13 July 2009

The Unseen Classics

The New Yorker magazine recently brought an exciting story to my attention that bodes well for those that like classic movies. (Actually, it was fellow media brother Vince that pointed the story out to me).

WarnerArchive.com has classic titles they are making available on an “on demand” basis. “On demand” simply means that the customer would order the film of their choice, Warner’s would burn a copy to DVD, and then mail it. Many are also are available as digital downloads. While the films have obviously been digitized in order to do this, they have not been digitally remastered as this would be cost prohibitive. Warner’s does claim they have gone to original film stock when available in order to maintain high quality without remastering.

Unfortunately, the DVD’s and downloads are both incredibly overpriced, but this could change as the online market continues to grow and the number of films increases. Another small problem is that none of the films were being offered as downloadable rentals; something I would be much more likely to try.

Since many of the titles have not seen a release since their original theatrical runs, there are many un-heard-of titles in there. And I’m sure many of them are gems.

While I think it’s great to see Warner Bros. raiding their own film vaults, hopefully they will see that good ideas can always be improved.

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