Friday, December 28, 2007
Wanted - Film Advocates
This may not be the most original observation, but it's become increasingly apparent to me that something is askew at most of home entertainment divisions of the studios.
I mean, it doesn't make sense, for example, that Columbia/Sony managed to put on DVD everything that The Three Stooges ever did for the Poverty Row studio, but has inexplicably overlooked two affable comedies by one of its more reliable contract players, Jack Lemmon, for more than 30 years now. Neither "Operation Mad Ball" (1957) nor "The Notorious Landlady" (1962), both directed by Richard Quine, has ever been available on any format of home entertainment. Exacerbating matters, neither film has been televised in years.
Paramount, meanwhile, has been busy releasing boxed sets of mediocre TV series from the 1950s and '60s, while ignoring such once-popular titles as "The Rat Race" (Tony Curtis-Debbie Reynolds), "Love with the Proper Stranger" (Natalie Wood and Steven McQueen), "Come Blow Your Hort" (Sinatra) or any number of late Otto Preminger films ("Such Good Friends," "Hurry Sundown," "Tell Me that You Love Me, Junie Moon" and "Skidoo").
The problem? Well, I get the impression that the home divisions are peopled with "kids" (a relative term, I know) who think that film began with "Star Wars" and that anything made prior to 1970 is undeserving of attention. What's clearly missing are film advocates - people who know films, have had a long relationship with films and are keenly aware of titles worthy of attention, maybe even something made in the 1930s or '40s. Imagine that.
The studios need to bring film advocates into their home entertainment divisions who will fight for old Preminger or Lemmon films the way someone at Columbia went to bat for the Stooges - and the way that every other current DVD producer can't wait to get the latest Sandler or Apatow on discs.
(Art Work: Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen in "Love with the Proper Stranger," a superior version of "Knocked Up" from the 1960s)
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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 3:45 PM