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Col pacts with Web site to feature classics

Capra first on tap at videocassette/DVD sales site

ClassicMovies.com, a Web site devoted to the distribution of old movies, has inked an agreement with Columbia TriStar Home Video to feature a number of the studio’s classic film titles on its site.

The first titles to be featured are five Frank Capra classics — “It Happened One Night,” “Mr. Deed Goes to Town,” “Platinum Blonde,” “You Can’t Take It With You” and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

Deal means that visitors to the site will be able to view snippets of the films online and purchase either videocassettes or DVDs of the films.

ClassicMovies.com recently concluded a similar arrangement with MGM, which covers musicals such as “West Side Story,” “Man of La Mancha” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”

“The association with Columbia and MGM is extremely important to my company in its goal to provide a source for consumers seeking effortless access to the greatest motion pictures ever made,” Gary Dartnall, chairman of Classicmovies.com, told Daily Variety.

Dartnall said he hoped to conclude similar arrangements for classic films with other Hollywood studios.

The privately held company was set up two years ago after Dartnall acquired rights to the 700-plus movies in the Raymond Rohauer collection, which includes titles ranging from Buster Keaton silents to “Pandora and the Flying Dutchman.”

Site also allows visitors to listen to classic motion picture soundtracks and to buy associated merchandise.

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