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15 Top Movies That Should Be On DVD, But Aren't

 
 
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 12:07 pm
The full article's here. This list is here:

1. Red Dust (1932)- A young Clark Gable plays a macho white hunter in Africa opposite a trashy Jean Harlow and a proper Mary Astor. Predictably the women do most of the hunting. Remade to lesser effect twenty years later as "Mogambo" (with Gable repeating his earlier role).

2. The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934)- The late Leslie Howard's signature role as masked hero of the French Revolution, posing incognito as an English dandy. Merle Oberon and Raymond Massey co-star. (Public domain title).

3. Ruggles Of Red Gap (1936)- Charles Laughton plays an English butler whose master loses him in a card game to a rich hayseed American, and who is then forced to relocate to the untamed West. Talk about culture shock. Roland Young and Charlie Ruggles (no relation) co-star. One of our finest screwballs, bar none.

4. Love Affair (1939)- Leo McCarey's original version of "An Affair To Remember", with the Cary Grant/ Deborah Kerr roles essayed by Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne. Less glossy than the remake, but more affecting in my view, with an enchanting Dunne.

5. The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)- Starring Joseph Cotten, this was Orson Welles's second film about a family unwilling to adapt to the changes wrought by the Industrial Revolution. Taken out of Welles's hands and chopped down to 90 minutes, the film still outclasses most other options, and would make a mint on curiosity value alone.

6. The Uninvited (1944)- Spooky, subtle ghost story with Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey as siblings who purchase sea-side house with a grim, hidden past. Chilling, literate film introduced the classic tune, "Stella By Starlight". A forgotten gem.

7. Life With Father (1947)- William Powell plays late nineteenth century patriarch Clarence Day opposite Irene Dunne in this charming and nostalgic family comedy, based on the hit play by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse. Look for a young, adorable Elizabeth Taylor. (Public Domain title).

8. The Gunfighter (1950)- Henry King's signature Western about a gun-slinging outlaw who learns the difficulty of making a clean break with his past. One of Gregory Peck's finest early performances.

9. The African Queen (1951)- Bogie won Oscar playing a broken down ship's Captain who gets into all manner of adventures with spinster Katharine Hepburn in John Huston's first-rate adventure outing.

10. Viva Zapata! (1952)- Marlon Brando expertly portrays Mexican activist turned statesman Emilio Zapata in Elia Kazan's under-exposed historical drama. Also a superb showcase for Anthony Quinn, who plays Zapata's brother.

11. Two Women (1960)- Sophia Loren won Academy Award as a mother who experiences rape (along with her young daughter) at the hands of marauding soldiers during World War 2. A late career peak for director Vittorio De Sica (Public Domain title).

12. A Thousand Clowns (1965)- Magical black comedy features a tour-de-force turn by Jason Robards as an irresponsible dreamer at risk of losing custody of his adoring, like-minded nephew. William Daniels and Barbara Harris provide stellar support.

13. The Wrong Box (1966)- Wacky, wildly clever British comedy involves machinations within one eccentric family to determine who will receive a sizable inheritance. Michael Caine and Peter Sellers star, along with old pros John Mills and Ralph Richardson.

14. Cousin, Cousine (1975)- Saucy Gallic concoction has two distant cousins (Marie-Christine Barrault and Victor Lanoux) meeting at a wedding, and gradually embarking on a very sweet, light-hearted affair, much to the consternation of their respective neurotic, high-maintenance spouses. Just the kind of sexy, sassy romance that the French do best.

15. The Dead (1987)- John Huston's final film brings to life the bittersweet characters and setting of James Joyce's "Dubliners". Clearly a labor of love for the dying director, the film stars daughter Anjelica, who is surrounded by a strong Irish cast.
********************************************************************
The article also mentions Meet John Doe, which is available in cheap, public domain versions. I've had A Thousand Clowns on my NetFlix "saved" list for a long time. I've noted the lack of The Magnificent Ambersons on DVD elsewhere.

Other movies I'd add to the list: A New Leaf (Walter Mathau and Elaine May in a hilarious comedy); Wings (the first winner of the Oscar for best picture); Kid Millions (Eddie Cantor and Ethel Merman in Egypt); Hellzapoppin' (Olsen and Johnson up to their usual hijinx).

Some movies that have long been unavailable in DVD are now part of the Warner Bros. on demand service, which I've mentioned before. Red Dust should be owned by Warners, so there's a good chance it will be released on DVD at some point, if only through the on-demand service. As for the other movies on this list, who knows.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 5 • Views: 5,962 • Replies: 35
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wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 12:17 pm
I am happy to see "Cousin, Cousine" mentioned. The French original is far superior to the American remake ("Cousins").

There is a classic 1940's "B" movie that should also be put on DVD: "My Name is Julia Ross."
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 12:20 pm
I have a copy of The Gunfighter on my shelf.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 12:23 pm
African Queen was available (import) from the first site I checked. I wonder how many more are actually on DVD after all.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 12:29 pm
15. The Dead. I also have a copy of that on my shelf.
0 Replies
 
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 01:48 pm
@joefromchicago,
The battle between HD DVD and Blu-Ray was one of the initial delays in studios not releasing movies like "The African Queen" which dropped out of the VHS catalog in new standard DVD and since Blu-Ray took over, there's a desire to do restorations, re-do restorations with the latest digital technology, and striking new 35mm prints with as close to the original soundtrack quality (in stereo if available). I think every film on the list falls into those categories. What is spearheading the process is HD channels like HD Net Movies, the new MGM HD and a soon-to-be TCM HD and Fox Movie Channel HD. I have a feeling those channels will be broadcasting the films before the DVD standard and Blu-Ray editions, although Blu-Ray isn't going to show much of a difference in the older B&W films. I just saw a new restored with a new print of Jimmy Stewart in "The Far Country" and Hitchcock's "To Catch a Thief" which were incredibly pristine (I don't believe anybody really noticed when the picture noise on older between the reels had been erased long ago and using analog technology). I have a VHS restoration of "The Magnificent Ambersons" which inserted what stills they could find of the cut footage and dialogue (the editor was, of all people, Robert Wise). While there are some "who owns the movie" problems, the writer is correct that studios keep a lot of secrets (including what I've pointed out above).
0 Replies
 
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 01:55 pm
Anybody notice what popped up on the Google search results at the bottom of this page? "The Uninvited" on DVD:

http://stores.thevideo-house.com/Detail.bok?no=56
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 02:00 pm
"The African Queen" was released on DVD and is still in the catalog, albeit I don't know the quality of the print, but $ 11.99?
The link doesn't work, so just go to Barnes and Noble's site or search "The African Queen DVD."

Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 02:07 pm
@Lightwizard,
Maybe not so hot -- a customer review on the quality and origin:

Posted March 22, 2009, 3:11 PM EST: From The Looks of the cover this is the African Queen edition put out in Hong Kong. For such a Great movie to be poorly remastered is a crime. Hollywood or the UCLA Film society should remaster this Great film with the care it deserves, clean up the video and sound properly. Why this particular Bogart film took so long to make it to DVD is a Mystery. It's too bad that great films like this and "No time for Sargeants" are only available in these less than steller DVD editions. The Movie itself is one of my favorites of all time.

Searching for "Viva Zapata:"

http://www.bestofferbuy.com/viva-zapata-dvd-marlon-brandoelia-kazan1952-p-433.html?currency=USD&utm_source=gbase&utm_medium=cse&utm_campaign=gbase

I have a feeling if one searches for each of those titles, they may come up with DVD's but probably not USA editions and likely poor quality, often two or three generations of an old VHS edition.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 02:21 pm
I bought my copy of The Gunfighter at either Walmart or Kroger last year. The Dead may have been sent me by the book club I once belonged to.
0 Replies
 
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 02:46 pm
The "Viva Zapata" is PAL code so you have to have a player that will decode that MPEG or a converter.
0 Replies
 
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 02:48 pm
@edgarblythe,
Here's "The Gunfighter" in NTSC (USA and Canada):

http://lostcinema.ecrater.com/product.php?pid=2324120
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 03:03 pm
@joefromchicago,
I would like to add "The Great Mr. Limpet"
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 03:09 pm
@Lightwizard,
A slew of westerns was offered last year. They stood in their own display stand. Besides The Gunfighter, I picked up Kirk Douglas Gunfight at OK Corrall, Yellow Sky (?) with Gregory Peck, Jesse James Tyrone Power, Last Train from Gunne Hill Kirk Douglas, Warlock Henry Fonda. A few more I don't recall. Something by Gary Cooper and John Wayne.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 03:29 pm
@Linkat,
Linkat wrote:

I would like to add "The Great Mr. Limpet"

You are, of course, referring to The Incredible Mr. Limpet.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 03:34 pm
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:

African Queen was available (import) from the first site I checked. I wonder how many more are actually on DVD after all.

The author wasn't including movies that are out in public domain, foreign, or bootleg versions.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 03:45 pm
@joefromchicago,
I don't know where the Walmart/Kroger DVDs of The Gunfighter were made, but it was good quality.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 03:48 pm
@Lightwizard,
Lightwizard wrote:

Anybody notice what popped up on the Google search results at the bottom of this page? "The Uninvited" on DVD:

http://stores.thevideo-house.com/Detail.bok?no=56
Might be a bootleg.

The Uninvited - Our records indicate this title is not available on Home Video. Vote below for it to be released on DVD.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 03:59 pm
@edgarblythe,
It all depends on the source material. Public domain DVDs are generally made by copying a film that was sent out to the theaters, not the original film negative. The duplicate may, however, be a duplicate of a duplicate (of a duplicate, etc.). In fact, some really cheap versions are copied off of television broadcasts. Consequently, you really never know what you're getting with these public domain DVDs, which is why it's always preferable to stick with the studio releases or with reputable outfits like Criterion or Kino.
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 03:59 pm
@joefromchicago,
I did miss that. Sorry.

However, I clicked on the link offered in the Google ad at the bottom of the page and it did lead me to an order form and did get placed into a cart, but I don't know if I'd trust it. I have purchased DVD's from bargain bins at supermarkets and was sorely disappointed in the quality -- one of them was Orson Welles' "The Stranger," a great thriller with Welles directing and staring in a story of a Nazi bad guy in a small town in the guise of a teacher. The picture noise was bothersome (it did have reel change streaking as I have mentioned) and the sound wasn't very good. I've seen a good print on TCM so it cured me of buying these -- however, I think it was about $ .99 to $ 1.99.

I've had a Panasonic DMR (a DVR with a hard drive and a DVD burner for nearly all formats) for years and can record TCM, for instance, directly to DVD or save it to the hard drive and burn it later. I've hardly used it since it's not HD and I got a Time Warner Cable HD DVR. Just laziness coupled with all the choices on all the cable movie channels, even the included non-premium, having such a wide range of choice over a year that I can time shift record. I've recorded the original "Quartermass Xperiment" on the cable DVR from MGM HD channel yesterday (listed in the program guide under the US title "The Creeping Unknown") and sampled it a few hours ago -- a beautiful print 4:3 ratio (I can't remember if the original was wide screen or not) and decent sound.

Will Warner Bros. eventually offer a DVD channel with their library? That might disappoint HD Net Movies but they still broadcast 20th Century Fox vintage and rather recent movies even with the Fox Movie Channel (again, non-HD, at least on cable).

I'm now spoiled by the HD picture and sound quality -- I now avoid watching a VHS tape and gave the pre-recorded to the AIDS charity store.
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