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Collections - Warners way or Universal?

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#1 of 21 OFFLINE   Thomas T

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Posted February 10 2005 - 04:19 PM

Just curious. Happy to see Universal announce the Gary Cooper and Marlon Brando collections but not happy that it will be four or five films in one case. I know it's all about the movies and not the packaging but there's something classy (and respectful) about the way Warners put their collections in their own individual keepcases and puts them in a box rather than cram all the movies in one case like Universal does their Airport movies, Abbott & Costello movies, Ma & Pa Kettle movies and now their Brando/Cooper collections. Anybody else have a preference?

#2 of 21 OFFLINE   PeterMano


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Posted February 10 2005 - 04:56 PM

I don't care much for what universal is doing. They're good values, but the respect for the films is just not there. To date, I haven't bought any universal sets. Also, that's a very weak set of films to make up the marlon brando collection. With universal you're not getting a choice from what I can tell with these sets, where with WB, those who wish to purchase select titles are free to do so. WB is delivering sets with some very good films at very good values. There's no turkey in my film noir set. They're all good films. Same with the gangsters collection. They're doing a good job with the transfers, extras, and I love the cover artwork on these films. Old style hand drawn poster art is just gorgeous. I love the whole night at the movies aspects of the gangsters collections. Like a little time capsule to that year. WB all the way.

#3 of 21 OFFLINE   Roger Rollins

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Posted February 10 2005 - 05:44 PM

It's very simple. For Universal, it's like selling shoe polish, pork bellies or crackers....they're clueless.

For Warner's, there's obvious a staff of very savvy peope with passion for, and good knowledge of the product.

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#4 of 21 OFFLINE   Jim_K


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Posted February 10 2005 - 11:27 PM

Good lord, Warner all the way! Like I wrote in another thread, Universal's bargain bin approach to their film library doesn't appeal to me. Universal seems to just not care.
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#5 of 21 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti



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Posted February 10 2005 - 11:43 PM

It's funny to see these other studios jumping on the bandwagon of Warners success... too bad they still don't seem to realize why Warners product are so great and if they think lumping together 3 or 4 mediocre barebone films for release and calling it The Marlin Brando Collection will turn heads, they're in for a big surprise. Universal is one of the worst studios when it comes to releases that I can think of, just above Columbia TriStar who are blackballed in my books...

#6 of 21 OFFLINE   Eric Peterson

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Posted February 10 2005 - 11:49 PM

My Universal purchases are few & far between, simply because they just don't respect their film library. Once in awhile, a gem sneaks past quality control, but otherwise they are pretty much useless. I've even been passing on essential titles from Universal, because I don't want to sponsor their continued abuse of their back catalog. On the otherside, I've been purchasing about 80% of WB's output in the last year, and nearly every boxset.

#7 of 21 OFFLINE   James Lambert

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Posted February 11 2005 - 12:04 AM

All the Universal Monster Legacy Collections are great! It's hard to argue that they don't care about their product when these are out there. Sure Warners are loads better at it, but that doesn't mean Universal is abusing their catalog.
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#8 of 21 OFFLINE   Eric Peterson

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Posted February 11 2005 - 01:02 AM

I don't consider those to be that great. I have all of the original discs, and I'm glad for it. The only one that I bought was the Creature Collection, which I'm fairly happy with. I don't like the practice of cramming multiple films on to one disc, and I absolutely hate double sided discs, due to their fragility, and also because it's quite common that they come packaged with manufacturing defects. ...and I also have no use for some character busts. I'd much rather spend the money for fixed prints and worthwhile extras. In their defense, the W.C. Fields collection seemed well-done but that's a rarity in my view.

#9 of 21 OFFLINE   Jay E

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Posted February 11 2005 - 01:18 AM

Releasing great films such as Charley Varrick & Colossus:The Forbin Project in full frame pretty much rules out Universal as a studio that cares about its library. They treat their films simply as a $product$ where as Warner treats them as an art.

#10 of 21 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted February 11 2005 - 01:42 AM

I think that just about sums it up; some of the ideas are excellent, but Universal just fall apart in execution. Their recent giant John Wayne boxset in R2 was a case in point - some fabulous titles, but decent transfers accompanied by bad (and the just plain awful), extras very sloppily considered and ham fistedly put together. They seem to ape Warners, but pale by comparison. And there is no excuse - none - for releasing p&s transfers of 'scope films. Warners don't hit a home run every time, and I'm a little flabbergasted when they don't. On the other hand, I'm flabbergasted when Universal get it right...
So many films, so little time...
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#11 of 21 OFFLINE   Matt Stieg

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Posted February 11 2005 - 02:59 AM

Not when you consider the fact that many of these movies were already released on DVD (in the first batch we only got ONE movie, House of Dracula, that was not released earlier). Even worse, for many of the monster movies and other older movies, Universal is simply using the same transfers they used for VHS and laserdisc releases 10-15 YEARS AGO! They're not even doing new transfers for many of these movies! That's ridiculous and unacceptable!

#12 of 21 OFFLINE   ChrisPearson


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Posted February 11 2005 - 03:39 AM

I think the main problem Universal has is a lack of confidence, fueled by a lot of ignorance. Going by these latest announcements, it clearly wants to exploit its classic catalogue, but doesn't know where to begin and can't justify the initial investment. The result is, it's unsure whether to package lots of films on very few discs and keep distribution costs down (monsters, Abbott and Costello, and now Cooper and Brando), or make the packaging lavish (Marx, Fields) to attract the collectors, but expose the lack of extras and mediocre transfers – either way, no sale for many of us. Warners have established a system that works, and companies like Fox are now tentatively copying that system. But Warners' boxes cost a lot of money to prepare, and sell for very little. Today, customers like myself preorder these boxes without thinking twice because, in a short while, Warners have established a reputation for quality, so they sell a lot and for them it's worth it. Universal just have to acquire more knowledge of and confidence in the market value of their property and do the same. Of course, the irony is that, after Warner, Universal has the finest back catalogue of all the major studios. That a big company like this can't figure out what to do with it and hasn't got the nerve to try is bewildering to say the least.

#13 of 21 ONLINE   Bob Cashill

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Posted February 11 2005 - 03:49 AM

In Universal's defense, re: the Brando collection, they're basically going with what they've got--which ain't much. Brando's father locked the actor into a long-term contract with the studio as MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY was going into cost overruns and his choices reflect a definite apathy about the deal; Brando's only good 60s films were made outside of that contract. They're basically getting the release they deserve. I agree Universal could do a better job with its catalog but this limp collection isn't exactly a test case for a bells-and-whistles approach to a series of films.

#14 of 21 OFFLINE   jim_falconer


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Posted February 11 2005 - 07:39 AM

"Their recent giant John Wayne boxset in R2 was a case in point - some fabulous titles, but decent transfers accompanied by bad (and the just plain awful), extras very sloppily considered and ham fistedly put together." I'm not certain that the R2 box is released in England, is by the same Universal here in the states. I've seen a few of their John Wayne R2 films, and it's almost bootleg quality. Plus, Universal doesn't legally own rights to 2/3 of the films in that box. Not really sure it's fair to bash Universal on this one....

#15 of 21 OFFLINE   Steve...O



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Posted February 14 2005 - 02:43 PM

I know Universal bashing is popular around here, but I'm going to go against the grain and state that I appreciated the way they packaged their A&C, Kettle, et al collections from last year. These films are short enough that people two per side still enables a decent quality DVD to be made. More importantly, I can store 24 A&C movies in not much more space than which is required for any 3 Warners movies. Don't get me wrong, I love my Warners DVDs, but as I collect box set after box set, space is becoming an issue. If there was an ideal compromise it would be that Warner's multi disc collections be available in slim cases. That way, the nice cover art remains as do the liner notes, but more can be stored in the same amount of space. Steve
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#16 of 21 OFFLINE   Bert Greene

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Posted February 14 2005 - 03:22 PM

I'm not entirely pleased with the packaging of either. The Universal boxes I got seemed to have a strong tendency towards scuffed discs, and I really didn't like the way some of them folded, putting the discs across from one another. Price-wise, no complaints. That was a big selling point for me (whereas I opted out of the higher priced WC Fields set, although I adore Fields). I was pretty much thrilled by getting all those "Abbott & Costello," "Kettles," and "Bob and Bing" collections. As for Warner Bros., they obviously put a lot of care and love into their product. But, I'd rather prefer to see some of these movie sets utilize those individual slim-packs, like many of the tv-show releases do. Primarily for reasons of space. I got the "Charlie Chan" set, yet every time I look at it, I wince at how much space it takes up on my shelf. Those six films are quite short, and could have been put on two-to-a-disc, and in slim cases. That could have cut the physical size down by 75% or more. Maybe it has more to do with my sense of aesthetics than practicality, but I just like the look and feel of thinner, heavier boxes, than light, big, space-eating boxes. Perhaps because the latter reminds me of public-domain type collections which try to impress consumers with big boxes, yet little actual material spread over many discs.

#17 of 21 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted February 14 2005 - 08:49 PM

It's Universal; the studio's UK arm, but the same company. And Universal does have legal UK distribution rights to those movies, just as they have rights to distribute certain Hitchcock movies that you'll find under Warners wing in R1. I don't know who else to blame other than Universal...
So many films, so little time...
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#18 of 21 OFFLINE   Joe Karlosi

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Posted February 14 2005 - 11:02 PM

Let me remind some of you that Universal actually improved their release of BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN in their LEGACY set by fixing the previous problem where the cropping was bad on top. Since we're supposed to be mainly talking about PACKAGING, I prefer the Warner "packaging" where individual discs are put into one collectible box. All the same, there's something very cool and convenient about Universal's Legacy sets, the Abbott & Costello Sets, Ma and Pa Kettle, etc....

#19 of 21 OFFLINE   Ken_McAlinden



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Posted February 15 2005 - 01:24 AM

I'm just glad to see them both finally releasing their catalog titles at a decent clip. They both have different ways of adding value, either of which I can appreciate. The geek part of my brain will always prefer the WBHV approach, but the miserly part of my brain appreciates what Universal is doing as well. The WB approach is great, but if Universal had taken that approach with the Marlon Brando set, I probabaly would not consider buying so many mid-tier titles. I certainly did not buy any of them when they were released individually. Regards,
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#20 of 21 OFFLINE   LaurenceGarvey


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Posted February 15 2005 - 04:25 AM

The Warners sets, as far as I'm concerned, set the standard for vintage film releases on DVD, and I savor each and every one of 'em. I enjoy the Universal bargain boxes, but I cherish the Warners. (And not just the 2-disc sets; BROADWAY MELODY contains more than an hour's worth of bonus musical featurettes that I've watched 3 times already.)

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