Warner, howzabout a Peter Lorre Box Set?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jeffrey Nelson, Feb 25, 2006.

  1. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    I'd include the following (someone stop me if WB doesn't own one of these):

    MAD LOVE (1935)
    STRANGER ON THE THIRD FLOOR (1940)
    THE FACE BEHIND THE MASK (1941)
    THE MASK OF DIMITRIOS (1944)
    THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS (1946)
    THREE STRANGERS (1946)

    What a high-caliber box set that would be. For those of you who haven't seen one or more of these, you're really missing out, especially if you're a Lorre fan. THE FACE BEHIND THE MASK and THREE STRANGERS, in particular, are simply two of the greatest low-budget noirs ever made. And it's absolutely criminal they're not available.

    I believe MAD LOVE was mentioned as being readied...this has at least appeared on both VHS and LD, as have STRANGER and BEAST, but the others, to my knowledge, haven't had any release at all, on any format.

    I'd say THE MALTESE FALCON (1941), but this would probably be included in a Bogie or Noir box, I'd think. I'd also love to throw in the hugely enjoyable ISLAND OF DOOMED MEN (1940), which has never had a legitimate release that I'm aware of, but I'm not sure which studio this was made for, or who would have retained good elements on it. Perhaps Don Siegel's debut film THE VERDICT (1946) would also be an excellent choice for the set; I haven't seen it yet, but it seems to be very highly regarded by those who have.

    Anyone else for a Peter Lorre box set? I just love that guy to pieces. What an excellent, unique, quite underrated actor.
     
  2. CameronMcC

    CameronMcC Second Unit

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    i would support this wholeheartedly.
     
  3. Bob Graham

    Bob Graham Supporting Actor

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    I'd buy this set in a heartbeat!

    In a perfect world, Warner would come to an agreement with Sony to include Lorre's first American starring role in Josef von Sternberg's CRIME AND PUNISHMENT. (BTW, isn't FACE BEHIND THE MASK a Columbia title?)

    I'd also like to see a US release of Lorre's great German noir DER VERLORENE, the only film he ever directed.
     
  4. MichaelGH

    MichaelGH Stunt Coordinator

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    I would pick this up in a heartbeat. I've been wanting 'mad love' on dvd almost since the beginning. All of the other films suggested are films that I've wanted to see for years so I'd definitely pick it up.

    There's not enough Lorre on dvd for sure.

    Michael
     
  5. ted:r

    ted:r Second Unit

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    Here, here. Lorre (and, BTW, Edward G. Robinson) need to be better served on DVD.
     
  6. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    Ditto to all the above requests. Even if a dedicated Lorre set isn't in the works, most of these titles would find their way into other horror themed sets.

    As an aside, while not Warner, Lorre fans should be happy to hear that there are very strong indications that Fox is going to release all of his Mr. Moto films this year in two separate waves of 4 films each. All have been restored.
     
  7. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Some great films and a great character actor, but it won't happen from Warner.





    Crawdaddy
     
  8. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    You really think it won't? [​IMG] I can only hope (probably in vain) that you're wrong. [​IMG]

    By the way, do you know if any of the films I mentioned aren't owned by Warner?

    Edit: Bob Graham is right, THE FACE BEHIND THE MASK is a Columbia title. Well, if they released those couple of low-budget Karloff titles, perhaps they'll get around to this one, which is much better than both those Karloff films put together (and I do like them).
     
  9. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    I would love a Peter Lorre set, and would buy it. But if all else fails, I'd like to see at least MAD LOVE and THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS placed in a HORROR COLLECTION along with DEAD MEN WALK (Karloff), THE MASK OF FU MANCHU (Karloff), FRANKENSTEIN 1970 (Karloff), and MARK OF THE VAMPIRE (Lugosi).

    Hmmm. Come to think of it, Warner could just do a Boris Karloff set on his own, with the top three films as well as DEVIL'S ISLAND and THE LOST PATROL ....!
     
  10. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    For the most part, when the studios look at releasing classic dvds, the first thing they look at is marketability so they can maximize the units sold. Though, Fox should be able to sell enough units of the Mr. Moto series to financially justify such a release, it's more to do with the marketing of the character Mr. Moto than the actor that played him. I'm not trying to discredit one of my favorite character actors, but the studios have to be cognizant in his relatively unknown status in today's dvd market so maybe, I'm being practical to a fault. However, several of his films should be able to make it onto dvd because they meet certain marketing criteria due to their film genre or co-stars such as Bogart. In short, there are opportunities there that Warner will hopefully take advantage of because several of his films including those that paired him with Sidney Greenstreet are very entertaining films that should generate some interest among the classic dvd consumers.






    Crawdaddy
     
  11. David Grove

    David Grove Stunt Coordinator

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    Sign me up for Peter Lorre.

    DG
     
  12. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    Yes, but Robert, Warner announced a bunch of upcoming stuff that is fairly obscure and/or non-mainstream, with either no name stars, or stars the mainstream public doesn't know or care about anymore, and that only hardcore fans will buy. THE GREEN SLIME, anyone? The Bowery Boys? The Maisie films? The Dr. Kildare series?

    Do you really think that Leo Gorcey and the boys, Ann Sothern, and Lew Ayres will be pullin 'em in, but they'll be staying away in droves from Peter Lorre? Are there really legions of Dr. Kildare and Maisie fans out there? I'd be willing to bet good money that a Peter Lorre box would sell at least as much as a Maisie or Kildare box. And I'd think I'm far from alone in that sentiment.

    Re: Mr. Moto, will this really sell because of the Mr. Moto character, and >not< because he's played by one of the greatest character actors of all time? Is Mr. Moto really a hot franchise? Did the ghost of John P. Marquand recently appear on Oprah? I think not. I think it's safe to say that most of the people who will be buying those films will be buying them because they star Peter Lorre. As far as I know, with one exception, Moto was only ever played by Lorre. I doubt that the Henry Silva film will be released to cash in on the current Mr. Moto craze being caused by news of the upcoming Fox release of the Lorre films.

    Given what is on Warner's upcoming slate, I don't see how your supposition makes any logical sense. Or am I missing something?

    As for the Lorre-Greenstreet teamup, both MASK OF DIMITRIOS and THREE STRANGERS have that most sublime combo...I'd totally go for a Lorre/Greenstreet set, if that's all I could get.
     
  13. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    Jeffrey, the difference between the series you cited and the Lorre films in the original post is that the Bowery Boys et al are part of a common series (with fairly high name recognition) which are logically grouped together. You're not going to get a Peter Lorre Signature Collection for the same reason you're not going to get a Paul Muni collection (back to Mr. Crawford's point).

    That doesn't mean Warners won't eventually release the Lorre films (as they have with the Muni films). They will probably look to other avenues to get these films out such as putting them in a classic horror collection.

    Not every Warners star of yesteryear can support a "Signature Collection" in 2006, but their films can find a home in a themed set of some kind. As another example, I would love to have a "Warren William Signature Collection", but I know it's not gonna happen. Still, I would expect a number of his films to eventually show up on the various pre-code collections that are going to be coming out (Employees Entrance, Skyscraper Souls, 3 on a Match, etc.).

    Regarding the Motos...I suspect they're being released to piggyback on the Chan releases; they have the same fan base. Many of the same "vendors" that offer bootleg Chans also offer Motos.

    Steve
     
  14. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    I still don't buy for a minute the idea that a Maisie or Dr. Kildare box set will sell any more than a Peter Lorre set would. C'mon, can you really say with a straight face that you think those would outsell a Peter Lorre set? And Lon Chaney, a silent star...yes, a huge silent star, and I love him, but he hardly has the same name recognition as Chaplin or Keaton, for instance. Since your casual Best Buy customer probably didn't pick up the Chaney set, and the Chaney fan did, I'd venture to guess that there are at least as many Lorre fans out there as Chaney fans. And the Warner Chaney sets don't even contain his two big titles that everyone knows, PHANTOM and HUNCHBACK; they contain more obscure films that the fans will buy, not the general public.
     
  15. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Jeffrey,
    It's obvious that our reasoning is something you're not going to buy so I'll leave it at that and wish you good luck in your quest.





    Crawdaddy
     
  16. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    Jeff - are they really doing these, or were you just making an extreme example? Because if these two are being done, that really IS quite a stretch!
     
  17. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

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    There's no doubt that part of the problem here is the amount of material WB has to work with and choose from. Obviously, from a business standpoint they must choose what will sell and what they have been - and continue to choose for release, are titles that are indeed, more marketable. Perhaps, if Lorre had made more movies with a different studio, we'd have a better chance at seeing them released but with WB the vaults are just too deep. But then, you have studios who are still sitting on Bogarts (Fox and Columbia - mostly) who can't see the marketability of releasing those, so - go figure.

    How any studio (almost a decade after the inception of the DVD format) could be still sitting on unreleased Bogarts - is beyond me. In fact, it boggles the mind. Even WB needs to get cracking in this regard considering how many Bogart titles they're sitting on.

    Ironically Jeffrey, I feel about Greenstreet as you do about Lorre and would be the first in line to buy any of his releases. And considering how many films he made with Greenstreet, you'd think there be enough material there to put a collection together. However, when legends like John Garfield, Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Mitchum (albeit, he was mentioned as an upcoming box) are still unrepresented - I hold little hope of ever seeing one for Lorre or Greenstreet. I do however, think we'll see many of their titles released among various themed collections (film noir etc) and I look forward to every single one of them.

    Herb.
     
  18. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    One thing Warner is really good at is being creative in how they collate their films in themed box sets which allows many of these gems that wouldn't succeed as a single title to get released. Lorre and Greenstreet (2 of my faves also) will find their works included in a variety of collections. It may take a while for some of the deeper titles to come out, but they probably will eventually. Just have a little faith and patience. After all, in addition to the names Herb mentioned, WHV is still sitting on a lot of Cagney and Harlow films (alhough more are planned).

    And again, in my opinion comparing box sets for an actor to a series is not the best thing to do. In general, people aren't going to buy a Dr. Kildare set because they are huge Lew Ayres fans. They will buy them either because they enjoy "series" types of films or because they like the Kildare movies. Warners didn't succeed with a "William Powell" or "Johnny Weismuller" collection last year, they succeeded with a "Thin Man" and a "Tarzan" collection.

    Steve
     
  19. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    Steve, you're still missing my point. My point is this: There's no way Dr. Kildare and Maisie can have significantly bigger fan bases than Peter Lorre, enough to justify WB putting out sets for each but not for Peter. I ask again, both you and Robert: can either of you say with a straight face that you think these sets would sell significantly more than a Lorre set, and enough to justify their release? Do you really think a bigger chunk of the movie-buying public has heard of M and DK and will buy them vs. PL? If WB is using commercial viability as a gauge, why are they releasing these sets, and why would a Lorre set be out of the question? I'm not saying I'm betting we'll see a Lorre set anytime soon, because WB will release what they want. I guess I should take heart, because if they're releasing such obscurities as the Maisie and Dr. Kildare films in sets, which will certainly not be flying off the shelves, there may actually be hope for a Lorre set, because since they are releasing them, commercial viability is obviously not always a factor in their release plans.
     
  20. Justin W

    Justin W Stunt Coordinator

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    throw in the verdict, the conspirators, passage to marseilles, and background to danger and you have yourself a nice little box there.

    i love this idea. perhaps even more than just the lorre box. greenstreet and lorre are two of warners best and most recognizable character actors. surely there's some marketability there. i don't think any of those movies are on dvd either.
     

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