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Universal's Vault Series

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intothenitrate
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Re: Universal's Vault Series

Postby intothenitrate » January 22nd, 2010, 5:24 pm

Hi everyone. This might not be exactly the right place to post this, but...I've been in contact with a guy who has a website where he makes copies out of his collection. He as a lot of great titles. He was always very careful to say that he only sells films that are not commercially available, and even qualifies the notion of "sell" by saying that the ten bucks you pay goes mostly to cover costs, etc. etc.

Yesterday, I finally got some mad money and went to his site to get a couple of Mary Astor and Constance Bennett pre-codes, and couldn't find the links to order them. I emailed him about it and he wrote back, "Hey Tom - so sorry to report that the studios have stepped in with some well paid attorneys and have effectively shut down most sites that do what mine did......I can no longer offer copies......."

I'm sad and mad about it. [Those money grubbing so and so's.]

Do you think that, by offering to burn dvdr-s on demand, the studios are effectively closing that "not commercially available" loophole?
Last edited by intothenitrate on January 25th, 2010, 2:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Immorality may be fun, but it isn't fun enough to take the place of one hundred percent virtue and three square meals a day."
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Ollie
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Re: Universal's Vault Series

Postby Ollie » January 23rd, 2010, 8:15 am

Well, if they make their art impossible to see OR share, they ARE doing one thing: making it completely forgotten. They can assure Zero Interest and Zero Revenue in this tactic. This is VERY angering to me because none of the filmmakers created these to be forgotten. (OK OK, Corman and many others challenged us with forgettable films, yes.)

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Universal's Vault Series

Postby charliechaplinfan » January 24th, 2010, 6:49 am

It's so maddening when they aren't offering these films for sale but they have to stamp on someone who is offering the films for cost. I'd like to think they are doing this because they plan to release them themselves but I'll believe it when I see it.

I love your avatar Intothenitrate, I'm trying to place what film it's from, Richard Barthelmess looks so fimiliar I'm thinking the film should come directly to mind but it doesn't.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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MichiganJ
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Re: Universal's Vault Series

Postby MichiganJ » January 24th, 2010, 10:04 am

Considering that you can go to your local Big Lots and pick up the TCM Garbo Silents Collection for $3, or either of the Astaire/Rogers Collections for $7, I think it's quite obvious that classic films on DVD are no longer selling that well and are no longer very profitable.

The on-demand DVD-r seems a reasonable way for these companies to release some of their more unusual (and, except for us die-hard fans, not terribly commercial) products. If stars like Garbo, Davies (I picked up The Letter for $3), Crawford, etc., in some of the biggest films, aren't generating sales on the regular commercial releases, it seems unreasonable to demand that these companies go to the expense to restore and remastered their more obscure titles for such a small buying public. Don't get me wrong, I'd love it if they did; but as a business model it doesn't seem practical.

While unfortunate, some of the studios don't see much if any profit potential for their older libraries, especially now, and have decided not to go to the expense to release their films. Since they still hold the copyright, there's little we can do. But the fact remains, they hold the copyright. And it's agin' the law to sell copyrighted materials.
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Universal's Vault Series

Postby charliechaplinfan » January 24th, 2010, 3:13 pm

On balance I'd rather see the films released in any form so that avid fans can see long awaited movies than be withheld from the public for ever. It does mean it's a more expensive price to pay but it also means that we are getting the real thing and not a bad copy bootlegged many times. I wish there were more of a market for classic films.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

Ollie
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Re: Universal's Vault Series

Postby Ollie » January 24th, 2010, 3:22 pm

I think the market for classic films ONLY grows by keeping them on display, somehow. Nothing grows if the seeds are never planted, and the rigthsholders are refusing to let them out. This is why I wish the Public Domain laws would free these.

Some studios have given film catalogs to universities for restoration processes, and I think those goals are wonderful. This involves chemistry, engineering, software, plus incites curosities into those moments-in-time. I think that, as today's 14-year-olds continue to spend their billions (isn't that what marketeers claim all money derives from? young teenage boys?), they'll slowly turn 20 then 30 (I think it's called "aging" and I think it's a day-by-day process) and start tracing their film interests' histories.

This is how all collectors are made - not born. Rightsholders who refuse to allow collectors to grow those collections will only wither their own holdings - collectors will ALWAYS find something else to collect. "Not enough money" always means, "Not enough millions per second for a quick buck." I just wonder how much those crusty old Beatles have earned lately? A buncha good-fer-nuthin' types as I'd ever known - everyone knows they'll be long forgotten in 3-4 years. Never allow anything old to be presented! Bury everything!

Yeah. Right.

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intothenitrate
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Re: Universal's Vault Series

Postby intothenitrate » January 24th, 2010, 8:59 pm

Hi CharlieChaplinFan. Whenever I read your posts, in my head I hear Chaplin's voice waxing philosophical a.la. Limelight. Strange how penetrating it is.

That hung-dog expression-ed RB is from Angels Only Have Wings. I picked it because I've been out of work for months and months and have been feeling fairly on-the-skids [without even the consolation of being married to Rita Hayworth!]. Getting a chance to post with you guys reminded me of how Cary Grant gave him a chance to fly with his group. This is the finest group of contributors I've found anywhere in the classic film blogosphere.
"Immorality may be fun, but it isn't fun enough to take the place of one hundred percent virtue and three square meals a day."
Goodnight Basington

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Universal's Vault Series

Postby charliechaplinfan » January 25th, 2010, 8:25 am

Ha, I thought Only Angels Had Wings but what made me hesitate before posting is that he looks younger in that still than I remember him in the film. I love that film, it demostrates how versatile an actor Cary Grant was, fully into his screwball comedy phase he turns in brilliant performances like this as a man's man. The casting of Richard Barthelmess was really clever, a faded flier and a faded film star who had had plastic surgery, I think at this stage(some of us will never forget T'olerable David and Broken Blossoms).

I can't think of a better way to use the extra free time, we love new contributors. I hope you gain employment sometime soon.

I'm awfully fond of Chaplin's voice but not with the Tramp, I'm not keen on the narration of The Gold Rush preferring the silent version. His voice adds another dimension to his other roles.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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MichiganJ
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Re: Universal's Vault Series

Postby MichiganJ » January 25th, 2010, 9:49 am

Ollie wrote: This is why I wish the Public Domain laws would free these.

Despite the rhetoric used during confirmation hearings, our current Supreme Court seems more than willing to seek out cases to overturn, what was previously considered, settled law. This bodes well for the possible overturning of the Bono Copyright Extension. It's clear that Justice Scalia appreciates the humor and subtle social commentary found in the films of Preston Sturges, and Judge Thomas simply won't shut-up about his fondness for pre-code Harlow.

Here's hoping.
Ollie wrote:This is how all collectors are made - not born. Rightsholders who refuse to allow collectors to grow those collections will only wither their own holdings - collectors will ALWAYS find something else to collect.

Between the internet, cable TV and home video (including DVD-r), we probably have more opportunity to see (and own) rare and unusual films then ever before. Collectors of film have never had it so good.
Ollie wrote:I just wonder how much those crusty old Beatles have earned lately

I'm unclear what The Beatles have to do with either on-demand DVD-r sales or the availability of certain titles, but their catalog has a ways to go before becoming public domain. And even with CD sales at their all-time low, last year The Beatles box sets sold enormously well (enough that the Stones and others are going to release their own).
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS

Ollie
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Re: Universal's Vault Series

Postby Ollie » January 25th, 2010, 11:30 am

My referencing the Beatles is a slap-at-the-face towards the argument that Old Entertainment should be shelved and never reconsidered as a revenue stream. Glenn Miller and Louis Armstrong have made this argument for 70 years, but there remains huge amounts of music that isn't in-print and can't be found (the Lauren Bacall recordings, much to my chagrine... but in that case, I found track-listings and we found that music - not her recordings - so performances in front of her were still a hoot for that reason alone).

One of my favorite Public-Domain cases is CBS's handling of AMOS & ANDY TV. This was a 77-episode series filmed and broadcast in 1952-53. The Civil Rights Movement effectively shut it down after that, but it remained in syndication - licensed for re-run broadcasts to CBS' affiliates until 1967 when CBS refused to license it anymore. But CBS was taken to court (or was it an Admin Hearing? - I think so) and the argument was presented, "This series was filmed as a revenue stream, and since CBS refuses to let anyone else make money from it, they have violated the original precepts of this artwork. It should be delivered into Public Domain, therefore."

And the court agreed. This was, of course, after the 25-year-limit.

In the mid-80s, all of those great old radio programs were finally being delivered onto cassette - which is still an expensive device - like a video-tape. That is SUCH an expensive production item itself, much more so than an optical disk (a sheet of plastic, a sheet of data-film and a covering-sheet, all fused in a single pass).

I'm sorry that PD timetables have been pushed out to such a longer-period of time, particularly with more access-streams available. I almost want to argue that "Dog Years" should be invoked - if there are 8 venues for viewing these old classics but none of them are being allowed by the Rightsholders, then 1 year of that refusal is worth 8 years in Public Domain Time. ha ha

I think that, at the heart of my arguments against Rightsholders, is the long demonstrated history of allowed films to deteriorate beyond restoration. If I was convinced these rightsholders were properly caring for these "properties" and weren't destroying them - either actually (a la the BBC's mid-60s flushings) or tacitly (refusing to pay for proper maintenance and caretakers) - I'd be far less argumentative against them.

As a composer who has made (and hopes to continue to make) money from my work, much of mine could fall into a 25-year-PD time-limit. If people knew about them. Fortunately, I don't have an IMDB exposing my compositions - clients have to come 'round and look thru my catalog and, by that point, I've snared them in a web of non-disclosure, friendliness and hot-chocolate. Or limeades with cherries floating about. No one escapes with my songs freely!

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movieman1957
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Re: Universal's Vault Series

Postby movieman1957 » January 25th, 2010, 1:03 pm

Someone put "Amos 'n Andy" out on DVD. This may be because of the ruling you mention. Check the bottom right column no the page to the link.

http://www.tvworthwatching.com/
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

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MichiganJ
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Re: Universal's Vault Series

Postby MichiganJ » February 5th, 2010, 1:46 pm

Universal is continuing their Backlot series with The Barbara Stanwyck Collection with a release date of 4/27. The 3-DVD set will include:
Interns Can't Take Money (1937)
The Great Man's Lady (1942)
The Bride Wore Boots (1946)
The Lady Gambles (1949)
All I Desire (1953)
There's Always Tomorrow (1956)
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS

feaito

Re: Universal's Vault Series

Postby feaito » February 5th, 2010, 8:03 pm

Thanks for the news Kevin!

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movieman
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Re: Universal's Vault Series

Postby movieman » February 23rd, 2010, 2:15 pm

Sorry for the late reply!

I've watched Kitten With a Whip.

The picture quality is marvellous for a single layered transfer.

I've never seen the film look this good.
My previous DVD of the movie was a DVD-R of the VHS tape. The sound went out of sync some way into the movie!

No sync problems now.

Ann-Margret is even more beautiful in this transfer!

It's in no way a classic. No, wait! It's a camp classic. That dialogue is smokin' funny!
It's mostly like a filmed stage play, but I like it.
It's a studio bound, cheap, production. A few scenes are shot on location.

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movieman
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Re: Universal's Vault Series

Postby movieman » February 24th, 2010, 9:32 am

When watching Kitten With a Whip on my computer, using VLC player, I could clearly see the interlacing.
Watching it on my TV / DVD player setup it's invisible.

What can this mean?


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