Shave and a Haircut--Two Bits#1--Response to Maxwell 4/26 Westerns article

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jo_C, Apr 26, 2004.

  1. Jo_C

    Jo_C Second Unit

    Oct 20, 2001
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    "Shave And a Haircut-Two Bits" is the title I am now giving to my usual response to Maxwell's articles.

    Anyway, as usual, a great job is to be commended on his latest article on Warner Bros. Westerns.

    Now it's time again to pick up where he left off.

    Many of the early John Wayne films of the 1930s (including "Haunted Gold") were actually released by a company called Vitagraph. Vitagraph also handled the original release of Capra's "Meet John Doe". In fact, the main titles of "Haunted Gold" can be seen on Disc Three of WB's "Looney Tunes Gold Collection" box set (during the "Toonheads: Lost Cartoons" special). I don't really know if Vitagraph was an outlet of WB at that time.

    "Hondo" was indeed released by WB, but it was a production of Wayne/Fellows. WB obviously does not now own the rights to this film (it is now held by what we know today as Batjac Productions/The John Wayne Estate). Republic/Paramount owns the television rights (they released the 3-D version to syndication some years back, and I've still got that version on my old VHS--complete with the glasses that came with it. OK 3-D compared to, say, the new "Spy Kids 3-D" DVD). Anyway, MPI Home Video does own the video rights under license from Batjac, I don't know if it's on DVD or not.

    "Santa Fe Trail" is indeed in the public domain (but Turner/Warner otherwise holds the rights to the original negative). I have heard reports on the Roan Group version, and if I decide to get it on DVD, I'll get it from them. Or better yet, I'll wait til the next TCM telecast.

    Most of you know there are two versions of Costner's "Wyatt Earp", the theatrical version (which is the one to be soon released on DVD) and the longer version (which is on VHS, if you're lucky enough to pick it up).

    And in the section where Maxwell talks about the "Blondie" movies on DVD, it is a shame that Platinum has chosen to use the TV prints with the prologue and modified titles. I think Leonard Maltin stated in many editions of his "Movie And Video Guide" that the original versions (with the Columbia titles) hasn't been seen since its original theatrical release.

    But you and I (who paid attention to AMC before it started to show commercials) know better. Hearst Entertainment (which holds the rights to the "Blondie" character as well as the original "Blondie" movies) recently struck new 35MM prints of these films complete with the original Columbia front and end titles. It is these restored versions that aired in the late 1980s and early 1990s on AMC, and it is these versions that were meant to be seen. I have seen some of these versions and the sound and picture quality are superior to anything I saw in syndication. It would have been nice if Platinum (or some other company) struck a deal with Hearst to use these original prints for DVD. But you can't win them all.

    OK, I guess that's my response for this time. And Barrie, I hope all is going well with that forthcoming "public domain" article we are all longing to see!!!
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
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    I think Warner is trying to get this title released on dvd similar to their efforts regarding "The High and the Mighty". I own a VHS release of this title from MPI. Last year, Turner Classic Movies showed it for the first time and I was able to SVHS it off my satellite. Hopefully, we won't have to wait long in getting "Hondo" on the best video format available because I think it's one of Wayne's most underrated films.

  3. Barrie Maxwell

    Barrie Maxwell Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 14, 1998
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    Vitagraph (like First National) was a component of WB. Warners typically used Vitagraph as the distribution arm of record for its short subjects, cartoons, and some B pictures in the 1930s.

    I agree on the Blondie films. Platinum does acknowledge the Hearst Group copyright on the packaging of its discs. Perhaps for a public domain specialist, the asking price for rights to the newer prints was too steep (if they asked at all).

  4. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

    Apr 15, 2002
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    Thanks for the updates by Barrie & Jo_C, it is always good to learn about these pd co
  5. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

    Apr 14, 2003
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    Bolton, Lancashire
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    I've got Distant Drumns in my wishlist, but I'll only order after seeing a review of this Artisan / Lion's Gate release. I'm tempted by Santa Fe Trail, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a Warners release.

    Another excellent column from Barrie; one small point, while Tom Horn was Steve McQueen's penultimate film to be released, he did actually film it after The Hunter. I can barely stand to watch it these days - his obvious pain is etched into his face.

    So many films, so little time...

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