Questions on Night of the Grizzly and More Answered

Movie Questions Answered: Night of the GrizzlyQ: Clint Walker, the actor who played Cheyenne on TV and starred in The Dirty Dozen, made a film about a bear that I recall was scary. Any clue what that was and if it is on DVD?

A:  You must be talking about 1966’s The Night of the Grizzly, in which lawman Walker inherits land in Wyoming, then encounters angry neighbors as well as a monstrous grizzly bear that kills his livestock. This rugged western adventure yarn offers lovely scenery (actually Big Bear Lake and Big Bear Valley in San Bernardino, California) and a supporting cast that includes Martha Hyer, Keenan Wynn, Nancy Kulp, Jack Elam and Ron Ely of TV “Tarzan” fame. The best news? The film will make its debut on DVD and Blu-ray in June.

Q: Do you have or can you get The Grey Fox with Richard Farnsworth?

A: This terrific 1983 western saga about elderly ex-con outlaw Bill Miner, who heads to Canada to resume his life of crime by robbing trains, has never been issued on DVD. This is too bad, because not only does it feature the late character actor Farnsworth in a superb, understated lead performance, it’s simply a great movie, gorgeously photographed by Frank Tidy (The Duelists). A rights snag has kept it off the market, from what we understand. Even though Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope Pictures has their name on it, they have no rights to it. A darn shame.

 

Q: I’m a big Gregory Peck fan, and have seen all of his movies on VHS, and have most of his movies on DVD. I would like to request from you that you try to find the following Gregory Peck DVDs that I cannot find. They are as follows: The Macomber Affair, The Million Pound Note, The Portrait, and Beloved Infidel.

A: We have no definite dates for any of these. But here are the odds that they come out in the near future, and why:

The Macomber Affair (1947): Peck plays a hunter whose bravery is questioned as he comes between married couple Joan Bennett and Robert Preston, a husband and wife on a safari. This adaptation of an Ernest Hemingway story is a United Artists release, but we are not certain the studio owns it. If they do, it could be issued by the MGM Archives. If not, it could be a long wait. Odds: 5-1.

The Million Pound Note (1954): Based on a story by Mark Twain and also known as Man with a Million, the storyline resembles both Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper and the film Trading Places. Two wealthy British brothers (Ronald Squire, Wilfred Hyde-White) place a bet whether a million pounds will make a difference to a poor person. They decide to use impoverished American sailor Peck as their guinea pig. The results are funny and surprising. This was another United Artists release, produced by J. Arthur Rank and photographed in color by Geoffrey Unsworth (2001: A Space Odyssey) under the direction of Ronald Neame (The Poseidon Adventure). Since no studio is really in control of the title, it’s difficult to calculate a future DVD release. Odds: 7-1.

The Portrait (1993): Peck’s daughter, Cecilia Peck, shares the screen with her father in this adaptation of Tina Howe’s play “Painting Churches.” She plays an artist who returns home to finish a portrait of her parents, played by Peck and Lauren Bacall. During her reunion, she must deal with her parents’ aging, as well as the feelings she has about being raised in the house she has returned to. Produced by the folks at Turner for their own stations, the moving film is a good candidate for a future archive release from Warner, who controls its rights. Odds: 3-1.

The Beloved Infidel (1959): The top-notch real-life drama tells of the relationship between columnist Sheila Graham (Deborah Kerr) and alcoholic writer F. Scott Fitzgerald (Peck), troubled with financial difficulties and his wife Zelda’s emotional problems. It’s a Fox film, and the studio hasn’t paid much attention to their fine library of late except on a limited basis. Odds: 6-1.

Q: Does anyone out there remember Three on a Couch starring Jerry Lewis and Janet Leigh? It was hilarious and one of my favorites! Where can I purchase a DVD of the title?

A: The 1967 romantic farce directed by and starring Jerry is not on DVD, but remains a likely candidate for Sony’s MOD series. In the film, Jerry plays an artist planning a trip to Paris with psychiatrist fiancée Janet Leigh. The problem is that Leigh has a problem leaving three of her female patients (the formidable trio of Mary Ann Mobley, Leslie Parrish and Gia Golan). All three are afraid of men, and Jerry decides to don disguises to cure them all.

Q: Anything on the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis film Three-Ring Circus?

A: Three-Ring Circus has some serious musical rights clearance issues and, from what we learned, it would be a chore (and cost a fortune) to get it out on DVD.

Q: Are Preston Sturges’ The Great McGinty and The Candidate available?

A: It must be election season if you are looking for these two political classics. The Great McGinty, with Brian Donlevy as a homeless man who works his way up the political ladder, is part of Preston Sturges: The Filmmaker Collection, so you are limited to purchasing the entire set in order to get McGinty. The Candidate is currently out-of-print, said to be under consideration for a re-release that will include a Blu-ray.

Q: Could you tell me when The Second Time Around with Debbie Reynolds will be put on DVD? Also I’d Rather Be Rich starring Sandra Dee, Robert Goulet and Andy Williams?  How about Take Me to Town starring Ann Sheridan and Sterling Hayden?

A: The Second Time Around (1961), with Reynolds caught between Steve Forrest and Andy Griffith after she becomes a small-town sheriff in 1911 Arizona, was a film issued by 20th Century Fox, which makes it a longshot for DVD these days as the studio largely ignores their much-desired library titles. Universal owns I’d Rather Be Rich (1964), in which a request from Dee’s dying grandfather (Maurice Chevalier) leads her to choose a fake fiancée (Goulet) in order to replace her real groom-to-be (Williams), who has been waylaid. No word on the release from Universal.  Finally, Take Me to Town (1953), helmed by the great Douglas Sirk, centers on saloon entertainer Sheridan and pal Phillip Reed who seek a hiding place after escaping from prison. Soon, Sheridan is sought by a logger and preacher (Hayden) who has three children. It’s a Universal picture and remains a longshot for DVD release in the near future.

Q: I remember a film called Trouble in Tahiti.  Anyone else know this film? As obscure as it is, I doubt if it’s available in any format.

A: As a matter of fact, we do have the 2001 version of Leonard Bernstein’s short opera. It’s set the 1950s and tells of an unhappily married suburban couple who find their only source of escape from their crumbling marriage is by watching the movie Trouble in Tahiti. While it runs only 40 minutes, the piece has been hailed as a masterpiece. There was a 1954 version, but this edition stars Karl Daymond, Stephanie Novacek and Tom Randle.

Q: I have been looking for a film with Natalie Wood called The Cracker Factory. Any info on when this will be released on DVD?  I also have been waiting for A Girl Named Sooner with the lovely Lee Remick.

A: Both of these titles are highly regarded TV movies. In The Cracker Factory, Wood tries to juggle family problems, an affair and drinking, and winds up hospitalized. Perry King and Shelley Long also star in this 1979 production. Remick does indeed shine in 1975’s A Girl Named Sooner, in which she and Richard Crenna play a couple given custody of a girl abandoned by her family and raised by bootleggers. Neither of these is available, and we doubt either will be soon issued on DVD.

 

  • Robert Sanchez

    Any chance the following titles might have a future on DVD?The Uninvited (1944), Incendiary Blonde (1945), The Female Animal (1958), Ivy (1947), Vivacious Lady (1938), The French Line (1953), Another Man’s Poison (1951), Take Me To Town (1953), Vogues of 1938 (1937), and more of Maria Montez’s films (Gypsy Wildcat, Sudan, White Savage, etc.).

    And has Fox ever addressed directly why they’re so reluctant to issue more of the classic catalog, or create their own variation on a Warner Archive-type MOD model? They have a rich back catalog of Golden Age films that fans would love to see issued.

    • Christinekay

      I also admire “The Uninvited” which was, for me, one of the most interesting and literate horror films of its time – perhaps any time.  I call it a horror film, but this one had a lot of class which took it higher than the usual horror-type stories that are seen in the cinema.  I did manage to find it some months ago on YouTube, in about ten parts (which wasn’t a perfect viewing experience, but better than nothing).  However, I’ve just searched YouTube again and can’t find it, apart from the trailer so I assume it has been taken down.  I would love to see this one released on DVD, as it never fails to impress.  It does seem rather sad that so many really worthwhile films aren’t available for various reasons.  

  • Ron8466

    Night of the Grizzly is also one I’d definitely get.  I’m a big Clint Walker fan.  We don’t seem to have a current batch of actors like Mr Walker, Wayne, Eastwood etc anymore – unfortunate. 

    Speaking of Peck, there’s one I’d like to see come out called “Night People” an espionage thriller about a soldier in East Berlin kidnapped. Peck plays the lead, Broaderick Crawford, Buddy Ebsen.  Made back in the 50′s at Fox.

    • Irv

      Actually, I just discovered it is, in fact, owned by MGM/UA, which makes it a candidate for their archives program. This is aood news.

  • Joefalls

    Definitly try to acquire  The million pound note.. It is such an entertaining movie, especially for Peck fans..

    • Irv

       

      Directed by
      Ronald Neame, this 1953 movie, rather than the Prince and the Pauper, seems to
      be the basis of Trading Places. Peck is a down-and-out sailor who becomes the
      center of a bet between two rich British gents who want to see if Peck can be
      turned into a lord when he is given a million pound note. So far, we have no
      word on a DVD release although VCI and other studios have put out films with a
      similar production pedigree.

      • Irv

        Actually, I just discovered it is, in fact, owned by MGM/UA, which makes it a candidate for their archives program. This is aood news.

  • James Howard

    I am looking for a movie that was not highly rated, but I loved it.  It was called A House is Not a Home and and was based on the life of Polly Adler.  It starred Shelley Winters and Robert Taylor.  I can find the song, but not the movie.   Is it availabie on any medium?

    • Irv

       

      It is owned
      by Paramount, but is not among the titles that Olive films acquired for DVD, so
      it will likely be  a long haul until it
      is issued. Sounds fascinating to us. Shelley winters as a madam. Cesar Romero
      as Lucky Luciano! Broderick Crawford! Kay Ballard! Mickey Shaugnessy! We’d love
      to check it out, too.    

  • Rbwhitlo

    I have been looking for a movie called Dark At The Top Of The Stairs. Do you know where I may find this movie? It stars Robert Preston.

    • Irv

      There is a
      licensing problem with this film, but it is not clear what it is. It could be the
      original material, which was penned by William Inge (“Picnic”).  The musical rights may be covered in some
      instances and in some instances they may not be covered contractually. Each
      case is different and companies must dot their “i”s and cross their “t”s before
      they bring it to market.

  • N Debrabant

    I’ve also been looking for the Dark At The Top Of The Stairs with Robert Preston. I’ve notice a lot of his movies haven’t been released on DVD. It’s a shame as he was a fine actor.
    Why it it so hard to clear musical rights to films? Don’t the copy write holders get a share of DVD sells? Can someone explain this to me?

  • Chuck

    I was wondering if anyone has any info on the remaster of Friedkin’s Sorcerer re-release?I heard it was in the works last year.

  • Ferschlugginer

    I’m still looking for “Jubilee Trail” and “Turnabout” on DVD — any chance these two will ever be released?

  • Paladin777

    Wondering why The Big Fix has never made it to DVD. Starring Richard Dreyfuss, this 1978 detective drama starred a P.I. who had come through the student movement of the ’60s and had become involved in a contemporary case involving a political party involved in an election. The movie also starred John Lithgow in one of his first roles, as well as Bonnie Bedelia and F. Murray Abraham. It is not only apropos re this being an election year, but also has obvious tie ins with the 60′s cultural movement and the Occupy movement of today. It was never released in VHS in a decent copy, so it cries out for a decent restoration as well as being a worthy entry in the detective/political genre.

    • Irv

      I love that film, too. Universal owns it and it would be a nice DVD release.

  • Layka

    What about “Love among the Ruins” in DVD as well as Days and Nights of Molly Dodd?

  • Louis

    Northwest mounted police. Any time soon?

  • Chris

    With the release of Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows”, I’m wondering if either of the original films (“House of Dark Shadows” and “Night of Dark Shadows”) will become available.
    I’d also like to find “Oh Dad Poor Dad, Mama’s Hung You in the Closet…”.  I know it’s not a classic film, but it had some terrific comedic actors in it.

  • Dee F.

    I have been waiting for years for the release of the TV movie, “Midnight Hour,” a Halloween horrorfest starring Shari Belafonte, LaVarr Burton, and a great cast.  The movie deals with what happens to a town when some high school students, preparing for a Halloween party, inadvertently raise the dead, along with a vampire.  The film is a great blend of horror, comedy, and love story.  Any idea of a release date??