Fox Cinema Archives

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AfterTheRain
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Fox Cinema Archives

#1 Post by AfterTheRain » Wed May 30, 2012 12:32 pm

Looks like Fox is jumping aboard the MOD bandwagon: Details

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domino harvey
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#2 Post by domino harvey » Wed May 30, 2012 12:35 pm

Goddammit it all to hell

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TMDaines
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#3 Post by TMDaines » Wed May 30, 2012 12:53 pm

There's enough mugs out there who'll buy them so I don't blame them. They'll make some nice upgrades on the private trackers too.

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The Elegant Dandy Fop
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#4 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Wed May 30, 2012 2:28 pm

I'm really surprised about how popular the burn-on-demand format has been. I understand the studios spend little money as they don't have to bother with mass production and advertising, but how can the general public be suckered into paying top dollar for mediocre DVD-R's? At least a company like Olive Films, bad covers and lack of features aside, put care into their releases with actual printed DVDs and actually releasing classic cinema on Blu-Ray. I'm pretty much on the same page with TMDaines here that at least upgrades online will be imminent.

I've contacted Criterion in the past with the idea of releasing a "Tashlin at Fox" Eclipse set, but that will probably never happen, so the best thing I can say about this program is that I can hope there will be a widescreen release of Say One for Me on the way.

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Matt
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#5 Post by Matt » Wed May 30, 2012 2:52 pm

I can only speak for myself, but I have been "suckered" into buying several Warner Archive DVD-Rs because there's little likelihood that the things I was buying (Vitaphone compilations and minor screwball comedies, generally) would ever have been made available on pressed DVDs (they would never have sold the minimum number to break even, especially not on Blu-ray). Also, I don't find the Warner Archives DVD-Rs to be mediocre. I know people have reported problems with them, but I've never had an issue, and they've even begun to include the occasional extra or commentary. And like many people with Criterion releases, I don't buy them the instant they become available. I make a wishlist and wait for sales (which happen quite often).

People tend not to pay more for something than they value it. If my desire to own a movie or collection of shorts on a physical format equals the price being asked for it, I will pay it. If you value it less than I do, I respect your decision not to buy it or to acquire it by other means. But please don't confuse this with my being duped.

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The Elegant Dandy Fop
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#6 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Wed May 30, 2012 3:17 pm

I can understand the intentions of getting rare things out into the public and that these respective companies aren't charities and have money to make, but it's still just disappointing to me that this is the way it's done. I'm just against the ethics of the business formula more than anything where these Hollywood studios spend as little as possible to make as much as they can with these releases.

But I completely respect you decision and if I had a more expendable budget, I wouldn't mind picking them up. I got quite a few during the first few months of Warner Archive months (Tiger Shark, Susan Slept Here, The Last Flight, Dogville shorts), but I haven't gone back to get more mostly as in the back of my mind I remember the expected lifetime of a DVD-R.

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domino harvey
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#7 Post by domino harvey » Wed May 30, 2012 4:49 pm

I've gotten to where I'll only pick up an MOD title for one of two reasons:

01 It's not available in a proper ratio via back channels and I'm paying for the luxury of seeing the film in the best possible quality

02 It's a film I'd want to show others-- I think the last "big" film I got from the Archives was Tall Story, and that's a DVD-R I don't mind paying for if it means I can easily take it to a friend's house to screen

But the days of blind-buying MOD titles are gone for me thanks to back channels and the MOD model seems less business-savvy than ever: who is the market for most of these? It ain't Ma and Pa Punchclock, and it seems less and less to be educated film-lovers. Is Warners or MGM even recouping from whatever mastering they've done (some of these titles I'd be shocked if they ever sold more than twenty total)? Is it all just such a new revenue stream that they're not even cognizant of losses? Are the sales actually really buoyant?

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Matt
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#8 Post by Matt » Wed May 30, 2012 4:49 pm

Expected lifetimes of media are always just estimates, and true lifetimes are subject to many variables. A top-quality DVD-R stored in good conditions (room temperature, moderate humidity) could be expected to last a few decades, which equals or beats VHS. And I have pressed CDs less than 20 years old that have already succumbed to delamination and rust, and I take GOOD care of my shit.

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domino harvey
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#9 Post by domino harvey » Wed May 30, 2012 4:51 pm

My biggest concern with DVD-Rs though is the low scuff tolerance

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swo17
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#10 Post by swo17 » Wed May 30, 2012 4:54 pm

It's been nice being able to rent MOD titles from ClassicFlix but as a matter of principle I will never buy any of them ever unless I really really want to.

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Matt
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#11 Post by Matt » Wed May 30, 2012 4:58 pm

I have also wondered what the market is for these, but Warner Archive seems to be doing extremely well. I think they're the only ones, though, since now HBO, MGM, and Sony are all outsourcing their MOD operations to them. But who was ever the market for things like the Classic Musicals from the Dream Factory box sets anyway? The market for a $70 box of Eleanor Powell, Jane Powell, and Mario Lanza musicals can't be that big.

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domino harvey
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#12 Post by domino harvey » Wed May 30, 2012 5:02 pm

One thing that really ended up biting consumers in the ass about Warners' initial boxed set deluge post-Thin Man is that they knowingly held onto "key" titles to anchor future sets, meaning every star or theme set had a share of dogs coming in behind the show ponies. When the DVD bubble burst, they denigrated some great films to the MOD Ghetto which look all the more comical in comparison to what made it to pressed discs

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whaleallright
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#13 Post by whaleallright » Wed May 30, 2012 6:54 pm

I'm just against the ethics of the business formula more
What are these "ethics"? They are releasing these titles in a way that makes financial sense for them, given the unavoidable corporate imperative to maintain or improve the bottom line (we can argue about the ethics of that, but that's a different conversation altogether). We are lucky that some folks persuaded the brass to go ahead with the Ford and Fox, and Murnau, Borzage, and Fox sets, both of which lost Fox a fair bit of money. Indeed, we should keep in mind that there are folks in the archives and home-video departments of these corporations that probably had to push fairly hard just to get what we have now. But in reality the choice is not between MOD releases and "proper" releases; it's between MOD and nothing at all, or perhaps just TCM broadcast. If you have an alternate solution that involves Warners or Fox not losing money, then I'm sure they will be interested to hear it.

I reserve my disappointment for the corporate brass at, say, Universal, who seem to have little sense of the riches they are sitting on or how to exploit them. Interestingly, Universal does a much better job than others at keeping their older films circulating on 35mm, so it may just be somebody at their home-video division whose vision does not include doing much with the older properties.

I have also wondered what the market is for these, but Warner Archive seems to be doing extremely well. I think they're the only ones, though, since now HBO, MGM, and Sony are all outsourcing their MOD operations to them.
Actually, I think Warners just handles distribution for these other studios--the choice of films, the creation of digital masters, etc. is handled by the original studio. And isn't it Fox who distributes the MGM/UA MODs?

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Jeff
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#14 Post by Jeff » Wed May 30, 2012 7:34 pm

I do the exact same as Matt. I keep a running list of all the titles I want, wait for sales, and rarely pay more than $10 per disc including shipping. I'm getting films that would probably never be released via traditional retail. I've bought maybe 20-25 total. Obviously, there are more folks like us because the MOD business is flourishing.

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swo17
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#15 Post by swo17 » Wed May 30, 2012 7:50 pm

jonah.77 wrote:But in reality the choice is not between MOD releases and "proper" releases; it's between MOD and nothing at all
Unless Olive can get their hands on it, in which case seemingly any given title could be on Blu-ray in a matter of months.

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vsski
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#16 Post by vsski » Wed May 30, 2012 8:10 pm

While I have not bought any MODs by anyone so far, even though some titles would interest me, I have to say that I don't fully understand the economics nor the marketplace for DVD-Rs.

Comparing the US with the European market I notice at least two differences lately, in France Warner has introduced a press on demand program, no DVD-Rs. So how can they economically justify this in a much smaller market and can't in the US - what are the main differences other than the assumption that French consumers won't buy DVD-Rs.
Secondly I see more and more catalog titles released in Europe on Blu-Ray that haven't been released in the US and aren't even announced yet. So does this mean Europeans are the only ones interested in catalog titles with decent transfers - hard to believe imo. Of course companies like Olive are now starting to close that gap.

My own philosophy is very simple. There are more movies that get released every year than I'm physically able to watch and since I can't buy and watch them all, even if money were no obstacle, I simply select of those that I'm most interested in, those that come out in great editions and so far no MOD was that high on my list. Also, I'm a collector, so durability is a big issue, even though I agree with Matt that durability is depending on multiple factors.
At the same time I can completely understand, that if for someone else this is different, they go and buy MODs.

What I'm mostly puzzled by is the difference between the US and Europe here - I always thought that the US was the biggest home video market in the world, and yet studios seem to believe that economics don't justify proper releases here (unless their stateside overheads are so huge that they need to sell many more than the average European subsidiary). What am I missing?

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TMDaines
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#17 Post by TMDaines » Thu May 31, 2012 3:38 am

It's a catch-22. Once they've decided there's not enough of a market for these titles to be released properly, either: you buy these releases and support this low value for money system and thus making it worth their while; or, you don't buy these releases and their assumption is right that there is no market for these releases. There's no action the consumer can take that would lead them to reconsider this model. At the end of the day it's not like there's mountains of profit out there for these titles in a proper release and releasing them all properly would tie up a lot more cash and come with a lot more risk. Why bother when there's enough people who'll buy these DVD-Rs either on the basis of being suckers or because there is apparently no alternative... when every Tom, Dick and Harry knows what the elephant in the room is? Of course there is an alternative.

Titus
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#18 Post by Titus » Thu May 31, 2012 9:49 am

I agree with Matt and Jeff regarding Warner Archive (the other studios' MOD programs have been more frustrating). The two issues that people tend to raise with WA are the expense and concerns about durability. But, while it’s probably different for European consumers, the cost is not all that high for US residents. The discs can regularly be bought for $8-10. While that’s clearly not the kind of value we were used to 5 or 6 years ago, it’s also not an exorbitant sum. And DVD-Rs probably aren’t as stable as pressed discs, but I’ve yet to encounter a problem in any of the several dozen titles I’ve purchased. And Warner assures us that the lifespan of DVD-Rs is just as long as pressed discs, and they’re now offering to replace any disc that dies.

So I guess I just don’t see the huge drawback to this the way some do. There have been some really disappointing and confusing choices about what gets relegated to MOD (they can release The Bad Seed on Blu but The Strawberry Blonde gets sent to the Archive?), but for the most part this is material that would never be released were it not for the MOD program. I don’t mind supporting it by paying the relatively reasonable prices for the titles that interest me, and I don’t really see why my decision to not illegally download the films instead makes me a sucker or whatever. I’m not criticizing anybody who does (I’ve bootlegged a fair amount of media over the years), but it seems like a strange point to bring up, as this is an alternative that exists for nearly everything – not just Warner Archive.

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domino harvey
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#19 Post by domino harvey » Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:00 pm

First wave of 35 titles:


Always Goodbye (Sidney Lanfield 1938)
the Baroness and the Butler (Walter Lang 1938)
Career Woman (Lewis Seiler 1936)
Chicken Every Sunday (George Seaton 1949)
Claudia (Edmund Goulding 1943)
Dangerous Years (Arthur Pierson 1948)
Diplomatic Courier (Henry Hathaway 1952)
Do You Love Me (Gregory Ratoff 1946)
the Foxes of Harrow (John M Stahl 1947)
Fraulein (Henry Koster 1958)
Frontier Marshal (Allan Dwan 1939)
Hudson's Bay (Irving Pichel 1940)
Intent to Kill (Jack Cardiff 1958)
Junior Miss (George Seaton 1945)
Kidnapped (Otto Preminger 1938)
Life Begins at Eight-Thirty (Irving Pichel 1942)
Love is News (Tay Garnett 1937)
the Man I Married (Irving Pichel 1940)
Mr Belvedere Rings the Bell (Henry Koster 1951)
Mr Scoutmaster (Henry Levin 1953)
My Wife's Best Friend (Richard Sale 1952)
Outcasts of Poker Flat (Joseph M Newman 1952)
the Perfect Snob (Ray McCarey 1941)
the Raid (Hugo Fregonese 1954)
Rings on Her Fingers (Rouben Mamoulian 1942)
Secret Agent of Japan (Irving Pichel 1942)
Slattery's Hurricane (Andre de Toth 1949)
Slave Ship (Tay Garnett 1937)
Suez (Allan Dwan 1938)
Sunday Dinner for a Soldier (Lloyd Bacon 1944)
Sweet Rosie O'Grady (Irving Cummings 1943)
They Came to Blow Up America (Edward Ludwig 1943) -- Wow, what a great title!
Three Brave Men (Phillip Dunne 1957)
Twelve Hours to Kill (Edward L Cahn 1960)
Way of a Gaucho (Jacques Tourneur 1952)

Izo
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#20 Post by Izo » Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:16 pm

Way of a Gaucho is an outstanding film, and that one gets an easy recommendation from me at the very least. It's among Tourneur's many underappreciated masterpieces.

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knives
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#21 Post by knives » Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:18 pm

Ouch on many of those. I know at least Frontier Marshal has had a pressed R1 release as an extra on My Darling Clemintine. Would it be too hard for some one in the know to put down if there are R2 alternatives to any of these titles?

Jonathan S
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#22 Post by Jonathan S » Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:52 am

Diplomatic Courier has recently been released by Odeon in the UK. I can't speak of the film or transfer but Odeon do licence from Fox.

There is a Spanish DVD of The Raid. An Amazon UK review claims it has a "nice and clean transfer". I can thoroughly recommend the film itself, an American Civil War drama with a minimum of war action - it's more of a suspense thriller - but a ton of moral ambiguity. The more Hugo Fregonese I see (Apache Drums, Harry Black, etc.) the more I think his high reputation among auteur critics 50 years ago was justified.

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movielocke
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#23 Post by movielocke » Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:52 pm

The one I most want them to get around to releasing is Wilson, wonderful montage editing for the presidential campaign sequences.

JPJ
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#24 Post by JPJ » Mon Jun 25, 2012 2:16 pm

Hopefully they'll release some pre-codes:Call her savage.Blood money,Me and my gal,The Bowery..I think Fox has plenty to choose from.

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domino harvey
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Re: Fox Cinema Archives

#25 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jun 25, 2012 2:43 pm

movielocke wrote:The one I most want them to get around to releasing is Wilson, wonderful montage editing for the presidential campaign sequences.
I feel like we've had this conversation on the board before, but it is so weird that someone considers this a good movie

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