I learned this afternoon that even though Paramount technicians spent a lot of time and money restoring George Stevens‘ Shane (’53) and spiffing it up for Bluray and high-def viewings, they’ve sold it to Warner Bros. as part of that overall catalogue deal that was announced last October. Does that mean Warner Home Video will release a Shane Bluray this year to commemorate the film’s 60th anniversary? I just asked a WHV spokesperson and her answer was to say as little as possible.
So I asked if she could confirm that the restored high-def digital Shane…can she at least confirm that this version is what will be shown next month at the TCM Classic Film Festival? Nope, she said. Can’t confirm or deny.
As I noted yesterday, dealing with home video operations is like dealing with the Soviet Union in the ’70s or North Korea today. They live in their own realm, and always by stealth and secrecy.
She didn’t explain why I shouldn’t necessarily get my hopes up about seeing a 60th anniversary Shane Bluray this year. It might conceivably happen, she implied, and then again it might not. Remember that Warner Home Video ignored Cabaret‘s 40th anniversary by waiting until 2013 to release the Bluray…even though it played at the 2012 TCM Classic Film Festival. And Ben-Hur‘s 50th anniversary was celebrated 52 years after its release when the WHV Bluray was released in 2011. The bottom line is that WHV isn’t much for celebrating anniversaries. They do what they want to do when they want to do it.
The 3D remastering of the 1939 The Wizard of Oz is finished, I’m told. It would have made marketing sense to release it concurrent with the opening of the 3D Oz The Great and Powerful a couple of weeks ago but nope. WHV blew that opportunity also. They’ll be releasing the 3D Oz next fall, according to this report.
A blunt view would be that the Warner Home Video guys are either timid of spirit or asleep at the wheel…or maybe both. The Bluray business is slowly losing steam, I realize, but still….