Thanks to my friend Davy Triumph for bringing this to my attention. Davy asked me – why wasn’t this on the DVD! – Well, it’s a valid question…. And he is right.
I tell you Davy, all this great material is out there somewhere mate. Ultimately, I blame people like MGM/UA. All they have to do is approach the fan base; put out an open call... it’s so bloody simple, it's not rocket science. It is easy enough for them to locate the relevant sites (you know what I mean by that) actually, I think I have mentioned it before in the past elsewhere on the web, and you probably know where I am referring to. I think the problem is twofold.
Firstly, when preparing such releases on BluRay and DVD, these studios have their arses so puckered up and slammed shut (in fear of what I don't know) that they ultimately miss out on the genuine treasure - the chance to have something truly magnificent - and creating a disc that really defines the word 'definitive'... it really gets my back up.
Secondly, so, why don't they ask? I can’t help thinking a lot of it is down to pure ignorance. I honestly believe that the studios think they have it all, and that what they hold in their archives is the pinnacle – the ultimate collective… That kind of ignorance is incredible. I consider people like you, myself and a few other people we both know as serious collectors, and it is collectors such as us that can make a difference – if only they approached us!! As you know Davy - I, ‘Philo’ and others have contributed many parts of our collection to TV docs, books and magazines. We have never asked for money, we offer our material simply because we want to make the project as good as it possibly can be. All I have ever asked for in return is credit – credit where credit is due right? I have always had immense pride in simply being associated with the product in question. This also extends to soundtracks, and I have had the great pleasure of working with the likes of the talented Joe Sikoryak, for Eastwood related releases from both FSM (Film Score Monthly) and Intrada labels. I also worked with Aleph (Lalo Schifrin’s label) on their Dirty Harry soundtracks. But it was a long process and one that I had to instigate.
So again, why don’t they ask??? Sometimes I simply think they can’t be bothered… I know that sounds overwhelmingly shallow? But I honestly think – that they believe - that the average ’Joe Public’, who buys these releases, doesn’t really give a damn what is included as extras… Again, I think this is an awful attitude, but believe it to be true nonetheless. I don’t think they (the studios) understand that there are an awful lot of people that do take this stuff seriously, that are interested in the film’s history, the important footage, the photo documentation and I’ve always been an advocate for a fan’s commentary track – god – how insightful would that be!
‘Connoisseurs’ is an old fashioned word and one I don’t tend to use, but there are an awful lot of people who would like to be considered and respected as ‘serious about film’ - unfortunately, I think a lot of studios consider us, as a minority…
I don’t know if you ever read it Davy, but I touched on the subject when I announced the High Plains Drifter soundtrack on my site (Under October 2012 in the drop down menu). I raised several of these key questions again, check it out…
Thankfully, some companies seem to be producing projects in a far different manner. For instance, my friend Nick Redman of Twilight Time seems to have a very refreshing approach. Taking the opportunity to announce their projects far in advance, Nick also makes himself incredibly accessible and approachable. As a result, it provides a good deal of time - a ‘window’ in which collectors and fans can step forward and perhaps offer that one little piece of material that could further ‘enhance’ or benefit that particular Blu Ray title. I like the idea of that and applaud it. Ok, our timing was a little bit off when it came to the Radio Spots for Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, but that was just unfortunate. It would be good to hear your thoughts Nick on the producing of Blu Rays and specifically the input and access of source material, I’m sure people would respect and appreciate a producer’s perspective.
It is really frustrating at the end of the day. As you correctly said Davy, where was this material on the DVD or Blu Ray. Incredibly important footage – check out the clapperboard ‘The Magnificent Stranger’ – Fistful’s original working title – just glorious and dripping with the ‘Wow’ factor… Personally, I could have offered some great colour transparencies of Clint promoting the ‘Dollars’ in Europe, as I’m sure many other people could had offered other unseen or unappreciated material, it would of made for a spectacular gallery… and that is from a fan’s perspective. But sadly, a lot of it remains unseen, and that does trouble me. Thanks for bringing this to my attention Davy, I’m going to get this up on the Archive, if anything, it makes for a fascinating area of debate. From a personal perspective, I still can’t believe what I'm seeing!