Saturday, March 28, 2009

The WB 150

The big news in film buff circles this week was the launch of The Warner Archive, WB's press-on-demand DVD series. Designed to fill the gap for titles that have real potential buyers but so few that by their terms a conventional release isn't worth the trouble, the Archive's original offering of 150 titles is mixed bag. Among such recent outings as Yes Giorgio and the Rob Lowe Oxford Blues are some Garbo silents, films from Boetticher, Tourneur, Mann, Borzage, Coppola, Cukor and others.

I was going to point out some of the other oddities or worthy titles except that sometime over the past couple of days the website has become so difficult to navigate that it's not worth the trouble. Tabbing no longer works and neither can you open a specific film into a new window. So now it's impossible to review a group of films quickly. The site is also moving very slowly and the relentless pop-ups (which I'm having to close individually) are a headache. Originally there was also a page with all the releases together but now they're being separated into smaller groupings that I'm forced to "browse". There may still be an overview page but if I have to hunt for it then what's the point?

At $20 per disc and $15 for a download I wonder how many takers there will be. WB at first said that these aren't DVD-Rs but it turns out that in fact that's exactly what they are. WB was just trying to say these won't be burned with the equivalent of a home DVD burners but a more professional system but in the end the actual media is DVD-R. I also haven't been able to find out what format and size the downloads are - the info may be in the FAQ but it's way too long for me to poke through for something I'm not actually going to do.

The Archive is at least a step in the right direction and I can only hope other studios follow suit. But at that price and the barriers they're placing to ordering I'm just going to hope these show up on Netflix.