The Warner Bros. Archives — Made to Order?

Mr. Lucky (1948). One of the films available from the Warner Bros archives--O Happy Day!
Mr. Lucky (1948). One of the films available from the Warner Bros archives--O Happy Day!

Life can be beautiful.

According to an article in today’s LA Times, Warner Brothers is cracking open its archives to release previously unavailable titles …  on customer request?

… in an industry first, the company today is, in a manner of speaking, inviting the public into the vaults to order what it wants. And like the neighborhood pizzeria, it won’t make it till you order it. Among the titles available are several early Clark Gable films, including “Possessed” and “Men in White”; “Love,” Greta Garbo’s silent version of “Anna Karenina”; “This Woman Is Dangerous,” with Joan Crawford; “Abe Lincoln in Illinois,” with Raymond Massey; and “Wisdom,” with Emilio Estevez and Demi Moore.”

Before you get too euphoric, not all of the 3800 titles in Warner Brother’s vaults will be immediately available. Currently there are 150 titles from Warner Bros, MGM and RKO that can be ordered as a DVD or as a computer download and the studio plans to release 20 new titles every month. When you visit the arhives, you’ll be greeted with a popup window asking you which film you would like added to the collection. (For the record, the titles that are currently up for consideration are The Patsy, Watch the Birdie, Kisses For My President and How Sweet it Is. My vote went to The Patsy which is slightly trailing How Sweet it Is–come on people!!)

… now there is a system that permits manufacturing on demand — not only creating the DVD but also placing it into a hard plastic case featuring custom art, wrapping it and shipping it. We can make two DVDs or we can make 2,000 [of a title],” says Feltenstein. (Sorry, Blu-ray fans: It doesn’t work for you.)”
The DVDs won’t contain extras or commentary tracks, etc. etc. but you will be able to preview the quality of the picture before purchasing.

Anyone else stoked?

Check it out now!

My order of Mr. Lucky is already in the bag!

Posted by

Film writer and social media marketing professional. 2019 Social Ambassador for the 10th Annual TCM Classic Film Festival. Previously: social media associate at Warner Archive and script writer for Turner Classic Movies. Working on a Montgomery Clift biography due late 2020.

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