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Blu-ray & DVD News Catch-up – Universal to Restore 15 Silent Films, plus Olive’s July Slate & more

May 29, 2015 - 2:33 pm   |   by

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All right, sorry for the absence there for a couple days. I got hit by some kind of flu on Tuesday night and figured it would pass quickly. Instead it just got worse each day – throbbing headache, fever, body aches, lungs full of muck – the whole smash. I spent all of Wednesday and Thursday in bed in a haze of sleep, cold sweats, and flu meds. Finally, today, I’m functional again and feeling more like a human being. Moral of the story is: Avoid this flu at all costs if you can. It’s no fun.  [Read on here…]

The big news today is that Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced that it plans restore some of its key classic silent films over the next few years. Here’s the official details...

Universal Pictures makes historic commitment to its Silent Films, Honoring the Studio’s rich history and cultural legacy

Approximately 15 classic titles to be restored over the next four years

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., May 28, 2015 -- Building on its 2012 Centennial celebration, Universal Pictures announced today its continued commitment to honor the Studio’s rich film history and cultural legacy by restoring some of the world’s most classic silent films. During the next four years, the Studio will restore approximately 15 silent film titles from Universal’s early years. The complete list of films is still in development in collaboration with outside film historians, institutions, and preservationists. Partners and collaborators in the initiative include the Library of Congress, The Film Foundation, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, George Eastman House, UCLA Film & Television Archives, Association of Moving Image Archivists, and Hollywood Heritage. The announcement was made at the Opening Night of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

A silent film crew at Universal Studios

“The company understands its responsibility and need to preserve our silent film legacy,” said Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman, NBCUniversal. “This early art of filmmaking is the foundation on which Universal Pictures was built more than 100 years ago, and it’s important we honor our rich history.”

“The silent film era is best known for instantly recognizable storylines, settings, costumes, and characters. Most early silent films were accompanied by a full-fledged orchestra, organist or pianist to provide musical background and to underscore the narrative on the screen. Some even included live actors or narrators. The major genre emphasis was on swashbucklers, historical extravaganzas, and melodramas, although all kinds of films were being produced throughout the decade.”

“According to a report released by the Library of Congress, 70 percent of the nation’s silent feature films have been completely lost. Universal’s restoration team will work with archives and collectors worldwide to secure copies of prints and additional elements needed to complete this restoration effort and augment the silent film titles currently in its library.”

“Universal Pictures silent film restoration initiative builds on the company’s ongoing restoration commitment. Since the program was first announced in 2012, nearly 30 titles have been restored and 25 more titles are expected to be restored by 2017. Fully restored titles to date include All Quiet on the Western Front, The Birds, Buck Privates, Dracula (1931), Dracula Spanish (1931), Frankenstein, Jaws, Schindler’s List, Out of Africa, Pillow Talk, Bride of Frankenstein, The Sting, To Kill a Mockingbird, Touch of Evil, Double Indemnity, High Plains Drifter, and Holiday Inn.”

That’s pretty cool news indeed. Hopefully, the studio will also commit to making them available on Blu-ray too.

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Also recently announced is word that Paramount is going to start distributing theatrical titles from IFC Films.

All right, let’s have a catch-up rundown on some of the release news from the last couple days...

Olive Films has confirmed that their July Blu-ray and DVD release slate will include Criminal Law (1988), Ned Kelly (1970), Roller Boogie (1979), Street Smart (1987), and Wild Thing (1987) on 7/7, Adventures of Captain Fabian (1951), Baby It’s You (1983), The Eternal Sea (1955), Hell’s Five Hours (1958), King of the Gypsies (1978), and Man of Conquest (1939) on 7/14, and Dark By Noon (2013) and Relentless Justice (2014) on 7/21.

PBS Distribution will release Masterpiece: Poldark on Blu-ray and DVD on 7/7. They also have 1913: Seeds of Conflict on DVD only on 6/30.

Warner Home Video will release Mike & Molly: The Complete Fifth Season on DVD only on 8/18 (SRP $24.98), including all 22 episodes.

Sony will have House of Cards: The Complete Third Season out on Blu-ray and DVD on 7/7.

Anchor Bay Entertainment will release Rectify: The Complete Second Season on DVD only on 6/2. They also have Lost After Dark coming on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/1.

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Alchemy has set Comeback Dad for DVD only release on 6/9. They’re also releasing Back to the Jurassic on Blu-ray and DVD, starring Melanie Griffith and Jane Lynch, that same day.

Big World Pictures will release Stop the Pounding Heart on DVD on 6/23.

Nickelodeon Home Entertainment and Paramount will release Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Return to NYC! on DVD on 7/14.

Image will release The Poltergeist of Borley Forest on DVD on 6/2.

For you music fans, Cinema Libre Studio is going to be releasing Andy Summers’ documentary Can’t Stand Losing You: Surviving The Police on Blu-ray and DVD on 7/14. If you’re a fan of the band (as am I) it’s a great documentary. You can see more here at the official website.

And Eagle Rock Entertainment has also set Black Veil Brides: Alive & Burning on Blu-ray and DVD on 7/10.

All right, I’m too wiped out to post any cover artwork today, but I should back to business as usual next week. And if there are any typos in the text above, well… you know why. Blame my flu-addled brain.

Everyone have a great weekend, and we’ll see you then. Stay tuned!

Bill Hunt