Thursday, November 7, 2013

MODs gone missing?

TCM is giving us another showing of It's a Big Country this afternoon/early at 6:30 PM. When I blogged about it back in 2010, I mentioned that it was available only from the TCM Vault, by which I really should have said the Warner Archive MOD scheme. You can find the movie on Amazon, where the packaging makes it quite clear that it's part of the Warner Archive Collection. There's even a disclaimer on the page that the DVD is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media.

And yet, on today's TCM schedule page, there's no price tag icon with the "Buy DVD" label next to it. With any regular DVD, that's perfectly reasonable. Either there's a limited print run, or else a provider could sell out their stock and not have any in stock. But this shouldn't be the case with MOD. Amazon's page also only states that the DVD is "In stock"; normally if it's on out-of-print DVD, there will be an indication that there are only a couple of copies available, as with the most recent example of having blogged about a movie that's apparently out of print, Fire Over England.

Further strangeness is that the TCM database page for It's a Big Country doesn't have anything in the upper right corner stating that either the movie is available from the TCM Shop, or that there's no DVD available, but you can click to let them know you think there ought to be. Compare this to the movie I blogged about yesterday, Come Back, Little Sheba. So I have no idea what's going on.

And then I got a brilliant idea: use the TCM search pages! When I have it search the TCM Database for It's a Big Country, I get the link I posted above. But the results page has a column for the matches, and a smaller column on the right for buying the DVD. As you can see, there's also a "From the Shop" column on the right, which indicates "No titles available". Which is where the really brilliant idea came. I used the search box at the top to search directly from the TCM Shop. Since there are a number of commonly-used words in my search and I didn't search for the words as they are put together, I got a whole bunch of matches. The very first of these matches is... It's a Big Country. Surprise surprise.

I think the upshot of all this is that if you're looking for a movie that wouldn't have been released by the Warner Archive (in other words, it's not from MGM, WB, or RKO), the lack of a link to purchase is probably accurate, and if there was a DVD, it would be out of print. But not with Warner Archive stuff. Note, of course, that not everything produced by MGM, WB, and RKO has made it to the Warner Archive.

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