CineSavant Column

Tuesday May 24, 2022



Good news for busy city residents.

Things are so crazy these days, it’s hard to keep up. But they’re announcing something special in Los Angeles that will give some of us a needed break. We now have a choice — to pick up fresh pods, we can still get up early and gather at the town square at 8am, every first Saturday of the month. It’s been that way since I was a kid.

BUT! A new service also maintains these easy-to-find distribution containers in various neighborhoods for your convenience. Just pick up a phone when you need access, to tell them when you’ll be available for disbursement. Some containers list a phone number, but there’s no need to remember it — the operator will know what you want.

Pleasant dreams!

(Note, actual box seen on the next block in Larchmont. It’s for a storage company.)



That’s it for serious announcements.

After opening up the floodgates to speculation about what Paramount titles Kino Lorber may be bringing to Blu-ray in their new deal, I got this great note from advisor and CineSavant reviewer “B.”   Give him half a chance, and ‘B’ always has title suggestions for such things, including plenty I would not have thought of on my own.

To stay clear on this, we have already mentioned movies not on Blu-ray, and some [Imprint] import titles: Preston Sturges’ THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN’S CREEK, William Wyler’s THE DESPERATE HOURS, Peter Bogdanovich’s TARGETS, CATCH-22, OH, WHAT A LOVELY WAR, DRAGONSLAYER, THE TIN STAR and WILD IS THE WIND — plus some of  [Imprint’s] releases, which include ALFIE, WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE, I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE, etc.

I think it’s likely that certain titles on ‘B’s list are no longer in Paramount’s rights library. ‘B’ mentions that as a suspected reason why a few stubborn titles have remained No-Shows on home video. But until told otherwise, why not be VERY optimistic?  Take it away, Bee:

Glenn: Very interesting.

Here are a few Paramount-controlled (as far as I know) films that appear to be MIA. I’m interested in these primarily because I’ve either never seen them or haven’t seen ’em in many years:

THE GREAT GATSBY (1949) — long in litigation; U and Par have squabbled over who actually owns it for some time (U actually once announced it as a VHS release, but there’s never been a legal video on this)
THE GOLDBERGS (1950) — feature based on Gertrude Berg’s radio and television comedy
THE MATING SEASON (1951) — winning Mitchell Leisen- directed farce with a gem of a supporting performance by Thelma Ritter; co-written and produced by Charles Brackett
THAT CERTAIN FEELING (1956) — fairly sophisticated Panama/Frank Hope picture with Eva Marie Saint, George Sanders, Pearl Bailey; in VistaVision
THE JOKER IS WILD (1957) — comedy/drama biopic of comic Joe E. Lewis starring Sinatra (this may have some legal entanglements); in VistaVision
THE DEVIL’S HAIRPIN (1957) — racing drama starring Cornel Wilde, who also directed; in VistaVision
SPANISH AFFAIR (1957) — romantic drama with Richard Kiley, directed by Don Siegel; shot in and around Barcelona in VistaVision
ST. LOUIS BLUES (1958) — biopic of blues composer W.C. Handy, with Nat King Cole, Eartha Kitt, Cab Calloway, Ruby Dee, Mahalia Jackson, Juano Hernandez and many musical guests; in VistaVision
A TOUCH OF LARCENY (1960) — Brit comedy about a charming con artist; with James Mason, Vera Miles, George Sanders
WALK LIKE A DRAGON (1960) — offbeat western by James Clavell with Jack Lord as a cowboy who ‘buys’ Nobu McCarthy at an auction to save her from slavery; Mel Torme plays a master gunfighter
BLOOD AND ROSES (1961) — for obvious reasons; in Technirama — The ‘Kino Insider’ said, quote: “They only have the rights to the shorter English language cut. And I’ve heard there are other legal issues.”
OH DAD, POOR DAD, MAMMA’S HUNG YOU IN THE CLOSET AND I’M FEELIN’ SO SAD (1967) — odd, failed adaptation of Arthur Kopit farce; Par did briefly bring this out on VHS
THE STRANGER (1967) — Visconti’s failed adaptation of Camus, starring Mastroianni; I think Par still has U.S. rights to this
INADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE (1968) — opaque but sort of rewarding adaptation of John Osborne play with striking Nicol Williamson performance; a rare Woodfall- produced film not released by UA
ADALEN 31 (1969) — Bo Widerberg film about violent, tragic 1931 labor uprising in Sweden, nominated for the 1969 Best Foreign Film Oscar; originally X-rated in the U.S.
THE LAWYER (1970) — absorbing legal thriller about a sensational murder trial; if someone more talented than Sidney J. Furie had directed this, it could have been a classic
DEEP END (1971) — hard-to-forget (or describe) utterly original sexually charged drama about a young man working at a London public bath; directed by Jerzy Skolimowski
UNMAN, WITTERING AND ZIGO (1971) — dark thriller set at a British boarding school; with David Hemmings
THE FIVE PENNIES (1959) — good Danny Kaye musical biography with Barbara Bel Geddes; in Technicolor and VistaVision
JOE HILL (1971) — Bo Widerberg film about the famous Swedish-born labor activist and martyr; filmed in Sweden, New York, Chicago and Salt Lake City
THE FIRST CIRCLE (1973) — Danish/German adaptation of Solzhenitsyn novel; adapted and directed by Aleksander Ford
THE MATTEI AFFAIR (1973) — greatish, fascinating Francesco Rosi drama about the life and curious death of an Italian businessman; starring Gian Maria Volontè
LEADBELLY (1976) — biopic of great folk singer Huddie Ledbetter; directed by Gordon Parks
THE MEMORY OF JUSTICE (1976) — 278-minute Marcel Ophuls docu about war, crime and justice; this was restored at some point in the past decade
CITIZENS BAND (1977) — original, brilliant comedy directed by Jonathan Demme (his breakout picture) and written by Paul Brickman; Par did release this on VHS
LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR (1977) — not great but commercially successful adaptation of Judith Rossner’s best-seller, with excellent Diane Keaton performance; this was released on VHS, but may have music rights issues
AMERICAN HOT WAX (1978) — nostalgic, music-filled look at the last days of the public life of famed DJ Alan Freed (Tim McIntire, in the performance of his career), directed by Floyd Mutrux; this may have insuperable music rights issues
LITTLE DARLINGS (1980) — teen coming of age comedy with Tatum O’Neal and Kristy McNichol, a big hit back in the day; this may also have major music rights issues.

Best, always — B.

Personally, I’d like to see

THE LAWLESS (1950) — Joseph Losey classic; out from Olive, but only on DVD
LI’L ABNER (1959) — Delightful, favorite musical
DONOVAN’S REEF (1963) — weirdly comforting raucous John Ford, John Wayne, Lee Marvin comedy; beautiful in color
HELLER IN PINK TIGHTS (1960) — Western comedy with Sophia Loren & Anthony Quinn, directed by George Cukor
A BOY TEN FEET TALL (1965) — Alexander Mackendrick’s Sammy Going South, long version please
WARNING SHOT (1967) — Buzz Kulik detective thriller
IS PARIS BURNING? (1966) — French occupation epic; in multi-language version, please.
SEBASTIAN (1968) — decoding drama with Dirk Bogarde, screenplay by Leo Marks
WILL PENNY (1968) — excellent Tom Gries western with Charlton Heston, Joan Hackett
T.R. BASKIN (1971) — drama with Candice Bergen
THE BIG BUS (1976) — goofy comedy

So, any thoughts, corrections, or ‘this is already out in Region A on this label’ information?  Thanks.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson