Guild Home Video

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Guild Home Video
Former type film distributor, home video
Fate Folded into Pathé
Founded 1979
Defunct 1998
Headquarters Oundle Road, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

Guild Home Video (GHV) or Guild Film Distribution was one of the very first video distribution companies to start operating in the UK. Unlike other independent labels such as Intervision or Videoform, GHV not only survived for a very long time, but continued to grow, eventually becoming a video distributor for independent studios such as Carolco, New Line Cinema, Cannon and Lorimar. The videos were released by Video Collection International and PolyGram Video.

Origins[edit]

Based in Oundle Road, Peterborough, Guild Home Video were one of the biggest of the early video companies, and responsible for distributing a large and varied catalogue of movies. The initial batch of releases came out in mid-1980 and were easily recognisable by the sky blue, stylised 'G' symbol that the company retained throughout its life (with only a colour change to gold in 1987)and the logo was redrawn for an updated, cleaner look in 1984. The original Guild catalogue included a large array of features. From creaky and dated British science-fiction/horror fare such as The Beast in the Cellar, The Body Stealers and Doomwatch, to documentary/non-fiction titles such as 'The Entertaining Electron and Reardon on Snooker as well as recent box office hits such as David Cronenberg's Scanners and Jack Nicholson's remake of The Postman Always Rings Twice. Many classic Australian movies such as "My Brilliant Career", "Breaker Morant" and "Money Movers" were also released at that time too.

The original catalogue was uncommonly large by the standards of most labels at that time, with well over 100 titles released within the first two years of trading alone, and Guild became well known for the professionalism of its product. At a time when many of the independent labels were resorting to tacky and often distatefully lurid cover designs to get its products noticed (Go Video's Cannibal Holocaust/SS Experiment Camp and Vipco's Driller Killer being prime examples), GHV adopted a much more subtle approach. Many of their cover designs can be seen on: http://www.pre-cert.co.uk Interestingly, early Guild covers were colour-coded. Cassettes for "hire only" carried a Pink band round the base of the sleeve, while later Hire/Sale cassettes carried a sky blue band round the top. There were also a number of tapes with a yellow band as well, but these are all but extinct now and desirable when found.

Growth[edit]

Guild Home Video continued to grow steadily throughout the 1980s, notable especially as one of the very few independent labels to survive the 1984 Video Recordings Act (1). This ruinous and reactionary response to the "Video Nasties" crisis meant that any movie available on video had to carry a BBFC video certificate. As each film would cost hundreds of pounds to classify if re-submitted, many independent labels found it uneconomic to submit their entire back catalogues and several simply went out of business. GHV, by now exclusive distributors to the likes of Cannon, The Samuel Goldwyn Company and Lorimar were able to continue on the strength on their newer titles and the older back catalogue generally disappeared from view. More successful titles such as Straw Dogs and Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came were among the first budget "sell through" titles to appear when Video Collection began retailing cut-price movies in 1986. 1986 also saw the launch of Guild's short-lived Frontier brand. It apparently released just seven titles.[1]

Decline[edit]

By the early 1990s the face of video was changing and the video trade was being dominated more and more by the big studios. It was in this climate that GHV had its last hurrah. In 1988 they secured a distribution deal with Hollywood "mini-major" Carolco Pictures, which resulted in them gaining exclusive UK video rights for big budget blockbuster movies such as Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Total Recall, Cliffhanger, and Rambo III. Guild Home Video/Guild Film Distribution merged with Pathé in 1996, forming Guild Pathe Cinema Limited. The "Guild" name disappeared in 1998, when Guild Pathé Cinema, became "Pathé Distribution" Guild also had "Rental distribution rights" with 20th Century Fox, operating as Fox Guild Home Entertainment and after the Pathe merger, Fox Pathe Home Entertainment.

The video rights to the Carolco library are now shared between Momentum Pictures and Optimum Releasing. The Cannon library is now owned by MGM (with distribution by Fox), and Warner Bros. owns the rights to the Lorimar films as well as the Warner/Cannon released films.

References[edit]