Followup on megapacks

This post noted the availability of several new 50-movie packs, most all with “Classic” in the name, at a new lower price of $19.99 from Overstock (plus a humongous $1.40 shipping and handling charge for USPS shipping).

First a correction: The new company name “Mill Creek Entertainment,” not “Mill Pond,” and that’s about the only change in packaging from the old TreeLine 50-movie packs. Even the UPC company portion is the same, 26831. (The musicals were made in Singapore; three of the four previous packs were made in Taiwan; the first doesn’t have a made-in label. Given the full UPC numbers involved, I’d guess “Classic Musicals” is the 16th such pack–the first, “Family Classics,” was 26831 07001, this one’s 26831 07016, and the others are somewhere in between.)

Second, a little amplification. I ordered the set on Sunday from Overstock in Minnesota, using the cheapest possible shipping. The order shipped on Monday. From Minnesota. It arrived on Wednesday. In Mountain View, California. This is why I don’t pay for rush shipping if USPS or USPS Media Mail is available…around here, at least, I like the Post Office’s performance.

There are 50 titles. Some of them aren’t what you’d think of as “movies” (i.e., two collections of shorts, each running less than 45 minutes total), and some are musical revues rather than musicals as such. Most are in black & white (including at least one marked as color). Five are movies I have in other collections (but that’s OK: The five range from pretty good to first rate, and those five are in color). Most are old, as you’d expect, although one features Tuesday Weld and Chuck Berry. I probably won’t get to these pictures for a year or so, but I’m looking forward to it–quite a few of these are little-known movies that were never widely released, and I suspect there will be some great performances among them.

Third and finally, a possibly-redundant note as to why I find these megapacks so interesting (doing the reviews is just fun…): These packs testify to the wealth of material that is or should be in the public domain–and the hotly competitive and technology-driven DVD market makes it feasible to sell a package of 50 movies for $20, in a box that weighs less than a pound and takes up less shelf space than two videocassettes. These aren’t “DVD quality” remasters from the original films; they’re typically VHS-quality, sometimes not quite that good, leaving lots of room for the best movies to come out as higher-quality DVD releases. But these sets offer extensive looks into movie history and loads of good entertainment, at a price and in a form that was impossible prior to DVDs. They’re great cheap fodder for film studies, understanding the culture, and–well–making fun of the bad’uns.

Similarly, but in a different vein, cheap DVD production costs and compact storage make it possible to release very high quality sets of great old (and new) TV shows with loads of extras and picture and sound quality few of us ever saw when the shows were new. (If the music rights can be cleared, that is–I wonder whether seasons 3 and later of Moonlighting will ever emerge from clearance oblivion…)

DVDs will be gone by 2012? Here are a dozen more reasons I regard that as a silly projection…and why, even with copy protection (which these discs may or may not have), I love DVD.

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