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When is Warner's going to take advantage of its silents?


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#1 of 37 OFFLINE   jdee28

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Posted February 07 2008 - 03:41 PM

I'm surprised we haven't seen more silents from Warners, especially under the TCM archives imprint. TCM pays to restore a number of silents each year, and they also hold a young composer's contest, to find a score for these silents. Not even these young composer scored films have come out on DVD.

#2 of 37 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted February 07 2008 - 04:20 PM

From previous HTF chats we know they have Greed, The Crowd, and The Big Parade on their radar, but I don't think anyone knows when they may arrive.

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#3 of 37 OFFLINE   Charles Ellis

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Posted February 07 2008 - 11:17 PM

I'm still waiting on Greta Garbo's Love and Marion Davies' Show People, along with Joan Crawford's breakthrough in Our Dancing Daughters (perhaps it'll be included in a future installment of the Crawford boxed sets with some of her other silent work at MGM). I agree it is surprising that the three biggest MGM silent classics have yet to be released- and Ben-Hur only got out as an extra to the 1959 version!

And what about Warner's own silents? They could do a set on Rin-Tin-Tin, the studios first star, along with a John Barrymore silent set. Of course, I would love to have the whole Don Juan opening night presentation with all the Vitaphone shorts in a DVD set, as was previously done on laserdisc. Come to think of it, I don't think any of the Vitaphone shorts from the Don Juan premiere made it to the Jazz Singer set, so I suspect that Warner Home Video may have plans for the Barrymore classic after all.......
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#4 of 37 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted February 08 2008 - 03:58 AM

They have several Lillian Gish titles as well. THE WIND, THE SCARLET LETTER and several others.

#5 of 37 OFFLINE   Eric Peterson

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Posted February 08 2008 - 03:59 AM

You can count me in on any or all of these.

I'm also surprised that they have not released more boxsets like the Garbo set where one two disc set is dedicated to silent movies. This would work great in a Joan Crawford or Barrymore family box.

Hopefully, a silent epics boxset is in the works that contains "Greed", "The Big Parade", "The Crowd", "The Wind" and assorted others. I'm confident that WB has something in the works, I just hope that it's not underwhelming.

I just saw "The Crowd" on TCM last month and it's one of the best films that I've ever seen. It was incredibly moving....and I can't wait to see some of these other classics.

#6 of 37 OFFLINE   Joe Karlosi

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Posted February 08 2008 - 05:15 AM

The reality is, not too many will be interested.

#7 of 37 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted February 08 2008 - 05:19 AM

It may be too far-fetched, but it would be awesome if WB aimed for BluRay releases of some of the silents. They could go with the higher priced TCM Archives routine, but it would be well worth the $35 to get Greed or The Big Parade in HD. I think all the Chaplin films licensed from MK2 also have 1080p masters on standby (with 2K for Modern Times and The Great Dictator), too.

#8 of 37 OFFLINE   Charles Ellis

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Posted February 08 2008 - 06:03 AM

Joe, don't be a pessimist- nobody likes a wet blanket! Besides, interest in silent films has increased due to cable showings and DVDs.


Eric, you're breaking my heart- they showed The Crowd on TCM last month and I didn't even know!!!! Oh well- maybe it'll be on this month as part of the 31 Days of Oscar festival.
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...

#9 of 37 OFFLINE   Danny Burk

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Posted February 08 2008 - 06:05 AM

I'm really hoping that these will come about sometime soon. All of the titles mentioned would be great, and of course there are many others that I'd love to get as well. BIG PARADE was recently restored from the original camera neg, discovered a few years ago at Eastman House, and should look stunning on DVD.

It seems like a box set of "Young Composers" silents would be a natural for a TCM release. I'm surprised this hasn't happened yet!

Another TCM release could be a box set of Lillian Gish's MGM silents. SCARLET LETTER, like BIG PARADE, was recently restored; it, along with LA BOHEME and THE WIND, have all played on TCM, so good scores are already present. It would be fantastic to have the other two really rare MGM Gish silents included, although I suppose it's a long shot...ANNIE LAURIE and THE ENEMY. The former has been shown at a film convention or two, and those who've seen it have said it's a terrific film. (It even includes a 2-color Technicolor sequence!) THE ENEMY's last reel is unfortunately lost, but it could be made presentable with the addition of a few bridging titles and stills in its place. The addition of these two rarities would really be a coup for WB!

I'd happily pay premium prices for any of these Posted Image

#10 of 37 OFFLINE   Joe Karlosi

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Posted February 08 2008 - 06:36 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Ellis
Joe, don't be a pessimist- nobody likes a wet blanket! Besides, interest in silent films has increased due to cable showings and DVDs.

I'm neither pessimistic nor optimistic... just Realistic. Posted Image

#11 of 37 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted February 08 2008 - 06:44 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Karlosi
I'm neither pessimistic nor optimistic... just Realistic. Posted Image

Actually you're wrong. While the overall market on DVDs have gone down, the silents have gone up. Kino, Image and various others who deal with silents have seen their sales go up the past several years and the rate that they're being released have gone up.


Quote:
Another TCM release could be a box set of Lillian Gish's MGM silents.

Extras could be easy as all of her early films with Griffith are in the PD and in good condition. The LOC holds most of these and I'm sure they'd be happy to have them included.

#12 of 37 OFFLINE   Joe Karlosi

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Posted February 08 2008 - 08:13 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Elliott
Actually you're wrong. While the overall market on DVDs have gone down, the silents have gone up. Kino, Image and various others who deal with silents have seen their sales go up the past several years and the rate that they're being released have gone up.

If you say so. So, I guess more people are buying silent movies on DVD than sound films? Makes no sense at all. Look, I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade; I have some silent DVDs in my collection and, in fact, only yesterday I ordered the new Image HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME online (since nobody stocked something like this in their stores). But what do you think the percentage of "Joe Six Packs" out there is who are buying silent movies in 2008?

#13 of 37 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted February 08 2008 - 09:22 AM

J6P's are buying I KNOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY. They aren't buying BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, CASABLANCA or PSYCHO. If they aren't buying classic sound films then of course they aren't buying classic silents.

However, there is still a large cult for silent films and if small, rather unknown stuff like Langdon, solo L&H and baseball shorts are selling then the biggest silents left unreleased are going to sell. You can go through the Warner 85th threads here and see a lot of titles mentioned but none of them are bigger than THE CROWD, THE BIG PARADE, THE WIND and GREED. These four are going to sell to all sorts of crowds and not just silent film fans. There is a younger generation dying to see these films so they will certainly sell.

If a smaller release can sell upwards of 90,000 units without the backing of places like Best Buy then Warner has a gold mine among silent films. Not to mention the strong showing of the Ford silent box set, which ranked very well at all the big stores online.

As others have mentioned, the rise in popularity of silent films have been growing strong the past decade and especially the past few years when the biggest newspapers in the country have been covering them. Not to mention primetime showings on TCM and the help of various magazines like Entertainment Weekly.

Of course, J6P isn't going to care but there will always been film buffs who want to see the greatest films ever made. If someone is going to want to watch the greatest films ever made then the four I mentioned will be on that list.

#14 of 37 OFFLINE   Stephen_J_H

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Posted February 08 2008 - 09:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Karlosi
If you say so. So, I guess more people are buying silent movies on DVD than sound films? Makes no sense at all. Look, I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade; I have some silent DVDs in my collection and, in fact, only yesterday I ordered the new Image HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME online (since nobody stocked something like this in their stores). But what do you think the percentage of "Joe Six Packs" out there is who are buying silent movies in 2008?
He's not saying that more people are buying silents than sound films; he's saying that while the overall DVD sales trend is down, silent sales are bucking the trend and that the increase would validate any intention Warner has of releasing silents. We're not going to see 5 million copies out of the gate for Greed (and Warner wouldn't be expecting that anyway), but silents are selling well enough to justify Warner releasing them in limited print runs larger than what you would see from one of the boutique labels like Image or Kino.
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#15 of 37 OFFLINE   Danny Burk

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Posted February 08 2008 - 10:32 AM

I agree with Michael. We're seeing officially-released silent films from many sources these days...much more than we'd have dreamed of 5 years ago. Who ever thought we'd see a silents-only box from Fox? Even Criterion, who has released very very few silents in the past, has recently done a few (e.g. PANDORA'S BOX), is shortly coming out with a silent Ozu set in their Eclipse line, and is working on a von Sternberg silent set (Paramount films) for future release.

#16 of 37 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted February 08 2008 - 10:49 AM

I've actually been surprised by what silents I've seen in B&M stores. Two Best Buy stores had Laughsmith's 4-disc Fatty Arbuckle set and the New Line Harold Lloyd box (and the singles), one had the TCM Archives Garbo collection (as well as the Keaton and L&H sets), another had Pandora's Box. A few weeks ago, I found the Lon Chaney set at a Rose's - which is basically the white trash Wal-Mart (for $5, even). Barnes & Noble has carried Criterion's silents, as well as Battleship Potemkin on its release date.

#17 of 37 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted February 08 2008 - 11:21 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny Burk
We're seeing officially-released silent films from many sources these days...much more than we'd have dreamed of 5 years ago.

And all of those releases had the company telling us if they sold then more would follow. Apparently another Arbuckle is in the works as well as more Sennett comedies, silent Our Gang, more Griffith and not to mention that 150 film set of George Meiles. A 54-film set called SAVED FROM THE FLAMES just came out. Restored and remastered versions of LA ROUE and J'ACCUSE are coming and will be debuted on TCM in March I believe (perhaps April). The once lost Sessue Hayakawa film THE DRAGON PAINTER is coming in March. The third of a three disc set of silent films made in Idaho(!!) was just released. Later in the month Kino has a restored THE HANDS OF ORLAC (1924) and G.W. Pabst's SECRETS OF THE SOUL. In April Kino has a 3-disc, 4-film Harry Houdini set coming, which includes fragments from a lost film plus extras that include a 1910 short with Harry's brother and several filmed stunts of Houdini.


Update: That's 173 Meiles films coming in March:

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#18 of 37 OFFLINE   WadeM

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Posted February 08 2008 - 01:02 PM

I thoroughly enjoyed the Garbo Silents collection and would be interested in seeing more from the young composers contests.

#19 of 37 OFFLINE   Jack Cleveland

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Posted March 17 2008 - 03:10 PM

Count me in for both "Greed" and "The Big Parade". I would also be interested in "The Crowd" and "Show People". Warners does such a great job with their classics... I too would love a silent box set.

Watched the 1925 "Ben Hur" last night, and loved it all over again.

Come on Warners...Get moving on this-

Any news at all?

#20 of 37 OFFLINE   Charles Ellis

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Posted March 18 2008 - 02:04 AM

I read somewhere (I think Variety) that TCM is discontinuing the Young Composers contest, and that is a real shame. Apparently there's some new execs at TCM that want to try some new stuff. OK, but if you're not going to have unknown talent score silent classics, why not get some major names like John Williams, Randy Newman, John Barry, or even Andrew Lloyd Webber?
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...


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