Wednesday, January 13, 2010

her majesty arrives...

It is sad, but true. I had the info in my inbox, but not having checked it for a couple of days, I completely missed it. Thanks to my friends Laura, David at Classicflix and the all knowing Glenn Erickson, AKA: the DVD Savant who kept us all abreast of this great news while old Uncle Loophole was napping. Yes, the shame is palpable, but we are in mighty fine hands with ace reporters like these. What am I talking about? Shelfers, it's news that stills my beating heart: Paramount has heard our endless pleas and announced an official street date and artwork for The African Queen DVD/Blu-Ray release. Not only that, but David at Classicflix also reports that Warners has set a release date for that other elusive entry on our DVD wish list, No Time for Sergeants. (a tip of the Shelf Top Hat to David, Laura, Glenn and Warners and Paramount for the information!)

The African Queen: Release date: MARCH 23, 2010
Paramount will release 4 different sets of the Oscar winning 1951 Bogart/Hepburn classic film, The African Queen. There will be a standard DVD and Blu Ray release, and also a Commemorative Edition for both Blu-Ray and DVD. All editions are single disc and come with special features, but the Commemorative Edition will be packed with more extras, making this the edition to get!

The film has been restored- which the VHS print I had clear demonstrates the necessity. From Paramount's press release:
"Meticulously restored using state-of-the-art 4K digital technology, THE AFRICAN QUEEN will now be available for a new generation to appreciate and for long-time fans to see again, as if for the first time. Legendary director John Huston’s treasured romantic adventure stars the incomparable Humphrey Bogart as hard-drinking boat captain Charlie Allnut—a role that won him his only Academy Award® (Best Actor, 1951)—and renowned actress Katharine Hepburn as missionary Rose Sayer in a tale of two disparate people thrown together by fate and drawn together by love.

A six-year journey filled with challenges nearly as difficult as those faced by Rose and Charlie, the restoration process began at the source: Romulus Films—one of the film’s original production companies—provided access to the original three-strip negative at a London facility where the film was carefully scanned and digitized. The separate elements were then transferred to Los Angeles and painstakingly recombined and inspected frame by frame to ensure that every detail aligned and that any dirt and scratches were removed.

To ensure that the restored picture matched the filmmakers’ original vision, Paramount arranged a screening of an MPAA archive print for the film’s original cinematographer, Academy Award® winner Jack Cardiff*, whose comments were recorded live during the screening. That same archival print was later screened alongside the newly restored version so that the restoration team could ensure that all of Cardiff’s notes had been addressed. The result is a vibrant, warm picture that reverentially recreates the film as it was originally meant to be seen."

Thankfully, Paramount went above and beyond it's usual release MO with this film and took special care to make sure it would be the release for which fans have been waiting.
Special features in both the standard and Commemorative Edition include:
A making of documentary entitled: Embracing Chaos: Making The African Queen.

The Commemorative Edition will be packed with great extras, in addition to the Embracing Chaos documentary, including:
An audio disc with a recording of the Radio broadcast of the Lux Radio Theater Presents: The African Queen.
A Senitype film frame collectible reproduction.
Collectible postcards featuring reproductions of images related to the film.
And a reproduction of a great book of film history that is now out of print: Katharine Hepburn: The Making of The African Queen or How I Went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall and Huston and Almost Lost My Mind.

(Side note: Hepburn's book was one of the first books of Film History I owned, having received it one Christmas as a teenager. I have that hardback edition of this book packed away somewhere and wish I could find it. It's a great first hand account of the making of the film, but also the relationships between Hepburn, Bogie, Bacall and Huston. Boffo stuff, indeed.)

A great film, and one of the first "classic films" that I ever saw which set me on the course of a lifelong love of classic films. It is definitely one to add to your collection.

No Time for Sergeants: Release Date: MAY 4, 2010
Warners is doing the right thing by this wonderfully funny film and issuing a standard release of the 1958 classic starring Andy Griffith. No Time for Sergeants is the story of an earnest young man from the country, Will Stockdale who is drafted into the Air Force, and quickly turns the AF upside down with chaos and laughter. Also in the film, Don Knotts (in their first on-screen pairing) as the aptitude tester, Myron McCormick as Will's gruff Sergeant Orville King who tries to get Will out of his hair and Nick Adams as Will's new best friend, Ben. At this time, no extras are listed on the Warner's website.

Just this past month, my grandfather had me search for a copy of this movie, one of his favorites. I had to tell him that I had heard there would be a DVD release, but I didn't no when and if they really would. He wanted me to look into finding a used VHS copy, which is not going for cheap on eBay. I told him to wait and see, as typically the studios release a lot of their upcoming plans for the year in January/February.

This just in: Also for release on May 4 by Warner Brothers:
Dr. Zhivago The 45th Anniversary edition on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Special features will include:
New to this edition: Doctor Zhivago: A Celebration (all-new production)
Commentary by Omar Sharif, Rod Steiger and Lady Sandra Lean (wife of David Lean)Introduction by Omar Sharif
Doctor Zhivago: The Making of a Russian Epic
Zhivago: Behind the Camera with David Lean featurette
David Lean's Film of Doctor Zhivago featurette
Moscow in Madrid featurette
Pasternak featurette
New York Press Interviews Omar Sharif featurette
New York Press Interviews Julie Christie featurette
Geraldine Chaplin Screen Test featurette
This is Omar Sharif, This is Julie Christie, and This is Geraldine Chaplin featurettes
Chaplin in New York featurette and the Original Trailer

Well Shelfers, it's a nice start to the new year. We still have some uncertainty in regards to standard releases of Classic films on DVD/Blu-Ray, but Warners Archive, The TCM/Universal on Demand and now MGM on Demand programs give hope for the future. And certainly Disney and Fox are looking into Downloads and On-Demand programs as well. Hopefully we will be able to continue to report some great releases this year and bring you more reviews.

Let's see - now I can cross off two on my wish list- now on to my next big "hoped for" item: more Jack Benny films, including George Washington Slept Here, The Horn Blows at Midnight, Love Thy Neighbor and The Meanest Man in the World. And while the studio's are at it, it wouldn't kill you to release The Jack Benny Show seasons on DVD, would it? And while we are on the subject of neglect TV releases, the rest of the seasons of Newhart? Well, I can hope, can't I?

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

I never dreamed that any mere physical experience could be so stimulating!


Retro Hound said...

I have African Queen and No Time for Sergeants on video tape, so I hadn't realized they weren't available. This is why we keep a VHS player around. And now, people are just giving us their old video tapes. We just had an old gent give my kids several old westerns (Man from Laramie, Roy Rogers, something with a variation of the word Hang in the title), The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and El Cid on VHS.

J.C. Loophole said...

There's something to be said to hanging on to those tapes for the time being. According to what I've read - they have released much less than half of the classic films that were ever released on VHS. I have one of those combo VHS/DVD players and it has come in handy a time or two...althought I have to admit at times when I've searched for a flick not available on DVD- the used VHS prices were very steep. I suppose people know some of what they have.

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

Let's try this one on for size:

You have received the Kreativ Blogger Award. Details here.

J.C. Loophole said...

Thanks Ivan! Love the new banner pick, by the way. Too much talent for one room.


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