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April 15, 2009


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Ed Howard

I think the Warner Archive is a fantastic idea and I'm very happy it exists, but right now I just can't justify spending $20 for a DVD-R, even a good one. There are films I want from there -- including Westbound, the one remaining Boetticher/Scott collaboration otherwise not out on DVD -- but I'm holding off for now. What I'm really hoping is that this business model succeeds for Warner and leads to similar but more price-accessible services down the line. I'd be happy to pay closer to $10 for a DVD-R, or the same $20 if they start upgrading to small runs of proper DVDs.


I know, I know. I'm trying to hold off on blowing endless amounts of money I don't have on the WB Archive. I think this is the first opportunity I've had to see "Little Fauss and Big Halsey." Hopefully, for my sake, they space out their archival releases, rather than dump them out, 150 apiece, every month.


I haven't even hit the Warner Archives yet, and I'm a little afraid to. I'm just now finally putting the "region free" part of my region free DVD player to use, and that itself is causing me distress. I just bought "The Devil, Probably" for 15 dollars American from Amazon UK, and came this close to adding "The Stepfather" and "Lancelot du Lac" to the cart, but "The Devil, Probably" was already not my only purchase, and I had to run screaming from my computer.

Peter Nellhaus

I keep hoping to find out if "Youngblood Hawke" is as good, or at least as entertaining as I remember it. I saw the film theatrically in a double feature, and after "Fail Safe", the comic relief was much needed. I also recall falling in love with Suzanne Pleshette.

Tony Dayoub

I love how my copy of "Doc Savage" looks (and it includes the silly trailer). Now if only the movie was as good as I remembered it being when I was a wee lad.

Still... worth the $20 if this is the only way I'll ever have a chance at recapturing a part of my youth.



You found "Little Fauss and Big Halsey" on the Warner Archive site?

Gorilla Bob

I understand the logic of the archive, but it seems like they just don't want to put out proper dvd versions of their catalogue. Warners has always been bad at this, even during the hey day of Videotape. It's nice to have these films made available, but I think 20 is a bit much for a dvd-r.


What is a DVD-R?

Gorilla Bob, part of me thinks you might be right about this:

"but it seems like they just don't want to put out proper dvd versions of their catalogue."

...although in my experience Warners DVDs, especially of their classic films, are among the best non-Criterions out there.


The fact that they don't ship to Canada sucks; but is also saving me from bankruptcy.

Randy Byers

I haven't ordered any of these yet, but my credit card has definitely broken out in a cold sweat. I've got my eye on Tourneur's WICHITA and Ingram's SCARAMOUCHE initially, but then I started reading about THE RED LILY, and that sounds great ... and is that BEAST OF THE CITY? Uh-oh.

Randy Byers

By the way, I've just noticed an "on demand" version of these movies for $14.95. Is that a download that you can then burn to DVD-R yourself, or is that a streamed version?

Tom Russell


The two consumer formats are DVD-R and DVD+R; I used the latter to burn my screeners of my own films and it worked on most, but not all DVD players. The dvds of my films that I've started selling through Amazon/CreateSpace are -R and I've gotten zero complaints. It seems to be the more reliable of the two formats.


"Youngblood Hawke" rules. Ditto Delmer Daves. And Geneviève Page positively rocks in the film. Just ask Dave, a fellow aficionado of this minor, neglected classic.


P.S. BTW, just received Cary Grant's "Room for One More," a guilty pleasure, from WBshop.com. The sublime Betsy Drake dominates. I'm lovin' this!

Match Cuts Glenn

Boetticher's Westbound looks like a must have, but 20 bones? Mr. Kenny, if you've see this, is it worth the price?

Pete Apruzzese

@ Randy Byers -
No, the 'on demand' versions are for PC viewing only and not burnable to a regular DVD.

Tom Carson

As GK knows, I recently committed a minor criminal act (I knew it was a bootleg) to get my hands on Youngblood Hawke on DVD. And yeah, I'll go to the chair with a smile. Lots of dead patches, partly since Daves seems happier with the (rare) Manhattan exteriors than the surfeit of New York cocktail parties brocaded by dim wit. But Suzanne is Suzanne, and one of my favorite potato-head supporting actors (Edward Andrews) gets to pretend he's Edmund Wilson -- a first and last.


I love the idea of the archive, but like the others say, $20 for a DVD-R is A BIT much. I'm sure they will be offering titles that I will be interested in for that price, but so far, I've yet to order any.

DVD-R's are, as mentioned, the burned DVDs like you would make with a computer or DVD burner. The problem with them is they are not compatible with all players (1 of my DVD players won't play them, and another is very glitchy with them). I'll be honest, I don't trust the format as they tend to fail faster than standard, pressed DVDs.

With so many budget companies turning out pressed discs and selling them for $5 or less, it does seem slightly overpriced. I mean, all those public domain DVDs you see in gas stations for 99 cents are pressed DVDs.

$20 for a pressed disc through the archive I would have no problem with. Or maybe even $10 for a DVD-R. But with many studio DVDs, with extras, being at the $20 range or less, it is a bit much.

It is a great idea though. They are said to be making changes to the program due to consumer comments. I wish that more studios would open up their vaults and sell directly to the public.

Ryan Kelly

It's such a logical movie it's almost hard to believe a major corporation came up with it. When I have some disposable cash, I'll be investing in the archive.

Bob Fergusson

Beast of the City has shipped and will arrive in a couple of days. I am anxious to see the packaging and most importantly the quality of the transfer. Yes, the price is steep, especially when you add the shipping, but it seems that for certain one off titles, this may be the route to go, at least in the near term.

Glenn Kenny

I just ordered "Beast." If I'm cut I'll blame Bob and Randy. "They MADE me do it!'

@Match Cuts Glenn: I haven't seen "Westbound," but it's not well-regarded and is as I understand a film that Boetticher disowned, saying it was kind of a salvage job he was brought in on after the fact. Still, it's got Randolph Scott. I may have to check it out, sigh...


I may be in the minority on this, but I don't think $20.00 is that much to get legal access to and permanent ownership of titles that will never, repeat never, get a commercial DVD release. This is the model of the future, folks; best get used to it.

Right now Warner isn't charging shipping, which reduces the bite somewhat.

Brainstorm is a flat-out masterpiece, renowned among noir cognoscenti. (Nicholas Christopher writes about it very warmly in his noir survey, Somewhere in the Night.) It was the first Archive release I ordered (The Money Trap, another ultra-late noir, will be the second). I would have paid more to have this film, uncut and in its proper widescreen format (nice-looking transfer, too). And I'm currently unemployed, but hey, art!


Topbroker: How do we know these films will never get a commercial release. Lots of pretty obscure material does, often under various collective packages.

But here's the real question...Can these somehow eventually be made available through Netflix. That would solve the money problem while still making these hard to find films viewable to the geeks.


Many of the movies are currently on sale for $15.96. I think WB wants us to get off the fence and buy....

Steve A.


You say many of the Archive titles are now on sale for $15.96.

That's news to me. How and where can I buy them at this sale price?


Even if that plan drives you to seek welfare, then why not when it would make you happy (and RIAA too)! hahahaha... Enjoy watching!

Dave Humphrey

The fact is that although Warner Archive does not ship to Canada, many of the titles are available on the TCM website for shipping to Canada and for two dollars cheaper than the Warner site.


"But here's the real question...Can these somehow eventually be made available through Netflix."

My guess would be yes, Netflix is getting ready to head to head with HBO. stay tuned.

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