queen and that MGM now possessed them.

As I mentioned that was several years ago, so Robert's information may be more accurate. Suffice to say, I would love to hear that it is being released, in a manner that does justice to the film.

- Walter.

Fidelity to the source should always be the goal for Blu-ray releases.

#7 of 26 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted March 08 2003 - 09:10 AM

Since, we're dealing with the academy ratio of 1.37:1 for this film at least whomever owns the rights now can't screw that up.

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#8 of 26 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted March 08 2003 - 09:54 AM

[quote] Since, we're dealing with the academy ratio of 1.37:1 for this film at least whomever owns the rights now can't screw that up. [quote]
Well, they can use an Eastmancolor print instead of a remastered transfer from the Technicolor separations.

#9 of 26 OFFLINE   Jo_C

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Posted March 08 2003 - 10:22 AM

Well, This much we do know. United Artists originally released the film in the U.S., but lost those rights when Trans-Lux acquired them sometime in the 1960s. Viacom bought the television rights in the early 1970s, so it would be Paramount that would now have the television rights. CBS-Fox video did have the video rights, but when CBS was bought by Viacom the CBS Video division went to Paramount, so Paramount (I believe) would now also have the video rights. Currently the theatrical distribution rights are also held by Paramount. Horizon Film Management (successor in interest to the Horizon-Romulus company that produced "African Queen") holds the copyright. Any questions?

#10 of 26 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted March 08 2003 - 11:38 AM

I was specifically talking about not screwing up the aspect ratio not the transfer process. Crawdaddy

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#11 of 26 OFFLINE   Joel Vardy

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Posted March 09 2003 - 04:32 AM

What do we collectively need to do to determine: 1) Who owns the R1 rights? 2) How to lobby for its release? It doesn't seem like we are any closer to these questions than when I raised this issue last year. We could systematically ask each of the likely suspects about the whereabouts of the rights and triangulate on the culprit. What do we know now? 1) Fox does not own the R1 rights 2) MGM has not been ruled out (we need to verify directly) Would there be any problem in having the first effort directed at releasing the an R2 equivalent? I would be thrilled. I don't have the ability to properly play back a R2 release. I'm glad my question at least has elicited some response on this go around. Any additional thoughts? Joel

#12 of 26 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted March 09 2003 - 05:52 AM

Joel,
I started this thread in the Studio Feedback area earlier this morning in search of getting some response from Paramount regarding this title.





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#13 of 26 OFFLINE   Joel Vardy

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Posted March 09 2003 - 07:00 AM

Robert, Thanks. I don't know if Paramount is going to respond if they are not in possession of the rights nor know who has them...but it's worth a try. Should we start the same thread geared towards MGM, in case? Joel

#14 of 26 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted March 09 2003 - 07:07 AM

Martin Blythe of Paramount regularly posts on this forum regarding possible future dvd releases.

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#15 of 26 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted March 10 2003 - 12:00 PM

According to an article, The African Queen is moving to TCM from AMC as part of the Paramount package. I guess that confirms that they'd be the ones to handle the DVD.

#16 of 26 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted March 10 2003 - 12:15 PM

I read the same article on TCM's web site. Hopefully, Mr. Blythe will reply to that thread in Studio Feedback for confirmation of the dvd release rights. Crawdaddy

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#17 of 26 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted March 11 2003 - 03:54 AM

Whoever owns it... I want it and I want it done RIGHT (in other words...something on par with Singing in the Rain...not the Quiet Man!!) -dave
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#18 of 26 OFFLINE   Brajesh Upadhyay

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Posted March 11 2003 - 04:09 AM

I have an extra copy of the Japanese, region 2-coded "The African Queen" DVD if anyone's interested. The picture quality is pretty good (better than the last laserdisc version released in the U.S.). Whoever e-mails me first can have it for $15 shipped.
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#19 of 26 OFFLINE   Mark Zimmer

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Posted March 11 2003 - 09:01 AM

Yes....pray to all the gods you can think of that The African Queen is not part of the Republic library and thus in the greasy hands of Artisan Entertainment....

#20 of 26 OFFLINE   Doug Bull

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Posted March 11 2003 - 09:37 AM

The Fox beautifully remastered deluxe Laserdisc box set, is well worth having until a DVD is announced. The picture quality is excellent and extras are fabulous. It turns up at reasonable prices on e-bay from time to time.




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