Maori TV to Showcase Classic Movies in HD

Maori TV will use the NZ HD premiere of 1952 Oscar-winner High Noon to launch a season of Paramount Pictures classics in 1080i.

Director Fred Zinnemann’s western won three Oscars, including best actor for Gary Cooper, and was nominated for best picture (it lost to what’s widely regarded as “the worst best picture winner ever”).

It will screen 8.30 on July 15. This will be not only the first HD transmission but also its first primetime airing in decades on free-to-air TV.

High Noon’s never ever been released on Blu-ray here, despite being issued on numerous editions in the US. So its Maori TV showcasing is a real boon for movie buffs.

So, too, will be Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which will screen July 22 in the same slot. In 1962 it earned Audrey Hepburn an Oscar nomination and won for best music (score and original song).

It’s screened in HD on Sky’s Movies Classic channel but I believe this will be its first 1080i FTA run.

High Noon and Tiffany’s are part of a Paramount package Maori TV’s acquired. Modern classic No Country For Old Men will screen on July 29 and dominating the Sunday Cinema slot in August will be the three Godfather movies.

It’s terrific to see an FTA channel telecast movies like High Noon and The Godfather in peak hour, especially when Sky pays only HD lip service to Hollywood classics.

Most of the movies on Sky’s Classics channel are post-1980, and hopes that it would dedicate more of its schedule to evergreens haven’t been realised since it dabbled two years ago with a Warner Vintage season that included Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Rebel Without a Cause.

Instead, we’re offered a classics-lite selection, occasional career spotlights like next month’s Dustin Hoffman tribute (Tootsie, Kramer vs Kramer, Papillon, Midnight Cowboy) and pop-up channels devoted to the likes of Matt Damon (August 10-12).

This is an area where streaming services could also provide a much better service in markets like NZ, where movie buffs who yearn to see the classics from the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s in HD are poorly served by broadcasters and Blu-ray distributors.

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