MGM (Re-)Joins the MOD Fray
It’s MOD baby, and (almost) everyone’s doin’ it. Of the major Hollywood studios only Paramount doesn’t yet have its tentacles involved somehow in the recent made-on-demand scheme. The Warner Archive Collection seems to have proven that, believe it or not, there’s a profit to be made upon charging around $20 for a burned DVD-R to some of your most loyal consumers. I believe the WB honcho largely responsible for the Archive recently revealed that his service only needs to sell 70 copies before starting to turn a profit. And where do those black pennies go? Pockets, son, pockets. Certainly not back to the consumer. Remember when the Warner Archive began and the same honcho who likes to be quoted in news articles as he basks in such success said that the burn-on-demand service wouldn’t mark an end to regular retail releases from Warner Bros.? I sure do, and I’ve also noticed that exactly two new-to-DVD titles have emerged this year (Keeper of the Flame and The Sea of Grass, in a Tracy-Hepburn set) with one more (Night Flight) due soon.
I have some plans for the Warner Archive later, fingers crossed, but right now the focus is more on MGM’s recent version, called the Limited Edition Collection. Isn’t everything sort of limited in its own way? Regardless, I was offered the chance to review some of these titles for The Digital Fix and I jumped at it. Not quite to the moon, mind you, but a good jump nonetheless. Last week I reviewed Cop Hater, a solid adaptation of Ed McBain’s first 87th precinct novel that stars a young Robert Loggia, and The Great Scout and Cathouse Thursday, a reasonably fun comedic western that pairs Lee Marvin and Oliver Reed. This week it’s the stellar cast of Stanley Kramer’s Not As a Stranger, which has five Oscar winners including Frank Sinatra, Gloria Grahame and Lee Marvin and the great Robert Mitchum, and a solid though somewhat preachy noir directed by Robert Wise called The Captive City. Still left to review is a strong psychological thriller I caught on TCM last year called Return from the Ashes.
I have even more requested and hopefully on the way so maybe this relationship will continue. I’ll report and review and do it with minimal mincing of words.