While American movie fans in the pre-video age had to settle for compilations of feature films or promotional featurettes on 8mm (such as this one for Major Dundee), England's Derann Films offered collectors pristine, complete 8mm prints.
I enjoy reading your online CR and stop by every other day or so,
just to check out what's happening. I'm a little disappointed that you
have not covered the closure of Derann, the last of the great super 8 film
distributors, who closed their Dudley shop on Sunday. Even more surprising
when one considers one of your finest, Dave Worrall, used to work
there! In this day and age people forget the importance of the small film
formats in the years prior to the vhs boom, but Derann dominated the hobby
and then kept going through the lean times of the mid 80's, producing
stunning low fade full length prints of some of the greatest movies ever
to grace the silver screen. Come on guys, give Derann an acknowledgement
and let's celebrate the wonderful prints they put out.
Rant over. Keep up the good work,
Retro responds: Fair point, Mark. Most American collectors don't understand the importance Derann once had in the UK market where movie fans could legally buy complete 8mm feature films. In the USA, we had to settle for ludicrous 8mm "digests" which reduced films like The Longest Day to about 15 minutes of cobbled together footage. Amazingly, even in the DVD age there were still loyal 8mm collectors who supported Derann, but alas, not enough of them to sustain the business. You're right about Dave Worrall working there in the 80s through early 1990s before he went freelance. Dave points out that he was Derann's Marketing Manager and designed the company's promotional materials as well as their magazine, Film for the Collector. Dave recalls it was Derann's founder, the late Derek Simmonds who took him under his wing and encouraged him to become a freelance designer and writer. You don't find bosses like that anymore and you don't find companies like Derann, either. May it rest in peace. - Lee Pfeiffer