Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Cheers to Dave
Dave Kehr does it again. Arguably America's most astute/knowledgable film critic and its foremost DVD reviewer (via the New York Times), Dave has become invaluable as much for his brave, outspoken observations as for his sophisticated, educated taste in film.
Case in Point: His take this week on "United Artists' 90th Anniversary Prestige Collection," MGM Home Entertainment's pricey - and rather grotesque - 110-disc package of titles from its UA arm. The collection, which lists at a whopping $869.98, includes all the usual suspects. Can't get enough of "West Side Story," "Rocky" and James Bond? Well, then, this set was made for you.
Oddly enough, as Dave notes, MGM didn't think of including any work by the key people who were the "artists" at United Artists - namely, its four celebrated founders. None of them is represented. Writes Dave:
"... if the new administration intended to establish its link to the great UA tradition, it has fallen short. The company was founded in 1919 by four of the most powerful figures in Hollywood at that time: the actors Mary Pickford, Charles Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks, and the director D. W. Griffith. Not a single film by the founding four has made its way into the UA box, which instead picks up in 1944 with “The Woman in the Window, a Fritz Lang film made for the independent studio International Pictures that was initially released by RKO and fell into UA’s hands only because of a series of mergers and acquisitions."
Dave has a couple other complaints about the set, but this glaring omission struck me as being particularly inept.
P.S. Be sure to check out Dave's invaluable blog, "Reports from the Lost Continent of Cinéphilia."
(Artwork: Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Charles Chaplin, three of the original four founding members of the venerable United Artists; Not pictured: D.W. Griffith)
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Anyone interested in perusing some 2060 of my film reviews, dating back to 1994, can do so by simply going to RottenTomatoes.Com
Posted by joe baltake at 10:35 PM