Wednesday, September 15, 2004


Dollar DVDs


I went a-Googlin’, but I haven’t been able to turn up much information about the $1 DVD’s I’ve been snarfing at dollar stores lately. I’ve bought them at various dollar stores. They’re usually sitting in big plastic tub near the registers. They’re mostly old obscurities I’ve never heard of, but I’ve gotten a surprisingly high number of true classics (e.g. The 39 Steps, His Girl Friday) from these bins as well. They’re all packaged the same way: the discs are contained in cheap cardboard sleeves and shrinkwrapped, with a still from the movie on the cover and a brief blurb on the back. The series is called “Movie Classics” (and boy, does that produce some useless results when you start doing web searches) and the address at the bottom of the sleeve is:

PMB 421
991-C Lomas Santa Fe Drive
Solana Beach, CA, 92075

In addition to the occasional classic, there are episodes of old TV shows, 70’s obscurities, ancient cartoons, and the like. The discs have no extras, most of the time they don’t even have menus. The video and sound quality varies from almost passable to laughable. But hey, they’re a buck, so I’ve been collecting them like bottle caps.

The way I figure it, there are only two possibilities: either these are films which have (luckily) fallen into the public domain, or they’re straight-up bootlegs. I hope it’s the former.


:: Dave Walker (EST/EDT) [+]

:: [/entertainment/movies]

:: Comments (30)

Comments:

dfa wrote:

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dave, at what dollar stores do you find these? i'm not much of a dollar store shopper, and i don't want to waste my time hitting the wrong ones. thanks.

d.w. wrote:

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Dollar Tree and Dollar Castle, for starters.

Title: Movie Classics

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Lemme know if anyone has found an email address to this guys.

They've found there way up over here in Cedar Falls, IA bought 3 of them for $1.99 each. Little Princess (which I think has better video than the $4.99 Madacy version), A Farewell to Arms. Nice Gary Cooper classic and some movie Last time in Paris. Only got it because Roger Moore is supposedly in it. That one runs much like a VHS. No chapters. I noticed a couple of others I might run back. Especially John Wayne's McClintok (pardon the spelling)

Title:

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oops.. forgot to add, they found there way into a first class store. Hy-Vee grocery stores. Not some cheap Dollar store.

Title:

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oops.. forgot to add, they found there way into a first class store. Hy-Vee grocery stores. Not some cheap Dollar store.

LR wrote:

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I found them at my local dollar store and bought an arm full!! They are great and I want more but can't find anything googling either. I am particularly interested in "The Third Man" series I got. I have never seen the series and unfortianutley they only had on dvd of it. I love it and am trying to find more. I will keep looking.

LR wrote:

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I did find out that the address is just a PMB or private mail box wich successfully hides their location or identity. I am thinking about asking the store owner how they purchased them. I hope they are legitamite, but often a PMB hides illegal activity.

sonya wrote:

Title: help!

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I recently found these nifty cheap dvds at my local Wal-mart and bought quite a bit, the only thing is i cant seem to find any more. On the paper cover it shows that they offer a large selection of movies. I tried the internet yet couldn't find anything, if you can come up with anything please let me know. thanx sonya :)

d.w. wrote:

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Sonya -- I've had the best luck at those cheesy dollar stores you find tucked away in strip malls. Quite often the discs will be in bins near the cash registers.

Lee Fanning wrote:

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I'm almost positive these discs aren't bootlegs. I've bought like 50 of them over the past half a year or so, haha, and from my knowledge of the public domain market (and I'm a poor college student so I know it pretty well), pretty much every movie I've bought from this company is available through just about every other public domain releasing company out there, except these companies charge five to ten times as much for an equally as crappy print. They might be stealing from other public domain companies, but that's about it.

Diana wrote:

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I have purchased about 40 of these titles at a local dollar store. I've been lucky because I was fortunate enough to get "One-Eyed Jacks" a fantastic Marlon Brando film which is one of his best. Most of these old dollar movies are produced by "Treasure Box Collection", of Solana Beach,Ca. and the other brand name is either "Television or Movie Classics". "Beneath The 12 Mile Reef" with Robert Wagner; "Beat The Devil" with Humphrey Bogart and Jennifer Jones; "Laser Mission" with Brandon Lee; "Jane Eyre" with George C. Scott, and Suzannah York; "Power Passion and Murder" with Michelle Pfeiffer; "Sherlock Holmes" with Basil Rathbone; "Heidei" etc. Many of these are very old, and quite good. I found that if I wiped the discs well with a very soft cloth, they don't skip, and miss like they may otherwise. I'm a movie buff and I'm and particularly fond of much older themes and the culture of those times.

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Came back from "Best Buy" and they just set up their display of $1 "Movie Classics" DVD's -- a dozen or so old horror titles (themed for some pagan Earth holiday, no doubt) -- by publisher "PMB 421". For example, "House On Haunted Hill" looks like a good VHS transfer: not particularly sharp; only fair contrast; almost B&W (B&W but with a slight color shift -- digital processing could've easily wiped that away). Their "Digitally Remastered / Sound Enhanced" probably means they made it into a DVD and adjusted the volume in the process. A DVD recording straight from a TV (cable, satellite, whatever) broadcast would look better. For $1 (plus government tribute) it was a interesting novelty purchase. Look at it this way, if everyone bought one these, even if out of curiousity, they're millionaires. (Hey, what a great idea! Look for MY DVD's -- coming soon to a store near you!) BTW, has anyone come across "Rocky Jones, Space Ranger" TV episodes? If so, which ones and what quality? Thanks.

d.w. wrote:

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As I was kind of hoping when I wrote this entry, this entry is now the number one hit on Google for "Dollar DVDs". It might be interesting to start a wiki on the topic... (in my COPIOUS spare time, heh)

Also: newspaper article.


mike wrote:

Title: pmb 421 $1 dvd's

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you can get them at best buy....

d.w. wrote:

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Date: 12/10/2004 20:50:55

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More.

David wrote:

Title: Movie Classics

Date: 1/5/2005 20:50:43

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Here in Canada, you can buy those DVDs with the classic movies and old televison sitcoms at WalMart. Here, they sell for $1.37. So you might want to try WalMart in your country.

Irene wrote:

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Date: 1/17/2005 17:50:33

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We watched "Til the Clouds Go By" at a friend's house and would love to have it but our 99 cent store has them up too high to be able to browse very easily. I wish I could order it from them. Guess I'll have to try snail mail.

Sam wrote:

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Date: 5/15/2005 22:55:31

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I picked up a few of these at the local Dollar Tree here in Alabama. Not much of a selection here, but I ended up buying Gumby and Jim Bowie. My friend lucked out and got a few old horror movies. Lucky bastard.

Cindy wrote:

Title: McLintock

Date: 7/11/2005 10:13:43

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I found your site while googling PMB 421 - DON'T buy McLintock! The sound is awful, and in two places it completely cuts out of a scene and switches to another, leaving the viewer a bit lost. I was most disappointed.

John wrote:

Title: I have a couple hundred of these

Date: 10/12/2005 01:50:19

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Debating on what to do with them, all horror movies. I watched "The Brain that Wouldn't Die" tonight and was laughing so loud that it disturbed my family.

Amy wrote:

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Date: 12/31/2005 02:33:43

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I love those dollar dvd's. I found something truly esoteric at Dollar General: a dubbed version of a Soviet cartoon called Cheburashka retitled The Adventures of Charlie and Cubby (Released by Media Movies and More). Those Movie Classics ones in the paper sleeves are two for dollar at Fred's (They make a others that come in plastic cases). Some of my favories are The Last Time I Saw Paris and Charade on a single disc (Disc Plaza), Scarlet Street and The Stranger, also on a single disc (Digiview Productions), and the Frank Sinatra movie called Suddenly (Vina Distributor). I've also found some early Hitchcock films and some nice collections of The Beverly Hillbillies, The Lucy Show, and The Andy Griffith Show (Brentwood Home Video). I've found websites for Brentwood (http://www.navarre.com/bci.aspx), and a company called Dollar DVD has an address listed that no longer works. Other than that, I've found no addresses for any "dollar dvd" distributors.

Amy wrote:

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Date: 12/31/2005 02:43:37

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I just found these on http://pdmdb.org/forums.asp?ForumId=22&TopicId=161&page_no=2 http://www.treasureboxdvd.com http://www.digiviewus.com/

Dennis wrote:

Title: Movie Classics

Date: 6/18/2006 17:43:13

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I just bought Little Shop of Horrors with Jack Nicholson on eBay for $1.00 but I paid $4.00 for shipping. I haven't viewed it yet but the first few minutes seem okay. The eBay seller is guitar-dude if anyone wants to check out his inventory. By the way, I did find this page as the first entry on Google after looking for PMB 421. I think I will check out the Dollar Store here in Minneapolis.

Martie wrote:

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Date: 8/25/2006 14:31:55

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I catalog A/V materials in a public library and we received a bunch of the DollarDVDs as a donation. I'm having to look up a lot of them on www.imdb.com since they are so obsure they are not in our many library databases. I have "The Swap" made by and starring Robert De Niro and found out from imdb.com that it was re-editted and added footage to it until it was not the same movie at all, and was re-titled "Sam's Song". Apparently it is very hard to find in its original version so I googled the distributor, PMB 421, and came upon your site. Thank you for all the wonderful information. Hopefully I can find a source online for this movie so others will have the opportunity to see it.

Mike Gray wrote:

Title: Ozzie & Harriet

Date: 9/19/2006 20:29:11

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There is no audio on the Ozzie & Harriet Television Classics that I received as a gift. Made by PMB 421.

Title: More Dollar Titles

Date: 10/26/2006 21:40:17

Response:
Great News! SRS-Cinema will be releasing fifty (50) NEW titles on DVD to dollar stores, beginning in November 2006...there will be TWO titles per disc. Most are horror films.

DON CONRAD wrote:

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Date: 1/30/2007 15:43:16

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NO MATTER WHAT YOU THINK OF OUR INVOLVEMENT AROUND THE WORLD OUR MILITARY PEOPLE LOVE AND WANT DVD'S. A FEW CAN SIT AROUND AND WATCH THEM ON A DVD PLAYER OR PC. DEVELOPS COMRADESHIP AND GETS THEIR MINDS AWAY FROM THE HORRORS IN OUR WORLD. I AM GOING TO SEND ALL I CAN THROUGH THIS ORGANIZATION:http://www.anysoldier.com/ WE COULD SEND THOUSANDS OF THESE DOLLAR DVD'S. I WILL BE SENDING A FEW HUNDRED. THANKS TO ANYONE THAT WOULD LIKE TO MAKE THINGS BETTER FOR OUR WONDERFUL MILITARY. DON C

Bill wrote:

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Date: 3/26/2007 19:07:54

Response:
I sent a letter to Television Classics today. My six year old and I used to live in Las Vegas and found many Gumby and Betty Boop DVD's made by Cinema Classics for a dollar a piece. After escaping from an abusive spouse, (Yeah, guys get abused, too.)we now live in Indiana and can't seem to find replacements for the Betty Boop ones she liked so much. (BTW one of the Betty Boop cartoons that was on the DVD was a VERY RARE one. The one where she gets fat by laughing at the end of the cartoon. It was nice to see them in such good condition.) Hopefully, my snail mail will get their attention.

susan wrote:

Title: The 39 steps

Date: 5/16/2007 11:44:14

Response:
Bought the above dvd at a $ store so I could finally hear the movie; had bought a vhs years ago at Target and it was unintellible. BUT my DVD player will not play it and tells me to eject it. Does anyone know how I can get around this? I also tried washing it. All of the other ones I bought at $ store played well.

Phillip P wrote:

Title: Back again?

Date: 1/1/2011 20:21:43

Response:
I saw about 30 of these DVDs in one of my local Dollar Tree stores the other day(12-31-10). I hadn't seen any since about 2004 when I bought about 20 of them in what was clearly their heyday. I got 3 new DVDs, Van Beuren Classic Cartoons vol. 1&2 and Mel-o-tunes vol 1. It was quite surprising when I came across these because I haven't seen them in years, hopefully this will become a trend.




If men are not afraid to die, it is of no avail to threaten them with death. If men live in constant fear of dying, And if breaking the law means a man will be killed, Who will dare to break the law? There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand. -- Tao Te Ching, "Lao Tsu, #74"