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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

Universal to Celebrate Centennial with 13 Restorations

Universal Studios will celebrate 100 years of moviemaking achievements with the release of 13 restored versions of the studios most iconic films. And take another look at the studio logo on the Home page. It’s a new design, meat to first appear in March in front of Dr. Seuss's The Lorax. 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of Universal Studios, and the powers that be have dedicated the year to releasing restorations of a few of their choicest pictures on DVD and Blu-Ray.

The films chosen for restoration are truly ideal for representing the studio at its very best. Among the choice picks is the company’s first Best Picture Academy Award recipient, All Quiet on the Western Front. Also selected for preferential treatment are several of Universal’s great monster films such as Dracula, the Spanish version of Dracula (who knew?), Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein. For comedy the studio has favored the Abbott and Costello classic, Buck Privates, as well as the Doris Day/Rock Hudson sex romp, Pillow Talk. Also included is the beloved family classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, celebrating its own 50th anniversary.

Of course you can’t have a list like this without something from the studios best-known director, Alfred Hitchcock, and in this case The Birds will be representing the master of suspense. Nor could you leave out Universal’s greatest moneymaker of all time, Jaws. Finally, rounding out the list will be three more Academy Award winners of the Best Picture statuette, The Sting, Out of Africa, and the studios most recent recipient, Schindler’s List.

In a perfect world these new restorations would each be given some kind of theatrical release. I realize that may be too much to hope for, but you know, and I know that a Jaws re-release is not only called for, but a virtual requirement (hopefully not in 3D, please). The event would undoubtedly draw sizable crowds, and likely recreate the scenario of its initial release that resulted in long lines stretching far around many city blocks. The sight of just such a line resulted in one journalist christening the phenomenon as a “blockbuster”. For more information as it’s available you can go to Universal's Tumblr site (which also features the studio’s new logo). This is where updates will be posted about events throughout the year.

I offer a well-deserved congratulation to Universal for its many fine years of imaginative film production! Their catalog of films speaks for itself. And for those of us who missed many of these films the first time around it’s exciting to know we’ll finally get the opportunity to share the excitement of seeing some of the best films ever made on the big screen, just the way we should.

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