Have a favorite Warner Brothers film that you’ve despaired would never reach DVD because it just isn’t a commercial enough title for the studio to go to the expense of transferring it to the digital medium? Well, now you’re in luck, as Warner Brothers has announced a new initiative to make these lesser demand titles available on special order DVD.
The newly opened Warner Archive website is making available titles that might not otherwise ever get a DVD release through a new manufacture-on-demand program. (Think along the lines of Café Press’s business model.) Currently there are 150 titles available with plans to add 20 more a month. The titles range from silents all the way up to the 1970s.
I would imagine that this is actually an interim step for the studio, as they are probably in the process of converting their entire library to digital for eventual use in some sort of streaming/on-demand functionality in the future. This way, the studio still earns some income from these films while waiting for whatever digital delivery system they may be contemplating to be installed. The only drawback to these DVDs is that they will be barebones releases, with no supplimental materials to help justify their $19.99 price tag.
I have to admit that I was a little disappointed when I saw one title that is already available- the 1975 adaptation of pulp hero Doc Savage. Sure it is not a great movie. The script tries too hard to cash in on the long faded popularity of the campy Batman television series and the John Philip Sousa music is just too bombastic and “gee-whiz” for the film. The casting of the Doc Savage, former TV Tarzan Ron Ely, and his five adventuring friends is near perfect to their descriptions in the pulps. I was hoping that we would someday get a nice, tricked-out special edition with perhaps a commentary track from a pulp historian like Will Murray. But given the alternative of getting it in a no-frills edition and not getting it all… Well, I’ll take what I can get.