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Warner Bros. Archive Collection

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Mark Suszko
Warner Bros. Archive Collection
on Sep 12, 2013 at 3:15:31 pm

Recently, I got the urge to see the Robert Altman film: "Countdown", from 1967, starring a very young Bobby DuVall and James Caan. Trying to find it on Amazon, I got the message that it was out of stock but a DVD-R copy of it would be custom-burned for me by Amazon fulfillment. The movie was cheap, I said OK and 4 days later I have the disc at home, really nice quality. No extra features, just the theatre promo reel for the film and the film itself. Theres also a promo trailer on the film for WB, showing a vast back-catalog of interesting movies with big stars that just aren't in high enough demand to keep shelves full of stock, but you can have them burn you a copy on-demand. I find this to be awesome.


There is some really impressive lighting and camera work in the film, BTW, and you can see Altman's style clearly in it.

A young Ted Knight plays a serious role in the picture as the NASA press liason. The story is simple but classic. Caan's performance is raw and ragged. Duvall is electric in this, and pretty much prototypical of everything you've seen him in since.

The ending is kind of muted, understated, not at all the style it would be done in today.

William Conrad ( of "Cannon" and "Rocky and Bullwinkle") exec-produced this film and apparently financed it. He gave himself an audio cameo as a VO newscaster.


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Jeff Breuer
Re: Warner Bros. Archive Collection
on Sep 12, 2013 at 3:20:21 pm

I had to reread this post a couple times. Amazon will burn you a DVD? That's crazy!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Warner Bros. Archive Collection
on Sep 12, 2013 at 3:40:25 pm

Crazy AWESOME.


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Tim Wilson
Re: Warner Bros. Archive Collection
on Sep 12, 2013 at 3:56:38 pm

Actually, Warner Bros does the burning. Amazon just fulfills the order.

The Warner Bros Archive program started very quietly a couple of years ago with an unadorned page - lots of words, a raw list of a handful of titles with almost no details, and I think the only picture was the WB logo.

Now, though, it's quite the enterprise. Over 1300 titles, a graphic-laden landing page, a weekly newsletter, podcast, featured titles - they're overall making a real effort on this.

Lots of excitement over pre-Hayes Code titles too, which I think is pretty badass of Warners. Only 72 titles right now, but "Pre-Code" is its own genre in the store!!!

Hey, and right now there's a sale - 5 titles for $50.

Still slightly lame presentations once you get to the individual landing pages. Here's a disc with 4 William Powell titles on it -- nice description of Bill, but only the names of the movies. No other info about them.

They've also started burning Blu-ray disks ($19.95 each), and I just noticed this when I hopped over to grab the main Archive URL: they've started a streaming service for computers and Roku. (Of course, once it's on your computer, it can go on your TV through Apple TV, or far simpler and cooler, Google Chromecast.)

To be honest, it feels just a little lame. In an effort to "add value," they've gone past the true Archive titles to add crap that Netflix probably passed on -- Beyond The Poseidon Adventure and such. But hey, if you want to plow through some Archive titles, it's $9.95/month for all you can eat, with the usual no obligation, cancel when you want deal.

Gotta give 'em credit for trying, though. There's even a coming soon page, and the browsing is pretty helpful -- genre, decade, etc.

AND, they also do TV shows! Maybe even awesomer. That works better with streaming than DVD I think, but there's plenty of obscure TV that's well worth a gander.

Overall, I'm crazy about the idea. No way they'd make money by releasing this stuff traditionally, but no reason not to share it at reasonable prices with people who really want to see it. I wish other studios would do this too.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Warner Bros. Archive Collection
on Sep 12, 2013 at 7:46:41 pm

I see a LOT of titles there I would put on my Amazon Wish List. Lots of cheese, but also some classics and rarities.


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