Vivendi and RHI Press Release: Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    Not to stray too far from the topic, but I hope this means we might also see ONE MILLION B.C. at some point...
     
  2. Brian McP

    Brian McP Second Unit

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    Don't know who owns the Roach features -- they could well be part of the Turner package and may well reside with MGM.

    I still have the laserdisc of this movie and it has fantastic special effects and editing, including plenty of real life lizards wrestling around, the 'dinosaurs' in this movie (these scenes ended up as stock footage in numerous movies over the years, notably in "Robot Monster"), plus it lauched the career of Carole Landis -- and even though the movie's credited director was Hal Roach himself, legend has it that D.W Griffith directed most of it.

    I much prefer this version than the 1966 remake (Raquel Welch and Ray Harryhausen withstanding)
     
  3. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    The rights of films that have not moved into public domain are all over the place. The Hal Roach estate own some, especially the streamlines. King World, now CBS owns a few, Republic, now Paramount owns a few, etc. Then there are the individuals like Agee that own some also. The library is a mess of ownership.
     
  4. John Sparks

    John Sparks Screenwriter

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    $39.99 at Amazon right now!!!
     
  5. JoHud

    JoHud Producer

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    From what I got from the WAC reps, they've already released every Hal Roach film that WB has the rights to with the sole exception of General Spanky. Outside of the two L&H films, they really only have the rights to two other Roach films, Nobody's Baby and Pick a Star.

    Regarding One Million B.C., I think that one is still with the same company that owns the sound L&H and Our Gang shorts. It used to be called RHI Entertainment, but apparently they changed their name in recent years (or were bought out by) a company called Sonar Entertainment.

    Their holding page for One Million B.C. is here

    http://sonarent.com/titles/one-million-bc

    It seems that Sonar Entertainment holds the lion's share of the Roach features and (sound) short subjects that are still under copyright, including the Topper films (browse their film catalog and narrow down the genre to "vintage"). Hopefully another company can license some of these for home video like Vivendi did with L&H and Our Gang.
     
  6. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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  7. JoeDoakes

    JoeDoakes Cinematographer

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    At 3:00 E.S.T. or so today, there will be a lightning deal on Amazon selling this for $32.49.
     
  8. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    As of this posting, U.S. Amazon's price for The Essential Collection is back up in the $63 range. Let's just hope that they don't pull it off of their listings as they've done the two previous Decembers!

    CHEERS!

    Tony
     
  9. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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  10. TheSteig

    TheSteig Supporting Actor

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    I decided to finally get this. I still have the UK set but may retire it. From what I have read about the USA set vs the UK set
    1) the US set has the shorts/movies in the order in which they came out, chronological order
    2)The US set has better PQ overall with longer versions(?) of the films
    3)It does not have the early silent shorts or colorized versions that the UK versions offer (I wouldnt watch them colorized anyway)
    4)The packaging seems to be hit or miss with different people on the USA set
    Is this all correct and is there is anything else I should know, other tidbits that anyone could share...Im considering retiring the huge UK set. Ive read reviews , Ive read this thread...its a lot to absorb and maybe I missed something ..
     
  11. Rob W

    Rob W Supporting Actor

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    Among other things, original titles are restored in the American set and there will be no PAL speed up.
     
  12. JoHud

    JoHud Producer

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    The UK set has a good bonus disc with that has a superior transfer of the original edition of Brats among other misc Roach material. I currently have both, keeping the UK set around for the silents.
     
  13. TheSteig

    TheSteig Supporting Actor

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    Do you mean the USA set has a good bonus disc which is # 10 ?
     
  14. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Hi David!

    Both sets have their own Bonus Disc, each with completely different titles. Although I don't actually own the UK Universal Collection, I am sufficiently aware of details regarding it to offer up a few reasons as to why you may not want to retire this collection as yet:

    1. As you've mentioned in a previous post, the Essential Collection does not, for legal reasons, include any of the Laurel & Hardy Silents. Nor can they be currently obtained at anything resembling a reasonable price! Just check Amazon for your UK Set and the Lost Films Of Laurel & Hardy Volumes, and you will see what I mean!

    2. While the vast majority of the Hal Roach sound titles look just as good or better on The Essential Collection, there are a few notable exceptions. SONS OF THE DESERT for instance, has some rather funky contrast issues, and actually looks rather terrible in spots. The best version I've seen of SOTD is the out of print German Kinowelt PAL DVD. While I don't care for the 4% speedup, I must concede that the much superior video quality (Not to mention no missing bits or Audio/Visual Sync Issues, unlike the UK Universal version!) is worth it, in this case!

    3. If closed captioning holds any importance in your case, it should be noted that, while the Phonetic Foreign Language Films have English Subtitles, the English Language Films on the Essential Collection don't have either Subtitles or Captioning, while the opposite is true on the UK Universal Set!

    In closing, my recommendation is to enjoy the marvelous (In my opinion!) Essential Collection, but hang onto your UK Universal Set, at least until a reasonably priced Laurel & Hardy Team Silents Collection becomes available (Whenever that may be?) in Region 1!

    CHEERS!

    Tony
     
  15. Essanay Paul

    Essanay Paul Stunt Coordinator

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    I was talking with David Shepard today and he informed me that the home video rights to the SILENT Laurel & Hardy Films are now owned by CORINTH FILMS. Corinth does market their product on DVD! Michael Agee is out of it.


    David also assures me that he has safety fine grains on the Laurel & Hardy Silent films stored at UCLA.
     
  16. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    This is excellent news.
     
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  17. JoHud

    JoHud Producer

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    Finally! Hopefully that means that the other Roach material Mr Agee owned (that's still in one piece) is also with Corinth or UCLA.
     
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  18. Brian McP

    Brian McP Second Unit

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    As Oliver Hardy would have said "Tell me that again...."

    That is very heartening news Paul, especially for those there in the US.

    Still, if I had the rights to those pictures, I'd sell them off to Turner or whoever has the rights to most of the Hal Roach catalogue, and get those titles out of the rights ownership wilderness they've been in for nearly 50 years.

    I'd also make sure a percentage goes to Stan and Oliver's surviving relatives, who have had to endure thankless legal cases and decisions over many years.

    The Sons of the Desert are holding their International Convention in Hollywood in July this year and if Corinth can manage the turnaround time, an announcement of a release of the silent shorts collection on dvd (maybe even bluray) during that weekend would certainly be most welcome.
     
  19. Essanay Paul

    Essanay Paul Stunt Coordinator

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    The video rights to the Silent Laurel & Hardy films were sold on the open market for a high price that I am not at liberty to quote.
    Corinth was the company who agreed to pay it. Even Film Preservation Associates (Blackhawk Home Video) turned it down.
    It was questionable if there would be a profit after paying the price. I am sure Corinth will want to recoup their investment as soon as possible.

    I am waiting to hear from Corinth about a possible release date. I should think new Hi-Definition transfers would be made which could delay this release.
    Will they try to restore the original Nitrates or use the safety fine grains? That will probably be determined by the condition of the Nitrates.

    Sonar Entertainment is the current owner of all sound Hal Roach films (Laurel & Hardy, Little Rascals, Charley Chase, Thelma Todd & all others)
    http://sonarent.com/
    Sonar took over the financially troubled RHI.

    Corinth operates no separate website for their DVD sales division, they have an Amazon page for their DVD sales.
    http://www.corinthfilms.com/
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/shops/storefront/index.html?ie=UTF8&marketplaceID=ATVPDKIKX0DER&sellerID=A2PNQUVYYH32NF
     
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  20. JoHud

    JoHud Producer

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    Not sure about Corinth. It looks like they'll need an additional push to deliver on the L&H silents. I don't doubt it will eventually happen but whether they will be released on blu-ray instead of DVD is hardly assured. They've never released a blu-ray on their own, only through joint efforts with another company such as Criterion's blu-ray of Fellini's 8 1/2. Hopefully a similar situation gets L&H on blu-ray, probably not with Criterion's help but perhaps another willing to assist in distribution..
    The last part is the most important. While RHI made an effort to get some of the Hal Roach library available on home video. Even Hallmark, despite its many (many) blunders, released a few of the Roach movies on DVD. Sonar Entertainment has done absolutely nothing with its Hal Roach library, and they have 99% of the sound Hal Roach library. I'm hoping they're not overstating their sublicense fees, let alone willing to sublicense at all, because someone's seriously got to try and make a deal with Sonar and get those Roach titles out there.
     
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