kitparkerfilms

Posts Tagged ‘DVDs

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The first time I saw ONE MILLION B.C. (1940) was in the late 1950s on KSBW-TV in Salinas, California.  Thought it was pretty cool, even though the station always was kind of fuzzy.  (The VCI DVD and Blu-ray are exceptionally sharp)  There was never any doubt the “dinosaurs” were anything other than lizards, but that made no difference to me, nor to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who bestowed an Oscar for its special effects.  Clips of the “dinosaurs” were later used in over a dozen low-rent feature films, including two of mine, “Untamed Women” (1951) and “King Dinosaur” (1955).

The one shot that did stun me was watching the mother of a child being entombed by flowing lava.  60 years later it still kind of gives me the creeps.  I enjoyed the movie enough to buy both Castle Films one-reel silent abridgements, “1 Million B.C.” and “Battle of the Giants.”

Author, Richard Bann, who personally knew Hal Roach for many years, was nice enough to contribute some facts.  Thanks, Dick!

“Who wrote ONE MILLION B.C.? Hal E. Roach did. At one point he was going to (but elected not to) take credit for the original story as “Eugene Roche,” a pseudonym he sometimes (but rarely) used, Eugene being his middle name. Having known him so well, I can state that this direct, blunt, raw movie absolutely reflects his world view, his values, his way of thinking. Yet others received credit for the “original screenplay.” One, Mickell Novak, was his secretary, who I met once. She confirmed that Hal wrote the picture, and others who “helped” in some fashion were given screen credit to pad the production staff. When Hal first entered movies, he was a friend of and hired her mother, Jane Novak, who made Westerns with William S. Hart. And Mickell Novak’s aunt was another silent film actress of note, Eva Novak. And much has been written about the contributions of D.W. Griffith to ONE MILLION B.C. in various capacities. With respect to the story, Griffith wrote several treatments and offered a 76-page screenplay. All were rejected. By 1940, movies made in the teens seemed as antiquated as the setting for ONE MILLION B.C., and unfortunately Griffith had not changed with the times.”

Order ONE MILLION B.C. on DVD or Blu-ray from The Sprocket Vault –

DVD – http://thesprocketvault.com/product/one-million-b-c/

Blu-ray – http://thesprocketvault.com/product/one-million-b-c-blu-ray/

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Option 1:  Use Scotch tape, scratch remover and melt with a blow torch.

Option 2:  Contact us and we’ll send a speedy replacement.

A customer tried Option 1 and sent us the following unedited message:

 

burning dvd

“hi, could you please refund me on the dvd disc. I played this dvd disc on my dvd player, and it did NOT work. I took it out and found huge scratches and huge cracks in the disc. I repaired the huge scratches with scratch remover, and I repaired the huge cr acks with scotch tape. I then put it back in the dvd player to see if it would play better, but it would NOT play better AT ALL. the lasers inside the dvd player would NOT even recognize the dvd disc AT ALL. it was too IMPOSSIBLE to even be recognizable AT ALL. my other dvd discs work perfectly normal and great on my dvd player, and my dvd player still works perfectly normal and great as well. it’s just that the dvd disc would NOT even play well AT ALL. my other ones did. I just about tried everything I could even do to repair this dvd disc, but NONE of the ideas worked AT ALL. it was just too IMPOSSIBLE to even be recognizable, and there was absolutely NOTHING else I could even do about it AT ALL. I tried to send the dvd disc back to you, but when I was down in my basement welding something together, I had it with me, and when it fell out of my pocket, i accidentally melted the whole entire item with a blow torch. the whole entire item completely melted down into tiny little specs, and there is absolutely NOTHING left of this item WHATSOEVER. i have absolutely NO replacement for this item WHATSOEVER. so please refund me. i need my money back. thank you.”

Of course, we promptly returned his money along with an apology for his inconvenience.

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Keep up to date with our new Sprocket Vault DVD releases by liking us on Facebook

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http://bit.ly/2rwgrqs

  

black pirates poster

Who needs a real pirate ship?!

What’s more fun to watch than a B-movie produced by Robert L. Lippert?  A double-feature produced by TWO Robert L. Lippert’s (Sr. and Jr.), both featuring B-movie stalwart Robert Clarke, one filmed in AnscoColor with Lon Chaney, Jr. as a priest, and with a script  by Star Trek producer Fred Freiberger.  Oh, and a rowboat for a “ship”!   With a lineup like that, who needs Douglas Fairbanks, Errol Flynn, or even a real pirate ship?

I’d about given up hope of finding color film elements on “The Black Pirates” (Lippert/1954) until a few years ago when my friend, producer Sam Sherman, revealed he had been storing the original negative for decades under the Spanish release title, “El Pirata Negro.”  It came into Sam’s possession this way:  In the mid 1940s, Robert L. Lippert and William Pizor formed Screen Guild Productions, which later became Lippert Pictures.  Pizor was in charge of international sales.  (Pizor founded two low budget studios)

In 1954, Lippert acquired distribution rights for seven years to “The Black Pirates,” which was co-produced by Robert L. Lippert, Jr. and Mexican producer, Ollalo Rubio, under the banner of Salvador Films Corp.  For some unknown reason “The Black Pirates” negative ended up in Pizor’s film vault.

Pizor’s son, Irwin, also a producer, took over the vault after the elder Pizor died in 1959, and Sam Sherman maintains it to this day.

Sam gave me the negative. Thank you, Sam!

But, there were problems:  the AnscoColor negative had excellent color, but it had odd looking streaks in some of the reels.  Poor lab work?  (It was done in Mexico)  Improperly stored?  For sure.  Lippert Jr. told me the negative had been stored under hot and humid conditions in El Salvador where the film was mostly shot.  Since I don’t like releasing movies with blemishes, the DVD release was tabled until hopefully a good print or some other usable element could be found.

Then, in 2016, another old friend, Wade Williams, gave me an original 35mm color print, and it had those same blemishes!  Conclusion:  The movie must have been shown in theatres with the same imperfections I’d rejected for a DVD release.   Tiffany Clayton* has done the digital restoration work on the majority of my movies and she tasked with fixing this one, and the resulting image is probably better than when it looked in theatres.

black pirates trailer

One other thing, only the Spanish main and end titles survived, so we used them.  No big deal.

The difficulties I had in locating good film materials is nothing to what Lippert, Jr. endured while producing the movie.  He told me the movie was “shit.”  The experience, yes, the movie – not nearly so bad.   Find out exactly what he had to say about making the movie in a reenacted interview as part of the DVD special features.

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SWASHBUCKLER DOUBLE-FEATURE from The Sprocket Vault

“The Black Pirates” (1954)

Cast: Anthony Dexter, Robert Clarke, Martha Roth, Lon Chaney, Jr., Toni Gerry, Víctor Manuel Mendoza

Location filming in El Salvador highlights this hot blooded tale of pirates landing in a Latin American town in search of buried treasure, and learning that a church was built over the spot. A pirate chief enslaves the townspeople and forces them to dig for it–but more twists lie ahead.  Script by Star Trek producer Fred Freiberger.

74 min | Color | 1.87:1/widescreen | NR

“Tales of Robin Hood” (1952)

Cast: Robert Clarke, Mary Hatcher, Paul Cavanagh, Wade Crosby, Whit Bissell, Ben Welden, Robert Bice

In 12th-century Nottinghamshire, ruthless tax collectors oppress the simple folk. Meanwhile, deep in the shadows of Sherwood Forest, a new hero is born: Robin Hood a sharp-witted swashbuckler joined by his Merry Men steals from the rich and gives to the poor–AND, on his own, romances the lovely Maid Marian.  Some scenes were filmed on the set of “Joan of Arc” (1950). Originally produced as a TV pilot, but released theatrically.

1952 | 60 min | B&W | 1.37:1 |NR

Bonus Features:

Interviews with Robert L. Lippert, Jr. and Robert Clarke by Tom Weaver (reenactments)

Original trailer to “The Black Pirates”

 Order DVD on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZZFBT15

Keep up to date with our new Sprocket Vault releases by liking us on Facebook www.facebook.com/sprocketvault/

Visit our site regularly and sign up for our email list.

www.sprocketvault.com

Also, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel:

http://bit.ly/2rwgrqs

 

*You can find more restoration work by Tiffany Clayton on her LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tiffanyclayton/

 

 

Retire?

No way…I’m still finding too many interesting movies to release on DVD/Blu-ray.

Hard to believe Kit Parker Films just celebrated its 45th year in the distribution of classic motion pictures! Back in 1971 the 16mm non-theatrical industry was thriving, but it was largely owned by corporations which were passionate about money, but dispassionate about films, and the quality of the film prints showed it. I saw a niche to be filled — renting out quality prints at affordable prices, and Kit Parker Films was born.

The 16mm library expanded throughout the years until home video made inroads into the industry — the quality of VHS was marginal at best, but the price was right. By the 90s I branched out into the 35mm theatrical arena, eventually becoming the go-to source for classics in the 35mm film format.

In the late 1990s I realized the days of projecting celluloid were going to be replaced by DVDs, so slowly phased out the “old” KPF, and in 2001 began purchasing the copyrights to vintage films. Over the next 15 years my collection grew to include hundreds of feature films, television programs, serials and shorts.   Many of my acquisitions required a great degree of patience and detective work to clear rights and locate suitable elements, but those efforts unearthed many films that had seen little or no exposure for decades.

Launching my library on DVD was a success, but like other producers, my profit was far too diluted by wholesalers, and their related “expenses” that I had to pay for, but that was the traditional method media (starting with books) made its way to stores and customers for over 100 years.

Amazon has been amazing for people like me who don’t like to go to stores. By 2015 they were by far the #1 seller for my DVDs.  Over time I noticed that some items I’d buy would say “Sold by ‘Acme Company’” and “Fulfilled By Amazon.” Amazon is making 90% of my DVD sales…I had a lightbulb moment! I can’t say why it took so long for me to figure out I could sell exclusively through Amazon, pay their fulfillment fee and continue to grow my business.

This means I can continue to augment my release schedule and continue to take a chance on projects that may not even recoup their costs. How many people are going to buy a silent serial, or an obscure cult film?  In this business you never know, but I’ve built my career on taking new risks.

So, I did it, and my new company, The Sprocket Vault, was born. Although TSV was created originally to sell my own DVD/Blu-rays, other producers have started approaching me to sell theirs…so my company is growing, and that means lots of new releases of interest for you.

 

I WANT YOU!

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TO LIKE TSV ON FACEBOOK

 

Keep up to date with our new Sprocket Vault releases by liking us on Facebook www.facebook.com/sprocketvault/

Visit our site regularly and sign up for our email list.

www.sprocketvault.com

Also, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLHjjG-o5Ny5BDykgVBzdrQ .

Sins

The following movies were eventually released on good quality DVD’s:

 

APACHE RIFLES (Admiral-Fox/1964)

Picture and sound track were a jumbled mess. Technician at VCI eventually matched everything up.  (I still owe someone a steak dinner!)

 

THE COWBOY (Lippert/1954)

35mm color negative ruined by mold. Used 16mm color “EK” (print from the original color negative) for the DVD.  Black and white duplicate negative and color “separation negatives” survive.  BTW, I had a blast producing the commentary track with the authentic old cowboys who were the stars of the film.

 

THE GLASS TOMB (Hammer-Lippert/1955)

Original 35mm material missing. Used 35mm release print borrowed from the British Film Archive

 

THE GREAT JESSE JAMES RAID (Lippert/1954)

35mm color material missing. Used a 16mm color “EK.” 35mm black and white negative survives.

 

LIKE IT IS (Psychedelic Fever) (Lima/1968)

Missing sound track. Used audio from a bootleg VHS bought on eBay.  Sometimes pirates serve a useful purpose!

 

MAN BEAST (API/1956)

Master 35mm material was cut for release in the UK and the excised scenes scrapped. Used missing footage found in a 35mm US release print.  Scenes that were deleted prior to its US theatrical release were found in a Spanish dubbed print and are included as a Special Feature on the DVD.

 

MASSACRE (Lippert-Fox/1956)

Color camera negative survived – without titles. Used titles off a like-new 1956 16mm color print I bought from a collector on eBay.  Not the first time a film collector has saved the day.

 

MONSTER FROM THE OCEAN FLOOR (Palo Alto-Lippert/1954)

35mm sound track decomposed. Used track from 16mm Armed Forces negative, which was longer than the theatrical release version. Extra scenes are part of the DVD special features.

 

MR. DISTRICT ATTORNEY (Republic/1941)

Nitrate picture and track negative decomposed. Used a “fine grain” master print borrowed from the British Film Institute

 

OUTLAW WOMEN (Howco/1952)

Original 35mm Cinecolor material decomposed. Used mint 35mm Cinecolor print

 

SEA DEVILS (Coronado-RKO/1953)

Combined 3-strip Technicolor negatives located at Technicolour in London and restored by Canal+, owner of Eastern Hemisphere distribution rights.

 

SHOTGUN (Champion-Allied Artists/1955)

Badly faded camera negative was all that survived. VCI technician was able to bring the color back to life in a tedious process of correcting the color scene by scene. (Another steak dinner, this one due Doug at Film and Video Transfers)

 

SINS OF JEZEBEL (Lippert/1954)

Original 35mm color negative missing. Used mint 35mm AnscoColor print labeled “Roadshow Version”.  Could find no difference between the Roadshow and Regular release; not surprising given its penurious producer, Robert L. Lippert.   Note:  Fortunately AnscoColor, unlike widely used Eastman Color, does not tend to fade.

 

STRANGER ON HORSEBACK (Goldstein-UA/1955)

No color film elements known to exist. Used 35mm AnscoColor release print borrowed from the British Film Institute.  16mm black and white negative survives.

 

THUNDER IN CAROLINA (Howco/1962)

As with “Apache Rifles,” picture and sound track were a jumbled mess. Technician at VCI eventually matched everything up.  (Guess I owe three steak dinners.)

To order on DVD, visit our site –

www.sprocketvault.com

Keep up to date with our new Sprocket Vault releases by liking us on Facebook www.facebook.com/sprocketvault/

Also, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLHjjG-o5Ny5BDykgVBzdrQ .

 

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There are movies which Kit Parker Films owns rights but cannot find suitable elements.  Maybe you can help!

 

“God’s Country” (Lippert/1946)

Original Cinecolor nitrate negative decomposed in the 1960s. 35mm and 16mm black and white duplicate negative and sound track survive.

 

“Highway 13” (Lippert/1948)

Not really missing, but we had to use the 16mm negative which was less than optimal.  I was told not to bother because the whole movie took less than 3 days to produce but, hey, it’s a mini-masterpiece!

 

“Rawhide Trail” (Terry and Lyon-Allied Artists/1958)

Nothing at all. The Allied Artists library was split between Warner Bros. and Paramount years ago, but this independent production was not among them.

 

“Mr. District Attorney in the Carter Case” (Republic/1941)

Nitrate negative decomposed. Not released to television so no duplicate negatives produced.

 

“The Incredible Face of Dr. B”

and “House of Frights”

Mexican films from 1963 that were also released in English language versions. Although the Spanish negatives survive, the English versions apparently do not.

 

“Let’s Live Again” (Seltzer-Fox/1948)

Only a mediocre 16mm negative and print survive.

 

Visit our site to purchase our DVDs.

www.sprocketvault.com

Keep up to date with our new Sprocket Vault releases by liking us on Facebook www.facebook.com/sprocketvault/

Also, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLHjjG-o5Ny5BDykgVBzdrQ .

 

 

 

 

decomposed

 

You see it every day on television. Scratches, splices, specs, and hairs added by computer to reenacted scenes in order to make them appear “old.”    They do it to vintage film, and pre-HD video tape as well.  I watched a story about NASA on network TV that used video tape from the “ancient” 1980s, and they even “antiqued” it.

I’ve spent over 40 years trying to take away scratches. Whatever happened to adding “archive footage” in small letters at the bottom of the screen instead of defacing the image?

Enough grousing. In my business it is a constant chore finding suitable film material to make our DVD’s look good.

Here is a brief primer on what we look for in film materials to make our DVD’s look good.

The basic principal of film is positives are made from negatives, and negatives from positives.

1st choice for producing digital masters –

35mm Camera Negative (“EK”) – The film that actually went through the camera.  Best and sharpest element to work with.

2nd choice –

35mm Fine Grain: A positive copy made from the camera negative. Grain and contrast are kept low because each successive generation (the duplicate negative and subsequent prints as described below) add both grain and contrast.

3rd choice –

35mm Duplicate Negative:  A “dupe negative” is the source of manufacturing release prints.

4th choice –

35mm Print:  A release print as shown in theatres.

5th choice –

16mm Duplicate Negative:  Before digital, this element was used to manufacture prints for television stations, and non-theatrical exhibitors such as colleges and libraries.

6th and last choice –

16mm print. Although on rare occasions I’ve found 16mm prints struck off the 35mm camera negative, or dupe negative, normally 16mm prints are at least 4 generations from the camera negative, with expected result…loss of clarity. I use 16mm material only after we’ve searched the world for good 35mm elements.

There are many thousands of cans of films in my collection going back to 1923 stored at the UCLA Film and Television Archive and the Academy Film Archive (part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences). Both institutions offer state of the art facilities with carefully monitored cold temperature and low humidity vaults.  Both institutions are dedicated to preserving our motion picture heritage, and are a pleasure to work with.

Once the best film material is selected, it is retrieved from the vault and let stand for a day or two to be brought up to room temperature. Then it is sent to the lab for digitization.  The subsequent digital master is sent to VCI Entertainment where imperfections are minimized as best as possible using special computer programs…or sometimes frame by frame (by a very patient technician.)  If the final output is to be a DVD, special features (the fun part) and menus are added.

BTW, while distributing the Warner Bros. classics library on film, I discovered some prints of Clint Eastwood movies struck from the original camera negatives. Clint came to my office to discuss using some of my footage for his documentary about Carmel, California, “Don’t Pave Main Street,” and during our conversation (he made it clear he was not interested in reminiscing about his work before “Rawhide”!), and I mentioned the EK’s, which were subsequently turned over to him.

(Photo of actual decomposed film courtesy NFSA)

 

To order on DVDs, visit our site –

www.sprocketvault.com

Keep up to date with our new Sprocket Vault releases by liking us on Facebook www.facebook.com/sprocketvault/

Also, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLHjjG-o5Ny5BDykgVBzdrQ .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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