The Way to Present the Classics

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Specialising in the restoration and presentation of classic films from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Now entering its tenth year, Laureate have become Europe’s foremost company in the production of DVD extras, Moving Menus and supportive documentaries. Each film undertaken by Laureate is worthy of the term Special Edition featuring a set of carefully researched additional features typically found only on DVDs associated with contemporary blockbusters.

Laureate’s founder and CEO, Ken Barnes has exactly the right background to produce DVD presentations of this nature. Producer-director (documentaries-commercials) scriptwriter (radio-TV), record producer (5 Silver Discs, 2 Gold Discs), author (3 published books), broadcaster and film historian, he has the distinction of having worked with some of the greatest artists of our time. See Ken's biog here.

Ken Barnes with Peter Sellers in a contemplative mood during the recording of “The Revenge of the Pink Panther” soundtrack album (1978)

The popular cinema, particularly the Hollywood product, has been a lifelong passion for Ken Barnes and his knowledge of movies from the 1930s to the present is encyclopaedic. For some years he has been concerned about the number of classic films that have either deteriorated or vanished due to neglect, poor storage or lapsed copyrights. As a private collector and archivist, Barnes appreciates better than most the problems involved in restoring perishable 35 mm films of 50 or more years ago.

It was with the advent of the DVD in the late 1990s that Barnes saw at last some real hope of saving these culturally significant films from needless degeneration and making them available to the thousands of film enthusiasts for whom such treasures could otherwise be lost forever.

Many major film companies are now realising the importance of classic movies in the DVD market where the demand not just for the films themselves but for the stories behind them is increasing year by year.

In forming Laureate Presentations in the summer of 2000, using all his knowledge of film history, restoration and international contacts, Ken Barnes is fulfilling a strong industry requirement - The Special Edition DVD. That Laureate has succeeded is now clearly proven by the number of outstanding DVDs that Barnes has produced – and is producing – for various distinguished clients both here and in the USA.

Ken Barnes sharing a joke with Fred Astaire
during a London recording session.


A partial list of which includes the following:-

  • THE BOUNTY (1984) Starring Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins.

  • Stephen King’s THE DEAD ZONE (1983) starring Christopher Walken and Martin Sheen.

  • Otto Preminger’s THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (1955) starring Frank Sinatra. This was produced in association with Sinatra Enterprises and contains exclusive interview footage of Sinatra describing his preparation for the role. Plus a specially produced documentary Music On Film – the film’s composer Elmer Bernstein in conversation with Ken Barnes.

  • Frank Capra’s 1941 masterpiece MEET JOHN DOE starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. Lovingly restored from a freshly discovered European 35 mm print and with an audio commentary by Ken Barnes that includes an exclusive interview with Capra himself. Plus three specially produced documentaries on Cooper, Stanwyck and Capra.

  • HOLIDAY INN (1942). This perennial seasonal classic starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire is given a glowing DVD treatment that includes two specially produced documentaries and an audio commentary by Ken Barnes that includes exclusive audio comments from Crosby and Astaire.

But perhaps the DVD that most exemplifies Laureate’s enviable reputation is Universal’s de-luxe 2 disc Special Edition of Orson Welles’ CITIZEN KANE (1941). This classic of classics has never looked or sounded better than in this remarkable presentation that comes replete with a detailed documentary “Anatomy of a Classic” hosted by Barry Norman and an audio commentary by Ken Barnes plus other extras of exceptional quality.

And this is only a portion of Laureate’s work. Other DVDs are currently in production. And more releases are on the way.


An expansive library of stills and posters. Private access to hundreds of theatrical trailers and vintage shorts. The Laureate database, privately compiled over five years, containing over 14,000 entries covering every aspect of popular cinema.
All of this is at the disposal of our clients along with meticulously detailed production estimates to suit every budget large or small.

Ken Barnes clowning with Bing Crosby in a London recording session (1975).
The first of six albums that the two made together.

All text & Pictures © Laureate Company. Design © Karen Edwards 2002/2009