Sunday, April 12, 2009

Studio Logos MIA (for the most part) on DVD

During the recent Home Theater Forum chat with Warner Home Video one member asked WHV if they would ever consider restoring the 1970s era Warner Communications logo for DVD reissues of films from that era.  Interestingly, the representatives answered that they have already brought the request to corporate and were awaiting approval.  As much as I love most of what WHV has done with catalog releases, I have been disappointed whenever I see a modern Warner Bros. logo preceding a '70s film such as Night Moves.

In the grand scheme of things, it's small, but I would like WHV to follow the lead of studios like Sony/Columbia (who ever thought I would say that) and include age appropriate logos.  It seems like the studios tend to keep logos from the classic era, but '70s logos, such as those of United Artists, perhaps due to mergers and buyouts, have been largely replaced by newer logos on DVD.

Following are some of my favorite "vanished" logos:

This one preceded Filmways productions like Blow Out and Summer Lovers.  It was the final logo of this mini-major prior to its purchase by Orion.  The laserdisc for Blow Out retained the logo, but the DVD replaced it with an Orion logo.  When the film aired on MGMHD recently, however, the Filmways logo was back.  The 16mm print of Summer Lovers that I viewed many years ago had the Filmways logo intact, however the DVD and recent cable airings contain an Orion logo.  I can't speak for earlier video and television incarnations.

The final United Artists logo prior to its purchase by MGM, I remember it most fondly from its appearance prior to Rocky III.  The eerie theme music is by Joe Harnell (The Incredible Hulk).  David Gordon Green chose to begin his 2004 film Undertow with this version of the UA logo because he remembered liking and being scared by it as a child.

I strongly associate this logo with childhood viewings of Superman III.  On my widescreen Superman III laserdisc, the logo was replaced by a newer Warner Bros. logo, however when the image shifted to Richard Pryor in the unemployment line, the silhouette of the old Warner Communications seemed to have been burned into the image. I looked for it on the new DVD, but it's not there.

MGM/UA has sadly replaced the Transamerica-associated UA logos on just about every iteration of its UA catalog.  However, the odd cable screening will retain these '70s-era logos. Several years ago I programmed a couple freshly minted UA 35mm prints (The Revolutionary, Electra Glide in Blue).  The prints, of course, retained the original logos. But, when Electra Glide appeared on DVD, it was with a new UA logo.  Still waiting on The Revolutionary to bow on DVD.

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