Paramount Classics On The Way

Paramount Gets Back In the Game: We never understood why a film studio would suddenly take some of their best—and best-selling—DVDs off of the market. We understand there are rights issues sometimes, and licenses expire, and there are other reasons that go into making DVDs available or not available. But why take DVDs completely out of circulation just to take them out of circulation?

We’re not sure why Paramount dropped a nice portion of their library a while ago, but we’re happy to report they are putting a lot of it back into action. This is the 100th anniversary of the studio, and we have seen some special releases from them—including the unexpected issuing of Wings, the first Academy Award winner for Best Picture—on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time. So now we’re happy to welcome back Paramount favorites like Chinatown, Breakdown, Juice, Shaft, The Presidio, Death Wish, The Greatest Show on Earth, Ordinary People, Nevada Smith, Catch-22, Witness, Serpico, Nashville, Sunset Blvd. and others.

More Olive in the Pipeline: Olive continues to impress us with a slate of movies they’ve snagged from Paramount and other places. While we await the DVD launch of Twilight’s Last Gleaming and some of their other goodies, we welcome these much requested efforts now coming to DVD and Blu-ray:

Come Blow Your Horn (1963): They don’t much coo-coo-cooler than this comedy that finds playboy Frank Sinatra giving tips to younger brother Tony Bill in the swinging bachelor areas of life. Sinatra is called “a bum” by father Lee J. Cobb, but Bill is impressed by his ways with such women as Jill St. John, Barbara Rush and older babe Phyllis McGuire.  All this, and Dean Martin makes a cameo.

Who’s Got the Action? (1962): Dean Martin has a gambling problem so wife Lana Turner, in cahoots with pal Eddie Albert, decides to become his anonymous bookie. Hilarity ensues when Dino goes on a hot streak, forcing Lana to liquidate her assets. Walter Matthau, Paul Ford and Nina Talbot also star in this free-wheeling farce.

Assault on a Queen (1966): Frank Sinatra leads a group that includes Virna Lisi, Anthony Franciosa and Richard Conte to rob the Queen Mary by way of an abandoned German U-boat. Rod Serling scripted.

No Man of Her Own (1950): A suspenseful, expertly woven film noir from director Mitchell Leisen, with Barbara Stanwyck as an abandoned, impoverished single pregnant woman mistaken for a woman who died in a train crash. She’s taken in by the woman’s family, gets involved with the woman’s brother-in-law (John Lund) and seems to be able to pull off the ruse until her ex-hubby arrives on the scene.

Something to Live For (1952): Alcoholic actress Joan Fontaine finds romance with married, heavy-drinking ad executive Ray Milland after a bad relationship with theater director Richard Derr. George Stevens directs this powerful drama.

Boeing Boeing (1965): Hysterical sex farce stars Tony Curtis as a womanizing journalist in Paris who juggles his time with three stewardesses from different countries. When old pal Jerry Lewis stops in for a stay, it makes Curtis’s life topsy-turvy. Thelma Ritter, Dany Saval and Suzanna Leigh also star.

Criterion Corner: Harold and Maude, the dark romantic comedy that pairs the most unlikely couple of young, despondent Bud Cort and elderly, happy-go-lucky Ruth Gordon is back in release from Paramount. At the same time, Criterion is making the film—Hal Ashby’s directing debut, and marked by a great Cat Stevens score—available in a deluxe edition from their collection. The Criterion edition of the film will include lots of great extras, including commentary, an interview with Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) and more. Also on the Criterion docket are:

A Hollis Frampton Odyssey: A collection of films by avant garde filmmaker Frampton, one of the pioneers of the underground movement.

Alambrista (1977): Robert Young’s groundbreaking independent film looks at illegal immigration in California. Edward James Olmos, who was amongst the largely unknown cast, is interviewed for this release.

Pearls of the Czech New Wave: A collection of fine films from the burgeoning Czech film industry including works by Jiri Menzel, Jan Nemec, Vera Chytilova, Evald Scham and Jaromil Jires.

Late Spring (1949):  Yasujiro Ozu’s delicate drama set in post-war Japan and centering on a widower who decides to marry off his only daughter.

The Organizer (1963): In turn-of-the-20th-century Turin, workers at a textile factory seek help in unionizing from travelling intellectual Marcello Mastroianni in Mario Monicelli’s politically charged Italian drama.

On the horizon from Criterion, we expect these titles to be announced: Being John Malkovich, Putney Swope, Seconds, Quadrophenia and, rumor has it, Deconstructing Dad: The Music, Machines and Mystery of Raymond Scott.

  • Martin Stumacher

    How About “Two Years Before the Mast” with Alan Ladd. I also like to see, “Matin Eden” with Glenn Ford.

  • Joel

    “And The Angels Sing” – 1944
    Dorothy Lamour, Fred MacMurray, Betty Hutton

    • Timothy Kaier

      Another older Paramount title owned by Universal.

  • JIM RICK

    WHERE IS “DESERT FURY”?????? ALSO, JOEL…GO TO BETTY HUTTONS”S WEB SITE AND SEE “AND THE ANGELS SING”…..

    • Joel

      Thanks – will do!

    • Mark A. Vieira

      DESERT FURY was made by Paramount, but like (almost) every other Paramount film made between 1929 and 1949, it is owned by Universal, not Paramount. (The library was sold to MCA-Universal in 1958 for TV distribution. MCA made a fortune off that deal.)

      DESERT FURY is available in a Region 0 DVD from Australia. I bought it five years ago. The quality of the Technicolor transfer is breathtaking. Maybe TCM can program it, since that channel now has access to Universal’s library.

  • Ron

    Classics???????????????????
    The classics are still missing. Where is OUR HEARTS WERE YOUNG AND GAY, SALTY O’ROURKE, NIGHT HAS A 1000 EYES, INCENIARY BLONDE, SAIGON, CALCUTTA, MISS TATLOCK’S MILLIONS, CAPTAIN CHINA?

    • Timothy Kaier

      Those titles are owned by Universal. They own almost all Paramount titles made before 1950.

  • Joe

    What about “The Mating Season” with Thelma Ritter, Gene Tierney, Miriam Hopkins, John Lund, and Jan Sterling?

    • Susan

      YEAH!!!

      • Ford Rafferty

        This film shows on TCM. It was on about two or three months ago and will, I’m sure, be shown again. TCM had an excellent print.

  • BRIAN

    How about an Alan Ladd boxed set?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1037752767 Eric Sinkkonen

      Speaking of Alan Ladd films from Paramount, what about Thunder in the East with Deb Kerr and Charles Boyer?

    • Maureenw

      Several Alan Ladd films are available through Netflix instant streaming, including Captain Carey USA, Thunder in the East, Botany Bay, Chicago Deadline, Whispering Smith and Shane. I own DVDs of This Gun For Hire and Shane, as well as VHS recordings (on AMC back when movies ran commercial-free) of many of Ladd’s early films like And Now Tomorrow, China and Two Years Before The Mast. I would purchase any/all of the above if made available as a box set from Paramount.

      I would also like to see Ladd’s version of The Great Gatsby re-released. Ladd’s portrayal of Jay Gatsby is closer to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s character in the novel than Robert Redford’s portrayal in the Paramount remake.

    • Maureen

      I would like to see an Alan Ladd box set including all the Lake/Ladd movies. Loved The Glass Key, The Blue Dahlia and This Gun For Hire.

      I would also like to see Paramount release Ladd’s version of The Great Gatsby (1949). Ladd’s portrayal is closer to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s character than that of Robert Redford’s Paramount 1974 remake.

  • Geoff Mullins

    I believe that Alan J Pakula’s “The Sterile Cuckooo” from Paramount will get a DVD release this year. Here’s hoping. Liza’a performance was magnificent.

  • Chris Adamko

    It’s still a mystery why “Love with a proper stranger” with Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen has
    not been released on DVD. Maybe Olive will pick it up?

  • Robin

    Where is The Joker Is Wild? This is one of the most inexplicably missing movies of all. A movie starring Frank Sinatra, Jeanne Crain and Mitzi Gaynor – and it’s disappeared! “Who can explain it – who can tell you why”

  • Gord Jackson

    Robin, re “The Joker is Wild”, fools give you reasons, wise men never try, lol.

    That said, I fully agree with you altho there may be rights issues vis-a-vis the music in it. I have also been hoping to see Bob Hope’s fine dramatic turn in “Beau James” show up along with the cute George Gobel, Mitzi Gaynor, David Niven comedy “The Birds and the Bees.” “Bees” is hardly high art but George Gobel was quite the unique talent in his time. I was ushering in a theatre when he first hit television Saturday nights at 10:00 on NBC and trust me, I rushed home to make sure I caught it. George’s “you dirty bird,” became THE saying on North America’s playgrounds at the time. It’s too bad he’s virtually forgotten today.

    • Gord Jackson

      Almost forgot – the delightfully sophisticated “The Pleasure of His Company” with Fred Astaire, Lili Palmer, Debbie Reynolds, Tab Hunter, Gary Merrill and Charles Ruggles from 1961. As Leonard Maltin says, the cast was in rare form.

  • Dolly

    What about “So Big” with Jane Wyman. It is one of the best movies

  • David Ecklein

    Repeating a request for a boxed set of the eight MacDonald-Eddy MGM films. Also, Nelson Eddy’s “Let Freedom Ring” and “Chocolate Soldier”.

  • mrmovie

    lol everyone demanding certain films. lol well my request is how about everything

  • http://www.facebook.com/kenneth.m.henderson Kenneth Henderson

    The Paramount story is a sorry one in many ways. As I understand it, Paramount kept the original materials and had haphazard copies made in 16mm? at a lab ‘down the road’. The copies of those movies I saw in the early days of TV in my country all seem to have had a long black line down every frame about 30% in. There were cue marks all over the town. Material that had been excised over the previous years was not replaced if they still had those pieces. Later screenings of these films in my country were sans those black lines but then there was a storage fire where TV material was stored here which may be the reason for that-new prints obtained from somewhere.

    The non-showing of these MCA titles on commercial DVDs has been a field day for the Gray Marketeers with tapes then DVDs of all sorts of quality taken from old prints or TV broadcasts complete with TCM or whatever logos.

    Paramount seems(after 1949)to have a lot of trouble with music rights and so much of their material has had items removed or replaced because they would not pay the excessive demand for music rights. I think of Happy Days TV series and Come Back Little Sheba as examples. The point is the TV series showed on TV with those original soundtracks but on DVD this changes and I don’t like it. Another problem with original material is that editing down, permanently in many cases) is done for cable TV and more ad breaks. It is not always possible to go back to original film elements uncut or original tape masters. Often these are the ones that have been cut. Sometimes the material has been given over to people like former distributor WorldVision and these have been cut or altered in many was on those originals. The good example is the long running Little House on the Prairie.

    I am happy to get rare stuff but I am not happy to get stuff that has been cutdown by someone when it was unnecessary. I don’t hold with all these rights issues as in the end the material can disappear for good and no one benefits ever again. Why restore or just save material when you can’t use it?

  • Rosalie Siri

    How about THE VAGABOND KING with Orestes and Kathern Grayson

  • Tito Pannaggi

    ALL THE HITCHCOCK FILMS FROM PARAMOUNT!!!

  • Alf Messina

    Also wanted on DVD from Paramount (or Olive Films) pleeeese….”LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR”, “The BLISS OF MRS BLOSSOM”, “St.LOUIS BLUES”, “A SEPARATE PEACE”(1972), “TELL ME THAT YOU LOVE ME JUNIE MOON”, “The GREAT GATSBY”(1949)…..AND..if Paramount has the rights to: “SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE” &/or “The APRIL FOOLS” ?!!!

  • Jim Carlson

    Would love to see “The Big Sky” with Kirk Douglas on dvd.

  • Bernard

    What about these other Paramount GEMS :
    “Wild is the Wind”- Anna Magnani & Anthony Quinn !
    “The Proud and the Profane” -Deborah Kerr & William
    Holden !
    “Thunder in the East” -Deborah Kerr & Alan Ladd
    Those who are walking around the vaults
    wondering about what to release, can’t they just read these messages ?

  • Bjodrie

    All The Alan Ladd classics.

  • Bjodrie

    Duffys Tavern(1945)All star cast.