Monday, January 24, 2011

Top 20 Movies Not Available on DVD (in the U.S.)

First off, I want to thank everyone who participated in my earlier survey about movies that aren't available on DVD but should be (see here). In all, over 300 titles were suggested. It's nice that even in the last few months that have been announced as coming to DVD in the next few weeks (Killer Party and Carnival Magic). Saying that the titles spanned a wide range of genres, years, and countries is an understatement. That probably stems from the diverse group of people who answered (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Steve Puchalski, Greg Goodsell, Rich Osmond, etc).

Why did I ask about movies not on DVD? Simply, I wanted company on my soap box. Coming back from Toronto last month, I had a mission. I wanted to help director John Paizs get his Crime Wave out on DVD. That film, and too many others, are in dire need of their proper due. I don't know what I can do for a lot of these films except kvetch and hope that the right people can secure the rights and release. But, these days...

More than anything, the complete list will serve as a treasure trove of movies that I'm going to now have to look up and watch. Luckily, though most of the films haven't been released on DVD in the U.S., a lot of them have come out on DVD in other countries or there are TV or VHS-rips available on various bootleg/torrent/rapidshare-type sites. There are very few "lost" movies on the list and, frankly, one of the things I was hoping for was that people would vote for movies they love that really need more respect. I mean, it'd be great for The Day the Clown Cried to get a deluxe release but that's really for kitschy reasons. No one believes that it's really going to be a masterpiece, do they? Meanwhile, great films like Get Crazy, Hellzapoppin', and Chickenhawk languish in obscurity.

Of all the titles, only 20 had two or more votes. Here they are (in alphabetical order):

  1. Bed Sitting Room
  2. Celine and Julie Go Boating (IMDB
  3. Crime Wave (IMDB)
  4. Decline Trilogy (IMDB)
  5. Demon Lover Diary (IMDB)
  6. The Devils (IMDB)
  7. The Dion Brothers (IMDB)
  8. Distant Voices, Still Lives (IMDB)
  9. Face to Face (IMDB)
  10. If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do? (IMDB)
  11. Johnny Guitar (IMDB)
  12. Laws of Gravity (IMDB)
  13. 92 in the Shade
  14. Possession (IMDB)
  15. The Reflecting Skin (IMDB)
  16. Rolling Thunder (IMDB)
  17. Sonny Boy (IMDB)
  18. Unholy Rollers (IMDB)
  19. The Woman Chaser (IMDB)
  20. World's Greatest Sinner (IMDB)

A few of the above titles are available as video-on-demand releases (via Amazon, Netflix, OnDemand, etc), some have been shown on TV (thank you, TCM Underground!), several on non-Region 1 (outside the US) releases, and others have only ever existed as bootlegs.

As an aside, not all of the movies that I want to see available on DVD in the U.S. made the final list. Since this is my barbecue, here's my full list of picks:

  1. Burglar, The (IMDB)
  2. Trap, The (IMDB)
  3. Broken Mirrors (IMDB)
  4. Crime Wave (IMDB)
  5. Daddy Cool (IMDB)
  6. Die Laughing (IMDB)
  7. Dinner for Adele (IMDB)
  8. Dorothea's Revenge (IMDB)
  9. Finger Man (IMDB)
  10. Flight to Fury (IMDB)
  11. I Woke Up Early the Day I Died (IMDB)
  12. Lost One, The (IMDB)
  13. Magnet of Doom (IMDB)
  14. Money Maker (IMDB)
  15. Pastoral: To Die in Country (IMDB)
  16. Pilots in Pajamas (IMDB)
  17. Simon (IMDB)
  18. Static (IMDB)
  19. Tomorrow I will wake up and scald myself with tea (IMDB)
  20. Two Men in Manhattan (IMDB)
  21. Without Warning (IMDB)
  22. Woman Chaser, The (IMDB)
  23. World's Greatest Sinner (IMDB)

The state of the media business is not good. Rampant bootlegging, the skirmishes between formats (can't really call it a war), streaming, mail-order rentals; all of these factors have got the DVD market on the ropes (like everything else in our swell economy). This goes double for the boutique DVD companies where the above titles would best make a home.

Why aren't the these movies out on DVD in the U.S.? Some of the common reasons include murky rights, missing source materials, and--sadly--lack of interest.

I won't say that the above flicks are the most important, earth-shattering films ever were. However, I will vouch for a few of them as being wonderful, entertaining films. My point is, these films need release on the latest format(s).

Maybe lists like this help get the word out about movies that should be seen. I know I'm on the prowl for a few of them (though I once drove 30+ miles to rent a copy of Unholy Rollers to copy for Rich Osmond, I've never actually seen it). But, wouldn't it be nice if I could just walk into my local indie media store and pick up a legitimate DVD release where, hopefully, the people that made and starred in the movie would get their residuals?

What can you do about it? For me, I'm working hard at getting at least one of the above titles released on video. I've been pitching it around to different video companies (Facets, CultEpics, First Run Features, Fantoma, VCI, Zeitgeist, etc) to see if anyone would be interested in fighting for the rights.

Are you up to doing the same for your favorite Not on DVD movie?


Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm from Argentina and I have some of this movies on DVD.

Mike White said...

Thanks. I should have made it more apparent that I was only talking about the U.S. market.

Temple of Schlock said...

I've interviewed Stacey Keach, Frederic Forrest and Barry Primus about THE GRAVY TRAIN/THE DION BROTHERS. Not only do they really like the movie and have fond memories of making it, but all three of them told me that they'll gladly record a collaborative audio commentary if Columbia ever wakes up and realizes that people want to see this on DVD!

Anonymous said...

Hi - for your info, POSSESSION did come out in the US via Anchor Bay years ago. Here's the link:

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