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Best catalog / library DVD releases of 2008 (1 Viewer)

Simon Howson

Feb 19, 2004
I just noticed that there are no more 2008 catalog releases left that I want to order. So I thought I'd get in early and list some of my favourite classic releases of this year:

Forbidden Hollywood Collection: Volume Two
Bonnie and Clyde: Ultimate Collector's Edition
Fall of the Roman Empire (El Cid was let down by a poor transfer)
Frank Sinatra: The Golden Years Collection
Fox Western Classics
Man of the West (A great upgrade from my R4 copy)
The Gunfight at Dodge City
The Westerner
The Furies: Criterion Collection
Warner Home Video Western Classics Collection (Hopefully the first of many!)
Boomerang (Finally!)
The Films of Budd Boetticher (All SPHE needs now is a new cover art designer)
The New Centurions (See above)
An American in Paris: Two Disc Special Edition (Ultra Resolution does it again!)
How the West Was Won: Ultimate Collector's Edition
Touch of Evil: 50th Anniversary Edition (The film deserved this as its initial release, but better late than never)

Australian releases:
Desert Fury
Johnny Guitar (Only $9 too!)

Overall, the releases I have enjoyed the most would be the Boetticher, Touch of Evil, Warner Westerns, and the How the West Was Won sets.

Onwards to 2009! Where I already have 11 items pre-ordered! So far I'm most looking forward to the Natalie Wood box, the Michael Powell 2-fer, and some of the Paul Newman singles from Warner (why oh why didn't they just make it a box!?)


Senior HTF Member
Feb 20, 2001
Livonia, MI USA
Real Name
Kenneth McAlinden
There was a lot of good Warner stuff not listed including:

Single Titles:

Quo Vadis
The Picture of Dorian Gray

Box Sets:

Classic Musicals from the Dream Factory (incluiding Kismet, mentioned above, and a whole lot more!)
Joan Crawford Collection Vol. 2
Errol Flynn: The Warner Western Collection
Busby Berkeley Collection Vol. 2
Warner Bros. Pictures Gangster Collection Vol. 4
Warner Bros. and the Homefront Collection

I also liked that they dipped into their 60s-80s catalog for some single releases:

Personal Best
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Tell Me a Riddle
Cool Hand Luke DE
Risky Business 25th Anniversary

I was a little disappointed with some of their releases (no stereo sound on "Many Rivers to Cross", lackluster video presentations on "A Holiday Affair", "Blossoms in the Dust", and "Gigi", not-so-special special features on "Beetlejuice"), but overall it was another good year for Warner catalog titles. My pick for their top release of last year would have to be "Classic Musicals from the Dream Factory Vol. 3" from way back in April.



Supporting Actor
Jan 24, 2007
Real Name
Karine Philippot

Very same #1 choice from me - what an amazing set!

A very close #2 would be Alice Faye Collection, vol. 2

Other top favorite releases (sets or singles) this year:
Tyrone Power Matinee Idol Collection
Easy Living
The Major and the Minor
Frank Sinatra: The Early Years
Bette Davis, vol. 3
Tammy and the Bachelor (and sequels on same DVD)
Lubitsch Musicals
How the West Was Won

*(I have to wait for Christmas to get the Warner Homefront Collection and the Warner Holiday Collection, vol. 2 - also getting vol. 1 for The Singing Nun)

Plenty on pre-order for 2009 too

Patrick McCart

Senior HTF Member
May 16, 2001
Georgia (the state)
Real Name
Patrick McCart
I've unfortunately abstained from so many releases because of hold out for BluRay, but...

This has been a fantastic year for shorts. Warner's Looney Tunes and Popeye, Universal's second Walter Lantz/Woody Woodpecker set, and Sony's Three Stooges volumes. Also, Criterion's budget priced, but gorgeous release of The Red Balloon.

Most scholarly treatment of a classic is probably Touch of Evil. I never expected a Criterion level release from Universal, so I hope it's not the last.

Best surprise is Fox's The Big Trail, with the rare 70mm version beautifully remastered.

Even though the transfer is problematic, El Cid is the best unreleased classic of the year.

Fox needs to fix the problems with the discs, but their Alfred Hitchcock box set is welcomed for the improved Selznick titles and the three British films finally available in legit restored editions.

Even if light on extras, Fox's The Darjeeling Limited has an amazing transfer that needs a BluRay!

Matt Hough

Senior HTF Member
Apr 24, 2006
Charlotte, NC
Real Name
Matt Hough
I think the last CHARLIE CHAN box set has been unjustly neglected. Those transfers were stunning. True, they skimped on bonus material this time, but the picture quality was really first rate on those, and kudos on Fox for giving us all of their CHANs and not dropping the series after the first couple of boxes.

HOW THE WEST WAS WON on Blu-ray gets my vote for the best vault title on BD.


Senior HTF Member
Oct 3, 2008
New York City
Real Name
In no particular order:

Dark City: Director's Cut
Inglorious Bastards
Wargames 25th Anniversary Edition
Chaplin 15th Anniversary Edition
Chosen Survivors
The Dirty Harry Ultimate Collection
White Dog
Classe Tous Risques
El Cid
Midnight Express 30th Anniversary Edition
Friday the 13th: The Series
Phase IV
Bridges of Madison County
Sweet Sixteen
Mrs Doubtfire Behind the Seams Edition
The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration
Class of 1999
Beyond the Door
Capricorn One Special Edition
Woody Woodpecker Classic Cartoon Collection Vol. 2


Senior HTF Member
Dec 31, 2003
Real Name
Agree with Matt on Fox's recent Chan box set. The A/V quality was exceptional and Fox provided extra value by doubling up on the number of films while keeping the price the same.

Warner's Gangster #4 was my favorite release from WHV.

Sony deserves tons of credit for the excellent 3 Stooges series of releases.


Senior HTF Member
Oct 21, 2001
Real Name
There are still some titles I haven't gotten to yet so there may be surprises.

I would concur that The Red Balloon was wonderful and a great bang for the buck.

I don't think anyone has mentioned Dr. Syn: The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh. Fantastic transfer and both widescreen and fullscreen versions (as many first saw it.).

If the producers of the Touch of Evil set had been smart enough to do that they would have been a great candidate for honors this year.


Senior HTF Member
Jul 19, 2002
(from what I can remember)the ones I've enjoyed the most have been
the Tammy set
Fox Western Classics
The Major And The Minor
Phase IV
The One And Only
The Night They Raided Minsky's
Escape From Fort Bravo
plus some I'm looking forward to, but haven't watched yet like
The Budd Boetticher Set
The Double Life Of Veronique
King Of The Gypsys
The Tyrone Power Matinee Idol set
Dr. Syn
The Eagle Has Landed (import Bd)
Capricorn One SE

And three releases that deserve to be singled out for special recognition...
-Black Narcissus (import Bd). The image suffers a bit from obvious color breathing, but it does little to dilute the potency of the films narcotic effect. I'm THRILLED to finally own this in such a magnificent looking edition.
- How The West Was Won(Bd). Haven't seen the movie yet (ever), but the visual quality of the Bd is simply breath-taking. All things considered, this has to be the most visually impressive catalog title to EVER be released on home video. ( I just hope the movie is at least half as good as the visuals).

I think my favorite catalog release though is still Lionsgates The Angelique Collection. Never heard of 'em before this year, but I found this one-of-a-kind French series of pulpy, bodice rippers to be enchanting, engrossing, and HUGELY entertaining. One of the most satisfying and enjoyable blind buys I ever made.


Senior HTF Member
May 22, 1999
Real Name
SOUNDER (1972) Not an exemplary transfer (2.35:1) from Koch (too soft), but nice as hell to have the film. A big surprise release after all these years.

THE CHANT OF JIMMIE BLACKSMITH (1978). Very acceptable transfer (2.35:1) from Industrial (I had never heard of this company before...hope they continue to secure rights for tricky, lesser-known back titles). BTW - there IS a Fred Schepisi commentary track, even though the cover art and most web sites do not make mention of it.

BECKET: Worth the long wait. MPI truly acquitted themselves with this one (2.35:1, coming to Blu-ray).

THE NAKED PREY. I love this new Paramount-Criterion marriage. Keep it up!

Re-issues of Three Hitchcock classics as 2-disc editions (PSYCHO, REAR WINDOW and VERTIGO) as well as Orson Welles' TOUCH OF EVIL, all looking better than ever before and loaded with extras.

Some Warner Bros. guilty and not-so-guilty pleasures: WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH (uncut); WORLD WITHOUT END (2.35:1), THE GORGON and other Hammer titles from Sony.

Plus, all the wonderful films already named in this thread...

It's actually been a pretty decent year, catalog-wise. The coming year doesn't bode well due to the economy, but perhaps the studios will continue to surprise us. To whit:


Hey, Paramount/Legend/Criterion: Still some in-demand stuff as yet unreleased: CRACK IN THE WORLD, DR. TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORRORS, etc.

Hey, Warner Bros, how about some more RKO classics, like THE BOY WITH GREEN HAIR and THE WINDOW, and your own titles such as BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS?

Hey, Sony/MGM/Fox: If you are letting the Midnight Movies series die, at least get some of the missing titles out in some other way: BURN WITCH BURN, BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW, TWINS OF EVIL, VAMPIRE CIRCUS, THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT, etc. A few classics left to do, THE CANTERVILLE GHOST
(1944) among them.

Hey, Disney: There's an awful lot of great catalog stuff you haven't yet released, such as the rather excellent WILD COUNTRY, etc. plus a slew of titles you messed up the first time around (pan and scan): JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN, SHIPWRECKED, TREASURE OF THE MATECOMBE, BLACKBEARD'S GHOST, SON OF FLUBBER, WHITE FANG, and a bunch of comedies; plus some DVD club films not yet made generally available: SO DEAR TO MY HEART, etc. AND, of course, the big one.....(need I name it?)

So, it certainly isn't as if potential catalog titles are in danger of drying up.

Thanks to the studios, though, for what we DO have!


Senior HTF Member
Jul 19, 2002
Think I may need to add a title. I just got it in from Amazon yesterday, and while I've never seen the movie before, based upon the packaging and a few selected scenes I spun, fans of the film or director should be very happy.
The film is La Femme Publique from Zulawski. It's never been available in an English language friendly version on any US home video format. The studio putting it out is a small, new company, and based on what I've seen they will hopefully enjoy tremendous success and release more hard to see content (another Zulawski film L'amour Braque w/ Sophie Marceau has been mentioned as a follow-up release). I ordered the 'basic' non limited edition, and it is still a lushly packaged little item, akin to something Criterion would put out (and yes, this does come at a criterion-like price point), but probably a little nicer even.
I caught the discs producer (I think) over at the Criterion forum announcing the disc over the summer and it intrigued me that right off the bat, without any prompting, he pledged to insure that they were striving to maintain a high fidelity to the source and NOT use any of the digi-tricks common with the big studios (i.e. DNR, EE, etc). And it does look great. I caught some minor macroblocking in the shadows of one shot, and I'm expecting a few more compression hiccups in the rest, but its clear that they took pains to get a good master and have tried hard to present it well.Can't vouch for the actual film yet, but it sounds interesting at least. Given the scarcity of the directors works in English friendly editions, and the enthusiasm of his fan base, I would say this will definitely be one of 2008's significant releases for world cinema fans.


Senior HTF Member
Apr 7, 2000
I'm probably forgetting quite a few but off the top of my head

Favorite re-releases (excluding BD's without a consecutive DVD release)

Godfather Collection - Coppola Restoration (Blu-Ray)
Dark City (Blu-Ray) - for having both versions
7th Voyage of Sinbad - 50th Anniversary (Blu-Ray)
Dirty Harry (Blu-Ray)
How the West was Won (Blu-ray) - for including the smilebox version, great presentation but I'd forgotten how mediocre this movie was though. ;)
Planet of the Apes Evolution Collection (Blu-Ray) - was this BD only? don't know.

Favorite new to R1 DVD

Sony's Hammer Films: Icons of Horror Collection (DVD)
Sony's Icons of Adventure Collection (DVD) - crap artwork but getting Stranglers of Bombay is a treasure.
Sony's Budd Boetticher set (DVD)
The Skull (DVD) - Hoping Legend gets more Paramount catalog titles
Man of the West (DVD) - finally!
Rodan/War of the Gargantuas (DVD)
The Furies (DVD)
Fall of the Roman Empire (DVD)

Still waiting for several favorite titles to come to DVD....many of which already mentioned in Dick's post.

On a sour note it really hasn't been a good year for Noir releases. No Warner set and there are still several fantastic titles I'm waiting for in Universal's vault.

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