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Old 21-03-2009, 14:38   #1
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Warner Brothers Archives & HTF Chat

This is a new development. Warners has apparently launched a new marketing strategy for previouly unavailable titles on DVD. These titles seem to be only available through their website at the moment, which rules out any international shipping.
I wonder if this is a sign of the general direction they intend to follow with older catalog releases. Full list of titles here.
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Old 21-03-2009, 14:57   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Livius View Post
Warners has apparently launched a new marketing strategy for previouly unavailable titles on DVD. These titles seem to be only available through their website at the moment, which rules out any international shipping.
Cannot see a problem. E-bay will be full of willing sellers soon after their release.
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Old 21-03-2009, 15:04   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raigmore View Post
Cannot see a problem. E-bay will be full of willing sellers soon after their release.
Yes, but at what price?
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Old 21-03-2009, 16:16   #4
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Thanks for this Livius. It looks like there are actually 150 titles currently available. I'm disappointed at the prices and the seeming exclusivity. If I purchase anything it'll probably be Tourneur's Wichita or a couple of the Jimmy Stewart pictures.

Edit: Wichita actually might be in the wrong aspect ratio. The clip available to watch on the WB site looks wrong and certainly isn't the 2.35:1 IMDb lists.

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Old 21-03-2009, 17:03   #5
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That's out of the blue! Funny, I would have thought that with 150 titles, there would be one or two that I must have, but not really.
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Old 21-03-2009, 17:20   #6
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How did you access the clip? I clicked on everything but could not get the video to play.
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Old 21-03-2009, 17:31   #7
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When you bring up the title, you should see a link above the credits for "Video Trailers & Clips". Click on that and it should take you to a new screen with a 30 second clip. If it's still not working try going in from here.
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Old 21-03-2009, 18:32   #8
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OK, here's what Ronald Epstein, the HTF's boss, posted over on his own site. I'm posting it here as it helps to clarify the deal a bit :

QUOTE -

This story was not supposed to break until Monday, however I am
not surprised by the manner that it was and the fact that we ended
up not being able to break it to you in the manner we were promised...

That being said, this is something that had been in the planning for
quite some time.

For years Warner has resisted releasing small catalog titles in
fear that they would not sell. There are too many obscure titles
in studio libraries that never see the light of day simply because it
costs too much to replicate them on a large scale only to see a small
percentage of purchases.

All that is about to change in a huge way.

Warner is going to roll out a "made to order" program where they
will be offering very rare and obscure catalog titles to the public
that can be ordered online and will be replicated according to demand.

Let me explain further....

Every few months Warner will release a "wave" of new titles for this
program. They will range from silent films, forgotten classics and
even small films from the 70s-90s. They will not be mass replicated
to be sold in stores. Instead, anyone that wants a title will go to
Warner's website, order it, and have it sent to their mailbox within
three days. The titles will only be replicated according to the amount
of orders received.

The titles will arrive in regular packaging with artwork and a printed
label on the DVD.

The quality of these DVDs (and I forgot to mention these are only DVDs)
are as good as anything you would expect the studio to release. They
will be in their proper aspect ratio, 16x9, and with the necessary audio
codecs. Nothing will suffer when it comes to presentation quality.

The DVDs will cost $19.95 each

What this program will allow the studio to do is to release films it
never was able to make previously available to the public.



He doesn't come right out and say it but, reading between the lines, it seems clear that we're talking about burned-on-demand DVD-Rs here. And for $20 a pop!
Can't say I'm especially impressed.
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Old 21-03-2009, 18:50   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Livius View Post
Yes, but at what price?
They will be American e-bay sellers and potential customers might include American buyers. Therefore, the price may well be competitive, if not cheap. Furthermore, a lot of established US based international E-bay sellers have preset P&P rates for Europe, particularly the UK. You might get lucky.
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Old 21-03-2009, 20:37   #10
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A guy over on the Classic Horror boards says he called the help number on the WB page and was assured that these discs will be proper DVDs and not DVD-R. I guess we'll find out for sure when some people actually get their hands on some of them.
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Old 21-03-2009, 21:08   #11
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Some more clarification from Ronald Epstein at the HTF:

The quality of these DVDs are what you would expect
from a studio like WB. They are not DVD-Rs being
slapped in an envelope. These are high quality releases
in their proper aspect ratio and manufactured to normal
studio standards.

The studio intends to release thousands more of these
titles and you'll learn just how during Monday's live chat
including exclusive title announcements.


That does sound better, but the whole thing's really academic so long as the retail arrangement excludes non-US customers.
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Old 22-03-2009, 11:12   #12
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It may well be difficult for us to get hold of these DVDs which is a pity as I would very much like Westbound, the last of the Budd Boetticher/Randolph Scott Westerns still unavailable on DVD.
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Old 22-03-2009, 11:38   #13
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The more I think about this, the less I like it. Not only are consumers getting royally screwed with the OTT price point for barebones discs (it remains to be seen whether these are real DVDs too), but the lack of international availability makes it even more costly and inconvenient.
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Old 22-03-2009, 14:54   #14
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Robert Harris just posted this at the HTF:

I've seen a number of these titles, and the quality is fine. Each master was vetted, many by Mr. Feltenstein himself. All are proper aspect ratio, and stereo where applicable. Any titles that did not make spec were eliminated until newer transfers become available. In this regard the list has been changing over the past few months as test discs were created.

This is a HUGE effort which has been in the works for a long time, and is the only viable means of offering films to the public via DVD in short runs. Films such as the silents, early Garbo / Gable MGM efforts would have otherwise remained in the vaults.

The discs themselves are burned, not pressed. None that I've seen have had any problems, and press vs. burn should not be a controversy.


So, it looks like these are just DVD-Rs then. With all due respect to Mr. Harris, these are subject to problems. They may play fine when they're new, but the fact is burned discs are a highly unstable medium; the chances of them corrupting and becoming unplayable down the line are very high. To expect people to fork out top dollar for inferior product like that is pretty outrageous IMO.
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Old 23-03-2009, 09:28   #15
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I was at first very pleased to learn that three of my favourite 1950’s CinemaScope Westerns that have never been released on DVD before, Canyon River; Wichita and The Oklahoman, are now available as Exclusives from Warner Bros in their original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. But there’s a catch, as I found out when I signed up to the Warner site so that I could order them. I went through the whole process of registering and, when the site told me to choose which country I wanted them posted to, I chose United Kingdom and then the site told me I could not buy these films, as they are not for sale outside of the United States. What a let down!

Let’s hope that, as with all previous Warner Exclusives, they eventually end up being sold on amazon or eBay. Otherwise, unless a collector has a friend living in America who can buy the films for him, he’s never going to get them.

Thirty seconds extracts from the DVD’s are available to see on each film’s item page. The clips from Wichita and The Oklahoman are shown anamorphically squeezed, as they look on the original 35mm prints. Whether this means that they will appear like this on the DVD's, I don't know. I am also perturbed to learn that these are burned DVD-R's and not properly pressed DVD's.
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Old 23-03-2009, 09:40   #16
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According to George Feltenstein, as reported on Savant's site:

"The goal is to eventually make EVERYTHING available, but obviously that will take a lot of time, and a lot of money. I set out some ground rules. Everything HAS to be Original Aspect Ratio, and 16x9 if widescreen. No 4x3 Letterbox. No Pan 'n' Scan. I also wanted consumers to be able to preview the master before the buy, so they'd understand what they were buying."

Bit of a double edged sword really. One the one hand everything becomes available, but on the other it's restricted to the US (no doubt stuff will pop up on ebay but the I'd imagine the cost won't be pretty) and probably on dodgy burned media.

EDIT: The FAQ section on the WB Archive site seems to make it clear these are indeed burned DVD-R - Link to FAQ
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Old 23-03-2009, 12:50   #17
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I don''t understand how distributors (like Turner as well) can get away with issuing titles as DVD-Rs. Even okayish dyes can go bad within twelve months and throw up degradation errors. For that money I'd expect premium grade TY discs so you'd at least get some longevity for your money, which of course they won't be.

So, I suppose it's better than nothing if these titles would never see the light of day otherwise, but, well. You're going to be backing them up a lot to make sure they don't die.
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Old 23-03-2009, 17:42   #18
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DVD-R & not shipping world-wide. I've become very unexcited about the whole thing. They don't want my money, fine, I'll keep it.
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Old 23-03-2009, 18:45   #19
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What I can't understand is why do Warners think that these titles, at least some of them...the classic Joel McCrea Western Wichita for instance...wouldn't sell if they were given a proper sell-through release and made available worldwide through amazon and other DVD outlets?
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Old 23-03-2009, 22:01   #20
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I ordered a Biography dvd of Jerry Lewis officialy released by Amazon.com and it was a DVD-R so the Warner idea is not new - not very good but not new

Ebay rules state that DVD-R films cannot be listed so availability will be interesting

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