Q: Any chance the John Wayne epic The Barbarian and the Geisha will be issued on DVD?
A: Well, we have good news and bad news. The good news first: Yes, the 1958 John Huston film with Wayne as Townsend Harris, America’s first counsel to Japan, and Eiko Ando as the geisha girl who falls for him, is finally coming out on DVD in May. The bad news is that it will only be available on The John Wayne Film Collection from Fox. Included on the set with Barbarian are The Big Trail, Red River, North to Alaska, The Undefeated, The Horse Soldiers, The Alamo, The Comancheros, Legend of the Lost and The Longest Day. When and if Barbarian ever flies solo remains to be seen. Also on the Wayne horizon is Hondo on Blu-ray, although it will not be issued in 3-D as it was originally presented in theaters (and on TV at one time).
A: Fox owns this intense 1967 drama about two thugs who hold a New York City subway train hostage, but there are no immediate plans for a DVD release. The two actors you mentioned made their debuts in the film playing the tough guys. The colorful cast included Beau Bridges, Ruby Dee, Brock Peters, Jack Gilford, Donna Mills and Ed McMahon.
Q: Any chance for any region release of the great courtroom thriller The Green Scarf (1954) with Sir Michael Redgrave, Ann Todd, Leo Genn and Kieron Moore?
A: The crackerjack 1954 courtroom drama is owned by a British company and is not on any American company’s radar. Redgrave played a French lawyer defending a blind sailor (Moore) accused of murder. The situation for the defense seems hopeless, so it falls on Redgrave to come up with a defense and prove his client is innocent. Sounds fascinating to us.
Q: Any release date for The Best of Enemies with David Niven and Alberto Sordi, a great movie of comedy at war?
A: We’ve received several queries about this first-rate 1961 anti-war satire from director Guy Hamilton (Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever). Unfortunately, there are no immediate plans for a DVD release by way of Sony. In the film, downed British officers Niven and Michael Wilding are spared capture by Italian officer Alberto Sordi, and then receive orders to take Sordi’s outpost. It certainly is a great candidate for the studio’s archives series.
Q: Will there be any Blu-ray releases for any Hitchcock films from the 1960s: Vertigo, Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much?
A: Yes, we are told September will bring a Blu-ray collection of Hitchcock from Universal Pictures. It will probably be in boxed set form and, although the titles aren’t definite, the titles you mentioned seem like surefire candidates, along with The Birds.
A: He Who Must Die, Jules Dassin’s survey of a group of villagers staging a passion play on the Isle of Crete, is owned by a foreign company and has never been available here, probably because of the difficulty of finding a good print. It was shot in French by the American filmmaker who went overseas because of the blacklist and helmed such films as Rififi and Never on Sunday with wife Melina Mercouri. Zinnemann’s A Hatful of Rain, with Don Murray, Anthony Franciosa and Eva Marie Saint in a riveting drama about drug addiction, is a Fox film, but unlikely for release anytime soon.
Q: Your article on UPA animation made me think about a Mr. Magoo show in which the cartoon character played several famous people. I believe it was in the 1960s.
A: You must be talking about The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo, which ran on NBC from 1964 to 1965. Of course, Jim Backus provided the voice of Magoo as he played Dr. Frankenstein, the Count of Monte Cristo, Sherlock Holmes, Paul Revere and others. All 26 episodes are available and part of the impressive Mr. Magoo: The Television Collection 1960-1977.
Q: Do you know where i can purchase the movie Wild is the Wind?
A: It is a Paramount film and unlikely to come out in the near future. It seems like a good candidate to be licensed to another company like Olive, but it is not on their current schedule and we’re told there are musical rights issues involved. The 1957 film stars Anthony Quinn as a Nevada-based sheepherder who marries Italian beauty Anna Magnani, sister of his deceased wife. When Magnani finds her arrangement unsatisfying, she gets involved with young ranch hand Anthony Franciosa. George Cukor directed the film, and Quinn and Magnani were nominated for Oscars as was the title song. But, alas, there is no DVD release on the horizon.
Q: I’ve been looking for years for an ABC series called Nothing Sacred that ran from 1997-1998. It was about life in a contemporary inner city Catholic parish. It was stopped after complaints by the Catholic League, which sees anti-Catholic behavior all over the place. I’ve learned that there were five episodes filmed but never shown. It’s one of the truest down to earth stories I’ve ever seen about the modern Catholic Church in the U.S.
A: Well, we’d love to have good news for you—because we wouldn’t mind catching this controversial show ourselves. Although it ran on ABC, its rights are owned by Fox, its producing entity. We will put a word in for it, but we have to say it is a longshot to see the light of day on DVD. The show won and was nominated for several awards in its short life and starred Kevin Anderson, Bruce Altman and Ann Dowd. By the way, Anderson, who was in such films as Risky Business and Sleeping with the Enemy and played both JFK (Power and Beauty) and RFK (Hoffa), seems to have retired from acting. He hasn’t had a credit in a few years.