Anchor Bay's Infamous DVD Difficulties

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John P Grosskopf, Oct 31, 2001.

  1. John P Grosskopf

    John P Grosskopf Second Unit

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    How does everyone feel about Anchor Bay's continued DVD difficulties, which seem to have become more like a string of bad luck than simple quality control issues.
    It started with the missing audio channel on the Black Hole and went downhill from there.
    The latest problem with DVD content is on their Timerider DVD. Here is the e-mail I sent them and the response received regarding the issue:
    quote: I just bought your Timerider DVD, and was horified to find that it has a missing few seconds at the film's climax, totally ruining the end of the film.
    Spoiler:Originally, Peter Coyote's character is killed when the tail rotor of the helicopter chops him up, leaving only bloody boots. On your DVD, stock footage of Peter Coyote ducking to the ground replaces the death and bloody boots, while the soundtrack plays the out the death (including nasty squishing noises of the rotors slicing through Peter Coyote's body).
    To make matters worse, the director's commentary refers to the Spoiler:death scene, so when William Dear was recording the commentary, he WAS watching the correct version, not the incorrect one on your DVD.
    The total end of the movie (part of its set-piece) is now destroyed. I cannot watch it, having to go back to my well worn laserdisc to see the correct ending. Had I known this, I would not have purchased the DVD in the first place.
    What gives? This is the second or third time I've bought a disc from your company that has similar problems.
    I used to love hearing announcements that Anchor Bay was giving a disc the Special Edition treatment. Now when I hear the announcements, I wonder if it is going to have production problems. [/quote]
    The reply from Anchor Bay:
    quote: To: big_head_grosskopf@yahoo.com
    Subject: Re: Questions from ABE Website
    The print used for TIMERIDER was the only existing print left for use. Michael Nesmith searched worldwide for elements for TIMERIDER, however both the domestic and International releasing companies for the film had gone bankrupt long ago, and the original negative has been lost.
    This was his only remaining print from his vault. Apparently a slight change had been made to the ending on his print, for reasons no one can recall. Unfortunately this is, like I said, the only remaining print left for the film that was usable. The title had actually been delayed
    for six months because we couldn't find audio for it. [/quote]
    Okay, this is a very reasonable explanation, however, it does not explain director William Dear's commentary refering to the correct ending (I assume he was watching the film as the commentary was being recorded). Also, knowing in advance that their print was not the theatrical cut, why didn't Anchor Bay put some kind of disclaimer on the packaging pointing that out.
    At the very least Anchor Bay could have been up front about the deletion/substitution. Footage from the laserdisc (or video master of the LD) could have been added as a supplement or through seemless branching (actually non-seemless branching due to source differences) to explain the problem.
    Thoughts?
    [Edited last by John P Grosskopf on October 31, 2001 at 11:09 AM]
    [Edited last by John P Grosskopf on October 31, 2001 at 11:16 AM]
     
  2. Richard_Huntington

    Richard_Huntington Stunt Coordinator

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    The director was probably watching the old VHS version. That is how many commentaries are done.
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    "My wife actually prefers widescreen"
     
  3. Gavin K

    Gavin K Stunt Coordinator

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    "The director was probably watching the old VHS version. That is how many commentaries are done."
    I find this hard to believe since most directors can't stand to see their films in such poor quality and all hacked up.
    He might have recorded the commentary while watching the LD version if the DVD wasn't ready during the commentary session, but VHS?
     
  4. Matthew Kiernan

    Matthew Kiernan Stunt Coordinator

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    It's true that many directors of older films watch previous VHS versions while recording commentaries. Usually new transfers are being worked on while the commentaries are recorded. My friend Don May, Jr. (formerly of Elite, currently of Synapse Films) told me this was the case when they were doing the old Elite LDs of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM ST. and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.
    It may not sound right, but it does happen.
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    Matthew Kiernan
     
  5. John P Grosskopf

    John P Grosskopf Second Unit

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    Regardless of whether the director is watching VHS or a new master, the missing footage DOES EXIST!
    Even poor quality is better than nothing as a supplement. The original Criterion LD and DVD of Silence of the Lambs had deleted scenes from 1/2 inch home video tapes, so why not here?
    I'm sure Pacific Arts (Nesmith's Company) has to have one somewhere. If not I would volunteer my LD for the cause.
    Again, shouldn't Anchor Bay at least put a disclaimer on the package indicating their version was not the theatrical cut?
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    "If you can't hunt with the big dogs, stay on the porch with the puppies."
    [Edited last by John P Grosskopf on October 31, 2001 at 04:13 PM]
    [Edited last by John P Grosskopf on October 31, 2001 at 04:13 PM]
     
  6. Darren Gross

    Darren Gross Supporting Actor

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    Having worked with Anchor Bay and having toured their authoring plant several times, I'm beginning to believe in bad luck!
    They try their absolute hardest to produce the most perfect, complete versions possible, and I'm sure it eats away at them when they find they have to release something less than perfect.
    Most commentaries tend to be recorded with whatever picture source is available at the time the commentator is free...Let's say you secure the rights to an Italian picture and make a trip over to Italy to research the original film elements...Well you might as well record an interview for the featurette and record the commentary while you're there! Why spend the extra (unneccesary) expense to come back after you've finished mastering the elements? Perhaps the director will be busy shooting, unavailable, curmudgeonly, in jail, or dead! Best to strike while the iron's hot.
    In the case of Timerider, which I haven't seen, again it looks like something they stumbled across at the last moment and probably went nuts trying to find the other version.
    The biggest difficulty for a studio like this that depend on Licensing other properties, is that they're dealing with films 15-30 years old and have to negotiate with foreign or retired producers from bankrupt companies who no longer have access to all their elements. I believe the cut bits from LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE were found in the producer's basement! With a big studio, you usually have much better vault control and better backed-up and protected film elements. Storage is such a big $ problem in this town, that independent producers naturally junk what they believe is disposable when their company goes belly up. ie: DEG, Manhunter and Maximum Overdrive. It's only later on that they find out that, there was extra value in the trims or alternate prints- too late then!
    The whole authoring disc flaw problems that popped up with Opera and others is totally baffling! Crest who authors most of their stuff has an excellent quality control system and a smooth running plant. I can only chalk it up to bad luck! Flaws like this are not done intentionally- there's no saving $ in it! They lose money whenever one of these snafus occurs- I'm sure they try their hardest to overcome these hurdles...
     
  7. John P Grosskopf

    John P Grosskopf Second Unit

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    I understand problems, and do chaulk it up to bad luck for Anchor Bay.
    I still think that they could have put something on the package about the problem with the Timerider source element.
    At least then I could have made an informed purchase rather than find out later and feel cheated.
    Honesty should be the name of the game. If it was an oversite after the fact, than I can understand, but at least get the word out somehow.
     
  8. JayF

    JayF Stunt Coordinator

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    I'd cut Anchor Bay some slack considering the quantity and quality of most of their releases. The major studios could learn alot from them in terms of how GREAT an image can look without edge enhancement. And look at what they've done with the films of Dario Argento, Fulci, etc. I view Anchor Bay as a company that "loves" movies and wants to share that passion with collectors. So there are mess ups from time to time, who cares. There are worse things that can happen.
     
  9. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Let's not forget that other, bigger studios have had their share of authoring problems. At least AB really seems to care about the movies they release. That and they're always willing to release a movie even if it only has a small fan base. How many studios are willing to do that?
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    My top ten movies that need to be on dvd:
    1. Akira Kurosawa's Dreams 2. Freaks 3. Men With Guns 4. The Ninth Configuration 5. The Reflecting Skin 6. Santa Sangre 7. Treasure of the Sierra Madre 8. Voyager 9. White Heat 10. Wings of Desire
     
  10. Nick Graham

    Nick Graham Screenwriter

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    Though I tend to lean toward Anchor Bay's more mainstream releases (Evil Dead 2 SE, Army Of Darkness LE, Halloween LE), I still feel they should have been more honest about this, as opposed to releasing it and hoping nobody noticed.
    I love Anchor Bay, as they seem to be a company that not only cares about their movies but also their customers, but this is pretty much a black and white issue, no shades of gray. If the ending is significantly different than the theatrical cut, Anchor Bay should mention it on the packaging. The could have used seamless branching to let you choose which version you'd prefer. Considering the Director's Cut discs of Army Of Darkness sold well despite the poor source materials used in some parts, I doubt true fans of the movie would raise too much of a stink if they had to use less than stellar sources.
     
  11. John P Grosskopf

    John P Grosskopf Second Unit

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    Exactly Nick.
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    "If you can't hunt with the big dogs, stay on the porch with the puppies."
     

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