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Gaumont Bring ‘Manufactured on Demand’ to Europe… October 2, 2010

Posted by John Hodson in : DVD News & Info , 2 comments

Invasion of The Disc Snatchers?

Gaumont in France has launched a Manufactured on Demand (MoD) service to ape the schemes already on the go in the US and spearheaded by Warners Archive wheeze - details, including a video interview with Jérôme Soulet, head of of Video at Gaumont, at the French webzine 1kult.com.

Some fine films included in the first two waves as you can see - films by such luminaries as Welles, Melville, Costa-Gravas, René Clair, William Dieterle, Jean Renoir among them.

From what I can gather, these discs (I initially assumed they must be DVD-Rs, but Msr. Soulet does seem to indicate they are professionally pressed) will sell for €12.50 plus postage and are available only from the Gaumont website. Overseas mailing is offered, but, for example, postage to the UK appears to add an eye-watering €16.26 to the bill, and that for a single item! The first wave is available now, with another in November and they are talking of including High Definition releases in the future on Blu-ray discs.

Be interesting to see how they are received. But I anticipate we’ll be looking at the same standards set by the Archive; varying levels of restoration, older transfers, little or no extra features.

Skimming through the titles on offer, most do seem to be without any supplemental features, but if you have no French, the worst aspect is that they only have French soundtracks and French ‘hard of hearing’ subtitles. These DVD-9s also seem to come in Thinpaks. Most, if not all, also carry the warning: “This DVD was made from the best video source available today. The film has not been restored  for digital image and sound.”

So, we now have MoD schemes in the US by Warner, MGM, Sony, with Fox said to be on the verge, and now the first European model. Warner did mention some while back that they would be looking at launching an Archive scheme in the UK - it can only be a matter of time.

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