A Star is Born (1937): Will a GOOD DVD of this picture ever come?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by MatthewA, Dec 19, 2002.

  1. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Since the original three-strip elements have been preserved over at UCLA, why, then, is their not a really good DVD of the original 1937 version of "A Star is Born," with Janet Gaynor and Frederic March?

    The Image Entertainment DVD claims to be restored from the original elements. BAH! Never having seen the picture, I picked it up. I couldn't finish it.

    It looked like a 16mm Cinecolor print that had been run over by a dump truck. (I know the film was reissued in the two-strip Cinecolor process) Frames seemed to be missing. There was a good movie underneath that horrible transfer.

    Sadly the film is in the public domain, damaging the incentive for anyone to release a truly good version of the 1937 version. Warner Home Video did the Judy Garland version, perhaps they could do the original?
     
  2. Lee Bombard

    Lee Bombard Stunt Coordinator

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    Does Criterion ever dabble in the public domain?

    Regards,
    Lee
     
  3. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I thought they did at some point.

    Kino on Video might do this, if they can get hold of a decent print from a proper 3-strip source.

    All I know is that the current DVDs out there are abortions.
     
  4. Rain

    Rain Producer

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  5. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Cinematographer

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  6. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    Haxan is certainly public domain, since it's from 1922.
     
  7. Jeff Adkins

    Jeff Adkins Screenwriter

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    Due to the GATT treaty, there's some disagreement as to whether they are still in the public domain. Criterion did license their versions from someone, but I can't remember who.
    Jeff
     
  8. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    The two British Hitchcocks were licensed from the British Film Institute, I think.

    And Haxan from Transit Film, probably.
     
  9. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Perhaps we at HTF could pool resources (money) to release a decent DVD of this film. Maybe I'm crazy, but it could work. If UCLA Film Archive would cooperate, perhaps it could be done. They have the original nitrate YCM seps, of which they have made safety copies.
    The disc could be sold through HTF and perhaps have a few extras like a trailer or what not.
    Search here:
    http://orion-1.library.ucla.edu
     
  10. SteveP

    SteveP Second Unit

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    In about 1982, while searching for the cut sections of the 1954 version of A STAR IS BORN, Ronald Haver found the 1937 three-strip negative in the Warner vaults. The trailer of the 1937 version that appears on the current DVD of the 1954 version looks WONDERFUL. If Warner's could take the three-strip negative of the 1937 version and make prints and/or video that looks as good as that trailer, it would be DIVINE.

    Anchor Bay's transfer of the 1936 Selznick Technicolor THE GARDEN OF ALLAH is SUPERB.
     
  11. Claes Ljunghorn

    Claes Ljunghorn Stunt Coordinator

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    Häxan is from the Swedish Film Institute.
     
  12. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    A few film prints would be good. Perhaps a theatrical reissue to stoke interest.

    Like I said, a UCLA/HTF joint venture is something I'd like to research the feasibility of.
     
  13. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    UCLA already restored A Star Is Born, likely from those 3-strip negatives since they're in their archive.


    It looks like Warner owns the film according to UCLA's listing.
     
  14. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Patrick,

    I assumed the cheapo versions of the film available meant the film was PD. I'll ask UCLA on the exact state of the film's copyright.
     
  15. Jeff Adkins

    Jeff Adkins Screenwriter

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    I just remembered another public domain Criterion title: Carnival Of Souls.
    Jeff
     
  16. Jeffrey Gray

    Jeffrey Gray Second Unit

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    MatthewA: Cheapo releases do not mean a film is PD. Several films, such as the colorized version of "Scrooge" (1951), and quite a few other films actually under copyright, have been released to video/DVD by budget labels, ILLEGALLY. I know that Madacy has released a good amount of DVDs of films that are still under copyright, thus making the discs illegal.
     

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