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Criterion "Charade" officially out-of-print.


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15 replies to this topic

#1 of 16 OFFLINE   William Miller

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Posted October 17 2001 - 01:04 PM

I just noticed on Criterion's website that not only is Dead Ringers out-of-print but also their great DVD of Charade. They say that they tried to keep the rights but failed. This is a real shocker because Charade is a well known public domain title. Maybe someone has copyrighted the music or something else to gain legal control of it.

Now's the time to grab a copy if you have been putting it off. The commentary track by Stanley Donen and Peter Stone is one of the most entertaining I have ever heard. Many times they argue with each other about whose recollection is correct. The picture and sound are tremendous. But some critics have complained that the letterboxing is too tight.

#2 of 16 OFFLINE   Rob W

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Posted October 17 2001 - 02:31 PM

Even if it's a public domain title, they would have had to gain access to Universal's negatives in order to produce a dvd as good as this one. The public domain transfers are usually from used prints of some sort and are of lesser quality. Perhaps Universal have decided to do it themselves ?

#3 of 16 OFFLINE   SteveGon

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Posted October 17 2001 - 03:55 PM

I picked up Charade about two months ago - terrific disc! Sorry to hear Criterion has lost the rights.


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[Edited last by SteveGon on October 17, 2001 at 10:55 PM]

#4 of 16 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted October 18 2001 - 12:38 AM

One of my favorite dvds. Well worth picking up while it's still available.

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#5 of 16 OFFLINE   Randy_M

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Posted October 18 2001 - 01:06 AM

Along with North by Northwest, my all time favorite film. It's a travesty that future collectors will be denied this wonderful edition...

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#6 of 16 OFFLINE   Tom Brennan

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Posted October 18 2001 - 01:18 AM

Just how many versions of Charade are on DVD? I love this movie, but have never purchased it. Is the Criterion version the best one to get? How is the picture quality? What is the OAR?

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#7 of 16 OFFLINE   Ted Todorov

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Posted October 18 2001 - 01:24 AM

Quote:
This is a real shocker because Charade is a well known public domain title. Maybe someone has copyrighted the music or something else to gain legal control of it.
I don't get it. How can someone copyright something ex-post-facto? I would think that it is not possible to "lose the rights" to a public domain title. There must be another explanation.

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#8 of 16 OFFLINE   William Miller

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Posted October 18 2001 - 01:39 AM

The reason you don't see It's a Wonderful Life on every TV station in the country at Christmastime anymore is because Republic-Artisan had the music copyrighted which was a tricky way of getting everyone's public domain version illegal to use. It apparently is possible to "copyright" something that is in the public domain under certain circumstances.

In fact, music rights is what is keeping many titles from being issued on DVD. Sometimes a movie company does not obtain permanent rights to music used and every time a new home video format appears, new negotiations must begin. I believe that is what is holding up Grease and Saturday Night Fever. And there are many instances where background music has been "replaced" for home video releases when the movie company refused to comply with new demands.

#9 of 16 OFFLINE   Mark Zimmer

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Posted October 18 2001 - 01:41 AM

Yes, something's clearly not right here. I expect that it's NOT in fact PD, and the Madacy or whoever discs that are out there are simply bootlegs, just like the el cheapo Metropolis and Night of the Living Dead discs. If it were really a PD title, there is nothing that Universal could do about Criterion issuing it. And frankly, this was a big-budget major-studio affair that doesn't seem a likely candidate for falling into PD status. If Universal kept junk like She-Wolf of London, of all things, in copyright, surely they wouldn't let this become PD.

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#10 of 16 OFFLINE   William Miller

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Posted October 18 2001 - 01:47 AM

Charade was public domain. Cary Grant owned the negatives to many of his 50's and 60's movies. Many of these were originally distributed by Universal but most ended up with Republic Pictures. These titles include That Touch of Mink, Father Goose, The Grass is Greener, Indiscreet and Operation Petticoat. But something must have gone wrong with Charade. It is unsusual for such a recent movie like Charade to fall into public domain but if certain legal paperwork is not handled correctly, it can happen. There have been many cheapo versions of Charade on home video over the years.

#11 of 16 OFFLINE   Mark Zimmer

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Posted October 18 2001 - 04:51 AM

It's not clear to me what's happening, but there appears to have been activity on the title at the copyright office. Here are two relevant listings for the 'Charade' screenplay and underlying story:


SCAN FILE:COHD; BEGIN WITH:V3451 P784
V3451 P784 (COHD)
RECORDED: 20Apr00
EXECUTED: 7Apr00
PARTY 1: Stanley Donen Films, Inc.
PARTY 2: Universal Pictures, a division of Universal City Studios, Inc.
NOTE: Short form option.
FULL DOCUMENT RANGE: (V3451 D784 P1)

V3451 P784 (COHD)
The unsuspecting wife; also entitled Charade. By Peter Stone. RE
454-442.

V3451 P785 (COHD)
RECORDED: 20Apr00
EXECUTED: 11Apr00
PARTY 1: Clifford Smith & Reginald Noble.
PARTY 2: Universal Pictures, a division of Universal City Studios, Inc.
NOTE: Assignment.
FULL DOCUMENT RANGE: (V3451 D785 P1-2)

======

I don't do enough Library of Congress searches to be able to interpret this, however.

#12 of 16 OFFLINE   Guy Martin

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Posted October 18 2001 - 05:02 AM

I suspect the Library of Congress filings have to do with the upcoming re-make directed by Jonathan Demme and staring Mark Walhberg and Thandie Newton. Of course this may have had the side-effect of removing the film from the public domain.
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#13 of 16 OFFLINE   Scott Shanks

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Posted October 18 2001 - 05:03 AM

This just reinforces my belief that Criterion is going to have a tough time making ends meet in the DVD market. I really don't have any solid basis for that opinion, just a gut feeling.
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#14 of 16 OFFLINE   Jeff Adkins

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Posted October 18 2001 - 05:53 AM

Criterion paid licensing fees on Charade to Universal just to get access to the original negatives. I remember reading that right after it came out. Plus, I believe it even says so somewhere on the jacket. Universal may be challenging the copyright on this one, but as far as I know it is still public domain.


By the way, Madacy's versions of Night Of The Living Dead and Metropolis are not bootlegs! Where did this rumor come from?


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#15 of 16 OFFLINE   Mark Zimmer

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Posted October 18 2001 - 09:55 AM

Night of the Living Dead turned out not to be PD after all, though Romero had thought for years that it was. I'm unclear on the details, but this has been discussed before.

From The Digital Bits VSDA transcripts:

Romero: Yeah, well... that was a big - they blew the copyright on that one. The story was that when we first made the film, we actually finished it - put the titles on and everything - and we put it in the trunk of the car and drove it to New York to see if anyone wanted to show it. And our title was Night of the Flesh Eaters. And it was Walter Reade - the old Continental - Walter Reade changed the title, and we had misguidedly placed our copyright notice on the original title. So it's taken twenty some years to fight that.

Maltin: So was it considered to be in the public domain, so anybody that had a copy could make a copy?

Romero: Well... it was assumed that it was. But it becomes impossible to chase. It just cost a fortune.

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My understanding is that it's in copyright but there are just too many people pressing the thing and selling it for next to nothing to bother pursuing.


I'm clearer on Metropolis:

Metropolis was PD, but came back into copyright thanks to the Uruguay Round of GATT. This happened a few years ago. Basically, any non-US work that had an expired copyright in the US got its copyright revived so long as it was still protected in its home country. That's why you haven't seen the reputable silent film companies, like Film Preservation Associates or Kino or Milestone issue a Metropolis DVD. The rights are owned by an outfit in Germany that apparently intends to issue its own DVD at some point.

Thus, the Madacys (at least for sure of Metropolis) are bootlegs.

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"This movie has warped my fragile little mind."

[Edited last by Mark Zimmer on October 18, 2001 at 05:08 PM]

#16 of 16 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H

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Posted October 18 2001 - 05:15 PM

Hilarious! Criterion's Charade is now #1 on Amazon's Movers and Shakers list. It's up 828%. It's sales rank was 418, but now it's 45. No doubt some credit must be given to the members of this forum.

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