March 2010 sees the release
of TWO ALL TIME CLASSICS
1. The newly restored version of
THE AFRICAN QUEEN
Starring Humphrey Bogart &
Directed by John Huston
Making its DVD debut in the USA, this classic film
based on CS Forester’s novel is presented in FOUR different
(a) On DVD as a 1-disc
(b) On DVD as a 2-disc Commemorative box set with many extras
(c) On Blu-Ray a 1-disc release (Amazon.co.uk)
(d) On Blu-Ray as a 2-disc Commemorative box set with many extras (Amazon.co.uk)
For details of Paramount’s outstanding restoration
of this much-loved film:
2. A CHERISHED ALBUM FIRST TIME ON CD
An international best seller on its original vinyl
release in 1977, BING CROSBY’S last
album – produced by LAUREATE’S KEN BARNES
London in September of 1977 just one month before the singer’s untimely
death, this award-winning collection has been unavailable since 1982 due
to contractual complications. As a result, it has become the most
sought-after of all Crosby’s recordings. Now, finally, the legalities have
been ironed out with the Crosby family gaining complete ownership of the
album and releasing it as a Collector’s Choice De Luxe Edition.
This NEW release – presented by Bing Crosby
Enterprises – goes even further than the original musical package. In
addition to presenting the album’s 12 songs from its initial release –
arranged and conducted by Grammy Nominee PETE
MOORE – this new CD adds a further 13 bonus tracks. Five poetry
readings showing off Bing’s matchless dramatic sense as a subtle
interpreter of works by such famous poets as Wordsworth, Longfellow and
Kipling followed by eight great songs – recorded for a radio broadcast
just three days before his death.. Thus, this unique collection is a
complete studio chronicle of the last month of Crosby’s life. No artist –
and especially no other singer – ever had a more impressive valedictory.
been newly remixed by the album’s original producer,
Ken Barnes and remastered by the redoubtable engineer,
Peter Reynolds. The complete track
listing of this outstanding NEW release is as follows:
1. Seasons (Gilbert Becaud,
Ken Barnes )
2. On The Very First Day of the Year (Ken Barnes, Pete Moore)
3. June In January (Leo Robin, Ralph Rainger)
4. Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year (Frank Loesser)
5. April Showers (Buddy De Sylva, Louis Silvers)
6. June Is Bustin’ Out All Over (Rodgers, Hammerstein II)
7. In The Good Old Summertime (Evans, Shields. arr. Pete Moore, Ken
8. Summer Wind (Mercer, Bradtke, Meyer)
9. Autumn In New York (Vernon Duke )
10. September Song (Maxwell Anderson, Kurt Weill)
11. Sleigh Ride (Mitchell Parish, Leroy Anderson)
12. Yesterday When I Was Young (Charles Aznavour, Herbert Kretzmer)
13. Around The Corner (Anon.
Music P. Moore)
14. The Singers (Longfellow. Music. P. Moore)
15. If (Kipling – music P. Moore)
16. Lucy Gray-Solitude (Wordsworth. Music P. Moore )
17. The Slave’s Dream (Longfellow. Music. P. Moore)
The Last Session
18. Feels Good, Feels Right
(Ken and Mitzi Welsh )
19. Nevertheless (Kalmar, Ruby)
20. As Time Goes By (Herman Hupfeld)
21. The Night Is Young and You’re So Beautiful (Suisse, Kahal, Rose,
22. There’s Nothing I Haven’t Sung About (Duddy, Bresier)
23. Summer Wind (Mercer, Bradtke, Meyer)
24. The Only Way To Go (Rice, Hamlisch)
25. Once In A While (Edwards, Green)
Tracks 1- 17 Arranged & Conducted by
Tracks 18-25 Conducted by Gordon Rose
Date November 18, 2009
Place: Savannah,Georgia. U.S.A.
A life-size bronze statue of Johnny Mercer
(1909-1976) was unveiled in Savannah’s Ellis Square. The ceremony was
attended by various City and State dignitaries receiving full media
coverage – TV, press and radio, etc.
Laureate’s Ken Barnes (producer of Johnny Mercer’s London
recordings) made the keynote speech introducing Mayor Otis Johnson who
performed the unveiling of the statue along with relatives of the Mercer
family and Savannah sculptress, Susie Chisholm.
Ken Barnes makes keynote
speech in Savannah
Ken Barnes (left) Dianne
Thurman (centre) Anne Barnes (right) with statue of Johnny Mercer
Working from the original 16-track analogue tapes,
KEN BARNES supervised the new digital re-mixing and remastering of
Johnny Mercer’s classic 1974 London recordings. Now available as a
double CD from
Legendary Hollywood director and actor, CLINT
EASTWOOD acted as Executive Producer of a new feature-length
documentary on the life and times of JOHNNY MERCER which was
co-funded by the Johnny Mercer Foundation, Turner Classic Movies, Warner
Home Video and BBC’s Arena. The film features many famous artists –
FRED ASTAIRE,BING CROSBY, NAT KING COLE, JUDY GARLAND and
FRANK SINATRA etc – performing a whole gallery of Johnny Mercer hits.
Exclusive interviews were shot with such major music personalities as
TONY BENNETT, JAMIE CULLUM, DAME CLEO LAINE, SIR JOHN DANKWORTH
and MICHAEL FEINSTEIN.
First screened in the U.S. by TCM on November 4, 2009 to great acclaim,
this major documentary – written by Laureate’s KEN BARNES is now
available – in the USA - on a special 2-disc DVD on Warner Home Video.
In the last year, LAUREATE
has participated in celebrating the centenaries of two important artists
of the 20th century. Master film maker, David Lean and
master songwriter Johnny Mercer. Each in his own way is unique,
both made an indelible impression in their respective fields and both were
recipients of Academy Awards for their individual contributions to the
world of film.
DAVID LEAN (1908-1991)
LAUREATE is pleased to
announce their own choice for the DVD Box Set of 2009 -
THE DAVID LEAN CENTENARY COLLECTION – 10 fully restored classic films
tracing the history and progress of Lean’s celebrated “English” period –
which many say represents his best work. Be that as it may, each of the
films in this important collection are certainly the equal – in terms of
artistry – to such later blockbusters as “The Bridge on The River Kwai”
and “Lawrence of Arabia.”
This set offers an improvement
over the previous 9-film box set of Lean’s work in that it includes his
very first directorial effort “In Which We Serve” and, therefore, offers
the complete canon of Lean’s classic black-and-white period. The new
digital restorations have been funded by the David Lean Foundation and
cannot be recommended too highly.
JOHNNY MERCER (1909 – 1976)
LAUREATE’S KEN BARNES – who
knew and worked with Johnny Mercer – has been busy researching and writing
the script for a film documentary on Mercer’s life. Ken and his wife, Anne
are preparing to visit Savannah, Georgia (Mercer’s birthplace) in November
for the official Centennial celebrations and the unveiling of a life-sized
statue of the celebrated songwriter-singer. Other plans include a new 2-CD
set comprising the complete London recordings of Johnny Mercer –
originally produced by Barnes in 1974 – and the publication of an
elaborate coffee table book “The Complete Lyrics of Johnny Mercer” by
musicologist, Robert Kimball.
These and other details will
appear in the next Laureate News Update.
DEFINITION MEDIA PROSPECTS
High Definition television (HDTV) is rapidly
completing its transformation from a high-end luxury technology enjoyed
primarily by affluent early adoptors, to a mainstream product dominating
the shelves of high street retailers. Industry estimates of HDTV household
penetration surpassed 50 per cent last year – with sales of high
definition sets expected to triple in just the next few years. Put simply,
HDTV’s roots have taken hold and the reasons for that are many – including
regulatory influences that are pushing consumers towards DTV purchases
along with decreasing retail prices, expanding HD programming options and
a greater consumer emphasis on picture and sound quality.
Despite the global recession, there has been a noticeable international
upsurge in the home entertainment market as evidenced by continuing
success of movies, concerts and TV shows delivered via up-converted DVDs
or the full high definition (1080p) Blu-Ray disc.
Following a hesitant start three years ago, Blu-Ray has weathered the
expected format war and emerged victorious and, in the last 12 months, has
made a profound impact on world markets. 2008 was indeed the year of
Blue-Ray. And the good thing about investing in a Blu-Ray player is that
it will not only handle all of your existing DVDs, it will actually
up-grade their picture quality. Thus, it is not necessary in every case to
re-invest in HD versions of your favourite classic movies.
The only setback is that the Blu-Ray player tends to remain faithful to a
film’s original aspect ratio. This means that a classic 4.3 film will
appear with black bars at the sides of a wide screen TV. This can be
off-putting to viewers who like to be able to switch aspects on all films
– be they old or new – to fill the major part of the frame.
Since widescreen 16.9 TVs are now the common standard, the easy solution
to this problem would be for the home video companies to master 4.3 films
as anamorphic releases which would fill the frame without distortion.
CLASSICS ON THE WAY
Since this website has always catered for the
classic film buff, it’s a pleasure to announce that 2009 will see 50th
Anniversary Blu-Ray editions of Hitchcock’s “North By Northwest” and
William Wyler’s “Ben-Hur” both of which were originally released in 1959.
There will also be 70th Anniversary Blu-Ray Editions of “Wizard of Oz” and
“Gone With The Wind.”
Already available on Blu-Ray are classics such as “The Adventures of Robin
Hood”(1938), “An American In Paris” (1951), “Gigi” (1958) “The French
Connection”(1971) and “The Godfather Trilogy” (1972 –’74 and ’90 )
And more to come.
THE JOHNNY MERCER CENTENNIAL
marks the hundredth anniversary of the birth of classic songwriter, JOHNNY
MERCER. To commemorate this event, a special two-hour film documentary is
currently in production for international showing later this year.
This is a joint project involving the Johnny Mercer Foundation, Turner
Classic Movies, Warner Home Video and the BBC. The Executive Producer is
CLINT EASTWOOD, producer/director is BRUCE RICKER and the writer is
Laureate’s KEN BARNES .
The film, which covers Mercer’s career and his many successes in Tin Pan
Alley, Broadway and Hollywood will feature clips from film and TV with
such stars as BING CROSBY, FRANK SINATRA, JUDY GARLAND, NAT KING COLE,
DINAH SHORE and many others. It will have the full support of the Mercer
family and will include interviews with such luminaries as TONY BENNETT,
ANDRE PREVIN, DAME CLEO LAINE, SIR JOHN DANKWORTH, DAME JUDI DENCH, MEL
BROOKS, MICHAEL FEINSTEIN, DOCTOR JOHN, JAMIE CULLUM, HARRY CONNICK,JR,
Film composer JOHN WILLIAMS and CLINT EASTWOOD.
Its first showing will be in the autumn on American Masters PBS and later
on TCM and the BBC. The DVD will be marketed by Warner Home Video.
HOO-RAY FOR BLU-RAY
(but where are the classics?)
Now that the high definition format war is over –
that Sony’s Blu-ray has emerged the winner and Toshiba’s HD-DVD has gone
the way of the dodo – movie buffs are currently being inundated with a
veritable deluge of titles in the Blu-ray format. The great majority of
the films currently on release are new, or at least recent, titles. To the
film companies, of course, this makes perfect sense. Their new films –
flops and hits alike – represent massive investments that must be recouped
as soon as possible. Also the one thing they have in common is they are
all produced under the latest state-of-the-art technical conditions and
are perfectly compatible with Blu-ray’s high definition delivery. This may
be good news for the Harry Potter – X Men generation, but what about the
collectors of classic films?
When can we expect to see the timeless classics on Blu-ray ? Well, they
are coming. For lovers of musicals, Warners are releasing newly mastered
two-disc special editions of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS and GIGI
on both DVD and Blu-ray. Also planned for this year is the first feature
film shot in Cinerama HOW THE WEST WAS WON in a specially restored
version that has removed the infamous “join lines” that marred previous
VHS and laserdisc releases. It also boasts a host of extras and comes in a
Digi-book form (meaning a 32 page book). Another classic from Warners
before the end of 2008 will be the Blu-ray release of the 1938 definitive
Errol Flynn swashbuckler THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, 2009 will see 50th Anniversary
Editions (in Blu-ray) of William Wyler’s BEN-HUR and Alfred
Hitchcock’s NORTH BY NORTHWEST.
The future of Blu-ray looks very promising especially since Warners have
promised that, in time, they will be releasing everything in Blu-ray. But,
as with everything, there is a downside. Some companies in their eagerness
to show off the visual perfection of the high definition process have
“overcooked “some of the mastering by eliminating the grain from certain
classics on Blu-ray. This is a gross mistake because the grain is what
distinguishes a classic film from the pristine and characterless digital
photography that we’re getting today. This indeed is one of the reasons
why Steven Spielberg chose to shoot the latest Indiana Jones movie as a
film that would retain the look of the previous three pictures from the
1980s. It’s important that classic films should benefit from high
definition without jeopardizing or altering the work of the great
Should grain be removed? In some cases, possibly, but not entirely and
only with the utmost care and attention. With all the DNR technology
that’s around, it’s relatively easy to “clean up” the film so that there
is no trace of grain left. But this leaves us with an image that looks
like a video game. Faces are waxy, clothing looks different, dirt on walls
and windows is missing, background details are changed and high frequency
information is missing and all because some techno-boffin doesn’t like to
see grain. All the excellent work done by skilled cinematographers and
talented directors is ruined. The solution is to stop this rot before it
goes any further. This is not to say that ALL Blu-ray releases are
subject to this kind of idiotic “cleaning up”, Happily there are
enough film experts, buffs and serious collectors, already making their
case to the major film companies and their words are being heeded by the
more responsible executives so hopefully this will keep things on an even
Laureate members may rest assured that this column will point out –
whenever possible – which Blu-ray discs to avoid. At the moment, we would
suggest avoiding the Blu-ray versions of PATTON, GANGS OF NEW YORK
and COLD MOUNTAIN.
Discs that can be bought with confidence are THE SAND PEBBLES, THE
PROFESSIONALS and the recently released Clint Eastwood box set:
DIRTY HARRY – THE ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S
The latter set is, in fact, so true to the original
film image that you can occasionally spot dirt on the original camera
lens. Here we have film that looks like film.
Another reason to recommend this set is that it is awash with extras. Each
of the five discs carries an audio commentary and there is an abundance of
documentaries and memorabilia. Highly recommended.
There’s no doubt that Blu-ray is a boon to film buffs, but it has some
growing up to do. Classic movies are on their way and we’ll be glad to
report on the progress over the next few months.
THE FRED ASTAIRE
This worthwhile four-day event covering the life and
career of the great Fred Astaire took place at Oriel College, Oxford from
June 21 to 24 and was organised on a most efficient scale by two very
gifted ladies Kathleen Riley (from Australia) and Chris Bamberger (from
the U.S.A.) and attended by Astaire experts and admirers from all over the
world. Guests of honour were Fred’s daughter, Ava Astaire Mackenzie and
her husband, Richard Mackenzie. All aspects of Astaire’s talents as
dancer, choreographer, pianist, singer, songwriter and actor were examined
and discussed as well as his personal qualities as a family man and
friend. As one of the delegates, Laureate’s Ken Barnes – who enjoyed a 12
year friendship with Fred and produced his last recordings in London -
made a special presentation on Fred Astaire the Singer and Recording
Artist as well as being one of the conference’s keynote speakers. For full
details of this event
2008 – The Year of
For more than two years now the DVD has been
standing on the threshold of a new era in home entertainment. High
Definition. But with this new era came an old problem. The battle of two
formats to win over a new generation of DVD buyers is very much akin to
the early days of video tape and the conflict between VHS and Betamax.
That battle, of course, was won years ago by VHS which itself was
eventually swallowed up by the DVD – the fastest developing area in the
history of home entertainment.
It is now almost ten years since the first DVDs were released in the U.K.
in April of 1998. The Laureate Company was formed in 2000 to take
advantage of the requirements of DVD production and now, as we enter our
ninth year of operation, it’s interesting to note that the current battle
for control of the high definition market between, on the one hand,
Toshiba with HD-DVD and, on the other, Sony with Blu-ray, is at last
coming to an end.
Movie collectors, who form more than 73 % of the DVD market, have been
slow to embrace high definition because of this format battle and we at
Laureate made a decision over 18 months ago not to comment on this new era
until a definite conclusion was in sight. We did, however, keep a close
watch on the way that this emergent market was developing and it seemed to
us as far back as the summer of last year that Blu-ray had the best chance
of winning. True Universal made the decision to exclusively support HD-DVD
– presumably because it was the cheaper of the two systems and,
theoretically, would have wider appeal with the general public. Also – and
this was another consideration – HD-DVD discs were cheaper to produce and
But to offset this, there were rumours back in May that Warner Brothers
may give Blu-ray the green light exclusively. If they did, this would give
Sony six of the seven major studios and this would pretty well bring the
format war to an end. Then, in the autumn of 2007 Toshiba reacted by
taking the radical step of offering $150 million dollars to Paramount and
DreamWorks if they would drop Blu-ray and release their high definition
titles exclusively on HD-DVD. They accepted and a significant number of
popular Paramount and DreamWorks titles previously announced for Blu-ray
release were dropped. Yet despite this drastic step, Blu-ray continued to
hold its own in the admittedly small high-def market.
Then, on November 1st, Toshiba in their eagerness to win the format war
took an even more radical step by announcing that the cost of their HD-A2
player retailing at $499 would be slashed down to just $99. It was
difficult to see why they would do this except as a move of extreme
desperation. There was no way that Toshiba could hope to profit from such
a move except in the short term. Believing perhaps that 25 years earlier
the cheaper VHS tape system had won out over Betamax, they probably
thought that the general public would again go for the cheaper option and
plump wholeheartedly for HD-DVD. What they failed to notice was the fact
that over the last ten or so years the consumers have come to understand
technology and its many advantages. They have also come to expect more for
If we look objectively at the differences between HD-DVD and Blu-ray we
can see at once the shortcomings of the cheaper system. On the subject of
picture quality it is difficult to differentiate between the two systems.
Both offer superb visual advantages over standard DVD. But it is in the
area of storage that the Blu-ray wins hands down. The standard DVD holds
around 5 gigabytes. Blu-ray disks will hold at least 50 gigabytes with a
possibility of 100 gigs or more. HD-DVD starts at 15 gigs and tops out at
45. Toshiba’s supporters claim that all that consumers are interested in
is a good picture and there’s no need for all that elaborate storage
space. Many market experts agreed with this viewpoint and believed that
the more costly Blu-ray system would fall by the wayside.
THE BATTLE HOTS UP
In the summer of 2007, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates
laid into Sony’s chief executive Howard Stringer by arguing that Sony’s
Blu-ray standard needed to be changed so it could work smoothly with
personal computers running on on Microsoft’s Windows operating system.
Stringer and his team defended their technology, insisting Blu-ray would
work fine with computers.
What began as a private argument soon became public. On September 27,
Microsoft and Intel (INTC) fired a broadside at Sony, suggesting publicly
the Blu-ray technology could not deliver what it had promised – and they
pledged their support for Toshiba. This did not stop movie studios voicing
their support for Sony as top film directors like Steven Spielberg and
Michael Bay stated that their preference was for Blu-ray. Then Dell and
Hewlett Packard took the highly unusual step of releasing a joint
statement denouncing the move by Microsoft and Intel, the PC makers two
most important suppliers.
Microsoft’s criticism was that Blu-ray disks will be more expensive to
manufacture and may be impossible to make in large volumes. Yet the
technology’s supporters are certain that costs will be similar in the long
Michael Dell, chairman of PC giant Dell stated “We don’t see any big cost
difference, and we know a thing or two about volume manufacturing.”
THE FINAL ROUND
A format war such as this one does no good for
either the consumer or the manufacturer. But it’s easy to see why two
major companies are going head to head to achieve supremacy because the
ultimate winner will have virtual control over the home entertainment
market for the next decade and beyond. The cold fact is that, over the
last 12 months, this format war has had an adverse effect on the DVD
business. Sales were down compared to previous years. Many consumers were
loath to invest in the high-def market until it was clear which system
would survive. Consequently a large proportion of potential buyers decided
not to purchase their favourite films in the expectation that they would
eventually emerge on HD.
While this battle was going on, the statistics told their own story.
HIGH-DEF MARKET SHARE
Week ending December 16, 2007
Blu-ray 61% HD DVD 39%
Year to Date
Blu-ray 65% HD DVD 35%
Blu-ray 62% HD DVD 38%
It was felt throughout the industry in the USA that the final blow to HD
DVD would be dealt during the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las
Vegas starting on January 7. But, in fact, the news came on January 4 when
Warner Brothers finally announced that they would throw all their weight
behind Blu-ray later this year, a decision that can only serve as a death
blow to HD DVD.
This was underlined when Bill Gates, in his keynote speech to the
convention, did not make a single reference to HD DVD (the system he had
supported throughout the format war) but instead went on to pledge
Microsoft’s role in the future digital age.
Warners had been the sole major backing both formats since late summer,
when Paramount dropped Blu-ray in favour of HD DVD, due in no small
measure to the cash and marketing incentives proffered by Toshiba and the
belief that that HD DVD’s lower costs would drive greater market adoption.
Yet Warners found that consumers still hesitated to dip their toes into
the high-def waters due to confusion over the duelling formats. The price
impediment was diminishing, but the take-up was not increasing. Thus,
Warners very wisely decided to take the big step towards ending the format
war by choosing Blu-ray exclusively over HD DVD.
Warner’s chairman and CEO, Barry Meyer said “The window of opportunity for
high definition DVD could be missed if format confusion continues to
Warner’s final shift to Blu-ray does not go into effect until June 1st and
the studio will honour their commitment to HD DVD until May 31 after which
they will release only Blu-ray on the high def front. But, unlike
Paramount who completely ignored their existing Blu-ray customers, Warners
will be offering incentives to HD DVD consumers that will help them switch
over to Blu-ray for the future which now looks secure.
Equally secure will be our existing DVD collections because Blu-ray is not
only backwards compatible it also makes your old DVDs look even better
So is the format war now over ? Will 2008 be the year of Blu-ray ? The
answer would seem to be an affirmative yes!
BOX SETS – BOOKS and the
BIG BAND SOUND
A lot to report this time. This has been a busy
period for Laureate. Back in March, Ken and his wife, Anne, travelled to
Los Angeles on business and had interesting meetings with famed film
historian and archivist, Leonard Maltin; with Sinatra Enterprises and with
Universal’s Home Entertainment division. Talking with Universal’s Michael
Ribak, Ken was able to pass on many of the requests received at film
society lectures and on the Laureate website. Hopefully, some of these
ideas will be taken up during 2008.
A BUMPER YEAR FOR BOX
2007 is proving to be an amazing year for DVD box
sets on both sides of the Atlantic.
Among the homegrown PAL releases of classic movies, there are sets devoted
to the early British films of such well-remembered actors as LAURENCE
OLIVIER, JAMES MASON and STEWART GRANGER. There is also a
wonderful POWELL & PRESSBURGER COLLECTION that gathers together all
of their best-known titles including “A Matter of Life and Death,”
“Black Narcissus” and “The Red Shoes.” But
perhaps pride of place should go to DAVID LEAN, one of the greatest
film directors of all time, with a long overdue box set covering the best
of his British output from “This Happy Breed” (1944) right up to
“Hobson’s Choice” (1954) taking in such timeless classics as
“Brief Encounter” (1945) “Great Expectations” (1946) and
“Oliver Twist " (1948).
For all his greatness, Lean was not really a
prolific film maker. In a career spanning just over four decades, he made
a total of only 16 films which makes his legacy relatively easy to
collect. This welcome box set conveniently covers his first decade and
nine of the ten films prior to his association with the big Hollywood
studios. It is an indispensable slice of film history and is deservedly
listed here as a LAUREATE HOT BOX.
WARNERS LEADS THE FIELD
On the American side of the spectrum, Warners – as
usual – lead the way with their ongoing “Signature Collection” series
which, this year, offers sets devoted to such charismatic stars as
KATHERINE HEPBURN, GARY COOPER and JAMES CAGNEY as well as
continuing second volumes of HUMPHREY BOGART and ERROL FLYNN.
Also a second volume of CLASSIC MUSICALS FROM THE DREAM FACTORY.
All wonderful stuff that helps fill the gaps in many a movie buff’s
FOX FOLLOWS WARNERS
will remember that three years ago we held a forum on the films of 20th
Century Fox in which scores of members sent in their requests for many
neglected films from musicals – like “Daddy Long Legs” and “Sun
Valley Serenade” – to Film Noir titles such as “Laura” and
“Kiss of Death” and the films of Tyrone Power.
Well, in the last three years, just about all of these requests have been
fulfilled as individual releases. Now, at last, Fox have taken the plunge
and released a superb box set
THE TYRONE POWER COLLECTION.
In some ways, the Power collection surpasses some of
the Warner box sets by offering a greater selection of relevant extras –
documentaries, interviews with Power’s family and former leading ladies,
audio commentaries and restoration comparisons plus theatrical trailers
and even a highly readable booklet not to mention isolated orchestral
packs of lobby cards. Well done, Fox – keep up the good work !
We have just received word of the publication of
three highly desirable books that are sure to have an appeal to many of
Laureate’s members and visitors.
FRED & GINGER – by Hannah Hyam ( Penpress Publications ) A highly
readable and beautifully detailed account of the greatest dance team
in Hollywood history.
SINATRA – The Man, The Music, The Legend ( University of Rochester
Edited by Jeanne Fuchs and Ruth Prigozy, this is a most informative
spin-off from the 1998 Sinatra conference at Hofstra University, Long
Island. NY and is required reading for all Sinatra admirers.
GOING MY WAY – BING CROSBY and American
Culture (University of Rochester Press)
THE BIG BAND WITH A
Back in 1973 when the record industry were pinning
their hopes on the arrival of quadraphonic sound, Ken Barnes, one of the
busiest independent record producers in London, was commissioned by Pye
Records to produce some albums that would exploit the new 4-channel
concept of audio entertainment. He selected a big band with a difference.
THE HARRY ROCHE CONSTELLATION. Ken had previously produced two
albums with Roche that had attracted attention and the band – with its
eccentric lineup of nine trombones, 1 trumpet doubling flugelhorn, 1
reed/woodwind and six rhythm/percussion – created a spectacular big band
sound with a difference. This
resulted in two outstanding albums “Spiral” and “Sometimes”
– which featured Europe’s top musicians playing a wide selection of
standards, pop hits and originals scored by the industry’s finest
arrangers – Pete Moore, Angela Morley, David Lindup, Don Lusher, etc.
Now, for the first time on CD, Cherry Red Records
have released both of these exciting albums on a single disc. The stereo
quality and the new digital mastering are exceptional. If you’re looking
for a great big band sound and want to give your hi-fi set-up a workout,
then this is for you.
That’s all for this time. In the next Newsletter, we
will be discussing the next generation of DVD – High Definition – and the
battle of the two systems which is now really hotting up.
ANOTHER TRIUMPH FOR LAUREATE
UNIVERSAL’S “ HOLIDAY INN
– SPECIAL EDITION”
into the U.S. TOP 30 DVDs
The recently released Region 1 version of Irving
Berlin’s “Holiday Inn” – the classic 1942 film in which Bing Crosby first
introduced “White Christmas” – made a strong sales impression in the USA
over the Christmas holidays. This was the NTSC conversion of Universal’s
much-praised UK version containing all the extras produced by Laureate
Presentations including two featurettes and an audio commentary by Ken
Barnes. This classic black and white musical starring Bing Crosby and Fred
Astaire has proved to be one of the season’s fastest-selling DVDs and in
Amazon’s sales charts over the 2006 Christmas period, outsold such
hotly-tipped titles as “X Men – The Last Stand,” “King Kong – Extended
Edition” and “Nacho Libre.” Not bad going for a 64 year-old black and
The original Region 2 version is still available here in the UK
IS A WINNER FOR WARNERS
The fabulous 5-disc box set comprising 4 CDs and 1
DVD of previously unreleased live performances of Frank Sinatra (all
recorded in Las Vegas between 1961 and 1987) has proved to be one of the
biggest-selling box sets ever released by Warner Brothers. Not
surprisingly, the album’s producer Charles Pignone is now working on
another Sinatra project that promises to be just as exciting.
FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT ARE MEETING
It was almost three years ago that Laureate ran a
forum on this website asking all our members to request their favourite
films in the 20th Century Fox catalogue. The response was tremendous. The
most oft-requested items were Fred Astaire’s “Daddy Long Legs” (1955_ and
the two musical featuring the Glenn Miller Orchestra “Sun Valley
Serenade”(1941) and “Orchestra Wives”(1942). Now these three titles plus
five others are joyfully released in a superb box set entitled simply
Other Fox films requested included the swashbuckling movies of the
handsome Tyrone Power --“The Mark of Zorro” (1940) and “The
Black Swan” (1942). These are now available plus other Power classic
as “Crash Dive” (1943), “The Razor’s Edge” (1946) and “Nightmare
Alley” (1947). The latter film is part of an excellent series of
Film Noir titles including such other much-requested classics as “
Laura” (1944) and "Call Northside 777" and many others which are all
gradually becoming available.
Laureate’s army of movie buffs never had it so good.
NEW ON DVD
UNIVERSAL’S STATESIDE RELEASE OF “ HOLIDAY INN”
Universal Home Entertainment have now released
Presentation OF Irving Berlin’s HOLIDAY INN. The evergreen classic musical
that first introduced Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas” (STILL the
biggest hit of all time). The special edition DVD – produced by
for Universal (UK) – is basically the same as the UK version except for a
different package design which is tastefully presented in a slip cover and
American reviews have praised the set for its excellent picture and sound
as well as its outstanding array of special features which include two
featurettes (one with Fred Astaire’s daughter, AVA ASTAIRE MACKENZIE) and
a feature length audio commentary by Ken Barnes that includes archive
comments from the film’s stars BING CROSBY and FRED ASTAIRE.
The songs of IRVING BERLIN, the singing of BING CROSBY
and the dancing
of FRED ASTAIRE make this one of the best-loved musicals of all time. An
NEWLY RELEASED in the UK is the
RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN COLLECTION
featuring “State Fair” (in both the 1945 and 1962 versions ), "Oklahoma”
(1955), “Carousel” (1956), “The King and I “ (1956) and “The Sound Of
Music” (1965). These and several other great musicals-released by MGM-UA -
including “Guys and Dolls”, “West Side Story” and ”Fiddler On The Roof”
are all being promoted on specialist radio stations across the UK by
LAUREATE’S KEN BARNES.
The Rodgers and Hammerstein films have all been
remastered in their original widescreen aspect ratios and are released as
Special 2-Disc Editions.
NEW ON CD.
October saw the release on EMI Gold of an exciting
double CD release DICK HAYMES – THE COMPLETE
Containing the two classic albums “Rain Or Shine”
and “ Moondreams” plus all of the Haymes
singles for Capitol and many previously unreleased out-takes. Conceived
and Produced by KEN BARNES for EMI. Truly a
NEWS for FRANK SINATRA collectors is the all-new Warner Brothers
There have been many box sets of Sinatra over the
years but never one quite like this. The entire programme spread across 5
discs ( 4 CDs and 1 DVD ) consists entirely of PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
PERFORMANCES all recorded live in Sinatra’s beloved city of Las Vegas.
Produced on a lavish scale by CHARLES PIGNONE
(author of THE SINATRA TREASURES) and housed in a most sturdy and
attractive box with an elaborately designed 64-page book crammed with
illustrations and comments from many of Sinatra’s associates, friends and
his family, this is a not-to-be missed set.
Released in the UK on November 27, 2006.
NEWS UPDATE !
AVAILABLE from FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT
The long awaited DVD debut of a much-loved classic screen musical
DVD ( REGION 1 ) U.S.A & CANADA release 21st February,
DVD ( REGION 2) U.K. & EUROPE release forthcoming ( TBC)
Original aspect ratio: 2.35:1 Stereo Dolby Digital SPECIAL FEATURES
Audio Commentary by Ken Barnes & Ava Astaire Mackenzie with archive
comments from the film’s composer – 4-time Academy Award Winner – Johnny
Movietone News footage of the film’s Los Angeles & London Premieres
Stills Gallery - Original Theatrical Trailer
"DADDY LONG LEGS" heads up Fox Home
Entertainment's new series of " MARQUEE MUSICALS"
Also released February 21st (U.S. Region 1 )are
Released in the USA
– October 18 – THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM – 50th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL
A LAUREATE PRESENTATION in association with ARTANIS ENTERTAINMENT
GROUP (SINATRA ENTERPRISES) and released by HART SHARP VIDEO of New
This KEN BARNES production is a refurbished, expanded and re-mastered
two-disc version of the earlier single disc UK release of 2003.
It’s bigger and better in every way – and is certainly the definitive
version of this classic film. Early signs indicate that it will be a
FRANK SINATRA, Jr. has just completed a new
album for Warner Brothers which will be issued in the spring of 2006.
Details will be announced soon.
KEN BARNES and his wife, ANNE have just returned from a
business-cum-pleasure trip to the USA covering Los Angeles, Savannah and
While in Los Angeles, KEN had meetings with GEORGE FELTENSTEIN (director
of WARNER HOME VIDEO) who mentioned that their second ASTAIRE-ROGERS box
set (which will be just as elaborate as the first) will be released in the
USA in August of 2006 – exactly one year after the first set (which is
doing very good business).
He also said there will be a super de-luxe new special edition of WIZARD
OF OZ released later in 2006.
UNIVERSAL UK are preparing a special Christmas double promotion
campaign of HOLIDAY INN (the definitive Diamond Edition produced by KEN
BARNES) in tandem with FRANK CAPRA’S classic IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. This
will be a national TV and press advertising campaign with both films
jointly tagged in all media outlets. Both films are all-time Christmas
classics and this campaign should do good business over the festive
SWINGIN’ WITH BING HITS # 1 AMAZON’S JAZZ CHART
Concurrent with a
wonderful full page review by renowned jazz critic, Nat Hentoff in the
Wall Street Journal on August 9th, Shout Factory’s superb 3-CD box set
“Swingin’ With Bing” produced by Laureate’s Ken Barnes zoomed straight
to #1 in the Amazon jazz charts and into the top 10 of their popular
GREAT NEW ALBUM RELEASE -
BING CROSBY Meets AL JOLSON
The perfect follow-up
to “ Swingin’ With Bing”
This new double CD offers – for the first time in one album – the
complete radio duets of Bing Crosby and Al Jolson.
Available on the acclaimed Sepia label. Release date: September 6th
Hart Sharp’s new deluxe 50th Anniversary DVD of Otto
Preminger’s THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM – a Laureate Presentation in
association with Sinatra Enterprises of Los Angeles will make its U.S.
market debut Hart Sharp Video on October 16th.
Unlike Laureate’s previous
2002 UK release, this will be a two-disc edition that will contain
Laureate’s exclusive documentary MUSIC ON FILM – ELMER BERNSTEIN in
conversation with KEN BARNES plus revised and newly-conceived graphics and
moving menus, a special audio-visual montage of exclusive photos – by
celebrated photographer, Bob Willoughby - from the film’s soundtrack
Frank Sinatra and Elmer Bernstein set over Sinatra’s own recording of the
song “The Man With The Golden Arm “ written by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van
This rare Sinatra recording was originally intended to be heard
over the film’s credits but was later dropped in favour of Bernstein’s
dynamic main title theme.
Loaded with attractive extras including
exclusive footage of Sinatra talking about his preparation for the role of
Frankie Machine and a newly-recorded feature-length audio commentary by
Ken Barnes, this is the definitive DVD presentation of one of cinema’s
NEW CD BOX SETS
For FRANK SINATRA fans, EMI have just issued ( August 17th ) a
new 3-CD box set THE PLATINUM COLLECTION, a newly-remastered overview of
Frank’s work on the Capitol label, generally considered to be his
finest-ever period. It boasts an informative booklet by Ken Barnes tracing
the ups and downs of Sinatra’s association with the label.
Crammed with classic hit singles and choice standards from his greatest
albums, this is classic Sinatra all the way.
For BING CROSBY fans, a new
and spectacular 3-CD box set SWINGIN’ WITH BING is released in the USA
by Shout Factory on August 24th distributed by Sony. A Laureate
Presentation produced by Ken Barnes ( Executive Producer, Kathryn
Crosby ) this is by far the most important Crosby release for many
years. Culled from Bing’s famous top-rated radio shows of the 1940s
and ‘50s, this exciting collection - spanning the years 1942 to 1953 -
contains many tracks never before released commercially and includes
every radio duet that Bing did with both Ella Fitzgerald and Louis
Armstrong. More than five years in production and involving hundreds
of hours of studio time, this set has been
painstakingly restored and beautifully mastered from the original
In addition to the superb performances and the outstanding audio
quality, Shout Factory have really gone to town on SWINGIN’ WITH BING
presenting it as a splendidly designed deluxe hardback 40 page book
full of illustrations, rare photos and fascinating information on
Bing’s radio and recording career. An absolute MUST for all lovers of
quality popular music and top class singing.
This is Bing at his unbeatable best Available from
GOOD NEWS FOR FRED ASTAIRE FANS
Following in the wake of the Universal – Laureate box set FRED AND GINGER,
Warner Brothers – the world’s leading DVD label – flew Fred Astaire’s
daughter, Ava Astaire McKenzie to New York on August 18th to film her
contributions to their forthcoming DVD editions of EASTER PARADE(1948) and
THE BAND WAGON (1953).
New 2-disc edition of “THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN
ARM” is now completed
A new de-luxe two-disc edition of Otto Preminger’s
1955 classic has now been completed for U.S. release as part of this
year’s 50th Anniversary celebration which will also include a new American
theatrical re-release of the film. This updated DVD release – produced by
Laureate in association with Artanis Entertainment/Sinatra Enterprises
will be released by Hart Sharp Video of New York.
Extras include newly re-mastered print of the
Exclusive video interview with FRANK SINATRA
Feature length audio commentary by Laureate’s Ken
MUSIC ON FILM – ELMER BERNSTEIN in conversation
with Ken Barnes
SINATRA – IN SESSION & ON SET
Extensive Cast and Crew Profiles
Film soundtrack re-mixed and newly mastered in
Dolby Digital 5.1
Release date will be later this year. Details to
Fox give green light to “DADDY LONG LEGS” on DVD
After more than two thousand requests on the
Laureate website for a DVD of “Daddy Long Legs”, The Los Angeles
office of Fox have finally green-lighted a DVD production of this popular
Fred Astaire-Leslie Caron musical. Preparation has now begun with KEN
BARNES of Laureate overseeing an in-depth audio commentary with Fred
Astaire’s daughter, AVA ASTAIRE MACKENZIE to be recorded at Phoenix
Studios in Denham, Middlesex. It was hoped that the film’s co-star, LESLIE
CARON would also contribute to this DVD but due to conflicting
circumstances, Miss Caron is unable to participate.
2005 IS PROVING TO BE A HALCYON YEAR FOR FRED
The recent Warner releases of “Easter Parade”, “The
Band Wagon” and “Finian’s Rainbow” will be followed later this year by the
first of two box sets of the complete Astaire-Rogers musicals. While some
of these titles have previously appeared on DVD, Fox’s release is a DVD
No release date has yet been set for this
long-awaited DADDY LONG LEGS DVD. But as soon as information is available,
it will be announced on this website.
LAUREATE BACK ON LINE
A Happy 2005 to all our visitors and I’d like to begin the year with
As you all know, just before Christmas the Laureate website was hacked by
some unknown source taking with it our Message Board and God knows how
many messages. We are told that this also happened to some 39,000 other
websites around the world. Finally, the mess has been cleared up and our
message board is now again up and running.
So please let us continue to hear from you all.
We would like to offer congratulations to our U.S. friends -
Sinatra Enterprises (Los Angeles) and Hart Sharp Video (New York ) on
achieving Gold Awards for THE RAT PACK – LIVE AND SWINGIN’ (CD/DVD) and
SUPER SIZE ME. (DVD). It’s a pleasure to be associated with these
companies and we are looking forward to completing the new 50th
Anniversary Special Edition of Otto Preminger’s THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN
ARM starring Frank Sinatra, Eleanor Parker and Kim Novak. Arrangements are
currently underway to interview cast members Eleanor Parker and Arnold
Stang. Keep your eye on this column.
HMV’S in-store campaign 100 DVDS YOU MUST HAVE
features Universal’s CITIZEN KANE-SPECIAL EDITION ( a Laureate
Presentation produced by Ken Barnes)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- LAUREATE’S KEN BARNES ON TV
KEN BARNES’ three most recent TV appearances are Channel 4’s UK GOLD
AWARDS (November 2004), BBC Four’s THE DVD COLLECTION (December 2004)
and Channel Five’s 40 GREATEST LOVE SONGS (Screening February 14 2005 )
NEW ON RECORD
“ MOON RIVER” Mercer Sings Mercer
Back in 1974, Academy Award-winning songwriter,
Johnny Mercer was in London writing a musical with Andre Previn. Record
producer Ken Barnes – who recalled the many hit records that Mercer had
made over the years – persuaded the legendary lyricist to personally
record new versions of some of his greatest songs. This resulted in two
albums (a total of 28 songs) accompanied by two superb backing units The
Pete Moore Orchestra and The Harry Roche Constellation. Arrangements and
musical direction throughout by Pete Moore. Now, for the first time on CD,
all 28 songs are presented on an outstanding double CD on the Castle Pulse
label. Release date: February 28,2005.
The late Johnny Mercer has been in the news quite a lot lately following
the publication of not one but two biographies on his life : Skylark-The
Life and Times of Johnny Mercer by Philip Furia (St. Martin’s Press.2003)
and A Portrait of Johnny – The life of John Herndon Mercer by Gene Lees
On the subject of
Mercer the singer, both Ken and his partner, Pete Moore look back on these
sessions as among the most enjoyable of their careers.
Says Ken. “ Johnny Mercer was not only an
outstanding songwriter, he was an excellent and very stylish singer. These
sessions were a joy for everyone involved and, after more than 30 years,
we were surprised to find that they still sound as fresh as ever. They
sound like they were recorded yesterday”
Ken Barnes (right) with Oscar-winning
songwriter, Johnny Mercer and composer-arranger, Pete Moore
The set includes joyous versions of such Mercer classics as That Old Black
Magic, Autumn Leaves, Too Marvellous For Words, Good Goody and, of course,
Moon River .
All sung in Johnny Mercer’s inimitable style against a set of exceptional
orchestrations played by the finest of Europe’s musicians.
For all lovers of The Great American Songbook, this new release is a must!
Available at all good record stores or buy it online from www.amazon.co.uk
The first FILM TO DVD SEMINAR held at the National Film Theatre in
London on July 5th was adjudged a definite success.
Organised and hosted by Jean Luc Renaud, president of Globalcom and
publisher of DVD Intelligence, the function covered all aspects of the
ever-widening DVD market.
Statistics now show that 67% of all households in the UK now have DVD.
The event was punctuated by a string of interesting and stimulating
speeches by numerous industry experts including Laureate’s Ken Barnes who
made the case for adding “extras” to DVD presentations of classic films. “
Most of the major companies,” he said.” Are too concerned with pushing the
new film product to the exclusion of their back catalogue. This is not to
say that they don’t care about classic titles it’s just, in most cases,
their executives lack the knowledge. There are more film buffs out there
than they realize and any company that releases an important classic title
as a film-only release is short-changing the customer. We are no longer
living in the VHS era. It’s time to realise that the DVD is a collector’s
medium far more than VHS ever was. “
Many people at the Seminar agreed wholeheartedly with Ken’s speech and it
is hoped that by next year’s FILM–TO-DVD SEMINAR the overall situation
will have improved.
Work is now in progress on a new deluxe Golden Anniversary DVD of Otto
Preminger’s THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM which is being produced by
Ken Barnes in association with Sinatra Enterprises of Los Angeles.
It will be released in the USA by Hart Sharp Video in March, 2005 to
commemorate the 50th anniversary of the film’s production.
Unlike Laureate’s previous 2002 UK release, this will be a two-disc
edition that will contain Laureate’s exclusive documentary MUSIC ON FILM –
ELMER BERNSTEIN in conversation with KEN BARNES plus revised and
newly-conceived graphics and moving menus, a special audio-visual montage
of exclusive photos – by celebrated photographer, Bob Willoughby - from
the film’s soundtrack sessions with Frank Sinatra and Elmer Bernstein set
over Sinatra’s own recording of the song “The Man With The Golden Arm “
written by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen. It was originally intended to
be heard over the film’s credits but was later dropped in favour of
Bernstein’s dynamic main title theme.
Other extras – currently being explored – are possible interviews with
Sinatra’s co-stars Eleanor Parker and Kim Novak. The film will, of course,
also feature exclusive footage of Sinatra talking about his preparation
for the role of Frankie Machine and a newly-recorded feature-length audio
commentary by Ken Barnes.
NEW CD BOX SETS
For FRANK SINATRA fans, EMI
have just issued ( August 17th ) a new 3-CD box set THE PLATINUM
COLLECTION, a newly-remastered overview of Frank’s work on the
Capitol label, generally considered to be his finest-ever period. It
boasts an informative booklet by Ken Barnes tracing the ups and downs
of Sinatra’s association with the label.
Crammed with classic hit singles and choice standards from his
greatest albums, this is classic Sinatra all the way. Available from Amazon
For BING CROSBY fans, a new and spectacular
3-CD box set SWINGIN’ WITH BING is released in the USA by Shout
Factory on August 24th distributed by Sony.
A Laureate Presentation produced by Ken Barnes ( Executive Producer,
Kathryn Crosby ) this is by far the most important Crosby release for many
Culled from Bing’s famous top-rated radio shows of the 1940s and ‘50s,
this exciting collection - spanning the years 1942 to 1953 - contains many
tracks never before released commercially and includes every radio duet
that Bing did with both Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.
More than five years in production and involving hundreds of hours of
studio time, this set has been painstakingly restored and beautifully
mastered from the original transcription sources.
In addition to the superb performances and the outstanding audio quality,
Shout Factory have really gone to town on SWINGIN’ WITH BING presenting it
as a splendidly designed deluxe hardback 40 page book full of
illustrations, rare photos and fascinating information on Bing’s radio and
recording career. An absolute MUST for all lovers of quality popular music
and top class singing.
This is Bing at his unbeatable best ! Available from Amazon
GOOD NEWS FOR FRED ASTAIRE
Following in the wake of the Universal – Laureate
box set FRED AND GINGER, Warner Brothers – the world’s leading DVD label –
flew Fred Astaire’s daughter, Ava Astaire McKenzie to New York on August
18th to film her contributions to their forthcoming DVD editions of EASTER
PARADE(1948) and THE BAND WAGON (1953).
It is sad to report the passing of three of the screen’s greatest
JERRY GOLDSMITH ( born Feb 10th,1929 – died July 21,2004 )
DAVID RAKSIN ( born August 4th 1912 – died August 9th,2004 )
ELMER BERNSTEIN ( born April 4th 1922 – died August 18th,2004 )
I had the pleasure of meeting and knowing all three of these gifted
Apart from being blessed with extraordinary talent, each shared the
same qualities of friendliness and generosity of spirit. While there
are certainly new and up and coming composers of screen music who
display promise and excellence, none will ever command the respect and
admiration that these three gentlemen received from their peers. While
they will be sorely missed, their music will continue to bring
pleasure to film lovers and concert audiences the world over. All
three left the world better than when they found it.
Ken Barnes (August,2004 )
SUNDAY EXPRESS PAYS TRIBUTE TO THE
Click pic for readable version (630k)
In the 16th May edition of the Sunday Express,
celebrated show business author and columnist, Michael Freedland
reported enthusiastically on the growing trend towards classic films on
DVD and singled out the Laureate Collection as one of the market leaders
in this area paying special attention to our DVDs of "Citizen Kane" and
the box sets of Fred and Ginger, The Road Pictures, Cary Grant and The
Our profound gratitude to Mr. Freedland and the Sunday Express.
A CHANGE OF DIRECTION.
Due to increased pressure of work and a change in
schedules, Ken Barnes and Laureate are unable to proceed with
Universal's long-planned John Wayne project. Universal have assured us
that the Wayne project will appear but in a different form to the one
Laureate, in the meantime, have been revising and
expanding some of their most popular titles for American distribution
later this year.
THE FIRST FILM-TO-DVD SEMINARY AT
July 5th at the National Film Theatre in London will
see the video trade's first "FILM_TO_DVD" seminary. It will cover many
aspects of the growing market for DVD especially in the field of
re-purposing classic film catalogue. Laureate's Ken Barnes
will be one of the speakers on the importance of
special DVD editions.
A full report will appear here following the event.
gets the deluxe treatment fromCDA Entertainment
in association with Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd.
Following the critical and commercial success of
Laureate's dedicated presentation of
Universal's "Citizen Kane-Special Edition" (released in June,2003), CDA
Entertainment have now created a deluxe Classic Presentation Box making
this the definitive collector's version of the timeless Orson Welles film
Two Discs: Senitypes, Stills and Commemorative
Disc One: * Restored and remastered feature
* Soundtrack: Dolby Digital 2 channel
* Audio commentary from Ken Barnes
Disc Two: * "Anatomy of a Classic:"
documentary presented by Barry Norman (50 mins)
* Restoration comparison
* Behind the scenes stills gallery
* "The War of the Worlds" original 1938 radio broadcast
* "The Happy Prince" Oscar Wilde's classic children's story.
The original 1945 commercial recording with Orson Welles and Bing Crosby
* Original theatrical trailer
PLUS * Collectible senitype -exclusive 35 mm image of the film.
* Six high quality reproduction stills from the film.
* Commemorative booklet
Housed in a sturdy de-luxe presentation box
UNIVERSAL INTO BOXED SETS with
Universal’s massive catalogue of classic movies is getting the Laureate
DVD treatment with a spectacular series of boxed sets featuring some of
Hollywood’s best-loved stars in special collections of their greatest
The Laureate Company and Phoenix Video Ltd - the team that brought you the
acclaimed Citizen Kane Special Edition –
are currently hard at work to complete the above four boxed sets ( a total
of 16 classic movies ) in time for November release.
More great classics are being lined up for 2004.
On Wednesday 9th October, Ken and Anne Barnes
attended the Elmer Bernstein Concert at the Royal Albert Hall after which
Michael Aspel presented the legendary composer with the red book
signalling a special programme of "This Is Your Life."
Ken and Anne were invited to the show and reception that followed the
concert and were happy to chat with the talented Mr. Bernstein about his
new film score for Martin Scorcese's "Gangs of New York" and to thank him
for his generous contribution to Laureate's new DVD "The Man With The
Laureate's two latest productions now have
release dates as follows:
distributors of the Laureate Collection recently commissioned Ken Barnes
to produce Special De Luxe Editions of David Cronenberg’s film of
Stephen King’s THE DEAD
ZONE –starring Christopher Walken and Martin Sheen and Roger
Donaldson’s film of THE BOUNTYstarring Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins.
While these DVDs are not officially part of the Laureate
Collection, they have the benefit of Ken’s production expertise and
broad knowledge of screen history and a full-scale no-expense-spared
budget. Both are currently available – and doing well (see Reviews)
MORE FROM LAUREATE
latest Laureate DVD presentation – released on October 28 – is the
Frank Sinatra-Otto Preminger drama classic THE
MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM.This ambitious Special Edition DVD has been produced in association
with the Sinatra Estate and the Artanis Entertainment Group.
OF A WHITE CHRISTMAS ?
we are only halfway through 2002, plans are already afoot to celebrate the
60th anniversary of the biggest-selling hit record of all time
– Irving Berlin’s WHITE CHRISTMAS recorded by BING CROSBY
who first introduced it in the 1942 film HOLIDAY INN in which Bing
co-starred with FRED ASTAIRE.
12 years after HOLIDAY INN, Bing Crosby
starred in a second production titled WHITE CHRISTMAS this time his
co-stars were Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen. This 1954
Technicolor production has become an enduring seasonal favourite all
around the world. It’s success on VHS and DVD has tended to obscure the
brilliance of the original 1942 black and white film.
that situation is about to be rectified. Universal Home Video has asked
Ken Barnes and the Laureate Company to produce a 60th
Anniversary Special Edition of HOLIDAY INN. Discussions are currently in progress and a list of the DVD’s
Special Features and exclusive extras will appear shortly.
interviewing the great film composer Elmer Bernstein for the next
Laureate Collection DVD - watch this space!
EUROPE 2001Following the
industry’s reception of Laureate’s first three releases, Ken Barnes
was invited by the organisers of DVD Europe-2001 to make the opening
keynote speech before 450 delegates at London’s Business Design Centre.
Ken was definitely a conference
highlight and one of the best arguments ever aired for extra content
on DVD video. This (as described by Days 2 and 3 chairman, Tim Frost)
"author, songwriter and film historian" described some of
his company’s products in the light of transferring classic movies
to DVD. It was, he explained, analogous to the early days of the CD:
"Why should music consumers buy their record collections all over
again?" One solution was that of adding bonus tracks, and the DVD
equivalent of this, he stressed, is was what his company does.
No-one sitting there and seeing some of
the extras on a DVD version of the movie Charade could not be
convinced. Apart from the feature itself, there were film clips of the
screen debuts of both Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn; as well as a clip
of them talking, in which the word ‘assassinate’ was used. Since
that was just about the time of John F Kennedy’s assassination, the
word was deemed unsuitable and was the sequence was dubbed with the
word ‘eliminate’. Clips of both versions were shown, confirming
Barnes’s statement that not having extras was "Not only a
wasted opportunity but a disservice to the consumer. Every movie has a
story behind it."