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2013
LAUREATE’S 13TH YEAR OF OPERATION

TCM’S CLASSIC CRUISE

2013 got off to a great start with Laureate’s directors, Ken & Anne Barnes being invited to attend the Turner Classic Movies movie-themed Celebrity Cruise. Sailing from Miami across the Caribbean stopping at Grand Cayman and Cuisimil in Mexico, this was a star-studded event that played host to 1500 movie buffs.

Here, to welcome everyone aboard, was l-to-r TCM’s host, ROBERT OSBORNE, with some of the star personalities, ARLEEN DAHL, SALLY ANN HOWES, NORMAN LLOYD, DEBBIE REYNOLDS and seated, MICKEY ROONEY.

The cruise, which took place aboard Celebrity’s appropriately-named Constellation, consisted of lectures, quizzes, wine-tasting, dancing, a 1920s evening and ,of course, movies screened at the ship’s three cinemas.

All of the stars were interviewed about their films and took part in question and answer sessions.
Debbie Reynolds talked about “Singin’ In The Rain” (1952) and two other of her films.
Arlene Dahl spoke about her part in “Woman’s World” (1956), Mickey Rooney recalled his work with Spencer Tracy in “Boy’s Town” (1938), with Judy Garland in “Strike Up The Band” (1940), and “National Velvet” (1944) with a young Elizabeth Taylor.
But the two most impressive evenings were with veteran actor/director Norman Lloyd and master impressionist RICH LITTLE.
Lloyd – now in his 99th year (and still playing tennis twice a week) – thrilled everyone with hilarious anecdotes of his experiences of working with such giants as Charlie Chaplin and Alfred Hitchock.
Rich Little – who Robert Osborne introduced as “The Man of a 1000 Voices” – held the audience enthralled with his amazing impressions of such Hollywood legends as James Stewart, Walter Brennan, John Wayne, Glenn Ford, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Ronald Reagan ( all of whom he knew personally), and with a particularly funny story about meeting Richard Nixon.

We are indebted to TCM’s energetic Vice-President, Tom Brown for making us so welcome throughout this enjoyable voyage.

Judging from the reaction, this cruise – which was the second TCM Cruise – is bound to become an annual event. It is also a reminder of how much better the commercial-free TCM is in the USA compared to the bland commercial-ridden presentations of TCM-UK.

Speaking of classic films, we should mention Universal’s recent Blu-Ray edition of the Orson Welles classic “Citizen Kane” which retains the excellent and informative audio commentary by Laureate’s Ken Barnes and the revealing documentary “Anatomy of a Classic” hosted by Barry Norman and written, produced and directed by Ken.

Also worth checking out is Sony’s new Blu-Ray of David Lean’s classic “Lawrence of Arabia”.

Stay tuned till next time.
 

 

2012 – A YEAR OF CELEBRATION

2012 is a year that marks several milestones. Our dear Queen Elizabeth 11 celebrates 60 years on the throne, it’s the year that the UK hosts the Olympics, but for film buffs two of the greatest Hollywood studios – Universal and Paramount – each celebrate 100 years of film making.

UNIVERSAL

Universal are marking the occasion with a host of special DVD and Blu-ray releases of some of their most famous films of the last 100 years including “All Quiet On The Western Front” (1930), “Frankenstein”(1931), “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1962), “The Sting”(1973) and many others. They are also releasing a newly-restored Blu-ray edition update of Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane” utilizing all of the “extras” that were originally produced back in 2003 by Laureate Presentations including an exclusive documentary “Anatomy of a Classic” hosted by Barry Norman – written, produced and directed by Laureate’s Ken Barnes, who also provides an absorbing feature-length audio commentary.

PARAMOUNT

Paramount are following suit with some of their most memorable films in new Blu-ray and DVD editions including Alfred Hitchcock’s “To Catch a Thief” (1955) and “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” (1961) and several others of iconic status. Alas, Paramount are unable to present all of their greatest films of the 1930s and 1940s due to the fact that their entire catalogue up to 1949 now belongs to Universal – who have made sure that a large slice of those classics have found their way onto DVD and will be appearing in Blu-ray in the not-too-distant future.

Stay tuned for more news soon.

 

NEWS UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 2011

We’ve been so busy this year that there has been little time to keep up to date. So in this report, we’ll be looking both backward and forward.

Firstly, following Clint Eastwood’s Emmy-nominated film “Johnny Mercer – The Dream’s On Me” written by Laureate’s Ken Barnes for TCM, Ken has been commissioned to research and write a new similar documentary on Academy Award-winning lyricist,Sammy Cahn. Tentatively titled “I’ve Heard That Song Before,” this will be for 2013 transmission (Sammy’s centennial).


BLU-RAY goes LARGE

For classic film buffs who have invested in large screens and Blu-Ray, 2011 has been a bumper year. March saw the release –in the U.S.A. (just in time for Easter) – of Paramount’s spectacular new Blu-Ray presentation of Cecil B. De Mille’s gargantuan 1956 production of:

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

To call it a special edition is an understatement. The restoration work on this much-loved classic – supervised by Paramount’s Ron Smith - has to be seen to be believed.
It comes in two different versions. First – and definitely foremost – is the elaborate 6-disc de-luxe gift set offering the film in both Blu-Ray and DVD with a host of “extras” that includes De Mille’s original 1923 silent version, a newly-produced documentary on the making of the film titled “Making Miracles", a most entertaining audio commentary by film historian, Katherine Orrison, a 48-page hardback book with the original set and costume designs, the 1956 souvenir pressbook that accompanied the New York premiere AND two simulated stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments are written in Hebrew – which open out to reveal the six discs.
The outer cover of the box has a special Perspex overlay giving a 3D effect showing Charlton Heston as Moses about to part the Red Sea. When the box is opened it splits apart giving the impression of the Red Sea actually parting. Spectacular stuff.
Be warned though. This particular presentation is issued as a limited edition of only 100,000 individually-numbered copies. For those who want just the Blu-Ray version – devoid of all these extras but including the audio commentary – there is a standard two-disc version.

What Paramount can do, Warner Brothers can also do and this September will see their much-anticipated Blu-Ray version of the 1959 Academy Award-winning-blockbuster:

BEN-HUR

Described as “the 50th Anniversary Edition” (despite being 52 years old) This, too, is a momentous release with a host of dazzling “extras", and is also available in two versions.
A special gift set which Warners – like Paramount – will be presenting as a limited edition of 100,000 individually-numbered copies. This comes as a three-set in Blu-Ray only ( which means it’s not so expensive as the Paramount release). But the “extras” are just as mouth-watering.

Discs One and Two present the movie with the first disc ending at the intermission point. This, like “The Ten Commandments”, has been restored on a frame-by-frame from the original 65mm camera negative and remastered in stunning 1080p High Definition for maximum picture and audio clarity.
It also carries an audio commentary by film historian T. Gene Hacker with Charlton Heston – plus a Music Only track featuring Miklos Rosza’s Award-winning score.

Disc Three: Special Features:

New feature-length documentary “Charlton Heston & Ben-Hur: A Personal Journey” featuring never-before-available footage from the Heston Family Archives.

Two more documentaries: “Ben-Hur – The Making of an Epic” narrated by Christopher Plummer and “Ben-Hur – The Epic That Changed Cinema”.

Screen Tests.

Highlights from the 1960 Academy Awards telecast.

“Charlton Heston-The Ben-Hur Diaries.” Reproduction of Charlton Heston’s personal diary from January,1958 to April 1960.

Exclusive book with rare photos,production art & reproductions from the original pressbook – and other goodies. Release date: September 27,2011. Here’s what the set looks like:

More news soon. Stay tuned.


NEWS UPDATE - AUGUST 2010

NEWS FROM THE U.S.A.

AN EMMY NOMINATION
The recent documentary
CLINT EASTWOOD PRESENTS
JOHNNY MERCER “THE DREAM’S ON ME”
(written by Laureate’s KEN BARNES)
has been nominated for a 2010 EMMY as Best Non-Fiction Special

_____________________

 FORTHCOMING PROJECTS

U.S DEBUT of LAUREATE’S SPECIAL EDITION DVD of
FRANK CAPRA’S “ MEET JOHN DOE”

2011 will mark the 70TH Anniversary of this Capra classic and to celebrate the event, VCI ENTERTAINMENT will be releasing the much-praised Laureate Special Edition for the first time on the U.S. market in November with a new updated restoration.

Chock full of enticing extras including a feature-length audio commentary by Laureate’s KEN BARNES with exclusive audio comments from FRANK CAPRA
(recorded at the director’s California home in 1980), three featurettes on stars GARY COOPER & BARBARA STANWYCK and director CAPRA. Extensive essays on the Cast & Crew and full production background PLUS two Lux Radio versions of “FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS” (featuring COOPER and INGRID BERGMAN) and “SORRY WRONG NUMBER” (featuring STANWYCK and BURT LANCASTER).

NEW BING CROSBY DVD BOX SET

All set for November release in the U.S. is a new Universal box set of SIX Bing Crosby films – Five new to DVD:

Crosby collectors will revel in this new collection which features College Humor (1933), We’re Not Dressing (1934), Here Is My Heart (1934), Mississippi (1935), Sing You Sinners (1938) and Welcome Stranger (1947).

A top entry in Universal’s Backlot series, all six titles come from Crosby’s halcyon years as the world’s most popular entertainer. Of the six films only “We’re Not Dressing” has been previously issued on DVD as part of a Carole Lombard collection. Classic stuff which crowns a great year for Crosby collectors.

And that’s not all ! Paramount are also releasing a new Blu Ray release of “WHITE CHRISTMAS” in the USA on November 2nd. Bing’s legion of fans will have no trouble deciding what they want for Christmas this year.

More next time

MARCH 2010

NEWS FROM THE U.S.A.

March 2010 sees the release of TWO ALL TIME CLASSICS

1. The newly restored version of

THE AFRICAN QUEEN

Starring Humphrey Bogart & Katherine Hepburn
Directed by John Huston

Making its DVD debut in the USA, this classic film based on CS Forester’s novel is presented in FOUR different versions - Read more

 

2. A CHERISHED ALBUM FIRST TIME ON CD

BING CROSBY

“ SEASONS”

An international best seller on its original vinyl release in 1977, BING CROSBY’S last album – produced by LAUREATE’S KEN BARNES in London in September of 1977 just one month before the singer’s untimely death, this award-winning collection has been unavailable since 1982 due to contractual complications. As a result, it has become the most sought-after of all Crosby’s recordings. Now, finally, the legalities have been ironed out with the Crosby family gaining complete ownership of the album and releasing it as a Collector’s Choice De Luxe EditionRead more

 

NEWS UPDATE - JANUARY 2010

THE JOHNNY MERCER CENTENNIAL

Date November 18, 2009
Place: Savannah,Georgia. U.S.A.

A life-size bronze statue of Johnny Mercer (1909-1976) was unveiled in Savannah’s Ellis Square. The ceremony was attended by various City and State dignitaries receiving full media coverage – TV, press and radio, etc. Read more...
 

NEW ALBUM RELEASE

Working from the original 16-track analogue tapes, KEN BARNES supervised the new digital re-mixing and remastering of Johnny Mercer’s classic 1974 London recordings. Now available as a double CD from Amazon Read more...

 

NEW DVD

Legendary Hollywood director and actor, CLINT EASTWOOD acted as Executive Producer of a new feature-length documentary on the life and times of JOHNNY MERCER which was co-funded by the Johnny Mercer Foundation, Turner Classic Movies, Warner Home Video and BBC’s Arena. Read more...

Watch out for more developments in 2010.

BLU_RAY

Blu-ray Disc (also known as BD or Blu-Ray) is an optical disc storage medium designed to supercede the standard DVD format. Read more...

 

NEWS UPDATE - AUGUST 2009

                                 TWO IMPORTANT CENTENARY EVENTS

In the last year, LAUREATE has participated in celebrating the centenaries of two important artists of the 20th century. Master film maker, David Lean and master songwriter Johnny Mercer.  Each in his own way is unique, both made an indelible impression in their respective fields and both were recipients of Academy Awards for their individual contributions to the world of film.

DAVID LEAN (1908-1991)

LAUREATE is pleased to announce their own choice for the DVD Box Set of 2009 -
THE DAVID LEAN CENTENARY COLLECTION
– 10 fully restored classic films tracing the history and progress of Lean’s celebrated “English” period – which many say represents his best work.    Read more...

 

JOHNNY MERCER (1909 – 1976)

LAUREATE’S KEN BARNES – who knew and worked with Johnny Mercer – has been busy researching and writing the script for a film documentary on Mercer’s life. Read more...

 

NEWS UPDATE - FEBRUARY 2009

HIGH DEFINITION MEDIA PROSPECTS

High Definition television (HDTV) is rapidly completing its transformation from a high-end luxury technology enjoyed primarily by affluent early adoptors, to a mainstream product dominating the shelves of high street retailers. Industry estimates of HDTV household penetration surpassed 50 per cent last year – with sales of high definition sets expected to triple in just the next few years. Put simply, HDTV’s roots have taken hold and the reasons for that are many – including regulatory influences that are pushing consumers towards DTV purchases along with decreasing retail prices, expanding HD programming options and a greater consumer emphasis on picture and sound quality. Read more...
 

BLU-RAY CLASSICS ON THE WAY

Since this website has always catered for the classic film buff, it’s a pleasure to announce that 2009 will see 50th Anniversary Blu-Ray editions of Hitchcock’s “North By Northwest” and Read more...

CLINT EASTWOOD Celebrates
THE JOHNNY MERCER CENTENNIAL

2009 marks the hundredth anniversary of the birth of classic songwriter, JOHNNY MERCER. To commemorate this event, a special two-hour film documentary is currently in production for international showing later this year.

This is a joint project involving the Johnny Mercer Foundation, Turner Classic Movies, Warner Home Video and the BBC. The Executive Producer is CLINT EASTWOOD, producer/director is BRUCE RICKER and the writer is Laureate’s KEN BARNES .Read more...

NEWS UPDATE - JULY 2008

HOO-RAY FOR BLU-RAY
(but where are the classics?)

Now that the high definition format war is over – that Sony’s Blu-ray has emerged the winner and Toshiba’s HD-DVD has gone the way of the dodo – movie buffs are currently being inundated with a veritable deluge of titles in the Blu-ray format. The great majority of the films currently on release are new, or at least recent, titles. To the film companies, of course, this makes perfect sense. Their new films – flops and hits alike – represent massive investments that must be recouped as soon as possible. Also the one thing they have in common is they are all produced under the latest state-of-the-art technical conditions and are perfectly compatible with Blu-ray’s high definition delivery. This may be good news for the Harry Potter – X Men generation, but what about the collectors of classic films? Read more...

THE FRED ASTAIRE CONFERENCE

This worthwhile four-day event covering the life and career of the great Fred Astaire took place at Oriel College, Oxford from June 21 to 24 and was organised on a most efficient scale by two very gifted ladies Kathleen Riley (from Australia) and Chris Bamberger (from the U.S.A.) and attended by Astaire experts and admirers from all over the world. Read more...

 

NEWS UPDATE - JANUARY 2008

2008 – The Year of Blu-ray ?

For more than two years now the DVD has been standing on the threshold of a new era in home entertainment. High Definition. But with this new era came an old problem. The battle of two formats to win over a new generation of DVD buyers is very much akin to the early days of video tape and the conflict between VHS and Betamax. That battle, of course, was won years ago by VHS which itself was eventually swallowed up by the DVD – the fastest developing area in the history of home entertainment. Read more...

 

NEWS UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 2007

BOX SETS – BOOKS and the BIG BAND SOUND

A BUMPER YEAR FOR BOX SETS

2007 is proving to be an amazing year for DVD box sets on both sides of the Atlantic.

Among the homegrown PAL releases of classic movies, there are sets devoted to the early British films of such well-remembered actors as LAURENCE OLIVIER, JAMES MASON and STEWART GRANGER Read more...

WARNERS LEADS THE FIELD

On the American side of the spectrum, Warners – as usual – lead the way with their ongoing “Signature Collection” series which, this year, offers sets devoted to such charismatic stars as KATHERINE HEPBURN, GARY COOPER and JAMES CAGNEY...
Read more...

FOX FOLLOWS WARNERS

Laureate members will remember that three years ago we held a forum on the films of 20th Century Fox in which scores of members sent in their requests for many neglected films from musicals – like “Daddy Long Legs” and “Sun Valley Serenade” – to Film Noir titles such as “Laura” and “Kiss of Death” and the films of Tyrone Power. Read more...

NEW BOOKS

We have just received word of the publication of three highly desirable books that are sure to have an appeal to many of Laureate’s members and visitors. Read more...

THE BIG BAND WITH A DIFFERENCE

Back in 1973 when the record industry were pinning their hopes on the arrival of quadraphonic sound, Ken Barnes, one of the busiest independent record producers in London, was commissioned by Pye Records to produce some albums that would exploit the new 4-channel concept of audio entertainment. He selected a big band with a difference. Read more...


 

LAUREATE recommend
HOT
BOX

NEW from Fox Home Entertainment. UK PAL Region 2
EIGHT VINTAGE MUSICALS from the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s in
ONE COLLECTABLE BOX SET

DADDY LONG LEGS
Fred Astaire, Leslie Caron
The Ray Anthony Orchestra
(Audio Commentary by Laureate’s Ken Barnes & Ava Astaire Mackenzie)

 

SUN VALLEY SERENADE
Sonja Henie, John Payne
The Glenn Miller Orchestra

 

Irving Berlin’s
ON THE AVENUE
Dick Powell, Madeleine Carroll, Alice Faye

 

PIN UP GIRL
Betty Grable. Martha Raye
The Charlie Spivak Orchestra
Irving Berlin’s
SECOND FIDDLE

Sonja Henie, Tyrone Power

 

ORCHESTRA WIVES
George Montgomery, Ann Rutherford
The Glenn Miller Orchestra
THE GANG’S ALL HERE
Alice Faye, Carmen Miranda
The Benny Goodman Orchestra
THE DOLLY SISTERS
Betty Grable, June Haver, John Payne
 

 

NEWS UPDATE -- FEBRUARY 2007

ANOTHER TRIUMPH FOR LAUREATE - UNIVERSAL’S “ HOLIDAY INN – SPECIAL EDITION” soars into the U.S. TOP 30 DVDs

SINATRA VEGAS IS A WINNER FOR WARNERS

FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT ARE MEETING YOUR REQUESTS

NEWS UPDATE - NOVEMBER 2006

NEW ON DVD

UNIVERSAL’S STATESIDE RELEASE OF “ HOLIDAY INN”

NEWLY RELEASED in the UK is the RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN COLLECTION

NEW ON CD

DICK HAYMES – THE COMPLETE CAPITOL COLLECTION

THE BIG NEWS for FRANK SINATRA collectors is the all-new Warner Brothers Box set SINATRA-VEGAS


 

NEWS UPDATE !
AVAILABLE from FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT

The long awaited DVD debut of a much-loved classic screen musical

More...

CITIZEN KANE
gets the deluxe treatment from
CDA Entertainment
in association with
Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd.

Following the critical and commercial success of Laureate's dedicated presentation of Universal's "Citizen Kane-Special Edition" (featured in HMV's 2005 campaign "100 DVDs you MUST Have"), CDA Entertainment have now created a deluxe Classic Presentation Box making this the definitive collector's version of the timeless Orson Welles film classic.

 

Two Discs: Senitypes, Stills and Commemorative Booklet

Disc One:
* Restored and remastered feature
* Soundtrack: Dolby Digital 2 channel
* Audio commentary from Ken Barnes

Disc Two:
* "Anatomy of a Classic:"
documentary presented by Barry Norman (50 mins)
* Restoration comparison
* Behind the scenes stills gallery
* "The War of the Worlds" original 1938 radio broadcast
* "The Happy Prince" Oscar Wilde's classic children's story.
The original 1945 commercial recording with Orson Welles and Bing Crosby
* Original theatrical trailer
PLUS
* Collectible senitype -exclusive 35 mm image of the film.
* Six high quality reproduction stills from the film.
* Commemorative booklet
Housed in a sturdy de-luxe presentation box

Available from all good video dealers and on line from www.amazon.co.uk

 

Indiscreet
Operation Petticoat
Bringing Up Baby
My Favourite Wife

The debonair Cary Grant in four of his most popular films

 Available at all good sales outlets and from www.Amazon.co.uk

Starring Kirk Douglas

More info

 

The Bounty
Starring Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins

More info

 

Shall We Dance
Top Hat
Carefree
Follow The Fleet

*
Catch Astaire and Rogers at their incomparable best!
Each film introduced personally by Fred's daughter, Ava Astaire McKenzie

Available at all good sales outlets  and from www.Amazon.co.uk

 

Stephen King's The Dead Zone
Starring Christopher Walken and Martin Sheen

More info

 

Animal Crackers
Monkey Business
Horse Feathers
Duck Soup

*

The Four Marx Brothers in four of their zaniest and most inspired film creations

Available at all good sales outlets  and from www.Amazon.co.uk

 

Holiday Inn
Starring Bing Crosby
Fred Astaire
*More info

 

Road to...

Singapore
Zanzibar
Morocco
Utopia

*

Join Bing, Bob and Dottie on four hilarious, song-filled, gag-laden journeys

Available at all good sales outlets  and from www.Amazon.co.uk

Steven Lewis' Bing Crosby Internet Museum
Bing Magazine

 

*  for  UNIVERSAL PICTURES (UK) LIMITED


 

All text & Pictures © Laureate Company. Design © Karen Edwards 2002/2010