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Universal Vault Series - Amazon.com exclusive DVD-Rs

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Marcel H., Jan 12, 2010.

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  1. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Producer

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    That's the truth. I wouldn't have known about this at all without this forum. Plus. I don't know where I could get any reviews about these archive releases without HTF.
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    They were Dragnet and The House of the Seven Gables.
    Crawdaddy
     
  3. montag

    montag Agent

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    Well I just finished eating crow, because I took the dvd-r plunge. I stated I wasn't happy with the way the dvd market was going in my past postings. Well when Death Takes A Holiday was available as only a MOD I had to have it, especially at $18. I also picked up List of Adrian Messenger for the same price. There was also no shipping charge and received said titles in 3 days via regular postal service. The titles are not flawless,for instance Death Takes A Holiday has some minor scratches but not enough to spoil viewing. Having said this, the print is sharp, great black & white picture and the sound is excellent. The List of Adrian Messenger is also very good, although in certain indoor scenes the edge of a curtain or piece of furniture may have sort of a rainbow effect. The sound on this title is also excellent. Although there's no menu you can go from chapter to chapter. I plan on purchasing another title or so, probably Dragnet. The only drawback-won't play on my pc, therefore no screen captures--bummer. Going back to Amazon I noticed some titles are coming down in price. It'd be nice if Warner came down on thir prices and did the same with the shipping charges.
     
  4. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Cinematographer

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    I'll eventually get around to buying some of these(HOUSE OF SEVEN GABLES, DEATH... and RUGGLES). I'm hoping that Universal makes some more obscure titles available, such as director James Whale's non horror pictures and some of the CRIME CLUB mysteries from the late thirties.
     
  5. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor
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    THE HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES has a good transfer. I think you will enjoy it and it is worth it if you can get it at the $14.99 cost.
     
  6. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    I ordered three of these DVD-Rs from Amazon yesterday. Today, in my Gold Box at the bottom with selections geared for me, there were about eight more all discounted about fifty cecnts from their Amazon sale prices of $14.99. So, those who have ordered these, don't forget to check the Gold Box to see if you're offered any others with a few more cents saved.
     
  7. Matt Stieg

    Matt Stieg Stunt Coordinator

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    How is that boutique labels like Kino, Criterion, Image, Blue Underground and others can manage to survive but the studios act like no one wants to buy old movies?
     
  8. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor
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    The studios expectation of higher profit margins is the blame. I really think that Sony may understand that now and that is why they are now my favorite company.
     
  9. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Another point is those companies unlike the major studios don't have to finance filmmaking of current projects which is how these studios are able to afford such cost extensive projects like Avatar because software sales/rentals is a crucial revenue stream for them in financing future film projects. Also, they're much smaller companies with far less overhead beyond new film projects.
    Crawdaddy
     
  10. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    When Criterion releases a Fox title like Bigger Than Life on DVD and Blu-ray, it has to pay Fox a substantial licensing fee for the film. If Fox were to release it, as they did in France, they don't have to pay themselves a licensing fee.
    It simply doesn't make sense that Criterion, via its Eclipse line, can release pressed DVDs featuring new transfers for US$12 each, yet Warner or Fox couldn't do the same for the same price or even cheaper, considering they don't have to license the film first.
    There's only one explanation, the major media conglomerates (they aren't really studios anymore) can make a greater profit margin selling DVD-Rs based on old transfers, than selling new transfers on pressed discs, so that's what they do.
     
  11. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Dude,
    Those licensing feeds are chicken feed compared to financing filmmaking projects.
    Furthermore, retailers here in America aren't interested in giving shelf space to lesser known DVD titles. As far as pricing, the market principle of supply and demand will determine the proper pricing of these DVD-R titles.
    I agree with the bolded part of your post.
     
  12. John Morgan

    John Morgan Supporting Actor

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    I ordered and received 3 titles from the Universal DVD-R series through Amazon. Haven't seen any of them from start to finish, but scanning the films, they look and sound wonderful. And they upconvert very nicely.
    One things that makes this series exciting for me is the films haven't been played to death on cable. The transfers seem like new ones to me....especially compared to the Warner Archive of similar era vintage films.

    SPAWN OF THE NORTH
    Looks fine to me and is at least the quality of MURDERS ON THE ZOO. It is a 1938 Paramount film directed by Hathaway and has some marvelous special effects and a fine Dimitri Tiomkin score. Great cast: George Raft, Henry Fonda, John Barrymore, Dorothy Lamour, etc. Last time I saw this was on AMC many years ago.

    THE HOUSE OF SEVEN GABLES
    Good Universal 1940 film. The transfer looks bettter than the one used for the old VHS release. The sound is full and the picture has great contrast and detail.

    THE LIST OF ADRIAN MESSENGER
    I had made a DVDr from the old laser, which looked okay. I was worried with early reports that this might not be anamorphic, but it is and fills up the screen beautifully. Very good sound, with Jerry Goldsmith's score outstanding. Despite the makeup/guest star gimmick, the film is a very good mystery, directed by John Huston.

    I certainly think this is the way things should be done, if this is the only way to get catalog titles. Amazon seems to have a fair price policy, but there are so many I want, I wish the retail would be closer to $10.00 a title. I am sure these films all will show up on TCM in the future, but glad to have the chance to get them.





    My system:
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    103 inch screen
     
  13. JoHud

    JoHud Producer

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    Yes, I was impressed with the quality of Spawn of the North and The House of Seven Gables. Spawn could have been better, but is nonetheless at least on par with the pressed discs of the 30s and 40s releases of Universal's Paramount library.

    Also did anyone notice some lagging when the camera pans in Seven Gables in certain scenes? It seems to only occur then

    However, a minor quibble is that these discs have no menu screen to speak of and don't include theatrical trailers.
     
  14. Bradley-E

    Bradley-E Screenwriter

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    I have Tell Them Willie Boy is Here. The transfer is so-so but is anamorphic...even though the opening credits are not, which I still cannot figure out.
     
  15. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I thought the video was better than so-so, but I agree with you about the opening credits not being anamorphic as strange to say the least.
    I also viewed The List of Adrian Messenger and thought that video presentation was very good in it's anamorphic 1.85:1 ratio.
    IMO, both titles looked better than any Warner Archive title I've viewed. I'll be watching Dragnet and The House of the Seven Gables sometime this week.
    Crawdaddy
     
  16. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor
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    The opening titles on TELL THEM WILLIE BOY IS HERE are right up against the side of the frames. I thought the window-boxing effect was to compensate for over-scan. I remember when the film played the theatres that in one theatre the lens was not correct so it cut off the right and left part of the credits depending on which side they appeared. As I remember Robert Blake showed as bert Blake.
    It is annoying on the DVD and I thought oh hell another CHALK GARDEN, but it righted itself when the titles ended. I also thought the transfer was better than so-so. I do remember that the colors were not sharp in the theatrical run and this transfer seems to follow that thought. A strange but enjoyable film.
     
  17. Bradley-E

    Bradley-E Screenwriter

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    Re: Willie Boy

    I only watched about the first 10 minutes. Guess I should watch the whole film before making final judgement on it. I was probably still scratching my head about the opening credits.
     
  18. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor
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    It is all in the eye of the beholder. There is not right or wrong.
     
  19. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Producer

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    Allen,
    Thanks for the Brass Bottle info! I missed this post the other day for some reason.
    I last saw this one on Encore back around in '99 or so. It's one that held up for me and is one of the few movies I've been waiting for on DVD. Although I'm not a big archive (WB or Uni) archive buyer, I think the archive outlets are great for these titles what won't see a pressed release, imo.
     
  20. Bradley-E

    Bradley-E Screenwriter

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    Yes. Otherwise I am happy to have the film on DVD at last. It is better than not having it at all.
     

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