Dollar DVDs - Not so bad

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jon Martin, Dec 27, 2004.

  1. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    As many of you may have seen, in Wal Marts and even in dollar stores they have begun selling a lot of old, public domain titles for only $1 or even less a DVD. Not even from longtime public domain companies like Madacy and Lightning, these are new companies that just release the titles in little cardboard packaging or thinpacks.

    For Christmas, someone gave me a whole stack of them. I was kind of afraid of what the quality would be, since you can't even really buy a good blank DVD-R for $1. Plus, having bought a lot of the old public domain VHS titles in the 80's that turned out to be really terrible quality, I knew how bad they could be.

    But, I was actually quite surprised.

    One DVD I got was a collection of old Jack Benny TV shows. It was an episode of the Jack Benny Hour with guests Bob Hope, Walt Disney and the Beach Boys (performing two songs) and two episodes of another show of his show. The quality was quite watchable.

    I checked a few other films, and one collection of old cartoons and they were all very good (if not great) transfers.

    Granted, there may be better versions out there of certain titles. But, if you are just looking for a film to watch, and see the bins of dollar DVDs, they are worth the money.
     
  2. SteveK

    SteveK Supporting Actor

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    Thanks, Jon; I've seen these $1 DVDs at Walmart, and have always been reluctant to try them for the reasons you mention. So it's good to hear that some of them aren't too bad.

    Aside from the quality of the DVD, my only concern with $1 DVDs is that it seems to promote the idea that DVD is a throw-away media. How much quality can you expect for $1? Watch it once, throw it away. Who cares? Perhaps I'm exaggerating a bit, but obviously expectations of a $1 DVD would be much different than expectations of a $20 DVD, so I'm not certain that super-cheap DVDs are necessarily a good idea.
    But that may not stop me from trying a few. [​IMG]

    Steve K.
     
  3. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    I've purchased a couple, "DOA" and "The Betty White Show," but haven't watched either yet.
     
  4. Gary Seven

    Gary Seven Grand Poo Pah

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    I purchased "Get Christie Love" from a dollar store that had these. Watchable if nothing else. Funny to see it again after so many years. "You're under arrest, sugar".
     
  5. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Same here; I purchased House on the Haunted Hill because I had a "10% off any purchase of $25 or more" coupon at Best Buy and the movie I bought was $24.99; haven't watched it yet.

    I did sort of wonder about the legality of the disc, as it didn't seem quite old/obscure enough to be public domain.

    I think you're exaggerating a lot. [​IMG] I think most people understand that what you pay for a DVD isn't based on the manufacturing cost but on the value of the content (although I've seen any number of people unfamiliar with the concept of "charging what the market will bear" both here and in other places).

    As someone who buys lots of movies, I've got no issues whatsoever with the floor for DVD prices being driven downward. Heck, I hope they're successful enough that the studios gambles on $5 DVDs that can be sold on a peg-rack or like baseball cards being successful.
     
  6. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Screenwriter

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    I've been quite surprised at the good quality. Mind you -- good quality here is relative. We *are* talking about "Public Domain Playhouse" quality in most titles. They are old 16mm TV prints for the most part, but no worse than those found on local TV stations years ago.

    I'm getting into some old TV shows such as "Love That Bob," "Make Room for Daddy" and especially, "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" and "Jack Benny."

    And the print quality on "Africa Screams" is several notches above average.
     
  7. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    The "Digiview" $1 DVD's at Wal-Mart are quite good. You'll never think they look like something from a major studio, but they did put some good effort into them.

    I purchased 4 volumes and they contained some very nice finds. Among them were some Gumby cartoons (including an excellent print of Robot Rumpus), some rare Warner cartoons (Daffy: The Commando, Jungle Jitters, Eatin' on the Cuff, Joe Glow the Firefly), etc.

    [​IMG]
    "One of my friends at school died in a kiln today, Mom."


    Also, for those who have the 2nd Looney Tunes Golden Collection, the volume with "Have You Got Any Castles?" may be interesting to you. It features the old edited version, which lacks the extra minute of footage added in Warner's DVD.
     
  8. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    One of my local Wally Worlds has these down to 88 cents now. [​IMG]
     
  9. David Allen

    David Allen Stunt Coordinator

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    Out of sheer horror/curiosity (like a freeway car accident), I picked up the John Wayne film "McLintock!" at Target, for a buck: from some company called Genius Entertainment, claiming it was digitally remastered, sound enhanced. Ha! This disc has no menu, no chapter stops, and looks/sounds god-aweful. Even for a buck this is ludicrous. How is it remastered, sound enhanced? The film is in color, but the box art is all B&W, yet a little logo on the front touts that the film is in "Color"- like that's a new technology or something that everyone should be excited about. I realized that "You get what you pay for" applies here, but I just don't like the smell of this situation. Are people that hard up for cash and that clueless, that $1 DVDs are going to get their attention/money? (I realize it did to me, but I'm a DVD-phile, and was just testing the water, just curious how such a product could exist) And by the way, how can someone make a profit on this type of item? I was tempted to return this thing and demand a refund due to it's false advertising of remastered/audio enhnaced. My efforts to waste the time of the store clerk/cashier and subsequent repackaging/returning would end up costing the store way more than any profit they hoped to turn- unless this is just a loss-leader, which would truly define itself.
     
  10. AndrewR

    AndrewR Stunt Coordinator

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    I picked up Buster Keaton's College from my local 99¢ Store and was suprised to see (after the Genius Entertainment logo) that the film starts off with the KINO INTERNATIONAL logo. The print looks pretty close to the Kino edition.

    I also picked up various cartoon DVDs (Van Buren Studios Vol. 1 & 2, Felix the Cat, Tom & Jerry Vol. 1 and Gumby Vol. 1). All of them are surprisingly good.

    Andrew
     
  11. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    The ones I've seen actually have pretty nice menus and have many chapter stops.

    I guess it really is hit or miss
     
  12. Jay Pennington

    Jay Pennington Screenwriter

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    By definition, all DVDs are digitally mastered, as it is a digital medium. That's all the term means, not that the image enjoyed a Lowry-style cleanup. So the claim was accurate, if useless.

    I got a few of these $1 DVDs for Christmas, by request. Looking forward to checking them out.
     

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