Verrrry interesting DVD news comes from Thrilling Days of Yesteryear and Something Old, Nothing New: Warner Bros. is going into the "made to order" DVD business.
The first 150 films available are listed here.
The lack of extras is a bit of an issue for me; I've taped over two dozen of these films from TCM and at $20 apiece I'm not likely to incur the expense of "upgrading" them all to DVD without additional material on the DVD. (This ties in with an interesting recent discussion in the comments here.)
On the other hand, there are titles in which I'm extremely interested, starting with PRIVATE LIVES with Norma Shearer and Robert Montgomery (very exciting!) and CLOSE TO MY HEART with Ray Milland and Gene Tierney, and there are some favorite titles that I'd like to obtain on DVD. I will definitely be taking advantage of this program...I suspect I'll have PRIVATE LIVES in my hands within the next couple weeks.
I applaud Warner Bros. for deciding to make so many titles more widely available on DVD, with the promise of more to come. This also seems like a great opportunity to obtain DVD copies of relatively obscure films which have a loyal following among classic film fans but might not rate a fullscale DVD release...for instance, I'd love to see future releases of the Sloan "FAST" mysteries or the FOUR DAUGHTERS series if there's no hope of seeing them released in a more elaborate set.
Overall this strikes me as an exciting development, especially if the economics are such that we are going to be seeing fewer boxed set releases. With a few notable exceptions, the pace of classic film releases on DVD seems to have slowed way down this year.
And as a side note, I share the interest of the commenter at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear in buying season sets of MAVERICK! I was thrilled to recently discover I can see all the episodes online via Netflix, but I'd really love to own them all.
Monday Update: My dad passed along a very interesting Glenn Erickson "Extra!" column at DVD Savant. (Note, the Savant columns don't have individual permalinks, so you may need to scroll down to find this column after a couple days.)
There is lots more info here, including a quote from Warners' George Feltenstein: "The goal is to eventually make EVERYTHING available." Twenty titles a month may be added to the list. Movies will be available for digital download as well as on disc.
Glenn also linked to this AP article. This article is also filled with detailed info, including the word that TV shows will be included in the releases -- so there may yet be hope for fans of MAVERICK and other classic TV shows not released on DVD.
Warners sees this as a way to keep DVD business plugging along despite the poor economy and the overall downturn in DVD purchases.
Here's more from Susan King at the L.A. Times. Each disc will include the trailer if it's available, which is wonderful news for people such as myself who love movie trailers.
There is a live chat with Feltenstein tonight at Home Theater Forum. It's advertised as follows: "Our friends from Warner Home Video apologize for the delay in bringing you their annual chat. The delay has enabled them to culminate many new exciting projects, all of which will be announced during this chat."
I suspect this will be a very hot topic this evening. Hopefully we'll soon learn the fates of the boxed sets for Turner, Tracy, and others which are mentioned in the comments for this post.
Afternoon Update: Here are thoughts from J.C. Loophole at the Shelf. (And thanks for the nice compliment, J.C.!) J.C. includes a link to a Feltenstein interview at the International Herald Tribune, which includes this quote: ""There are still thousands of movies that we own that consumers haven't been able to get. I expect that we'll be selling thousands of copies of every title over a period of time, and making a lot of people really happy."
They also quote Debbie Reynolds, who says that in the future she won't have to resort to a movie projector and bootleg copies to see her old movies: "It just seems like a miracle it can be done this way." Reynolds' THE DAUGHTER OF ROSIE O'GRADY is expected to be included in a future wave of releases.
USA Today quotes Feltenstein as saying: "Our goal is to eventually open up our entire vault," Feltenstein says. "We've been working on this for three years. I've always said it would be great if people could buy anything in our library, and now the time has come, because the technology finally exists."
Feltenstein said the criteria for these new releases will be based on many factors, including how well a film sold on VHS, consumer requests, and how much interest there is in bootleg copies on the Internet.
In light of the above, I particularly encourage fellow film fans to keep visiting Turner Classic Movies and voting your interest in DVD releases when you come across titles of interest, as this is one way to help express consumer support. As regular readers know, I often link to these individual pages when I review movies which are only available on TCM; if you haven't yet visited TCM to do this, one example of such a page is linked at the end of my post on KEEP YOUR POWDER DRY.
Amazon also sometimes has entries for out-of-print titles where consumers can click to indicate interest.
Monday Evening Update: Here is a post with detailed notes I took from this evening's Home Theater Forum live chat with George Feltenstein of Warner Bros.
Most -- but not all -- of the info shared about classic film releases for both retail DVD and via the Archives is included in my notes.
I also added a bit of information to that post about my first attempted order.
Wednesday Update: Here is my latest post which includes information on TV series which will be released via the Archive. Yes, MAVERICK is on the list!