"Up the riggings, you monkeys!"
Today brings a bunch of odds 'n ends that I didn't have time for yesterday.
The big story (big is a relative term, we're talking about the universe of home video here!) these days is the lawsuit that was brought against MGM Home Video, accusing them of deceptive packaging on their DVDs regarding widescreen. The whole thing seems borne of greed and ignorance about how films are made and subsequently transferred onto the compromise we know as DVD. Here's a quote from the website of the suit: "…certain representations on the label and package insert of MGM's widescreen DVDs are false and misleading because MGM's widescreen DVDs for films shot in the 1.85 to 1 aspect ratio have the same image width as MGM's standard screen format DVDs." A good piece on the suit and some explanations as to how this all works can be found here.
Apparently, Samsung is releasing a portable DVD player that's handheld, has a 2.5 inch screen, and plays 3 inch DVDs. The device is aimed at kids and has the support of Warner. Check it out in this NY Times artcile here. This is kinda interesting, but I think it will be drowned out by the coming of Sony's PlayStation Portable, which will probably end up playing movies in some form. If you're curious about it, there's a good review of the device here.
And now some upcoming DVD fun:
Rumor has it that Warner will be releasing special edition DVDs of the Batman films just in time for the upcoming Batman Begins (this Summer), probably in May. It would be nice to have a better version of at least the first film as it was one of the earliest DVD releases back in 1997.
More TV shows that people didn't even know they needed...Anchor Bay will be releasing Doogie Howser, M.D.: Season One on 3/22.
A slew of catalong Westerns from Columbia TriStar: Bonanza Town, The Desperadoes (1943), Good Day for a Hanging, Jubal, Lust for Gold, Texas (1941), The Texican, The Violent Men, The Professionals: Special Edition (1966), all for 4/5.
Meanwhile back in Warnerland, they've just announced the 6-disc Errol Flynn: The Signature Collection box set for release on 4/19 (SRP $52.98). The set will include Captain Blood, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, The Sea Hawk, They Died with their Boots On and Dodge City, all available for the first time on DVD, plus a bonus disc containing the all-new, feature length documentary, The Adventures of Errol Flynn. The films will be available separately (SRP $19.97 each), but the documentary will only be available in the box set. Each of the films will include extras, among them original newsreels, trailers, classic Looney Tunes shorts and Leonard Maltin's Warner Night at the Movies.
Warner also has The West Wing: The Complete Fourth Season (SRP $59.98) for 4/5. Other titles on the way from the studio include the John Wayne films The Sea Chase, Tall in the Saddle and The Train Robbers (all 5/3), and Purgatory (1999), The Desperate Trail, Conagher, Last Stand at Saber River plus the BBC's Fortunes of War and Monarch of the Glen: The Complete Series 3 (all for 5/17). Whew! What a load....of Westerns that is...
MGM has a 2-disc Spaceballs: Collector's Edition on 5/3 (SRP 29.98). The DVD will include the film in anamorphic widescreen video (1.85:1), with audio in BOTH Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 - no kidding. Extras will include feature-length audio commentary with Mel Brooks, "film flubs," the 30-minute Spaceballs: The Documentary, 3 featurettes (John Candy: Comic Spirit, In Conversation: Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan and Storyboards to Film), "Spacequotes", galleries of behind-the-scenes stills, costume photos and production artwork, and the film's exhibitor and theatrical trailers.
On 5/17, they also have Hour of the Gun, Escort West, The Hunting Party, Invitation to a Gunfighter, More Dead Than Alive, Sam Whisky and The Scalphunters (SRP $14.95 each). And a pair of Bob Hope films, The Princess and the Pirate and I'll Take Sweden, plus a pair of Abbot and Costello films, The Noose Hangs High and Dance with Me, Henry (SRP $14.95 each).