Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group (WBHEG), today announced the debut of the "Warner Archive Collection" (WarnerArchive.com), a selection of movies spanning more than 60 years of filmmaking never before available on DVD. The world's largest film and television vault is finally open to consumers who can now purchase authentic DVD and digital downloads of more than 150 classic titles for the first time drawn from Warner Bros. Entertainment's unparalleled film library consisting of pre-1986 MGM, RKO Radio Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures films. They include Academy Award nominee Sunrise at Campobello, The Citadel, Mr. Lucky, and many others from the Golden Age of Hollywood and beyond.
To order their movies, fans visit WarnerArchive.com, select their titles, and upon purchase, a state-of-the-art manufacturing on demand (MOD) system creates a made-to-order DVD indistinguishable in quality from a standard pressed DVD. The system places the DVD into a hard plastic Amaray case featuring custom artwork; shrink wraps it and ships the finished package to the customer which arrives in approximately five days. The cost per title is $19.95, plus shipping. Alternatively, movie fans can purchase digital downloads of these classic films to enjoy immediately on their PC. The cost for a digital download is $14.95 per title.
Initially the Warner Archive Collection offers 150 sought after titles including Possessed starring Clark Gable and Joan Crawford; Once Upon a Honeymoon starring Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers; and All Fall Down starring Warren Beatty and Eva Marie Saint. Every month approximately 20 classic films and television programs will be added and by year's end more than 300 titles will be available online. For a complete list of current titles visit WarnerArchive.com.
I don't usually post press releases, but for fans of classic Hollywood movies, this is a noteworthy development. Although the major studios have done a good job of getting out their most popular movies in DVD format, there are thousands of films that still are unavailable to the home viewer. Warner Bros. has not only its own archive of films, but it also has the MGM library as well as many movies from United Artists and RKO -- a real treasure trove of classic movies.
Some of the films available now are real curiosities, including some early pairings of Clark Gable and Joan Crawford, and a few films starring Marion Davies, best known as William Randolph Hearst's mistress. Also included are some films that, by right, should have been released on DVD long ago, including Rasputin and the Empress
(MGM 1932), the only film to star all three of the Barrymores, Tugboat Annie
(MGM 1933), with Marie Dressler and Wallace Beery, and Love
(MGM 1927), the steamy adaptation of Anna Karenina
starring Greta Garbo and John Gilbert.
You can also go to the site and vote for titles to be added to the list. As the press release states, there are 150 films available, with more to be added each month. It will be interesting to see if this sort of thing is successful, and if other studios with large film libraries (Universal, Columbia, 20th Century-Fox) will follow suit.