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The best public domain films! (And the best versions of them)

The best public domain films! (And the best versions of them)

 
Old 06-19-03, 01:40 PM
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The best public domain films! (And the best versions of them)

Thanks to the wonderful people in DVD Bargains I picked up Stanley Baker's and Michael Caine's Zulu the other day.

The print was magnificent: as if the film had been photographed a couple of days ago (Mind you, I didn't know the that the british had to combat Zulus, but a lot of edge enhancement too...)


Zulu is a public domain film. This, coupled with the recent Night Of The Living Dead thread, made me think we should have a good-films-in-Public-Domain thread, and the versions we should get.

I'll get the ball rolling. The following are for Region One.


Charade (1963)
Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn: Stanley Donen, Director
Best Version: Criterion Collection (OOP). The CC is non-anamorphic, but if you want an anamorphic, albeit lesser image, pick up Universal's The Truth About Charlie - Charade is on DIsc 2.

Night Of The Living Dead (1968)
No-one famous whatsoever: George A. Romero, Director
Best Version: Elite Millenium Edition. This is rumored to be going out of print, but there are still many copies to be found on shelves and online.

Zulu (1964)
Stanley Baker, Michael Caine: Cy Enfield, Director
Best Version: MGM. Mind you, old boy, there's a Region Two in Britain that's chock-full of tidbits.

Anything else for me to add?
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Old 06-19-03, 03:04 PM
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Aren't some of the British Hitchcock films in the public domain? Also, Metropolis, I think, is PD...
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Old 06-19-03, 03:32 PM
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Is Zulu anamorphic? And how does it compare to the old Criterion Laserdisc?
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Old 06-19-03, 03:34 PM
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Originally posted by cupcake jesus
Aren't some of the British Hitchcock films in the public domain? Also, Metropolis, I think, is PD...
All of Hitch's British films are in public domain, I think; Most released by Laserline.

Metropolis however, is still under copyright. The confusion about Metropolis arose when Madacy released their version which in fact is a bootleg.
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Old 06-19-03, 03:52 PM
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We should probably get this out of the way right now... some of the titles that people are going to list have a status that can be debated.

Zulu, the British Hitchcocks, Metropolis, and others are widely considered to be public domain... yet, may possibly not be.

I think (at least for the purposes of this thread), we should consider "public domain" to be a generic term meaning that several budget labels have released it. That way we don't get bogged down into debates about legal status, bootlegs, etc.
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Old 06-19-03, 04:01 PM
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Forgive my ignorance, buy how do films/tv shows go into public domain? I heard that some of the Andy Griffith Shows are public domain, but only a few. Why would some be and some not if they are owned by the same studio and produced at about the same time? Is it a matter of when the writer dies or some such? I thought that all copyrights lasted 50 years. Please enlighten me.
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Old 06-19-03, 04:05 PM
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One title on my list to get which, I think, is in the public domain is "And Then There Were None". I know there are at least a couple of versions of this on DVD (one is Madacy I think for around $6.99). Any info from the members on this one would be good.
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Old 06-19-03, 04:10 PM
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Originally posted by merr14
One title on my list to get which, I think, is in the public domain is "And Then There Were None". I know there are at least a couple of versions of this on DVD (one is Madacy I think for around $6.99). Any info from the members on this one would be good.
VCI has a very good version of this:

http://www.dvdempire.com/Exec/v4_item.asp?item_id=5770
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Old 06-19-03, 04:13 PM
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Originally posted by Upper pylon 3
Forgive my ignorance, buy how do films/tv shows go into public domain? I heard that some of the Andy Griffith Shows are public domain, but only a few. Why would some be and some not if they are owned by the same studio and produced at about the same time? Is it a matter of when the writer dies or some such? I thought that all copyrights lasted 50 years. Please enlighten me.
Some works enter the public domain because of improper registering of copyright... but more detailed information is here:

http://www.copyright.gov/pr/pdomain.html
http://www.unc.edu/~unclng/public-d.htm



And another link of interest: http://www.loc.gov/copyright/circs/circ22.html

Last edited by bboisvert; 06-19-03 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 06-19-03, 04:31 PM
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his girl friday - best version is the columbia version - avoid all others.
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Old 06-19-03, 04:43 PM
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Originally posted by merr14
One title on my list to get which, I think, is in the public domain is "And Then There Were None". I know there are at least a couple of versions of this on DVD (one is Madacy I think for around $6.99). Any info from the members on this one would be good.
just bought it a few weeks ago.

Good, not CC great, but good for the $.
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Old 06-19-03, 04:44 PM
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ones to say away from are some of the triple Corman films...holy cow. Bought the Haunted Cave/Wasp Woman one...and it's barley watchable.
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Old 06-19-03, 05:02 PM
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Nothing Sacred (Wellman/1937)
Classic screwball comedy with Carole Lombard and Frederic March. Get the Slingshot/E-Realbiz/Lumivision version. It has been officially discontinued, but I bought a new copy from Amazon.com last week for $13.49.

Avoid the Alpha Video release.


The Southerner (Renoir/1945)
Arguably, Jean Renoir's greatest American film, starring Zachary Scott and Betty Field.
There's a very decent release from VCI, which is available for $5.40 from Deep Discount.com (which may be one of the deals of the century). This is one of only two Renoir films which are available on DVD in Region 1 (the other is Criterion's great Grand Illusion).

Last edited by FilmFanSea; 06-19-03 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 06-19-03, 08:41 PM
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Not sure if they're PD, but I'm guessing they are from the abundance of versions I've seen. The "House on Haunted Hill/Last Man on Earth" double feature disc from Diamond. The first version had House in WS and Last Man in P&S, but there is a reissue with a widescreen print of Last Man. It's very soft and non-16x9, but it's better than a hackjob. I've only seen two copies counting mine, which I found used for $7. Best Buy might have it in their "bargain selections" section where they have all the cheapies. The main standout is a red WIDESCREEN banner on the front cover that the first issue does not have.
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Old 06-19-03, 09:17 PM
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I'm pretty sure Charade is not public domain as the Criterion is out of print.
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Old 06-19-03, 10:43 PM
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FYI Zulu R2/R4 is Packed with extras and is anamorphic
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Old 06-19-03, 11:16 PM
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I have the Last man/haunted hill vincent price set. Haunted Hill is great, but last man is pretty bad. Price is good though.
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Old 06-20-03, 02:01 AM
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Brando's excellent One Eyed Jacks is apparently in the public domain, but I have yet to hear anything but bad reports about any of the various DVDs out there, alas.
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Old 06-20-03, 02:08 AM
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Originally posted by lesterlong
I'm pretty sure Charade is not public domain as the Criterion is out of print.
Charade is public domain, but Criterion used Universal's print for the dvd which is why the disc is OOP.
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Old 06-20-03, 03:33 AM
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Originally posted by Brain Stew
All of Hitch's British films are in public domain, I think; Most released by Laserline.

Metropolis however, is still under copyright. The confusion about Metropolis arose when Madacy released their version which in fact is a bootleg.
Just like Metropolis, Hitch's British films had their US copyrights restored in the 1990s pursuant to the GATT Treaty. Many American companies persist in treating the films as public domain, anyway, as the British copyright holder presumably can't afford to or doesn't want to go after those companies.

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Old 06-20-03, 06:01 AM
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Brando's excellent One Eyed Jacks is apparently in the public domain, but I have yet to hear anything but bad reports about any of the various DVDs out there, alas.
FRE's (Front Row Entertainment) version is not bad. Wide screen image is very passable, and it contains the entire 141 minute edition.

I believe this has been discountined, but it shouldn't be too hard to track one down.
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Old 06-20-03, 12:15 PM
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Carnival of Souls seems to be public domain because there are dozens of versions. The Criterion is the best.
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Old 06-21-03, 07:33 AM
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Originally posted by Falc04
FRE's (Front Row Entertainment) version is not bad. Wide screen image is very passable, and it contains the entire 141 minute edition.

I believe this has been discountined, but it shouldn't be too hard to track one down.
Cool. I'll keep my eyes open for it.

"We ain't a-gonna do that, Bob. That ain't my style, Bob. Hand me that dipper, Bob."

Brando, you've got to love him.
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Old 06-21-03, 09:03 AM
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Originally posted by FilmFanSea
Nothing Sacred (Wellman/1937)
Classic screwball comedy with Carole Lombard and Frederic March. Get the Slingshot/E-Realbiz/Lumivision version. It has been officially discontinued, but I bought a new copy from Amazon.com last week for $13.49.
Where did you hear that it has been discontinued? I don't think it has. I have heard of this and Slingshot/E-Realbiz's "Animation Legend: Windsor McCay" going OOP several times in the last couple of years. At one point (about 6 months ago) I called them up and eventually talked to someone who knew something aobut their release schedule. She said that they have no plans on letting either of these two discs go OOP. What happens is that they do not do new pressings until they have a certain number of units ordered from distributors. So there may be a couple of months when a distributor can't get any more copies in, but they will eventually get more.

At the time I called, both DVDs were OOS at all the on-line vendors. A month later, everyone had them. If you are having trouble locating copies, I'd just wait. They are both worth getting.

"Nothing Sacred" is in stock at skinnyguy.com for $6.99 (new) not bad especially if you have some old DVDs to sell.

Avoid the Alpha Video release.

I agree!

-Videophile
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