A Few Words About A few words about... Universal's June releases

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Jun 19, 2005.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist

    Feb 8, 1999
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    Robert Harris
    Universal released some interesting titles in June.

    I've been waiting patiently to see the direction in which they're heading, after months of re-issues and occasional new (and important) releases.

    The only point that need be made re: Jaws is the return to the earlier, laser-disc based, documentary -- early, quality work from Laurent Bouzerout. I've noted the discussion regarding the original mono mix, but unfortunately, have not been able to play it back on quality equipment, as I'm on the road.

    Legend returned in a newly abbreviated version of the earlier UE at a close-out price, and we finally have a qualilty anamorphic version of Casino, with a myriad of extras. I, for one, have no problem with a DVD-18. Pricewise, whether a film is on one or two discs should be irrelevant.

    But what seems to have flown a bit beneath the radar are releases of Billy Wilder's The Front Page, based, of course, on the 1940 His Girl Friday, which was based upon the 1931 The Front Page, which in turn was based upon the play of the same name.

    For the first time in wide-screen, the trio of Lemmon - Matthau and Wilder makes this a release of importance.

    Likewise, Robert Redford's The Milagro Beanfield War, Jack Lemmon in Dad and Alan Alda and Carol Burnett in The Four Seasons.

    All of these films are budget priced quality releases, along with the Brando Franchise Collection, which really isn't a franchise at all. The term is being a bit abused here, the authentic studio "Franchises" being horror, A & C, Woody Woodpecker, etc. Yet, the set of films is certainly worth the price of admission.

    Whether by plan or accident, some of these films are arriving with little or no fanfare, to be consumed by an audience as long as they know they're out there.

    As I mentioned, I have no idea what is really occurring at Universal, especially since they became a unit of GE.

    What I do know is that there are some highly intelligent executives in the home video division. We simply need to wait for the new regime to hit its stride.

    If that could begin with a Sternberg collection, that would be a nice place to start, and from which to continue the legacy.

    As we wait for High Definition to arrive, one can only hope that Jaws, when it arrives will be the current version, with the addition of trailers, and that the initial incarnation will not once again return to a one hour documentary, only to be re-marketed with a second release.

    We very much want to see Universal return to the position which it once held in the early days of laserdisc and then DVD, which was a powerful, well-run entity with a highly progressive center for the advancement of technologies.

  2. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

    Apr 19, 2000
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    Salinas, CA
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    Amen. And I feel the same way about Sony, which is why I take them to task more often than, say, Disney, who has always been inconsistent in their approach to the format.
  3. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer

    Feb 20, 2001
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    Livonia, MI USA
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    Kenneth McAlinden
    As far as value propositions go, I have no complaints with The Gary Cooper "Franchise" Collection, either. I would have paid the whole cost of the set for either "Beau Geste" or "Design for Living", and the other three films are quality as well. No substantial extras, of course, but the films are well presented.


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