We were quite pleased to have the opportunity to take part in a group discussion/interview with George Feltenstein, film historian and executive at Warner Bros., notable for his work in bringing us the Warner Archive Collection. Mr. Feltenstein’s love of movies and appreciation for those of us who enjoy and promote the Warner Archive is palpable and it was delightful to spend an hour online with him. He began with a brief statement advising us that while’s he’s not the final decision-maker as to what gets restored and released, he’s a valued voice at the table in those discussions.

Interview with George Feltenstein of Warner Archive

Notes from the meeting:

  • The DVD format is dead for Warner Archive; their efforts now are at restoration and 4K remastering for Blu-ray release.
  • Social media is an invaluable tool for them; the announcement of The Flash TV series (the first series, with John Wesley Shipp) Blu-ray release garnered 200,000 hits the first morning.
  • They also like feedback from fans; he mentioned replacing the “ugly yellow” subtitles with improved SDH titling was a feather in their cap.
  • Patience is a virtue; they’ve been working on some restorations for two years and still aren’t ready with some titles yet.

Mr. Feltenstein says that he works with WB Corporate Legal now, which helps get things done, and discussed some of the problems with the things they’re working on, casting a wide net to ensure they have the best possible end product in their restoration, including video restorations. The results can be miraculous: he insists we are going to be absolutely blown away by the upcoming Mask of Fu Manchu Blu-ray release.

Speaking of restorations, we were treated to an in-depth discussion of the restoration for the upcoming noir The Man I Love; Mr. Feltenstein stated that the original camera negative clocked in at 90 minutes, but it was noted that the contemporary 1947 reviews listed the film at 96 minutes. Examining the music cue sheet revealed that in June 1956, a song was cut because Warner Bros. had sold the film (later to reacquire it) and didn’t want to pay the music license fee. That number has been restored and will be included as part of the film for the first time since 1956!

More news:

  • The Alaskans TV series with Roger Moore and Dorothy Provine has rarely been seen since it originally aired, due to the music rights being tied up. Those rights have been cleared, the restoration is remarkable, and we’re all going to love it.
  • In news that we were praying to hear, restorations are being undertaken on the early Hanna-Barbera animated TV series, including original credits, commercials, etc. “Historical accuracy and care” is being taken on these key nostalgic pieces, he promised.
  • Around the World in 80 Days is a problematic title and restoration is not being actively worked on, although materials are being gathered, difficult because the movie was originally shot with two Todd-AO cameras tied together, one at 30 fps and one at 24 fps, and the film was released in 65mm and the notoriously-for-fading Eastmancolor.
  • A discussion followed of new and newer series and films that need restoration or release, including the remaining DC Comics superhero TV shows, Pennies from Heaven, Star 80, Ken Russell films, Clean and Sober, and others.

In the Balcony brought up a couple of things (we offered to wash his car weekly for two years for a decent Laurel & Hardy restoration; he remarked that at age 13, he was already a member of Sons of the Desert and would LOVE to give us Fra Diavolo). He talked about the problem with cartoon restorations, in particular the Fleischer Popeyes, but told us he’s optimistic that eventually they will be restored and released. He advised that Jonny Quest was expensive, took four separate WB departments to put together and release, but turned out to be quite profitable (the bottom line) and he was optimistic about other cartoon series that require a lot of work.

It was an entertaining, informative, and highly worthwhile meeting.

We look forward to bringing you Balconeers additional news and information. Stay tuned!

Warner Archive Collection releases are available at Movie Zyng