Universal keeps 'em coming - Francis Talking Mule in June

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Steve...O, Feb 2, 2004.

  1. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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  2. RafaelPires

    RafaelPires Supporting Actor

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    Great news indeed!!! Now that Universal is releasing some of it's classic catalogue, I'm just waiting for a Deanna Durbin Collection, just as they are doing with A&C, and hopefully with Spring Parade and Christmas Holiday that were never available in video.
     
  3. MarkA

    MarkA Stunt Coordinator

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    [​IMG] Abbott and Costello!
    Ma and Pa Kettle!

    and now the Francis movies!!!!

    GREAT!
     
  4. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    This is great and very surprising news....Universal sits on the Marx Bros. but release Francis?!?! Nonetheless, it's very welcome indeed. I was pleased to have been able to mention to Donald O'Connor last year when I was talking to him about the Singin' in the Rain disc that I loved these movies; I think he was kind of embarrassed by them but I really loved them. [​IMG]
     
  5. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    Great news and yes there were 7 Francis movies. 6 with Donald O'Conner and the Seventh with Mickey Rooney. I'm surprised they didn't just release all 7 together because the last 2 entries in the series are mediocre even for fans.
    With the monster series, Abbott and Costello collections, Ma and Pa Kettle and now Francis Universal is going to challenge Warner for Studio of the year for me.
     
  6. Terry H

    Terry H Second Unit

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    Great news!
    Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
     
  7. AlanP

    AlanP Supporting Actor

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    WHERE ARE THEIR FILMS FROM THE 50s and 60s,
    and their HAMMER FILMS !!!!!!!
     
  8. William Miller

    William Miller Stunt Coordinator

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    This will be the greatest DVD release of all time!

    The only thing that can top it will be a possible Universal set of their Karloff-Lugosi movies (Black Cat, The Raven, The Invisible Ray, Black Friday)
     
  9. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    Alan
    I'd like the Hammer films too but Francis and Ma and Pa Kettle are all Universal films from the 50's.
     
  10. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    I am very pleased with what Universal is doing with their 2004 slate. I already have the Monsters DVDs, but I'm happy for those who will able to pick them up the second time around.

    It isn't just the films themeselves that make me happy, it's the concept of giving the consumer a really good value. In the VHS days, one tape/movie alone would cost what the entire Kettle set is going for. I frankly don't understand all the Universal bashing. God Bless them. I'm sure the other requested titles will eventually make it out.

    Other studios should look into following this model with their franchise films (cough Fox and Charlie Chan cough).

    Steve
     
  11. Derek_McL

    Derek_McL Second Unit

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    Steve O the reason the Universal bashing happens is because they continue to ignore the true classics in their vaults and put out Ma and Pa Kettle and Francis : The Talking Mule !

    It looks like these films have their fans so yes I suppose I do welcome them but I'm getting tired of asking for particularly classic Paramount films of the 30s and 40s : W.C. Fields, Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper, Marx Brothers, Lubitsch, Sturges etc. These should all be ahead of Francis or do Universal just have no idea of the gems in their library ?

    Ironically even Universal UK seem to be doing better than their US counterpart. The Marx Brothers Paramount titles are out in the UK and there is even a Deanna Durbin set !

    Fields sadly seems to be considered someone unlikely to appeal to many people. There have been rumours of some of his titles coming but most likely it will be his Universal films apart from The Bank Dick (already available from Criterion)rather than the classic Paramounts like Its A Gift we all want to see.

    Apart from Bing Crosby or Bob Hope (whose Road films are getting yet another reissue it seems !)Universal seem strangely cautious about issuing any classic Paramounts they own. In the 1930s and 40s Paramount was on a par with MGM as one of the biggest studios while Universal was a second rate outfit most famous for its horror films. Sadly that doesn't seem to be reflected by DVD releases. If only Paramount had kept the rights to their pre-1948 output !
     
  12. Blu

    Blu Screenwriter

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    Who owns the Blondie and Andy Hardy movies?
     
  13. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    Derek
    I don't think Universal is doing a bad job with what they are releasing. They are releasing their Monster titles which are some of their most requested titles, The Abbott and Costello films (the team that saved the studio in the 40's and are responsible for some of Universal's biggest box office hits)The Airport Collection (Popular disaster films) and Francis and Ma and Pa Kettle (only 2 DVD's for each of these though so its not really taking up all their releases). All of these are being released as incredible bargains. They also have some westerns and war films on the way so yes the Universal bashing is a little unjust. Over The last few years they released very few of their catalog titles so it was appropriate to bash then but now they are releasing popular catalog titles and they are still getting bashed.
    As for the titles you mentioned. A Marx Brothers set will obviously be coming sometime in the future. Maybe they are going to give them a much needed restoration. As far as WC Fields goes his films have never been a big seller in any format on Home Video (He seems to be a forgetten gem) so that doesn't make him high on the release priority.
     
  14. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    to clarify- they are rereleasing selected monster titles.
    in all but one case all of these were already avaialable.
    frustrating for many of us, they don't appear to be going any deeper into their catalog here.

    and while i am complimentary of the a/v quality of Universals catalog titles- especially at their price point- it remains to be seen how well these discs will look being as crammed with content as they are.

    i have no problem whatsoever paying $10 per movie, if the a/v is high quality.
     
  15. Derek_McL

    Derek_McL Second Unit

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    Francis the Talking Mule is a higher priority than Fields!? Sorry I just don't agree Randy. I agree yes the likes of the Abbott and Costello are good value and I'll probably get volume 1 at least but with the possible exceptions of the Monster sets these collections at cheap prices don't exactly showcase the greatest films of Hollywood's golden era. I mean when you're getting eight A+C's for the price of one normal DVD it doesn't suggest that these are classics each and every one. They are not,to me A+C are mildly amusing at best. Thinking of purchasing these sets I recently rewatched Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein and was disappointed : the monsters are really the best things about it.

    So there are much better titles Universal owns they aren't releasing frankly I'd much rather have a single Fields or Gary Cooper feature on DVD for the same price as eight A+Cs or however many Francis and the Talking Mules there are. As examples of classic cinema there is just no contest.
     
  16. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    Paul
    These titles are not crammed. They are double-sided, dual layer disks. So 2 movies on a side. 3 hours or less of black and white film, with only mono soundtracks and almost no extras. Many new films and TV shows are more "crammed" than these releases and the quality is great so why would the quality not be good here unless they botch the transfers, but cramming is not an issue here.

    Derek
    I did not say that Francis was a Higher Priority, better films or more important than W.C. Fields. You are talking about "worthy" releases and I agree with that WC Fields is a more worthy choice than Francis but Universal are looking at how many DVD's they can sell. WC Fields has not sold well in the past which is what I meant by Priority.
    I have to strongly disagree with you on Abbott and Costello though they are still my favorite comedy team of all time and they did have all their films released as individual titles before on VHS and many on Laserdisc.
     
  17. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    It is not Universal's responsiblity to provide us with aesthetic "classic" titles whose contriubtion to cinema merits our attention. They are a business whose responsiblity to their stockholders is to make a profit for their shareholders.

    To the general unwashed public that the so many of the HTF'ers have contempt for ..... Francis the talking mule and Abbott & Costello will do much better financially for them than W.C. Fields, von Sternberg & Dietrich, Preston Sturges, Ernst Lubitsch etc. whose output is much desired by the classic Hollywood cineaste which is why Universal has licensed their less marketable titles like Sullivan's Travels, The Bank Dick, Scarlet Empress and All That Heaven Allows to Criterion.

    The cash cow success on DVD of the Ma & Pa Kettle, Airport franchise, Abbott & Costello and Francis titles will provide (hopefully) a net for the less commercial titles like the von Sternberg/Dietrich collaborations, the Sturges comedies etc.

    So to those who are having a hissy fit that Universal is releasing Ma and Pa Kettle and Francis the Talking Mule instead of Sturges' Hail The Conquering Hero or Lubitsch's Design For Living or W.C. Fields in It's A Gift ..... what's the hurry? They'll be coming eventually.

    On a personal note, I find Abbott & Costello infinitely funnier than W.C. Fields but then again humor is subjective.
     
  18. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    To each his own, but I love Abbott & Costello and I consider them one of the most important comedy teams ever captured on film. Perhaps, Americans have a higher appreciation for them than others.








    Crawdaddy
     
  19. Derek_McL

    Derek_McL Second Unit

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    Thomas T I find your response very sad and worrying. Are films starring Fields, the Marx Brothers (maybe you don't mean them), Lubitsch, Sturges, even early Gary Cooper or Dietrich now considered obscure classics only enjoyable to some dedicated film buffs ? Actually these films are a great deal of fun for everyone. If Universal won't release them I certainly wouldn't object to these "obscure" titles being handled by Criterion as indeed a few have been but not nearly enough.

    Universal owns almost all the Paramount titles of the 30s. Are most of these all obscure classics ? Very sad if you think so. This month we're getting Grand Hotel and The Great Ziegfeld from Warners which are as dated as anything I mentioned not that I don't like the films but Warner seem to be getting out some "worthy" classics, why can't Universal ?

    That doesn't make sense anyway that word "worthy",to me something is either good or its bad. But I think I agree with you on one point Universal want to maximise profits and yes these discs with loads of films on them will probably do the trick. Other studios though are more adventurous.

    If Universal owned the rights would we have had for instance the Lon Chaney set,the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde double feature, the Oscar winners from the 30s and the forthcoming Judy Garlands ? If they did the same thing with the Warner catalog they are doing with their own we would get eight film collections of the Andy Hardy series or Dr Kildare in other words as in Francis the Talking Mule and Ma and Pa Kettle inferior Bs instead of classy As. If those are the things that will sell most from Universal's catalog of almost all the Paramount talkies up to 1948 as well as their own output I find that very sad.

    As for Bud and Lou they're OK and at the price the discs are worth having. At a few dollars a film they will provide a reasonably diverting hour or so. Everybody has their favourites but to me while they were good professionals Abbott and Costello can't hold a candle to Stan and Ollie, Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, Fields and the Marx Brothers. The others to me were believable as human beings while Bud and Lou were cartoons at times entertaining cartoons perhaps but cartoons all the same.
     
  20. William Miller

    William Miller Stunt Coordinator

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    What some people are missing here is the nostalgic connection that Abbott & Costello, the Kettles and Francis have with a lot of people especially Baby Boomers.

    Any kid who went to a Saturday matinee in the 50's probably saw a A&C, Kettle or Francis movie. Or during the many TV showings of these films in the 50's & 60's. These movies have become legitimate "classics" to these people (me included). I am thrilled that Universal is releasing these now. Sure, I want the more critically acclaimed ones too but these releases are very important to me and I am gloriously happy that they are arriving on DVD. And putting the nostalgic angle aside, these movies are very funny. No, they are not Billy Wilder, but they are very charming in their own way. If you've never seen any of them, try them out and you will see what I am talking about.
     

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