VOOM Epics-HD Gets More Classic Movies

Sean Mota

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Sun Jan 4, 7:00 PM ET


(Variety) LONDON Blighty's Carlton Intl. Media is refurbishing its huge library of movie classics, including "The African Queen," to take advantage of the DVD boom and high-definition TV.

Restoration funding for the 1951 classic, starring Katharine Hepburn (news) and Humphrey Bogart (news), is coming jointly from Paramount, which holds the U.S. rights.

" 'The African Queen' is getting a very full restoration, right back to the original negatives," says Fiona Maxwell, Carlton Intl. Media's controller of operations. "The work is being done in the U.K. and includes an interview with cinematographer Jack Cardiff (news)."

The technological revamp of the 1,500-movie library, the sixth largest, will future-proof it, according to Carlton Intl., Media CEO Rupert Dilnott-Cooper.

It includes classics from the Rank library ("Oliver Twist," "The Ipcress File"), Romulus Films ("Richard III"), Alexander Korda ("The Scarlet Pimpernel") and the ITC Film Library ("Sophie's Choice," "On Golden Pond," "The Eagle Has Landed").

The library refurb was prompted by Carlton America's recent HDTV movie output deal with Cablevision's Rainbow high-def service Voom, which went live Oct. 15 with 21 exclusive premium channels.

Carlton's output deal is with Voom movie channel Epics, which is dedicated to classic films in HD.

The joy of 35mm celluloid is that it is HD "ready," provided the print is pristine. And this is where Carlton's restoration team steps in.

"A (tape) master that was created five or more years ago would almost certainly not be acceptable now," Maxwell says. "Today's DVD market alone almost demands a fresh look at the complete archive. Add in HD broadcast and you have to leap well ahead with this fresh examination."

Carlton Intl. Media, which brings together the media rights management, distribution and licensing divisions and the U.S. television movie acquisition and production arm of Carlton Communications, has invested around $18 million in this work over the past six years.

Restoration isn't easy, with each film taking a typical 50,000 frame-by-frame fixes.

"That many fixes would have been unheard of a year or two ago," Maxwell explains. "But, helped by the demand of HD, and because of the tool set and skills now acquired, we can do a much more thorough job. We can supply library owners with a product that's probably better than it could have ever have been in the film world, other than on the first few screenings. As for TV transfer, the quality would never have been at anything close to this level."

The first 10 titles have been delivered to Voom including "Les Miserables" and "A Tale of Two Cities."

The classic "Richard III," staring Laurence Olivier (news) and John Gielgud (news), complete with three minutes of lost material, is among another 20 now available in HD.

Carlton is collaborating with Criterion Pictures on "Richard III," which is in better shape than anytime since its 1955 release.

The Cardiff interview on "The African Queen" is typical of extras being offered.

"We have camera crews working almost solely going around interviewing stars and directors on their filmmaking experiences," says Dilnott-Cooper.

"We were horrified when Dirk Bogarde (news) passed away before we were able to capture an interview. He was in 16 of our movies, and so we have decided to invest more to speed up the interview process. The same is happening with most of the large studios, but it has influenced our thinking on the release of special-edition DVDs."


SatelliteGuys Family
Nov 5, 2003
Question is, will the films that are 1.33:1 actually be shown in 1.33:1? Or will they be cropped top and bottom?

Sean Mota

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Sep 8, 2003
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Matt_Stevens said:
Question is, will the films that are 1.33:1 actually be shown in 1.33:1? Or will they be cropped top and bottom?

Not clear Matt as Epics-HD has been one of the two channels (the other being Monsters-HD) that presented limited amount of movies in their OAR.

Sean Mota

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SatelliteGuys Master
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Sep 8, 2003
New York City
I saw both of these movies in Epics-HD. Both were very good transfer and very good movies. Yet, there are those that will complain that these movies do not look HD because they do not compare close to the HD transfer of the LOTR.

I think that we see these clasic movies in HD we need to put in perspective that these movies are old and the transfer we'll be as good as it gets. Yes, it could be better but the condition of the film will determine how good it is and we cannot expect to compare these clasics to more recent movies that have been transfered to HD.

This also means that Epics-HD library of movies will increase to 1,500 titles of clasic movies. I wish I can find what are these titles.

Sean Mota

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SatelliteGuys Master
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Sep 8, 2003
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Carlton International Media Group, one of the world's largest film and television programme owner/distributors, has licensed a number of classic titles from its Carlton Film Collection and the ITC Library to Rainbow DBS's VOOM, the television service offering a comprehensive array of high-definition (HD) programming to customers throughout the continental United States. The announcement was made today by Carlton International's Vice President of US Sales, Jeri Sacks.

Under terms of the multi-year agreement, VOOM will air thirteen mini-series and feature film titles converted to HD by Carlton International on its Epics Channel. The channel is dedicated to showing films completely in HD. Among the titles included in the arrangement are ARIA, ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, THE BIG SLEEP, VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED, THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, FAREWELL MY LOVELY, GREAT EXPECTATIONS, LES MISERABLES, MAN FRIDAY, THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK, MARCH OR DIE, A TALE OF TWO CITIES and the classic mini-series MOSES THE LAWGIVER.

The deal is an outgrowth of the current arrangement between the companies involving the exclusive licensing of a number of Carlton International feature films for Rainbow Media Holdings' American Movie Classics, The Independent Film Channel and Romance Classics. The organizations entered into this agreement in 2000.

Regarding the announcement, Jeri Sacks stated, "HD broadcast is an exciting new platform through which viewers can watch films with stunning clarity of image and sound. Given the significant number of films that Carlton International owns, we elected to invest in and begin the process of transferring titles to HD, not only to distribute them to such progressive outlets as VOOM, but also as an archiving system to save these wonderful films for future generations to enjoy."

Carlton International manages an ongoing film restoration project, preserving and restoring titles found in the Carlton Film Collection and the Programme Catalogue. For titles undergoing the full restoration treatment, HD will now feature as an additional restoration layer, allowing the full depth of colour to be retrieved.

List of Possible Titles:

Gengre: About the Movies:

A Tale of Two Cities
Film : 1 x half hour
Includes interviews with Dorothy Tutin (starring actress), Christopher Lee (starring actor) and Ralph Thomas (Director). (See page 130)....

A Town Like Alice
Film : 1 x half hour
This profile features interviews with Virginia McKenna and Jean Anderson (starring actresses), and Jack Lee (Director). (See page 137)....

Alfred Hitchcock: The Early Years
Film : 1 x half hour
Focussing on his early career, this profile looks at Hitchcock's breakthrough in silent films, acclaimed thrillers such as The Thirty-Nine Steps and the influences which prompted his departure for a n...

Black Narcissus
Film : 1 x half hour
Includes interviews with Jack Cardiff (Director of Photography), Chris Challis (Camera Operator), Christian Routh (grandson of Costumier, Hein Heckroth) and Ian Christie (film historian and expert on ...

Brief Encounter
Film : 1 x half hour
Includes interviews with Producers, Ronald Neame and Sir Anthony Havelock- Allan, John Sessions (actor and fan of the film) and Lucy Fleming (actress and daughter of Celia Johnson). Total Film said, "...

In Which We Serve
Film : 1 x half hour
Includes interviews with Sir Anthony Havelock-Allan (Producer), Ronald Neame (Director of Photography), Norman Spencer (Assistant Director) and Lucy Fleming (actress and daughter of Celia Johnson, Noe...

Oliver Twist
Film : 1 x half hour
Featuring interviews with Sir Ronald Neame and Sir Anthony Havelock-Allan (Producers), Guy Green (Cinematographer), Oswald Morris (Camera Operator) and Kay Walsh (starring actress). (See page 109)....

The Battle of the River Plate
Film : 1 x half hour
Includes interviews with Christopher Challis (Director of Photography), Christopher Lee (actor), Noreen Ackland (Editor) and Ian Christie (film historian). (See page 44)....

The Doctor Series
Film : 1 x half hour
A profile of one of the most successful comedy series ever produced, this features an interview with Ralph Thomas, who directed all seven Doctor films and was a life long friend of Dirk Bogarde, who s...

The Importance of Being Earnest
Film : 1 x half hour
Featuring interviews with Stephen Fry (actor), Dulcie Gray (Michael Denison's widow) and Dorothy Tutin (starring actress). Ultimate DVD magazine said , "Intelligent and informative … nicely presented...

The Red Shoes
Film : 1 x half hour
An informative and interesting introduction to The Red Shoes, which includes interviews with Jack Cardiff (Director of Photography), Andrew MacDonald (Film Producer and grandson of Emeric Pressburger)...

Gengre: Action:

A Night to Remember
Film : 123 minutes
In 1912, the 'unsinkable' Titanic sails from Southampton with 2207 passengers on board. They excitedly dine and dance and the sea is incredibly calm. Then a look-out spots an iceberg looming up direct...

Above Us the Waves
Film : 100 minutes
John Mills and Donald Sinden head a British cast in this World War II drama. The Battle of the Atlantic is raging and British ships are desperately needed. Most, however, are surrounding the deadly Ge...

Appointment in London
Film : 96 minutes
The highly-regarded Dirk Bogarde stars as Tim Mason, the officer of a British bomber squadron in World War Two. A large-scale operation over Germany has been planned, and Tim is shocked to discover th...

Best Men
Film : 90 minutes
It's a day for celebration in the town of Independence, California. Jesse Chandler is released from jail and about to marry his long-suffering girlfriend, Hope. On the way to the ceremony, Billy sto...

Capricorn OneFilm : 123 minutes
The whole world is watching the first manned flight to Mars, whilst its three astronauts are plunged into a hair-raising battle for survival, within a clandestine operation involving intrigue and murd...

Off and Running
Film : 91 minutes
Singer Cyndi Lauper stars in this contemporary comedy-thriller as a would-be actress working as a 'mermaid' in the pool of a Miami hotel. When her boyfriend is suddenly murdered and she is chased by ...

Power Play
Film : 102 minutes
Following the murder of a cabinet minister and an almost uncontrollable outbreak of terrorism, the President of this fictional country imposes martial law. This allows the secret police to do as they ...

Short Time
Film : 98 minutes
Burt Simpson is a divorced and depressed cop, whose only joy in life is his son. Then, one week before his retirement, he is told he is dying of a fatal disease. His life insurance policy, however, wi...

Silver Dream Racer
Film : 111 minutes
David Essex and Beau Bridges star as rival motorbike racers. Essex plays Mick Freeman, an Englishman obsessed with achieving glory on the track. One day he returns from a race to discover that his bro...

The African Queen
Film : 105 minutes
Featuring screen legends Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, this film is widely seen as a cinematic classic. Bogart's role as the hard-drinking river trader won him an Oscar, with Hepburn putting ...

The Heroes of Telemark
Film : 131 minutes
It is 1942 and Norway is occupied. A roll of microfilm smuggled from a water factory is the first clue the Allies have that Germany might be ahead in the race to create an atomic weapon. This film tel...

Gengre: Action/Adventure:

Fatal Sky
Film : 96 minutes
Getting the story of a lifetime is the aim of two reporters after UFO's are positively documented. George Abbott (Maxwell Caulfield) and Jeffrey Milker (Michael Nouri) both realise that there are for...

Green Ice
Film : 109 minutes
In the Andes mountains a group of archaeologists are murdered after they discover uncut emeralds. Back in New York, Joseph Wiley (Ryan O'Neal) is down on his luck and runs off to Mexico where he meet...

Hawk the Slayer
Film : 93 minutes
Sword and sorcery as two brothers engage in mortal combat - Hawk (John Terry), a hero of incredible might and courage and Voltan (Jack Palance), a wizard of consummate evil. After Voltan kills their ...

Hell Drivers
Film : 108 minutes
Fresh out of prison, Tom signs up as a notorious 'Hell Driver', a truck driver with a huge workload. 'Twelve runs a day or you're sacked' is the threat that hangs over the drivers as they race at brea...

Madame Sin
Film : 90 minutes
An ex-CIA agent bids to halt a world-threatening heist by Madame Sin - the power behind a financial empire and architect of the greatest crimes in history. She lives in a world of bizarre futuristic ...

March or Die
Film : 105 minutes
A perilous Foreign Legion bid to excavate a priceless tomb. Major Foster (Gene Hackman) and his legionnaires are ordered to protect an archaeological expedition led by François Marneau (Max Von Sydow)...

Midnite Spares
Film : 89 minutes
The father of a young racing driver, Steve (James Laurie), has mysteriously disappeared. Unhappy about the reasons given, he starts to look for him with the help of some oddball characters and new lov...

Nobody Runs Forever
Film : 103 minutes
Scobie, an Australian detective, is sent to London to arrest a High Commissioner, on a charge of murdering his first wife 25 years previously. Although the Commissioner admits his guilt, Scobie senses...

North West Frontier
Film : 129 minutes
It is the North West Frontier of India at the turn of the century. Captain Scott (Kenneth More) is sent by the British Governor to rescue a five-year-old Prince and his American Governess, Catherine W...

Robbery Under Arms
Film : 101 minutes
Based on the adventure novel of the same name, and set in the nineteenth century outback, this is the story of

Film : 90 minutes
A secret undercover unit is disbanded and Royce (James Belushi) and his colleagues are left out in the cold. Royce plans a long overdue vacation, but the others devise a plot to get back at their for...

Saturn 3
Film : 87 minutes
Terror and twisted love on an isolated outpost in the vastness of deep space. Adam (Kirk Douglas) and Alex (Farrah Fawcett) are two scientists stationed deep beneath the barren surface of Saturn's mo...

Sewers of Gold
Film : 97 minutes
A spectacular, true and breathtaking French Riviera bank robbery. A daring bank heist to finance a government coup by French Nationalists is planned in Nice, France, by 'The Brain' (Ian McShane) and ...

The Cassandra Crossing
Film : 126 minutes
Terrifying odyssey of 1,000 doomed passengers trapped aboard a plague-infested train. Fleeing from the police, a disease ridden terrorist boards the Geneva to Stockholm Express and exposes its passen...

The Evil That Men Do
Film : 90 minutes
Ex-professional killer Holland (Charles Bronson) is brought out of retirement for one last assignment - to eliminate Doctor Moloch (Joseph Maher), a special advisor to the world's most repressive poli...

The Fiction Makers
Film : 104 minutes
Hair-raising action for Simon Templar (Roger Moore), Leslie Charteris' famous rogue adventurer, The Saint, about a gang who bring an author's characters to life to pull off the crime of the century. G...

The High Bright Sun
Film : 115 minutes
A young American archaeologist of Cypriot parentage is visiting Cypriot friends who, unbeknown to her, are involved in the local terrorist racket. When she learns more than she should, her loyalty is...

The Jungle Book
Film : 102 minutes
The Korda brothers' adaptation of Kipling's classic novel received four Academy Award nominations. In full Technicolor it tells the story of a baby brought up in the jungle by a wolf pack and named Mo...

The Legend of the Lone Ranger
Film : 98 minutes
The Lone Ranger and his faithful Native American companion, Tonto, return to ride against evil in this action-packed Western. Continuing his fight for peace and justice the Lone Ranger confronts the ...

The Long Duel
Film : 115 minutes
India during the 1920's, and the North West Frontier is the scene of constant conflict. A tribe, the 'Bhantas', has been wrongfully imprisoned along with their Sultan (Yul Bryner). One day they escape...

The Man in the Iron Mask
Film : 105 minutes
Dumas' classic about good and evil twin brothers: the imprisoned man in the hideous iron mask and his foppish, elegant twin brother, King Louis XIV of France. The man encased in the mask is Philippe,...

The Salamander
Film : 101 minutes
Political intrigue and love in a suspense-filled drama based on Morris West's best-selling novel. The Salamander is the code name of a wealthy industrialist (Anthony Quinn) dedicated to defeating ter...

The Tamarind Seed
Film : 125 minutes
A Russian diplomat's affair sparks a thrilling case of counter-espionage. Judith Farrow (Julie Andrews) works in the British Foreign Office and, when in the Caribbean, falls in love with Feodor Sverl...

Trouble Bound
Film : 90 minutes
A high octane comic look at two people on the run from the Mafia. Ex-conman, Harry Talbot (Michael Madsen) can't believe his luck. In a poker game, he has taken two losers for five grand and a class...

Vendetta for the Saint
Film : 98 minutes
The Saint once again wages war against crime - this time with the Italian Mafia. Simon Templar (Roger Moore) stumbles into the nether world of Alessandro Destamio (Ian Hendry) a man he soon discovers...


Film : 107 minutes
Trapped in a prison of the future, Frank Warren is wired to explode. Electronics expert Frank Warren (Rutger Hauer) masterminds a multi-million dollar diamond heist with his lover Noelle and long-tim...

Gengre: Adventure:

4D Special Agents
Film : 60 minutes
A group of children discover stolen jewellery but are captured by the thieves and imprisoned on their getaway boat....

Big Wheels and Sailor
Film : 55 minutes
Children of long distance lorry drivers, travelling with their fathers, become involved in an attempted hijacking....

Break Out
Film : 62 minutes
Two boys are kidnapped by three escaped convicts. The relationship that develops between captor and captives brings out the good in the most dangerous criminal's character....

Campbell's Kingdom
Film : 102 minutes
Dirk Bogarde stars as Bruce Campbell, a young Englishman given only six months to live. He travels to Canada to take over the land he has inherited from his grandfather. He had always maintained that ...

Capricorn One
Film : 123 minutes
The whole world is watching the first manned flight to Mars, whilst its three astronauts are plunged into a hair-raising battle for survival, within a clandestine operation involving intrigue and murd...

Conquest of the Air
Film : 66 minutes
Charting man's complicated journey towards being able to fly, this film stars many famous actors such as Laurence Olivier in the roles of the important figures. From Leonardo Da Vinci and the Wright B...

Dangerous Exile
Film : 92 minutes
Set in 1795, this story is based around Britain's war with Republican France. Over the Welsh town of Tenby floats a French balloon which a group of soldiers are sent to investigate. It leads them to a...

Diamond City
Film : 90 minutes
Hopetown, South Africa in the 1870's, and thousands of diggers are searching for new diamond finds. Among them are Stafford Parker and Muller. Muller is an unscrupulous rum trader and the two regularl...

Doctor Syn
Film : 81 minutes
It is the nineteenth century, and a village church is invaded by revenue investigators hunting a group of smugglers. What they are unaware of, however, is that the Vicar, Dr Syn, is the head of the sm...

Elephant Boy
Film : 81 minutes
Toomai (Sabu) is a young boy growing up in India who longs to be like his father. He accompanies him on an expedition with their elephant, Kala Nag. Tragedy strikes when Toomai's father is killed by a...

Ferry to Hong Kong
Film : 104 minutes
Orson Welles (star and director of the critically acclaimed Citizen Kane) stars as Captain Hart in this sea-bound adventure. When his ship is forced to accept a deportee of the Hong Kong government, M...

Gleaming the Cube
Film : 105 minutes
Skateboarding means everything to Brian Kelly (Christian Slater). That is until his adopted Vietnamese brother is murdered and he sets off to solve the crime and bring the killers to justice. His skat...

Hunted in Holland
Film : 61 minutes
An English boy goes to stay with a Dutch boy in Holland and becomes involved with diamond thieves among the canals....

Junket 89
Film : 56 minutes
Junket always seems to be in trouble at school, but his troubles really begin when the absent minded science master allows him to borrow his experimental instant transportation machine to journey to f...

Film : 86 minutes
Hunted for a murder he did not commit, small-time crook Jimmy flees for England. There he finds himself joining the army where he meets Bert, another soldier. The two become rivals for the sergeant's ...

Sea Fury
Film : 99 minutes
In the Bay of Biscay, a British and a Dutch tugboat become rivals in an attempt to salvage crippled ships that have been abandoned. The rewards are high, and many not so gentlemanly tactics are emplo...

Tarka the Otter
Film : 92 minutes
A female otter is delighted when she gives birth to a son, Tarka. She lovingly protects him from danger which results in her having to confront Deadlock, the evil leader of a pack of blood-thirsty hou...

The Adventurers
Film : 85 minutes
Peter Brandt is a soldier journeying across the countryside of South Africa after the Boer War. He is looking for a valuable collection of diamonds he found, and sensibly hid, during the war. He is ac...

The Belstone Fox
Film : 104 minutes
Tag is an orphan fox cub, raised with a litter of fox hound puppies due to the kindness of Asher (Eric Porter), a professional huntsman. Tag strikes up a friendship with a puppy, Merlin, and together ...

The Challenge
Film : 77 minutes
This true story tells the tale of Edward Whymper, an English climber who led the first successful attempt to climb the Matterhorn. An Italian guide, Carrel, swears to conquer the mountain, and agrees ...

The Count of Monte Cristo
Film : 103 minutes
Alexander Dumas' stirring classic tale of injustice, revenge and retribution, in which Edmond Dantes (Richard Chamberlain) is falsely accused by three men of conspiring with Napoleon. Prosecuted by t...

The Drum
Film : 96 minutes
Starring one of Korda's discoveries, Sabu, this is the tale of Captain Carruthers (Roger Livesey), who visits a remote country and meets the Khan and his son, Azim (Sabu). The Kahn has summoned him be...

The Four Feathers
Film : 115 minutes
This is the fourth and most critically-acclaimed filmic adaptation of the novel by A E W Mason. Containing sweeping battle scenes that reputedly used a cast of thousands, this is a bold military epic ...

The Gift Horse
Film : 99 minutes
HMS Ballantrae is an ageing battleship known as 'Gift Horse'. Brought out of retirement during the Second World War, she is assigned with the job of leading an attack on an important enemy base. Alth...

The Return of the Scarlet Pimpernel
Film : 80 minutes
Following the huge success of The Scarlet Pimpernel, work began on this sequel two years later. This time Sir Percy (alias the 'Pimpernel') is being pressured by his wife, Marguerite, to retire. But t...

The Rise of Catherine the Great
Film : 88 minutes
Russia, 1745, and the Empress decides that her dissolute nephew and heir, the Grand Duke Peter, needs a wife. A young Austrian princess named Catherine is brought to Russia as his unwilling bride. Des...

The Scarlet Pimpernel
Film : 98 minutes
Sir Percy Blakeney seems to be every bit a foppish English gentleman. This is actually a cover to conceal his identity as the 'Scarlet Pimpernel', daring saviour of French aristocrats from the infamou...

The Thief of Bagdad
Film : 106 minutes
Set amidst the atmospheric world of 'The Arabian Nights'. The evil Jaffar has imprisoned the King of Bagdad, Ahmad. A young thief, Abu, helps him to escape to the Sultan's palace where Ahmad falls in ...

The Trap
Film : 106 minutes
A lonely fur trader (Oliver Reed) makes an unusual purchase on one of his infrequent trips to town. He acquires a 'wife' in the shape of a young orphan girl (Rita Tushingham). Their difficult life tog...

Transatlantic Tunnel
Film : 96 minutes
From the respected producer Michael Balcon comes the story of the designer of a scheme to build a transatlantic tunnel who journeys to America. There he is photographed everywhere with the daughter of...

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