Public domain on DVD

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Mark Philp, Jun 19, 2003.

  1. Mark Philp

    Mark Philp Second Unit

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    I know many people look down their noses at PD films, but there are some excellent titles out there. I use to go nuts trying to find a good copy of various PD films on VHS (I must have had 10 different tapes of "Our Town" over the years) and I'd like to save myself from doing the same with DVD. Anyone have any suggestions as to what labels usually do a good job with PD? I'm not looking at perfect since I don't think they exsist. I've bought a couple of Madacy titles which I'd rate about fair and a couple from Platinum which weren't too bad.
     
  2. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    Kino has done a couple good releases of silent films. Image also does some good work.
     
  3. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    There's an obscure company called MasterMovies that has done some excellent public domain titles. The pictures though not state of the art are usually in good shape, bright colors and crisp images. Among the public domain titles of theirs that I have in my collection.

    Men In War (1957) An excellent Anthony Mann war film with Robert Ryan and Aldo Ray in a handsome black and white print that belies its public domain status.

    Strange Love Of Martha Ivers (1946) with Barbara Stanwyck and Kirk Douglas. I haven't seen Image's release of this but it's hard to believe they could have improved on this transfer.

    Little Shop Of Horrors (1960) One of the least impressive of their public domain titles but still highly adequate.

    The Terror (1963) Roger Corman's Poe like horror period piece with Boris Karloff and Jack Nicholson isn't a very good movie, worse yet it's a pan and scan of a scope film but the colors are rich and vibrant and the images clear.

    Mohawk (1956) A "B" western with Scott Brady and 50's actresses Allison Hayes (Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman), Lori Nelson (Revenge Of The Creature) and Rita Gam (King Of Kings). Easily, the most beautiful of their public domain titles. The film has a strong lush velvety Technicolor look and a fairly sharp transfer.

    Pancho Villa (1972) A western (made in Spain) with Telly Savalas in the title role co-starring Anne Francis and Clint Walker. Nice colors and fairly sharp images and best yet, letterboxed approximately 1.85:1.

    Badman's River (1972) A spaghetti comedy western with Lee Van Cleef, James Mason and Gina Lollobrigida. Clean sharp image and solid colors and best of all, presented in it's 2.35:1 scope ratio.

    They're kind of hard to find but I believe they are available at amazon.com. Please remember you're not going to find Warners or Criterion type restoration but as far as public domain titles, they head and shoulders above the likes of Madacy, Laser Light, Delta, Alpha video etc.
     
  4. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    Roan Group had a line of DVDs of public domain films, all very high quality. They've since stopped issuing new work, but their catalog is offered by Troma now, often at very low prices, though ordering from the Troma website is often an adventure.
     
  5. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    For silent films, always try to go for releases by Kino Video, Film Preservation Associates (through Image), Milestone Collection, Criterion Collection, and a few others.

    Look at www.silentera.com for details on which to buy and which to avoid.

    For post-silent era, it's kind of shady. Many films are only on PD labels and are of poor quality. However, you can't go wrong with the releasers above (all have PD sound films, too) and also the big studios.
     
  6. AlanP

    AlanP Supporting Actor

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    Well anyone know of a decent copy
    of "HERCULES" and the sequal of "HERCULES UNCHAINED"
    that is WIDESCREEN?
    What happens that the original studio lets these lapses
    expire in their rights to these films ?
    Also "TWO WOMEN" Sophia Lorens academy award winning
    film has been sent to domain ?
    Any clues as to how or why this happens ?
    Thanks
     
  7. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    In many cases, the original studio is out of business.
     
  8. Jeff Jacobson

    Jeff Jacobson Cinematographer

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  9. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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