Monday, September 18, 2017

Briefs for September 18-19, 2017

Tonight's lineup on TCM is listed as being the 90th anniversary of what used to be Grauman's Chinese Theater, but is now apparently calle the TCL Chinese Theater. I couldn't figure out what movies like Sullivan's Travels were doing tin the salute, but it turns out that there are only three movies in the spotlight, all of which are from the early days of the theater: the first movie to premiere; the first sound movie; and the first Best Picture Oscar winner. That at least makes more sense.

Somebody over on the TCM Message boards posted this Newsweek article decrying how popular streaming services have so few old movies. I'm not certain exactly where I fall on the issue, other than to say I can't help but think that the constant lengthening of copyrights doesn't help. There was a time not too long ago that copyrights were a 28-year term, renewable for another 47. I'd have to look it up again to see if there were two extensions, but definitely by the time the first Mickey Mouse short Steamboat Willie was nearing 75, there was another push on to lengthen copyrights. Under the old scheme, we'd be getting movies from 1942 entering the public domain this year.

What does Criterion do with some of the movies to which they hold the rights? I was going to watch Look Back in Anger off my DVR just to free up some space, since I didn't think it's in print on DVD. I was mildly surprised just before the opening titles to see the Criterion logo. Having seen recently that the Soviet movie Wings was put on DVD by Criterion, I decided to look on the Criterion site for Look Back in Anger and found... nothing. So do they no longer have the rights to the movie, or just no plans to put it on DVD? To be honest, though, I had to bail on the movie halfway through, in part because I started watching too late in the evening, and in part because I found Richard Burton's character such a jerk that I couldn't get into the picture.

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