THE GOLDEN DAYS OF M-G-M …are over

It seems that there is minimal market demand now for the many great MGM classics apart from the already released "in demand" titles 3 Stars

It seems that there is minimal market demand now for the many great MGM classics apart from the already released “in demand” titles – the mega hits like Mrs Miniver, Mutiny, Postman, Dorian & The Women…with GWTW & Oz. The Warner transfers on blu ray are nothing short of spectacular but I am resigned to being happy with my dvd’s of Random Harvest, Gaslight, Dr Jekyll, Valley, Boys Town, Blossoms, Waterloo, Test Pilot, Captains, Maytime, San Francisco …lost gems many of which are “lost” to most Archive members amidst a stack of B & C and old lost irrelevant (from a sales & critical angle) titles…reading the threads here it is clear these titles are today out of favour ….I have little chance of generating any interest have I?

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Kevin Collins

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31 Comments

  1. M90GM

    I have little chance of generating any interest have I?

    I dread the day I have to upgrade to a 4K (or even 8K) TV and most of my film library still consists of old DVDs.

    —————

  2. I love the MGM movies (and from other studios) from the classic period of Hollywood. Unfortunately many of us fans are getting older and younger people sadly do not seem as keen on the classics as many people on the forum.
    Thank goodness for our DVD’s!

  3. I could add a lot of titles to the OP's list, all those swashbucklers, westerns,, Marx Brothers, Tarzan, Boom Town, but it's not just MGM, it's all golden age cinema. I'm sure a lot of young people couldn't recognise some huge old time stars, that's just the way it goes. But things even themselves out, it's our generation that can afford the kit (& have the room) to see these films.

  4. Classic film lovers are an aging breed and dying off. As physical media is slowly but surely turning into a niche market while downloading and streaming become the viewing norm among millennials. When a few years ago, a photo of Jean Harlow was shown on the quiz show Jeopardy and none of the millennial contestants rang in because they didn't know who she was (but they knew math equations and obscure island nations), it was clear that the "Golden Age" was dead. Those investing in 4K TVs want to see Marvel and DC movies, not Mrs. Miniver. Yes, yes, I'm sure some HTF member will chirp in with "But I want to see Mrs. Miniver in 4K UHD" but you're not the norm.

  5. I continue to be surprised at some of the titles which have been released on blu-ray (23 Paces) and those to come (Lisbon) and also those which haven't (Three Musketeers, High Society, 80 Days etc) but I have absolutely no expectations for classic/golden age titles on UHD. Maybe some of the top tier (Casablanca, Gone with the Wind etc) will eventually be released but blu-ray is the end of the line for us. I am very satisfied with that.

  6. Many (most) of the films I love were released before I was born (and I'm a pretty old guy). There are always new fans to the golden age of movies. The problem is that the number is a small percentage and for the studios, it's all about the numbers. There will always be fans – but will there be media to support us is the question.

  7. On a related but probably off-topic issue, I often wonder what the viewership of Turner Classic Movies is. While Music Choice and SiriusXM have minimized movie music over the years, TCM keeps on rolling along. If TCM goes out of business because of a lack of viewer interest, I know it's time for the glue factory for me.

  8. atcolomb

    I recommended the great book Fade Out, The Calamitous Final Days of MGM by Peter Bart. Also check out the documentary MGM, When the Lion Roars (1992) hosted by Patrick Stewart.

    Let me suggest the book Final Cut, another great read, on how one movie (Heaven's Gate) literally ruined one the best studios ever, UA.

  9. Richard V

    Let me suggest the book Final Cut, another great read, on how one movie (Heaven's Gate) literally ruined one the best studios ever, UA.

    Have that one too and United Artists, Volume 1 & 2 by Tino Balio….I hope UA does come back to it's good ol days of being a great studio.

  10. Richard V

    Let me suggest the book Final Cut, another great read, on how one movie (Heaven's Gate) literally ruined one the best studios ever, UA.

    Man, if ever there were a making-of book that deserves to be turned into a movie, it's that one.

  11. Nice to know there's one of you …together we would not justify the costs …perhaps the rest are silent. I thought I would revive my thread on MGM greats to see if there was any interest ..looks like it is minimal. Pity that George at Warner cannot generate interest in the MGM library by highlighting them, as they're stuck in a mass of titles, half of which is B grade or outright rubbish. BUT – Warner have given us virtually every single MGM release including short B grade program fillers.

    And yes thanks to all – I have the books. I am a one eyed M-G-M fan.

  12. M90GM

    Nice to know there's one of you …together we would not justify the costs …perhaps the rest are silent. I thought I would revive my thread on MGM greats to see if there was any interest ..looks like it is minimal.

    Don't be discouraged. The MGM films are discussed at the HTF regularly and I think there are many of us here who would like to see these films released, myself included. Here are some I'd love to see: National Velvet (and more Elizabeth Taylor in general), Marie Antoinette, Gaslight, Goodbye Mr. Chips, The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Random Harvest, Dinner at Eight, The Thin Man series, Waterloo Bridge, Lassie Come Home, Pride and Prejudice, David Copperfield, Little Women (1949), Bringing Up Baby, Romeo and Juliet (1936), the Andy Hardy films, more Garbo… Anna Karenina, Queen Christina, Mata Hari, Camille, etc., the Show Boat films, The Good Earth, The Great Ziegfeld, more Judy Garland, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, Fred and Ginger, Busby Berkeley, etc.

    Hopefully some of these are in the pipeline from WAC, or even Criterion.

  13. I would definitely buy any of the above films on bluray. Hopefully Criterion will make so much money on their release of The Breakfast Club, especially after the attention given to it yesterday by Molly Ringwald's fascinating – (and overdue, IMO) New Yorker reappraisal that Criterion leases a lot more black and white MGM classics.

  14. At this point all we could hope for is the continuation of WAC and the Criterion Collection for classic MGM and WB titles. Warner and Shout seem to have an agreement in place also. But unless the studio initiates an agreement with someone like Twilight Time or Kino, the only options will be streaming or downloading.

    .

  15. I'm one of the semi-youngish fans of these classic films but I have persuaded a few people that are in their 20s and 30s to start appreciating classics. I have to admit that since most of these films came out way before I was born that I honestly couldn't tell you what studio they are from especially with some of the distribution rights, et al that have occurred over time. I do know that MGM is letting the Alamo die a slow death though… 🙁

    My Dad got me hooked on the classics at an early age, we had AMC (back when they showed classic movies without commercials) and later TCM. Of course, regular television back then would show the classics as well although plenty of them were Westerns (especially the UHF channels on Saturday mornings).

  16. moviepas

    MGM did not make Bringing Up Baby. It was made by RKO(1938) but Warners do own it thru Turner.

    Dick

    An R.K.O. title, also owned by WB. The supposed HD master I saw of this looked pretty pitiful, so work must be done.

    Just making sure you're both paying attention. 😉

  17. I don’t understand. I even loved silent films when I was a small child. I’ve always loved old movies because they were like time travel to me where I could bring someone back from the dead and actually see and hear them. I can watch old movies over and over and still enjoy them like a good meal. The movies they make today I can barely stand to watch once.

  18. warnerbro

    I don't understand. I even loved silent films when I was a small child. I've always loved old movies because they were like time travel to me where I could bring someone back from the dead and actually see and hear them. I can watch old movies over and over and still enjoy them like a good meal. The movies they make today I can barely stand to watch once.

    I agree. Unfortunately, for recent generations (born 1980 and after IMO), the world didn't begin until the day they were born. And I say this having 4 kids between 17 and 25. They are the least historically aware generation I've ever seen both in term of actual world history and art (movies, books, music) history. I am constantly having to correct, or at lease give more in-depth information, to all my kids on a variety of subjects. These post 1980's generations, IMO, only look at today, a little at tomorrow, and never at yesterday.

  19. MGM had its run, and it was an amazing run! Damn, what an awesome number of superb films were produced under the lion. Like anything, whether good or bad, it has to come to an end. MGM, when viewed in retrospect, has given us some of the world's most wonderful, memorable classic films. If the studio is dead now, no one can take away its amazing legacy. Makes me wish the studio "system" still existed, with its 5-10-year contracts with hundreds of "stars" available for casting.

    Thank you, MGM, for countless hours of happiness. RIP.

  20. Dick

    Makes me wish the studio "system" still existed, with its 5-10-year contracts with hundreds of "stars" available for casting.

    The days of 10 year contracts are never coming back – in California, the maximum length for a personal services contract is now 7 years, and it's generally held that anything longer than that cannot be enforced. That obviously wasn't the only nail in that coffin, but it was a factor.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Law

  21. Josh Steinberg

    The days of 10 year contracts are never coming back – in California, the maximum length for a personal services contract is now 7 years, and it's generally held that anything longer than that cannot be enforced. That obviously wasn't the only nail in that coffin, but it was a factor.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Law

    And, of course, studio contract years were not actual years, but figured in working days, so that contracts lasted a lot longer.

  22. Agree with much of the above and I'm another one who picked up the interest in these films from my late father. Used to have a hefty cine film collection of the MGM musicals back then always enjoyable and as we know the many formats these were issued on have come and gone as will 4K one day.
    View attachment 45449

    Ah those were the days!

  23. atcolomb

    I recommended the great book Fade Out, The Calamitous Final Days of MGM by Peter Bart. Also check out the documentary MGM, When the Lion Roars (1992) hosted by Patrick Stewart.

    THANK YOU.

    I HAVE ORDERED IT. MUCH APPRECIATED!!

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