Sunday, September 12, 2010

Columbia Classics DVD-R Site Launches

A few days ago I mentioned the rumor that Columbia would be jumping into the "on demand" DVD-R market alongside Warner Archive and other programs.

Columbia has now launched its Screen Classics By Request website. (2018 Update: This website has not been operational for some years now.)

There are some interesting titles in the initial lineup, including Stewart Granger and Jean Simmons in FOOTSTEPS IN THE FOG (1955), Gary Merrill and Nancy Davis in CRASH LANDING (1958), Rosalind Russell and Melvyn Douglas in THE GUILT OF JANET AMES (1947), and Irene Dunne in OVER 21 (1945). Columbia did a nice job with the cover art of many of the DVDs.

Given the many possibilities from Columbia, however, it seems like a rather dry opening list. We'll have to see what they release in the future and whether the Columbia DVD-Rs will play reliably on all DVD players, which has not always been the case with the Warner Archive discs. It will also be interesting to see how quickly titles are added to the Columbia site.

Hopefully this new "by request" program will not eliminate Sony's production of more Columbia sets with extras; there have been several nice releases in recent months, including the Bad Girls of Film Noir volumes.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the title of greatest interest to me is actually a TV-movie, THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY OF DR. MEG LAUREL (1979). I'm glad that more of the excellent TV-movies and miniseries of the late '70s and '80s are gradually becoming available to new generations of viewers.

Monday Update: Lou Lumenick hears a rumor that Fox will be joining the "manufactured on demand" business next year. It's sad that Fox's beautiful DVD sets seem to be a thing of the past, but perhaps this will be good news for those of us wanting hard-to-find films like CENTENNIAL SUMMER (the top film on my Fox wish list) and other movies starring Jeanne Crain, Loretta Young, Linda Darnell and others.

September 20th Update: Columbia Classics films will be sold by Deep Discount.


Blogger panavia999 said...

I read that the 70s-80s was the golden age of mini series, and I never watched any of them because of mediocre TV reception and too many commercials. (I did not own a VCR until the 90's.) The only one I have seen is The Thorn Birds when it was on TV last year.
I'd like to see FOOTSTEPS IN THE FOG - I messed up the recording during TCMs Stewart Granger fest.

2:58 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

This is great news! Just browsed the page with all the titles - alot of them I had not heard of.

9:07 PM  
Blogger Moira Finnie said...

If this initial offering seems a bit dry from Columbia, the fact that they will be adding to them each month may bring more gems from the vaults. FORBIDDEN (1932), a Frank Capra film with a remarkable Barbara Stanwyck performance, would be one film I'd like to see issued soon.

I've only had a brief chance to see the entire list of titles being offered from Columbia for this new venture, but I was happy that THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY OF DR. MEG LAUREL (1979)is among them.

I tend to look for films from the '30s and '40s first, but this movie, which I'd only seen in recent years, has an exquisite performance by Jane Wyman, whose talent was as real in 1979 as it was in the '40s and '50s--and was perhaps more nuanced as she grew older, (when she could find a good script, that is).

With this step by Sony, I am hoping that the hundreds of Paramount titles from before 1960 on the shelf might just be next in this development.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I share your hope about the Paramount films, Moira. Most of the films on my "hard to find viewing wish list" are from Paramount -- lots of Milland, Colbert, MacMurray, Goddard, and Carroll films.

I'm so glad you also appreciate DR. MEG LAUREL. If I remember correctly, you wrote about it on your blog some time back. I haven't seen it in many years, but it made a big impression on me when I was a teenager.

Best wishes,

11:18 AM  

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