Older movies on VHS... would you?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Holadem, Mar 17, 2003.

  1. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    I am asking this here because I feel there will be more balanced opinions than in the software forum where people seem to be more concerned about transfer and DTS than the goddamn movies themselves.

    I noticed my local library has a boatload of older movies and even a sizable selection of foreign titles... on VHS.

    Now, would you borrow VHS tapes if it was the only way to see some of the these movies? AOR is my biggest problem. Obviously if the movie is old enough, it won't matter I guess.

    Will it ruin my experience? Should I just wait? As you can infer from my first paragraph, I am easy to please when it comes to picture and sound quality, but AOR... Just curious if anyone else ever thougth of this.

    --
    Holadem
     
  2. Karl F

    Karl F Stunt Coordinator

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    Now, would you borrow VHS tapes if it was the only way to see some of the these movies?

    Yes, absolutely.

    I probably wouldn't buy them, but I do have some VHS tapes in my collection of films that have no DVD release.

    Excluding VHS from your life means missing out on, for instance, the entire works of Emir Kusturica and Finland's Karusmaki brothers*, which would be a shame.

    --K

    *except, possibly, outside of R1, I suppose; but I don't really follow that.
     
  3. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    My VHS editions of When Comedy Was King, Abel Gance's Napoleon, and Ben-Hur (silent) are treasures to me.

    Of course, we can probably expect someone to do the Robert Youngson films someday and Napoleon is at least with a major company. Ben-Hur may get on DVD when WB finds out how well Jazz Singer and the Chaplin SEs do on DVD...
     
  4. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I rented "The Double Life of Veronique" on VHS this weekend because there's no other way of seeing the film easily (no DVD release in R1, and no copies on Laser Disc to be found).
     
  5. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    When renting, I always try to get the dvd, if it exists. But if it doesn't, or I can't find it, I'll rent the vhs. Of course, the reason I'm renting is because I've never seen the film and want to see if it's worth buying. I would never buy the film on vhs, but if I didn't rent them on vhs, I'd never see half the films I've seen.
     
  6. Jeremiah

    Jeremiah Screenwriter

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    Sure i would rent or borrow a movie that is only out on VHS, no sense being that finatical about watching a movie. Hey, I own Star Wars and Indiana Jones Trilogies on AOR VHS.
     
  7. Seth_S

    Seth_S Second Unit

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    I agree that there are some people who seem to think that it's impossible to experience a film without a DTS audio track. Film is a visual medium and sound is a component. Yes it's a very important one, but if a director is relying on being able to create a discrete sound from the back of the theater, then they're not doing their job. In fact, when you think of the number of very fine soundtracks done in just mono, you really have to wonder if surround sound is anything more than a gimmick. Just look at the dynamic and brilliant mono soundtracks in "Citizen Kane", "Psycho", "The Birds", "Jaws" and "Raging Bull". Do we even need stereo? (I will give Walter Murch a lot of credit. Unlike almost all other sound editors, his surround sound tracks are actually an integral part of the story telling).
     
  8. Hendrik

    Hendrik Supporting Actor

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    ...I have quite a few films-on-VHS (PAL and NTSC) in my 'movie collection', titles that are not on DVD (nor - afaik - were they on LD): Cecil B. De Mille's STORY OF DR. WASSELL- starring Gary Cooper, THE UNCONQUERED (Cooper again), THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH (starring just about everybody...), SAMSON AND DELILAH (!!!) / John M. Stahl's LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN / John Cromwell's ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM / Otto Preminger's FOREVER AMBER / Kon Ichikawa's (very
    ) AN ACTOR'S REVENGE / Jean Negulesco's THREE CAME HOME, starring Claudette Colbert / Michael Curtiz' 1939 Technicolor THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX, starring Bette Davis and Errol Flynn / the 1940 British film of GASLIGHT, directed by Thorold Dickinson / Alexander Korda's THAT HAMILTON WOMAN, starring Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier / Jacques Feyder's KNIGHT WITHOUT ARMOUR, starring Marlene Dietrich and Robert Donat / Disney's SONG OF THE SOUTH (!!!) / a couple of 'classic' GERMAN movies, including all 900-plus minutes of Edgar Reitz' HEIMAT / a few 'classic' FRENCH movies, including Raymond Bernard's 1934 two-part, four-hours-plus film of LES MISERABLES... and... and...

    ...quality issues aside, VHS - having had several years' headstart on DVD - still offers by far the widest choice of film titles, glorious mono sound and all...

    Q.E.D.

    . . . [​IMG] . . .
     
  9. Rob Bartlett

    Rob Bartlett Stunt Coordinator

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    You make it sound like watching stuff on VHS is akin to macking on a quadraphelegic.

    If you can find a movie on DVD go for it! It is technicaly the best format, of course. But if you want to see a movie and it hasn't been immortalized digitally, well you know what you have to do. Not like say, when you can't find your remote, you decided you're not going to watch TV.
     
  10. Evan Case

    Evan Case Screenwriter

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    Would. Do. Often.

    Without VHS (and TCM of course), my knowledge of film would be much less, and I'm more than willing to take a hit in the audiovisual quality department than to deny myself otherwise unavailable cinema.

    Though obviously DVD wins out given the choice, I've no particular problems enjoying classic cinema even in SLP mode (yes, SLP mode). Having spent the last four years at a University watching all manner of VHS and DVD blown up onto 5+ foot screens by top-of-the-line equipment, I'm convinced that some folks' claims of VHS "unwatchability" are just so much hyperbole.

    That said, the only VHS I buy now is the odd used store find of some obscure movie, or perhaps a personal favorite unlikely to see DVD release in any reasonable timeframe. And of course, the rules of OAR are strictly followed unless absolutely impossible (this rule is broken maybe once every three years, and only in regards to said obscure VHS film).

    Evan
     
  11. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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    I would not have a problem watching movies on VHS, but only if it's in its OAR. Before I got into DVD, I had a pretty sizable collection of widescreen VHS tapes.
     
  12. Carl Johnson

    Carl Johnson Cinematographer
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    I would probably pass on the VHS. It would be different if I was a movie buff that watched several different films per week but I don't. Rather than borrow or rent a VHS I'll just stay home and watch a DVD from my collection. I don't even have a VCR connected to my home theater, haven't for a couple years now.
     
  13. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    Hell yes!!

    I still rent and record movies off of TCM to VHS on a regular basis. There is no way that I'm going to miss some of these movies because of the format. Many of these movies may never see the light of day on DVD.
     
  14. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    I don't have a VCR either... but I was going to get one for other reasons anyway (camcorder).

     
  15. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    I actually purchased a couple of used VHS tapes in order to complete the AFI 100 challenge that we had here at HTF a couple of years ago. VHS was the only way to see those films, since they were not out on DVD and they were not on TCM's future schedule. Since these were Academy ratio films, OAR was not a problem. The cost of purchasing used was about the same as renting, and older films such as these are sometimes difficult to find at the rental stores.

    While the above is a rare case for me, I do still occasionally tape films off TCM for later viewing. Since I have a SVHS VCR, though, I do not lose much quality from the cable TV broadcast. The only widescreen VHS tapes I still own are the Star Wars trilogy. I do have a difficult time watching these on my 56-inch 16x9 TV, though. The poor video quality of VHS is really noticable on a screen of this size.
     
  16. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    All the time. Now, it's pretty rare to get an OAR of a film made in widescreen, but there are a hell of a lot of good movies made with an OAR of 1.33:1. [​IMG]
     
  17. Gabe D

    Gabe D Cinematographer

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    The only reason I would think twice about tapes from the public library is that they might dirty the heads in your VCR. Other than that, VHS is A-OK by me.
     
  18. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    "Now, would you borrow VHS tapes if it was the only way to see some of the these movies?"

    I still watch VHS all the time. Titles I dont have on DVD or LD,I watch on VHS - no problem. I have tons of stuff on VHS that will never see DVD.

    Of course I always prefer OAR, but its not "a must have". I wont let that stop me from watching a movie I love.

    I also watch movies on VHS that I want to see or like enough to want to have a copy, but it may not warrant a DVD purchase.
     
  19. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Not only do I rent VHS (George put it well), I use my S-VHS deck to time-shift movies shown on TV (I have not yet joined the PVR set, and now won’t until something comes along to handle HD at a reasonable price point).

    I would not bother with non-OAR of course. But even here, there may be no option.
     
  20. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    absolutely. i have no problem watching a movie on vhs if it's the only way i can.

    i'd say the majority of indie and foreign films i've watched have been rented on vhs.

    losing oar is a minor concern for me in this case. it still kinda bugs me...but not once has it bugged me enough where i didn't enjoy the movie.
     

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