Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Warner DVD Archive

Another bit of DVD release news that I've neglected to mention is the Warner Archive. In order to get older, lesser-known catalog titles out on DVD, Warner is releasing on-demand discs in waves. This started in March.

There have been issues with the quality of some transfers -- in some cases, using older video masters rather than a new cleaned-up transfer. Also, the price ($14-19.99) can be a bit steep for a burned disc when compared to recent prices for factory-pressed DVD releases.

Those problems aside, there have been some gems released so far, and plenty more to come. The initial wave has a few titles I had been waiting for: Captain Nemo and the Underwater City, Captain Sindbad starring Guy Williams, and ... Doc Savage! Most of the Archive discs are movie-only, but Doc Savage has the theatrical trailer and, from what I've read, the feature print is in decent shape.

A recent wave of Archive releases included two TV pilots/movies produced by Gene Roddenberry in the early '70s -- Genesis II and Planet Earth. When Genesis II wasn't purchased by CBS, GR went back and reworked it into what became Planet Earth. Video clips and quick background here, disc reviews and production history found here. I remember seeing both of these on TV a couple of times in the early eighties, probably on WFLD-32.

If you decide to purchase any of the Warner Archive titles, take a look at this forum posting for a 20%-off coupon code and news of a contest.

There's some talk about Sony/MGM and Fox starting their own disc-on-demand services for their back catalog. I'd welcome that; there are plenty of great titles owned by each and deserving of a release. Maybe that would be a viable way for MGM to continue the fantastic Midnite Movies line.

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