Thanksgiving Thursday, I took advantage of some sales a local store was having. I picked up the new Celine Dion CD for $10, but that's irrelevant. They also had several Mill Creek 20 movie packs on sale for $5. (Whilst their regular price is $7.99 - about $2.50 more than the ones you'll find in Wal Mart's $5.50 bin, but Wal Mart's 35 miles away, so what are ya gonna do?) I picked up the Musicals 20 Movie Pack. I actually watched one of them this morning - Glorifying The American Girl. Interesting little film from the infancy of sound on film. I hear UCLA recently did a restoration restoring the two-strip Technicolor scenes and all the censorship edits, such as some *gasp* nudity. I'd love to see that, especially since this print was pretty nasty. But it was watchable and fairly enjoyable. A bit stagy, but most early sound films are. There were actually two or three films in the set that I was very much impressed with how great the transfers were, but at the moment, I couldn't tell you which ones. I've previewed all the titles, though, and they're all at least watchable.
Today, I was at a store called Mighty Dollar, and among several DVDs, they had the Mill Creek Detectives 10 Movie Pack. Well, a Mill Creek set for $1? You bet I snatched it right up. Having just previewed it, I have to say I'm blown away. This set offers some of the best transfers I've ever seen on budget DVDs of public domain fare. The Dick Tracy and Sherlock Holmes movies, save for the last one in the set (Can't currently remember the title.) are all near the quality of an official studio-released DVD.
I also picked up The World Of Hans Christian Andersen from Digivew and a double "cult classics" feature from Intercontinental featuring D.O.A. and Hell's House. I already had The World Of Hans Christian Andersen on a PC Treasures disc with The Pied Piper Of Hamlin...that's actually the reason I bought that disc, since I have The Pied Piper on DVD from Brentwood already. However, in the time I've been buying $1 DVDs, that may be the one time I've gotten one that was nearly unwatchable due to poor quality. It was obviously taken from a VHS that had been dubbed at least 5 times over in SP mode, with some considerable tape damage in some parts. Digiview's isn't much better, but it's definitely an improvement. As for D.O.A./Hell's House, the video and audio quality on both is quite good for public domain fare. However, this DVD had a price tag on it from Tower Records, where it sold for $4.99, so chances are they may have had access to better source materials. D.O.A. is the better of the transfers. Again, close to legit studio-released DVD quality.
I also bought a CD/DVD set from Starlight Records called The Humphrey Bogart Era. The CD contains popular 40's songs in listenable sound quality intro'd and outro'd with clips of Bogey speaking. The DVD contains the film Beat The Devil and the complete episode of The Jack Benny Show in which he appeared. The transfer of Beat The Devil is very nice. Not quite that of a legit studio-released DVD, but better than most. Wish I could say the same about The Jack Benny Show. The contrast and brightness are turned up so much on this, it's absolutely unwatchable. First $1 DVD purchase I've ever made that has something where the quality is so crappy that it's actually unwatchable. But for the music and the decent transfer of Beat The Devil, it's absolutely worth it.