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A Man for the DVD Season

12 May, 2003 By: Stephanie Prange

I first met George Feltenstein in 1994 at a junket for That's Entertainment III for MGM. In the presence of such MGM musical luminaries as Cyd Charisse and Esther Williams, Feltenstein seemed right at home.

Now, Feltenstein is appropriately heading up Warner Home Video's classic DVD effort as SVP of classic catalog. Warner has some 2,000 to 2,500 library titles, including classic titles from the old MGM, that Feltenstein said are viable for DVD, and I couldn't think of a better guy to head up the titles' rollout.

During Warner Home Video's Friday announcement of the studio's “DVD Decision 2003” -- a promotion in which consumers vote on a selection of classic movies on AOL to decide which five will be released on DVD -- Feltenstein told me he regularly surveys classic movie sites and other collector forums, scanning them for old footage and other material that could be useful for DVD extras on classic movies.

Unlike movies being made today, for which filmmakers dutifully collect making-of material, deleted scenes and other goodies for the DVD release, classic films often require some sleuthing and creative thinking for DVD. For the 20 films in consideration for DVD Decision 2003, Feltenstein has in mind such clever extras as a “Tom & Jerry” cartoon spoof of Bad Day at Black Rock. Through his involvement with Turner Classic Movies, he's got his sights on The John Garfield Story, a documentary about the legendary actor that ran on TCM, for The Postman Always Rings Twice.

Feltenstein stressed that Warner plans to give its classics tender loving care, adding that the studio won't -- as some have –- blow out its classic library on DVD just to “pay the rent.” I can't think of a better guy to mine the gems in Warner's vault.

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