Jump to content

Sign up for a free account!

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests to win things like this Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remote and you won't get the popup ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.


Criterion "Charade" officially out-of-print.

This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
15 replies to this topic

#1 of 16 William Miller

William Miller

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 249 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 13 2000

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 Rob W

Rob W

    Second Unit

  • 457 posts
  • Join Date: May 23 1999
  • Real Name:Robert
  • LocationToronto

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 SteveGon


    Executive Producer

  • 12,267 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 11 2000

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.

He thought on homeland, the big timber, the air thin and chill all the year long. Tulip poplars so big through the trunk they put you in mind of locomotives set on end. He thought of getting home and building him a cabin on Cold Mountain so high that not a soul but the nighthawks passing across the clouds in autumn could hear his sad cry. Of living a life so quiet he would not need ears. And if Ada would go with him, there might be the hope, so far off in the distance he did not even really see it, that in time his despair might be honed off to a point so fine and thin that it would be nearly the same as vanishing.
-- Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain

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

#4 of 16 george kaplan

george kaplan

    Executive Producer

  • 13,064 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 14 2001

Posted October 18 2001 - 12:38 AM

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

13-time NBA world champion Lakers: 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1972, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001
"Movies should be like amusement parks. People should go to them to have fun." - Billy Wilder

"Subtitles good. Hollywood bad." - Tarzan, Sight & Sound 2012 voter.

"My films are not slices of life, they are pieces of cake." - Alfred Hitchcock"My great humility is just one of the many reasons that I...

#5 of 16 Randy_M


    Supporting Actor

  • 668 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 25 2000
  • Real Name:Randy Margolis
  • LocationPeoria, AZ

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...


#6 of 16 Tom Brennan

Tom Brennan


  • 1,070 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 01 2000

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?

Please vote for a Richard Donner Re-Cut of Superman II

 This Are Intentionally Left Blank

#7 of 16 Ted Todorov

Ted Todorov


  • 2,864 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 17 2000

Posted October 18 2001 - 01:24 AM

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.

Hold on tightly, let go lightly.
My Twitter page

#8 of 16 William Miller

William Miller

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 249 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 13 2000

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 Mark Zimmer

Mark Zimmer


  • 4,263 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 31 1969

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.

"This movie has warped my fragile little mind."

#10 of 16 William Miller

William Miller

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 249 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 13 2000

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 Mark Zimmer

Mark Zimmer


  • 4,263 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 31 1969

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:

V3451 P784 (COHD)
PARTY 1: Stanley Donen Films, Inc.
PARTY 2: Universal Pictures, a division of Universal City Studios, Inc.
NOTE: Short form option.

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

V3451 P785 (COHD)
PARTY 1: Clifford Smith & Reginald Noble.
PARTY 2: Universal Pictures, a division of Universal City Studios, Inc.
NOTE: Assignment.


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

#12 of 16 Guy Martin

Guy Martin

    Second Unit

  • 350 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 29 1998

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.
- Guy

#13 of 16 Scott Shanks

Scott Shanks

    Second Unit

  • 381 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 10 2001
  • Real Name:Scott Shanks
  • LocationLouisville, Ky

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.
Scott Shanks
Louisville, KY
My DVD Collection

#14 of 16 Jeff Adkins

Jeff Adkins


  • 1,762 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 18 1998
  • Real Name:Jeff Adkins

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?


#15 of 16 Mark Zimmer

Mark Zimmer


  • 4,263 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 31 1969

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.


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.

"This movie has warped my fragile little mind."

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

#16 of 16 Greg_S_H


    Executive Producer

  • 14,836 posts
  • Join Date: May 09 2001
  • Real Name:Greg
  • LocationNorth Texas

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.

Wang Chi: Here's to the Army and Navy, and the battles they have won. Here's to America's colors, the colors that never run.

Jack Burton: May the wings of liberty never lose a feather.

Posted Image