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Warners Doesn't Do It Again
on February 21, 2000
Warner Brothers has one of the greatest film catalogs of any studio; yet they don't appear to take their DVD issues very seriously. Who on earth would put "Goodfellas" on two sides of a disc? or not release the "Director's Cut" version of "Eyes Wide Shut" (imagine the added revenue if they had)? or release a slapdash collection of Kubrick's films? or almost never digitally enhance the audio or visual transfer or provide any significant extras? Compared to the deluxe packages that Universal, Criterion, and, even, Paramount has mustered, Warners' issues - all released in cheap and easily breakable snap cases - are a peculiar desecration of a vaunted film legacy.
Case in point: "The Maltese Falcon". Arguably the greatest detective film ever made, Warners at least releases it with a decent video transfer. Unfortunately, the audio synchronizing is off during the last 15 minutes of the movie (by a second but it's still noticable) and I wasn't able to access all the people on the "Cast and Crew" menu (no, it wasn't a machine error, as I tested on several discs thereafter). Moreover, although I enjoyed the "Trailers of Humphrey Bogart" section, it would have been nice if Warners spent the money to create a documentary history of the film the way they did on Universal's "Casablanca" release.
Much ink has been spilt praising "The Maltese Falcon" so I won't go into any panegyrics here. It's just a shame that Warners doesn't take this market seriously enough to put more care into the DVD releases of their finest films.