Last week, I wrote about some movies and TV shows that are absent on DVD and asked readers to share their own picks. Apparently, there’s a lot of frustration among the DVD fans out there, because you folks responded loudly. Here’s what you’d like to see.
Last week, I wrote about some movies and TV shows that are absent on DVD and asked readers to share their own picks. Apparently, there’s a lot of frustration among the DVD fans out there, because you folks responded loudly. Here’s what you’d like to see:
Craig Gifford wishes he could watch the TV series “The Wonder Years.” He correctly notes that it’s the high cost of securing the music rights that have prevented this Fred Savage favorite from arriving on DVD.
John Connell says, “A great loss is that one cannot watch Irene Dunne in the 1936 version of ‘Show Boat.’ ” He’s right. Though the 1951 version starring Ava Gardner was released on DVD, this version — directed, incidentally, by James Whale of “Frankenstein” fame — remains unavailable.
Janice Pryhoda offers several suggestions for DVDs she’d like to see, including the 1957 Alec Guinness movie “All At Sea” (which I believe is available on a British DVD), the classic 1944 ghost story “The Uninvited,” the 1957 anthology film “The Rising of the Moon” and John Sayles’ 2010 movie, “Amigo.” Janice mentions that “The Uninvited” is shown fairly often on Turner Classic Movies. That channel is, without a doubt, the best friend of the movie fan, showing movies from all eras uncut and uninterrupted. Best of all, TCM shows plenty of rare and obscure films that aren’t — and may never be — on DVD. I can’t tell you how many movies I’ve added to my collection armed with only my cable box and my DVD recorder. (Check out the website at tcm.com.)
Janice also lists some TV shows she’d like to see, including one I mentioned: “Well, you really struck a nerve with Saturday’s column — especially when I saw ‘Knights of Prosperity’ on your list. I love that show and keep searching for it on amazon.com or asking about it on tvshowsondvd.com, but so far, nothing.” She also mentions another show featuring actor Donal Logue, “Terriers” (produced by Rockford native Shawn Ryan), which I’ll bet arrives on DVD one of these days. And she’d like to watch the British series “Viva Blackpool,” which featured “Doctor Who” star David Tennant. I should mention that there are some great British TV shows available on British DVDs — my favorites include the political comedy “The Thick of It” and the news satire “Brass Eye” — so it’s really worth the effort to get an all-region DVD player and an account at amazon.co.uk
Bill Ax, who mentions that he enjoys the pre-Production Code movies of the early 1930s (me too!), would like to see the 1961 film “Paris Blues” on DVD. It stars Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, Joanne Woodward and Louis Armstrong, and was nominated for a Best Music Oscar — and won a Grammy. He suspects music rights issues might be hampering the release of this movie on DVD. I hadn’t heard of it before, but with that cast, it sounds loaded with potential.
Christine Doherty wishes the 1990s Vietnam series “China Beach” would get a DVD release, but this looks like another show that is hampered by music rights. A quick search of the Internet will point you in the direction of several discussions involving fans frustrated they can’t see the show. Another search will point you in the direction of people selling complete (but unauthorized) sets of “China Beach” DVDs. What you do with this information is up to you.
Roger Westman lists three of the best TV dramas of all time that have only been partially released on DVD: Only season 1 of “St. Elsewhere” (one of my all-time favorite TV shows) is available; only seasons 1 and 2 of “Hill Street Blues” are on DVD; and only the first four seasons of “NYPD Blue” are on DVD. As Roger says “I can get all seasons of junk like ‘Gilligan’s Island,’ but not quality drama like the above?” I hear you, Roger. I hear you. (Remember how the local ABC station didn’t air the first season of “NYPD Blue” because of some religious protest? Man, was that stupid.)
Randy Kusak would like to see the Beatles’ “Let It Be” on DVD, and he’s not the only one. Legions of Beatles’ fans have been waiting years for this legendary documentary to arrive on disc. It was released on VHS way back in the 1980s, and copies are easy to come by with a quick Internet search. However, if you’re waiting for an official, extras-laden release, you’d better get comfortable. It could be a long time.
Ernie Fuhr has some fun suggestions, including the third season of the Rod Serling TV show “Night Gallery,” the 1983 rock comedy “Get Crazy,” the punk documentary “The Decline of Western Civilization” and “Neighbors,” the 1981 John Belushi/Dan Aykroyd movie he calls “my favorite dark comedy.” I do have good news regarding “Neighbors” — it’s available as part of the Warner Archive Collection at warnerarchive.com. Warner Archive is a great resource for movie fans, with dozens of new on-demand DVDs released each month. You never know what’s coming next — maybe even some movies on this list.
By the way, I mentioned the kid gangster movie “Bugsy Malone” in last week’s column, and David Frederick wrote to say it recently played at the Wisconsin Film Festival in nearby Madison, along with the new documentary “Paul Williams Still Alive,” which focuses on the man who wrote the music for “Bugsy” (and a lot of other music, too.) I’ve seen the trailer for “Paul Williams Still Alive,” and it looks fascinating. If and when it arrives on DVD, you can bet I’ll review it in this column.
Last but not least, my friend Rebecca Rose has been searching for the movie “Dead Silence” for years. There are a lot of movies called “Dead Silence” out there on DVD, but the one she wants is the 1991 TV movie about a group of students who accidentally kill a hitchhiker then have trouble keeping the secret. It’s not on DVD, and it might never be — but as long as there’s an Internet and movie fans out there, there’s hope.
Read Will Pfeifer’s Movie Man blog at rrstar.com/blogs/willpfeifer/ or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some DVDs available Tuesday:
“John Carter”: The biggest bomb of 2012 arrives on DVD before summer even officially arrives. Based on a series of books by “Tarzan” creator Edgar Rice Burroughs, it’s the story of a Civil War solder transported to the fourth planet. Despite the dismal box office results, audiences seemed to like it. Maybe it will find some love on home video.
“Breaking Bad: The Complete Fourth Season”: More tense drama involving meth and murder from one of the best shows on TV. Remember when star Bryan Cranston played Jerry’s dentist on “Seinfeld”? That was a long, long time ago.
“Safe House”: Denzel Washington plays a rogue CIA agent, and Ryan Reynolds plays the guy on the run with him in this action-packed drama that almost no one saw in theaters.
“Act of Valor”: Instead of actors, this movie fills its cast with actual, honest-to-goodness Navy SEALs, meaning that while the dialogue scenes might be less than completely convincing, the action sequences are top-notch. And really, are you watching a movie like this for the dialogue scenes? No, you’re not.
“Yellow Submarine”: The Beatles animated adventure gets the restoration treatment on this Blu-ray release, complete with a short making-of feature, the original trailer and other bonus material. And, after watching the movie, you’ll have the bonus of not being able to get the title song out of your head for days. Congratulations!
“Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Eighth Season”: On this season of his HBO show, Larry moves to Manhattan where he encounters Ricky Gervais, Michael J. Fox, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and, in the best episode, Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner. Look for a review of the set in an upcoming Movie Man column.
“The Three Stooges: The Ultimate Collection”: If you’re a fan of Moe and the boys, you’re going to want this big boxed set, which contains 20 discs collecting all of the team’s Columbia shorts plus bonus material featuring the solo efforts of the various Stooges.
Alan Jackson, “Thirty Miles West”: Let’s run down Jackson’s list of musical accomplishments: He has sold almost 60 million albums, topped the country singles charts 35 times and had more than 50 Top 10 hits. He’s also won 17 Academy of Country Music Awards, 16 Country Music Association Awards and a pair of Grammys. In other words, he probably doesn’t need you to buy his new CD, but you might want to do so anyway. The guy has a heck of a track record.
The Beach Boys, “That’s Why God Made the Radio”: If you’re a Beach Boys fan — or just a fan of pop music in general — you might want to give this disc a listen: It’s contains the first new material in more than 20 years featuring all the surviving original Beach Boys, with production by mad music genius Brian Wilson.
Soundtrack, “Rock of Ages”: Ever dreamed of hearing Tom Cruise sing “Pour Some Sugar on Me” or Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand duet on “Can’t Fight This Feeling”? Then boy oh boy is this your lucky day.
Bobby Brown, “The Masterpiece”: Nice title, Bobby. Good to see that, with all your success, you’ve managed to remain humble.
— Will Pfeifer
Sources: thedigitalbits.com; tophitsonline.com