Monday, April 18, 2011

Warner Archive News: Columbia Classics, Extras

Over the past few days there have been some very interesting developments at the Warner Archive. I'm just now catching up on sharing the news here after a somewhat reduced blogging schedule due to spending a great deal of time over the past couple weeks at the Noir City Film Festival.

A few days ago it was announced that Warner Archive will be selling Columbia Classics DVD-Rs at the Warner Archive site. The Archive now has a special page just for Columbia Classics titles.

The titles will also continue to be sold at Columbia Classics.

I think this is an excellent move. Although I've had some complaints about the Archive site not always being user-friendly, I feel it's better organized than the Columbia Classics site, and the Archive gets a big thumbs up for their publicity efforts. They do terrific work advising interested consumers about new releases via email, Facebook, and Twitter, and their Twitter reps are always available to answer questions and take requests.

Hopefully this change will also signal an increase in the previously sluggish pace of Columbia releases.

The other big news is that some new Warner Archive releases, including remastered prints of MEET ME IN LAS VEGAS (1956), ROSE MARIE (1954) and I LOVE MELVIN (1953), include extras!

In a second anniversary interview last month, Archive head George Feltenstein had indicated that musical outtakes were a possibility for future releases.

According to the listings at the Archive, ROSE MARIE contains the deleted number "Love and Kisses," with Marjorie Main and Bert Lahr.

MEET ME IN LAS VEGAS has two outtake numbers, a song by Lena Horne and a dance by George Chakiris and Betty Lynn. This blog has more information about the Chakiris-Lynn number.

I posted a review of MEET ME IN LAS VEGAS last year.

The remastered I LOVE MELVIN (1953) upgrades an earlier unremastered Archive release which is no longer listed at the site. The outtake musical number included is "A Lady Loves."

Some of the other interesting new releases which will appeal to MGM musical fans are the underrated, visually stunning YOLANDA AND THE THIEF (1945), starring Fred Astaire and Lucille Bremer, and remastered prints of THE UNFINISHED DANCE (1947) and RIO RITA (1942). The restoration of THE UNFINISHED DANCE, which stars Margaret O'Brien and Cyd Charisse, is said to be "gorgeous." RIO RITA is an Abbott & Costello film which also stars singers John Carroll and a young Kathryn Grayson.

Two other notable remastered titles which were recently released are a pair of Fritz Lang films, BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT (1956), starring Dana Andrews and Joan Fontaine, and an all-star cast in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS (1956).

I reviewed WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS in 2008.

Kudos to Warner Archive for releasing so many remastered titles and including extras. It's this kind of "value added" which will induce me to buy an increased number of Archive titles.

Now that extras are included, can commentary tracks be far behind?

And when will 20th Century-Fox get on the MOD bandwagon? I know that Drew Casper of USC put in work on extras for a volume of Betty Grable musicals that was never released. If the technology is there, hopefully one day those titles will come out from Fox with the extras included.


Blogger Kevin Deany said...

I second the call for the Betty Grable titles. Would love to see those released.

1:40 PM  

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