Universal Studios catalog titles....

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Geoff_G, May 25, 2005.

  1. Geoff_G

    Geoff_G Auditioning

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    By this point in the age of DVD's, we've seen nearly every film in the history of cinema get released on the format, evidenced by the recent release of such ultra-obscure turkeys as Mac and Me and Leonard Part 6, but one studio it seems that has vested almost no interest in releasing their film libarary on DVD in Universal. Anyone have any clue why they've been dragging their feet all these years? They ahve a whole back log of successful and less the successful films like Harry and the Hendersons and The Wizard which fans have been clamoring for for years. Any clue why Universal pays so little attention to it's film library?
     
  2. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    As far as catalogue releases, Universal seems locked into the 1970s and 1980s.

    There's a wealth of films from the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s that they have not tapped.

    Oh sure, they've given us Universal monsters, Abbott & Costello, Ma and Pa Kettle and Francis the talking mule but what about more noir, more Preston Sturges, more Douglas Sirk, Ernst Lubitsch, Flower Drum Song, etc.

    They actually seem more focused on their TV library rather than theatrical library in recent months.
     
  3. Kyle Field

    Kyle Field Auditioning

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    I've noticed that Universal is releasing quite a bit of bargain priced titles like Paradise Alley, DC Cab, White Palace, etc.
     
  4. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Universal is really picky about the Paramount films they own.

    At least we got nice, but light-on-the-extras box sets for W.C. Fields, Marx Brothers, Hope and Crosby... but we're talking about nearly two decades of film!
     
  5. Brian PB

    Brian PB Supporting Actor

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    Universal currently seems preoccupied with its TV holdings, at the expense of its great unreleased older films, such as:

    Double Indemnity
    Scarface
    (1932)
    Hail the Conquering Hero
    Lonesome
    Napoleon
    (1927)
    Midnight
    Ruggles of Red Gap
    Make Way for Tomorrow
    Little Man, What Now?
    Man on the Flying Trapeze
    Broken Flowers
    Life Is Sweet
    Easy Living
    Remember the Night
    Secret Ceremony
    Hellzapoppin'
    Phantom Lady
    The Tarnished Angels
    A Time to Love and a Time to Die
    Christmas in July
    The Great McGinty
    The Black Cat
    Shanghai Express


    Given the (inexplicable) popularity of TV-on-DVD for even the crappiest shows, it's hard to fault Universal from a business standpoint, but it's disappointing nonetheless.
     
  6. Everett S.

    Everett S. Movie King (formally a projectionist)
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    Very few films have been put on DVD!
     
  7. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I have Scarface on dvd.






    Crawdaddy
     
  8. Brian PB

    Brian PB Supporting Actor

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    Only because you were willing to purchase the Scarface (1983) Deluxe Gift Set, which I'm not. The superior 1932 Howard Hawks film merits its own release (to offer it with de Palma's "remake" is akin to offering Hitchcock's Psycho only as a barebones, afterthought extra with a Deluxe Gift Set of Gus Van Sant's weak remake, IMO).
     
  9. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Keep in mind that Napoleon (1927, Abel Gance) is a film tied up between Universal, StudioCanal, Zoetrope Studios, Photoplay Productions/Kevin Brownlow, and the British Film Institute.

    I'm not entirely sure, but the rights are basically like so:

    Universal = Home video distribution rights
    Zoetrope = Owns rights to 1981 American version and the Carmine Coppola score
    Photoplay Productions = Not sure
    StudioCanal = Seems to actually own the film (worldwide rights)
    British Film Institute = seems to hold rights to footage discovered after 1981, as well as the new intertitles and tinting

    I'm guessing the biggest problem is that Kevin Brownlow wants the full 5 1/2 hr. cut released, while Zoetrope only wants the 4 hr. 1981 cut.
     
  10. Brian PB

    Brian PB Supporting Actor

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    According to the online BIG DVD List, there have been 64,722 DVD releases in region 1. No one expects a given studio to release its entire holdings on DVD, but, eight years into the DVD era, we have a right to ask why a large number of great and popular films have yet to be released ...
     
  11. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I see your point, but I don't agree with the analogy, since Van Sant basically filmed Hitchcock's movie again while the same isn't true for Scarface.







    Crawdaddy
     
  12. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    I think that Universal may POSSIBLY be the WORSE studio when it comes to the treatment of their classic film catalog imho. The excuse from 5 years ago that classics simply wouldn't be profitable on DVD is no longer credible. How is it that Fox, Warner, and Disney can get this so right, and universal completely fumble the ball? Why don't we have 16x9 transfers of Vertigo and Psycho? Why was Hell's Angels given such shabby treatment despite the tie-in with the oscar nominated "The Aviator?" Where are the Sturges, Von Sternberg/Dietrich films? Mae West? Carole Lombard? The list goes on. If Universal can't get their act together, why don't they simply license this portion of their catalog to Criterion? - Who could've btw given us dvd's of Hell's Angels, Double Indemnity, Dietrich/Von Sternberg, and many others to die for. If anyone here knows what can possibly be going on over at Universal, I would certainly like to know. There simply is no excuse for this.

    -Reg
     
  13. Craig Beam

    Craig Beam Screenwriter

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    Didn't I hear that Universal is revisiting all the Hitchcocks later this year? Or is this merely rumor? If it's true, then I imagine we'll see anamorphic versions of PSYCHO and VERTIGO. Hopefully a better transfer for THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH as well....
     
  14. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Universal should have at least included a commentary or at least a featurette on the UCLA restoration. However, the presentation of the film is terrific.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The image/sound quality is Criterion-level, but I agree that Criterion could have made the whole DVD Criterion-level.
     
  15. LaurenceGarvey

    LaurenceGarvey Second Unit

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    "we've seen nearly every film in the history of cinema get released on the format"

    Tthat statement is too silly to even bother refuting.

    Universal did a fairly lousy job with its catalog during the VHS days, too; note how many of the films on the list above didn't make it out on video tape, either.

    Besides Universal, the Hal Roach talkies (Laurel & Hardy, Charley Chase, Thelma Todd, et al)? Mostly MIA, unless you've got an all-region player (which everybody should have). And that's not to even mention the thousands of other short subjects from Columbia, MGM, and other studios, that may well be gone forever.

    The Max Fleischer cartoons? Mostly MIA, although a wonderful Betty Boop collection is available from France.

    The classic Republic serials? Mostly MIA. You can watch Indiana Jones, but you can't see SECRET SERVICE IN DARKEST AFRICA, the chapterplay that inspired his creation.

    American-International and Allied Artists drive-in cult films of the 1950s? Hope you've got an all-region player, folks.

    W.C. Fields? Well, one collection from Universal and one Criterion collection of his short subjects. Looking for POPPY, THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY, MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE, NEVER GIVE A SUCKER AN EVEN BREAK? Keep looking.
     
  16. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    I think that would be Paramount.

    Paramount makes excellent titles when they release something, but as far as perecentage of the studio's films not yet on DVD, I think they have the highest.

    Universal is pretty good. Yes, a lot of films haven't been released. But, a lot of the titles released in the early days of DVD have been remastered and rereleased in better versions.
     
  17. Bradley-E

    Bradley-E Screenwriter

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    I beg to differ, Paramount clearly outdoes Universal with their catalogue titles. Paramount's transfers are always the correct ratio and usually are fine quality. Universal is really botching things up lately with crappy transfers and FULL FRAME fiascos (i.e. ICEMAN, COLOSSUS, THE FORBIN PROJECT). Universal needs to go back and re-do alot of titles. But they both are great compared to SONY, who is the worst studio for catalogue title DVD's.
     
  18. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    Universal was #2 in my DVD buying last year behind Warners due primarily to their excellent Franchise series. I purchased the original incarnations of the "Universal Monsters" DVDs when first released. Most of these DVDs were first rate and very affordable and I was quite happy with Universal last year.

    This year, I am concerned that Universal has seemingly put their "classic" titles on extended hiatus. There is a "Bela Lugosi Legacy Collection" coming later this year, but they've seemingly abandoned the A&C, Kettle, and Francis series and there are not even any rumors of Mae West, more Fields, etc.

    Is it possible that Warners is so effectively dominating the "classic film" market (and deservedly so) that other studios are having difficulty penetrating this segment of the market? To be honest, if it hadn't been for the bargain basement pricing of the Universal sets, I probably wouldn't have bought all that I did (since I spent so much buying Warners product).

    Steve
     
  19. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    Quality wise, I agree. Paramount catalogue titles are rarely complained about.

    I was just saying the quantity of the titles. There are more Paramount films on the shelf than Universal (which is what the person was talking about).

    But then again, it is the quality, not the quantity that matters.
     
  20. LaurenceGarvey

    LaurenceGarvey Second Unit

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    "There is a "Bela Lugosi Legacy Collection" coming later this year."

    *L*

    It's the "Boris Karloff & Bela Lugosi Legacy Collection." Don't believe everything you read.
     

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