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open letter to UNIVERSAL


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#1 of 32 OFFLINE   Bradley-E

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Posted June 22 2006 - 05:23 AM

Dear Universal,

Recently you released FRIED GREEN TOMATOES (AGAIN), THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (AGAIN), SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT (AGAIN), now ANOTHER release of SCARFACE is coming Oct 3rd. How about the rest of your catalogue? I'd love a PRESTON STURGES COLLECTION. Also if you want to re-issue films how about films you botched up or past Image/Goodtimes/Anchor Bay releases such as MATINEE, THE HINDENBURG, DEATH BECOMES HER, THE PAPER, THE SHADOW, PARENTHOOD, MAN OF A THOUSAND FACES, ICEMAN, CHARLEY VARRICK, THE GREAT WALDO PEPPER, COLOSSUS THE FORBIN PROJECT, SWEET LIBERTY, THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS and THE CAR. Not to mention the much sought after GOLDEN AGE OF SCI-FI COLLECTION (Tarantula, Incredible Shrinking Man...) people are craving.

You have such a vast library of classic films. How about MORE NOIR, A ROCK HUDSON Collection, DOUGLAS SIRK, or indiviual titles like LONELY ARE THE BRAVE, THE BIG FIX, THE BLACK WINDMILL, W.C. FIELDS & ME, THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WOMAN, THE BRINK'S JOB, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN, RED SKY AT MORNING, THE SEDUCTION OF JOE TYNAN. The list is endless.

Plus my most requested from your library, a Collector's Edition of BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. Not just a new version with longer EPK's, a elaborate edition with a feature length Documentary.

Common Universal, please open the flood gates a bit more. Take a look at what Warner and Fox are doing with the Classic Titles they control.

#2 of 32 OFFLINE   Brian PB

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Posted June 22 2006 - 08:28 AM

I agree. Universal's marketing strategy leaves me scratching my head (the same one I need a hole in as much as we need another DVD release of Scarface [1983]).

In case anyone's keeping count... Number of Universal stand-alone releases of Scarface:
Brian De Palma (1983): 4 / Howard Hawks (1932): 0*

* only available in Region 1 as a bonus (afterthought) in Universal's OOP Deluxe Gift Set edition of De Palma's Scarface


From the lists maintained by Gordon McMurphy at the Criterion Forum:

Notable Unreleased Universal-produced and miscellaneous acquisitions, 1930-1995:

Hell's Heroes (1930)

The Bad Sister (1931)
Seed (1931)

Airmail (1932)

Little Man, What Now? (1934)

Three Smart Girls (1936)

One Hundred Men and a Girl (1937) - Available in UK region 2

Mars Attacks the World (1938)

Tower of London (1939)
You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939)

The Green Hornet (1940)
The House of the Seven Gables (1940)
Seven Sinners (1940)

The Green Hornet Strikes Again! (1941)
Hellzapoppin (1941)
It Started with Eve (1941)
Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941)
Back Street (1941)
The Flame of New Orleans (1941)

Pittsburgh (1942)
Ride 'Em Cowboy (1942)
Arabian Nights (1942)

Flesh and Fantasy (1943)
Corvette K-225 (1943)

The Suspect (1944)
Phantom Lady (1944)
Christmas Holiday (1944)
Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944)

Canyon Passage (1946)

The Web (1947)
Ride the Pink Horse (1947)

All My Sons (1948)
Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948)
One Touch of Venus (1948)
You Gotta Stay Happy (1948)
Kiss the Blood Off My Hands (1948) - Do Universal own the rights or possess the O-neg?

Abandoned (1949)
The Heiress (1949)

Shakedown (1950)
The Sleeping City (1950)

You Never Can Tell (1951)
The Prince Who Was a Thief (1951)
Bright Victory (1951)

The Cimarron Kid (1952, Budd Boetticher)
The World in His Arms (1952)
Lost in Alaska (1952)
Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952)
Red Ball Express (1952)
Meet Danny Wilson (1952)
Against All Flags (1952)

The Man from the Alamo (1953, Budd Boetticher) - R2+R4 editions available
The Mississippi Gambler (1953)
The Lawless Breed (1953)
Thunder Bay (1953)
All I Desire (1953)

Magnificent Obsession (1954)
Romeo and Juliet (1954)
Saskatchewan (1954)
Destry (1954)
The Black Shield of Falworth (1954)

Man Without a Star (1955)
The Private War of Major Benson (1955)
This Island Earth (1955)

Never Say Goodbye (1956)
Backlash (1956)
There's Always Tomorrow (1956)

Mister Cory (1957)
The Monolith Monsters (1957)
The Tattered Dress (1957)
My Man Godfrey (1957)
The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) - Available in UK region 2
Tammy and the Bachelor (1957)
The Night Runner (1957)

The Tarnished Angels (1958)
A Time to Love and a Time to Die (1958)

This Earth Is Mine (1959)

Midnight Lace (1960) - Available in UK region 2

Back Street (1961) - Do Universal own this?
Flower Drum Song (1961)
The Great Impostor (1961)
The Last Sunset (1961)
Blast of Silence (1961) - Do Universal own this?

Freud (1962)
Lonely Are the Brave (1962) - Do Universal still own this?

Captain Newman, M.D. (1963)
A Gathering of Eagles (1963)

The Truth About Spring (1964)
Bedtime Story (1964) - Available in UK region 2
The Chalk Garden (1964)
I'd Rather Be Rich (1964)
Kitten with a Whip (1964)

Mirage (1965)
The Art of Love (1965)
Blindfold (1965)
Bus Riley's Back in Town (1965)

Arabesque (1966)
Gambit (1966)
Texas Across the River (1966)
Madame X (1966) - Do Universal own this?

Games (1967)
Privilege (1967) - Cinesite are credited at IMDb as having digitally restored the film
Rough Night in Jericho (1967)
Tobruk (1967)
Degree of Murder (1967, Schlondorff) - Do Universal own this?
Champagne Murders (1967, Chabrol) - Do Universal own this?
Les Aventuriers (1967, Enrico) - Do Universal own this?

Boom! (1968)
Isadora (1968)
The Secret War of Harry Frigg (1968)
What's So Bad About Feeling Good? (1968)

Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1969)
Angel in My Pocket (1969)
Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970)
Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970)
Act of the Heart (1970) - Do Universal own this?

Red Sky at Morning (1971)
Sometimes a Great Notion (1971)
Taking Off (1971)
Mary, Queen of Scots (1971)

Follow Me! (1972)
Play It As It Lays (1972)
The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (1972)

The Black Windmill (1974)
The Midnight Man (1974)
Janis (1974) - Do Universal own this?

Special Section (1975, Costa-Gavras) - Do Universal own this?

W.C. Fields and Me (1976)

The Last Remake of Beau Geste (1977)

The Big Fix (1978)

Resurrection (1980)

Zoot Suit (1981)
The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981)

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983) - Do Universal still own the rights? The rights have changed hands a lot. Nevertheless, it's available in the UK - an excellent SE[/color]
The Pirates of Penzance (1983)

Comfort and Joy (1984) - Available in UK region 2
Under the Volcano (1984)

Dreamchild (1985)
Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) - Was this carried over to Universal from Polygram? Long overdue on DVD

'Night, Mother (1986)

At Play in the Fields of the Lord (1991)

Leaving Normal (1992)
Lorenzo's Oil (1992) - R2+R4 editions available

King of the Hill (1993)


Notable Unreleased Paramount Titles, 1930-1948 (Controlled by Universal):

Morocco (1930)
Monte Carlo (1930)

Dishonored (1931)
City Streets (1931)
The Smiling Lieutenant (1931)

Blonde Venus (1932)
If I Had a Million (1932)
Million Dollar Legs (1932)
No Man of Her Own (1932)
One Hour with You (1932)
Shanghai Express (1932)
The Sign of the Cross (1932)
Broken Lullaby (1932)
This Is the Night (1932)

Alice in Wonderland (1933)
Island of Lost Souls (1933)
She Done Him Wrong (1933)

Cleopatra (1934)
Little Miss Marker (1934)
The Old Fashioned Way (1934)
Six of a Kind (1934)
You're Telling Me! (1934)
Crime Without Passion (1934)

The Crusades (1935)
The Devil Is a Woman (1935)
Hands Across the Table (1935)
The Scoundrel (1935)
Man on the Flying Trapeze (1935)
Ruggles of Red Gap (1935)

Desire (1936)

Angel (1937)
Easy Living (1937)
Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)

The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938)
Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938)
If I Were King (1938)
You and Me (1938)

The Cat and the Canary (1939)
Midnight (1939)
Union Pacific (1939)

Christmas in July (1940) - Available in UK region 2
Dr. Cyclops (1940)
The Great McGinty (1940) - Available in UK region 2
North West Mounted Police (1940)
Remember the Night (1940)
Arise, My Love (1940)

Hold Back the Dawn (1941)
The Shepherd of the Hills (1941)
Among the Living (1941)

The Glass Key (1942)
The Major and the Minor (1942)
My Favorite Blonde (1942)
Star Spangled Rhythm (1942)
Street of Chance (1942)

Five Graves to Cairo (1943)
So Proudly We Hail! (1943)

Frenchman's Creek (1944)
Going My Way (1944)
Hail the Conquering Hero (1944) - Available in UK region 2
Ministry of Fear (1944)
The Story of Dr. Wassell (1944)
The Uninvited (1944)

Love Letters (1945)
Murder, He Says (1945)

The Blue Dahlia (1946)
Blue Skies (1946)
Monsieur Beaucaire (1946)
To Each His Own (1946)
Soak the Rich (1946)

Golden Earrings (1947)
Unconquered (1947)
Calcutta (1947)

A Foreign Affair (1948)
I Walk Alone (1948)
Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948)

#3 of 32 OFFLINE   Junior_V

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Posted June 22 2006 - 08:44 AM

Female on the Beach (1955)

#4 of 32 OFFLINE   Arnie G

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Posted June 22 2006 - 09:02 AM

Isn't CLEOPATRA out now?
I've got my own Toto

#5 of 32 OFFLINE   Bradley-E

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Posted June 22 2006 - 09:37 AM

LORENZO'S OIL is avaliable now.

#6 of 32 OFFLINE   Charles Ellis

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Posted June 22 2006 - 09:56 AM

More Deanna Durbin, please, along with those other early Universal musicals featuring Donald O'Coonor and Ann Blyth! And how about Kitten With A Whip?
Bring "The continuing story of PEYTON PLACE" home on DVD: the one that started it all- from Dallas and Dynasty to Desperate Housewives and Gossip Girl!!! Starting this May, see the legendary saga starring Mia Farrow, Ryan O'Neal, Barbara Parkins, and Oscar-winner Dorothy Malone on DVD thru...

#7 of 32 OFFLINE   Jay E

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Posted June 22 2006 - 10:28 AM

The following are available in Region 1:

Blonde Venus
Morocco
Devil is a Woman
Flame of New Orleans
Golden Earrings
Pittsburgh
Hands Across the Table
Going My Way
Cleopatra
Crusades, The
Sign of the Cross
Union Pacific


The Heiress & Anne of a Thousand Days are available in the UK if you have a multi-region player.

#8 of 32 OFFLINE   Bruce Morrison

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Posted June 22 2006 - 10:38 AM

I totally agree with the general thrust of this letter. I'm getting really sick of Universal cynically trotting out repeated releases of certain films such as Scarface and apparently expecting collectors to keep buying them. If they can't get the Scarface DVD right after three attempts, why should I believe they will at the fourth attempt - especially considering the number of their DVD releases of major films that they've found ways of screwing up?

Among the films mentioned that haven't yet been released on DVD, I would join in the calls for 'Lonely Are The Brave' (Kirk Douglas has said this is his own favourite among his movies) and 'Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here'. And what about Milos Forman's first film set in America, 'Taking Off'? That's another gem waiting to be re-discovered on DVD.
Bruce Morrison

#9 of 32 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted June 22 2006 - 10:38 AM

Some of the titles on that Paramount list have me drooling. How sad that films like these are under Universal's control Posted Image

Christmas in July
The Great McGinty
The Major and the Minor
My Favorite Blonde
Hail the Conquering Hero
The Blue Dahlia
"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...

#10 of 32 OFFLINE   Danny Burk

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Posted June 22 2006 - 10:56 AM

I'm certainly in agreement with the list of unreleased Paramount gems. So many important titles languishing here...and more that could be added. While it's great to have the 3 "glamour collections" of a few months ago, there is SO MUCH that still begs for release. Instead, we get version #952 of the Universal monster set........

#11 of 32 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted June 22 2006 - 11:16 AM

I think they're doing a good job on catalog titles... bulk packages, beautiful remasters, and nice pricing. However, the amount of re-issues is excessive.

With the huge library they have, they're not doing a bad job.

#12 of 32 OFFLINE   Doug Bull

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Posted June 22 2006 - 12:26 PM

I would love to see more early BING CROSBY
and where is that great Ghost Thriller, THE UNINVITED?

#13 of 32 OFFLINE   Jack Theakston

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Posted June 22 2006 - 12:29 PM

And please.... PLEASE.... OAR for the post 1953 titles! It doesn't take much to do a little research in the library before doing your transfers. The technical aspects of these films are marked down in one book.
-J. Theakston

#14 of 32 OFFLINE   Adam Scott

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Posted June 22 2006 - 01:15 PM

Instead of a FAST AND THE FURIOUS FRANCHISE PACK, and SCARFACE for the umpteeth time (and they need to seriously go back and do something with that gritty video transfer and hollow DTS audio track), how about my vote for the reissue of NIGHTHAWKS with the missing disco shootout scene music???

Universal has in the past garnered high marks from me for their DVDs containing DTS mixes, as well as mostly stellar video transfers with rich colors, etc., but lately, the temptation to jump on the cash bandwagon with reissues like Fast and the Furious and Scarface is just souring that perception; I mean, I love Fast and the Furious, and think its one of the best DTS tracks on the planet, but wasnt the first Collectors Edition enough? Did we need a TRICKED OUT version, in full and widescreen, and now a FRANCHISE PACK just to tie in with TOKYO DRIFT?? The sequel sucked anyway, so who is even going to consider buying the Franchise Pack?

#15 of 32 OFFLINE   BarryR

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Posted June 22 2006 - 01:17 PM

I'd faint if they ever released KING OF JAZZ (1930) --hey, make it part of a Crosby set! It was released on VHS in the '80s.

#16 of 32 OFFLINE   RafaelPires

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Posted June 22 2006 - 01:28 PM

I would also add:
Lady in the Dark - Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
California - Barbara Stanwyck, Ray Milland
Kitty - Ray Milland, Paulette Goddard
Of course, more Deanna Durbin and Betty Hutton would be very nice too.

And some other movies are already available on dvd: 3 smart girls, It started with Eve, Going My Way, Blue Skies, Monsieur Beaucaire, Seven Sinners, The Shepherd of the Hills, My Favorite Blonde and Star Spangled Rhythm.

#17 of 32 OFFLINE   BarryM

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Posted June 23 2006 - 01:29 AM

Add my name to the list of people who think Universal has no idea what they've got in their vaults and what they're doing.

My top wants:

THE SEVEN PER CENT SOLUTION (with commentary by Nicol Williamson and Robert Duvall) - good luck, Charley
MILLION DOLLAR LEGS -W.C. Fields, Lyda Roberti
IF I HAD A MILLION - W.C. Fields, et al
EASY LIVING - Jean Arthur, Ray Milland
A FOREIGN AFFAIR - Marlene Dietrich, Jean Arthur, John Lund
TO EACH HIS OWN - Olivia DiHavilland, John Lund
MIDNIGHT - Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche, John Barrymore
MURDER AT THE VANITIES - Victor McLaglan, Jack Okie, Duke Ellington's Orchestra
KITTY - Paulette Goddard, Ray Milland, Constance Collier (on the funniest supporting performances ever)

#18 of 32 OFFLINE   Brian Little

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Posted June 23 2006 - 11:54 AM

How about Anamorphic Widescreen releases for Kindergarden Cop and Twins as well? Ticks me off that the current DVDs for both of these are P&S jobs.
Brian The Demolition Man Little
Boycotting TDB Ever Since June 2nd 2007

#19 of 32 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted June 23 2006 - 12:21 PM

ALSO YOU OWN AN ENTIRE STUDIO OUTPUT OF CLASSIC CARTOON FILMS PRODUCED THROUGH WALTER LANTZ BETWEEN 1929 & 1972, INCLUDING HUNDREDS OF POPULAR TITLES FROM WOODY WOODPECKER TO ANDY PANDA, AND OTHER ONCE FAMILIAR CHARACTERS WHO ARE ALL BUT NEGLECTED TODAY!!!! IF THERE WAS EVER A TIME TO RELEASE THESE FILMS, IT'S NOW, WHEN THE DVD STUDIOS ARE CAPITALIZING ON THEIR CLASSIC ANIMATED FILM FARE, FROM DISNEY TO WARNER BROS, CLASSIC MEDIA, ETC!!! THIS WOULD BE A PRIME OPPURTUNITY TO REVIVE THESE CHARACTER FRANCHISES AND OPEN UP TO NEW MARKETING AND MERCHANDISING AND MAXIMIZE PROFITS RATHER THAN HAVE THESE PROPERTIES COLLECT DUST IN YOUR VAULTS!!!

#20 of 32 OFFLINE   Danny Burk

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Posted June 23 2006 - 12:36 PM

Wouldn't it be nice for Universal to follow the lead of WB and offer a box of classic horror/thriller films...other than the usual Universal monsters, that is? I'm not forgetting their upcoming Karloff set, which is very welcome. Instead, I'm talking about gleaning some of the Paramount gems of the 30s and 40s. How about ISLAND OF LOST SOULS, MURDERS IN THE ZOO, DR CYCLOPS, MAN IN HALF MOON STREET, THE UNINVITED...hmm, what else am I forgetting?

Another natural would be a Cary Grant collection. He was a contract player for Paramount in the early 30s, and a group of these seldom-seen films would be a real treat. THIS IS THE NIGHT, DEVIL AND THE DEEP, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, and HOT SATURDAY would be a great start, and this would even provide an opportunity to include SHE DONE HIM WRONG, which should have been in the Mae West collection rather than repeating MY LITTLE CHICKADEE, already included in the WC Fields set.