Q: When will they put out a DVD of The Hatchet Man with Edward G. Robinson and Loretta Young? Truly a wonderful movie with the greatest ending of any movie I’ve ever seen. Also George Sanders in The Private Affairs of Bel Ami, one of his best movies ever. They should put out a boxed set of George Sanders movies. He is truly one of the most underrated of the great actors.
A: As with most of Mr. Robinson’s early films, The Hatchet Man (1932), in which he plays a Chinese gangster who happen to marry the sister (Ms. Young) of a man he kills, is owned by Warner and is a likely candidate for future release via their Archive program. The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (1947), in which Sanders plays a British cad who uses and abuses all sorts of wealthy, socially-connected women—except the penniless Angela Lansbury—is one of those titles stuck in DVD purgatory because it is owned by Republic Pictures. We love Sanders too, but this classic from Albert Lewin (Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, The Picture of Dorian Gray) will not be on DVD anytime in the near future as far as we can tell.
Q: I am trying to find a movie, and I can’t remember the name. It was a horror flick, early 60′s. It had a bleeding rose, and at the end the lady falls on a black metal pointed fence which pierces through her heart. Can anyone tell me?
A: One possibility is The Masque of the Red Death, Roger Corman’s stylish 1964 adaptation of the Edgar Allen Poe story with Vincent Price as Prospero, a sadistic 12th century prince who holds a demonic ball in his castle as the bubonic plague infects those outside. Unfortunately, the film is now out-of-print on DVD, where it once shared a release with another ace Corman/Poe adaptation, Premature Burial (1962), starring Ray Milland.
Q: Hello, I have been trying to find the title and availability of a movie I saw on television in the early to mid ‘80s. I even lived next door to a movie critic and he could not help, I am hoping you can. I think the movie was filmed in the ‘50s or maybe early ‘60s and is a comedy about a sailor and his crew and ship after WWII. I think he is a Hospital Corpsman and he goes up and down the ranks in the Navy until he finally becomes a Chief Petty Officer. (His character is like the old Sgt Bilko show, always up to something to make some money) One way to make some money is to convince the Captain the ship has cockroaches, which the Captain naturally hates, so to raise money, he recommends to the Captain that crew members wanting to go on liberty must turn in cockroaches to go ashore. Our character naturally begins to sell cockroaches to the crew. The ship he is on visits Japan. There he meets a Japanese girl. In the movie, there is something underwater that was sunk during WWII that was important (maybe a statue) to the people of the village or town the girl lives in, our character and friends find the missing item and return it to the village and they become local heroes. Any information will be appreciated. Thank you.
A: Wow! You have a good memory! The title of this one is Nobody’s Perfect and it’s from 1968. Doug McClure, Nancy Kwan and James Whitmore were the stars. It was produced by Universal, but a DVD release in the near future is, sadly, unlikely.
Q: I’m looking for a film made sometime between the ‘30s and ‘50s where the end of the movie has a young boy on a ledge (I think) who is trying to get away from a killer. The killer is about to reach the boy, when he is shot by a policeman from the ground. It’s not The Window (1949). I just remember seeing it several years ago, and it scared the heck out of me. Any ideas as to what the name of the movie is?
A: We’re stumped on this one. It sounds a lot like The Window, but you say it’s not. So if anyone out there has any inkling, please give us an email.
Q: Just when will Universal decide to release the complete Rock Hudson film collection? The man was responsible for Universal’s survival. The collection previously released (Rock Hudson: Screen Legend) was an odd mix at best. Where are all of his films and the entire MacMillan & Wife package?
A: Well, it’s nice to be a completist, but few stars get that sort of treatment. We can point you, however, in the direction of the recent Douglas Sirk Filmmaker Collection in which Rock is featured in three of the four films: Taza, Son of Cochise, Captain Lightfoot and The Tarnished Angels (the fourth is Thunder on the Hill with Claudette Colbert and Ann Blyth). No word on MacMillan & Wife from Universal, either.
A: Negative on all. What an eclectic list. My Forbidden Past (1951), with Ava as a wealthy beauty pursuing Robert Mitchum in 1890s New Orleans, is from RKO, which means it’s a strong candidate for the Warner Archives. Joan of Arc (1948) was independently produced and actually once available on DVD, but now off the market. Until the rights are picked up by someone else, it will remain in limbo. The Chris Isaak Show, which ran on Showtime from 2001-2004, has never made it to DVD, perhaps because of music licenses. The series, which definitely has a cult following, featured the singer as a fictionalized version of himself, getting into musical and romantic entanglements.
Q: The Busby Berkeley 9-DVD set looks wonderful, but all these films were issued earlier in two separate box sets, so diehard fans may already have them. When will the rest of the Berkeleys be out in restored form? 20 Million Sweethearts, Whoopee, In Caliente, Palmy Days, Flying High, Wonder Bar, and The Fashions of 1934, etc., are somewhere in the ozone, a few are on unrestored DVD-Rs. And I am still waiting for the series of eight Nelson Eddy – Jeanette MacDonald MGM gems to be reissued on DVD (preferably in a restored boxed edition). Please.
A: Well, Mr. Berkeley not only choreographed for Warner, but other studios as well, including Samuel Goldwyn. So some of the films you mentioned will never be offered together with the others. The restoration process of the archival stuff has been long and not as steady as we have hoped, so we can’t tell you when Warner will get to the Berkeley titles. As for the Nelson Eddy-Jeanette McDonald films, there’s been no word at all of late from Warner.
Q: Will the 1970s series Police Story ever be brought out for release?
A: The classic 1973-1977 NBC anthology series created by real-life LAPD cop Joseph Wambaugh (The Choirboys, The Onion Field) will likely be issued by a different company that Universal. We’d guess Shout Factory!, sometime in mid-2011.
A: Both of these films have been asked for time and time again. The classic ghost story Uninvited, a Paramount feature owned by Universal, is sadly gathering cobwebs in the vaults. Five Million Years to Earth, a remake of the British TV miniseries Quatermass and the Pit, is currently off-the-market. This Hammer production tells of an odd pod found in a London subways system that is discovered to house alien, insect-like creatures. We believe Fox currently controls the rights, but has no plans for a DVD release at this time.
Q: Hi, I would like to know when a boxed set of Betty Grable and Dan Dailey movies—When When My Baby Smiles At Me, Mother Wore Tights, Coney Island—will be available for sale?
A: We’ve heard rumors for a while about another Betty Grable Collection to be issued on DVD, but Fox is mum of late. The lady with the gams that thrilled the WWII servicemen certainly deserves some DVD recognition. However, please note it was George Montgomery who shared the screen with Ms. Grable in Coney Island, not Mr. Dailey.
Q: Does anyone remember a very funny western movie starring Dan Blocker and Jack Elam? Mr. Elam played a drunken gunslinger and at the time, I thought the movie was hilarious. I think the name is Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County. Would really love to have this movie, especially on DVD.
A: This 1970 sagebrush comedy is a lost gem! Bonanza’s Blocker plays a lonely blacksmith awaiting the arrival of his mail-order bride. But when the deal turns out bad, the townsfolk put barroom gal Nanette Fabray up to the task of romancing Dan. The supporting cast is great: Elam, Mickey Rooney, Jim Backus, Wally Cox and more. It’s a Universal release and, sadly, no upcoming DVD is planned.
Q: I am interested in Midnight Lace with Doris Day. Also the TV series The High Chaparral. I found it on a website last year but I got took. I never received it. I paid $40.00 for it. I have two seasons of The Big Valley—any more on the way?
A: A change-of-pace for Ms. Day—and one of her most loved movies—Midnight Lace (1960) remains unavailable on DVD. Again, Universal controls it, but no word on its release despite lots of support from fans who want it out there. Rex Harrison and John Gavin also star in this first-rate thriller. Your experience with The High Chaparral, the popular 1967-1971 NBC western series with Leif Erickson, Cameron Mitchell and Linda Cristal, shows you how important it is for the buyer to beware, especially when it comes to TV series. We heard an official, licensed version of the show is on the way in 2011, so hold tight. Unfortunately, Fox has no current plans on another release of The Big Valley at this time.]
Q: Would add to the request for the movie The Two Worlds of Jennie Logan with Lindsay Wagner. Matter of fact, many of my friends and my family are asking for it!!
A: Great news! The Two Worlds of Jennie Logan will soon be available through www.moviesunlimited.com. It’s part of the new MGM on-demand release batch. The 1976 TV movie from Frank DeFelitta (Audrey Rose, The Dark Night of the Scarecrow) stars Lindsay Wagner as a woman with marital troubles who finds an old dress when she moves into a Victorian home. The dress takes her to another era where she meets and falls in love with the artist who once owned her new house. Marc Singer and Linda Gray also starred in this romantic thriller, much requested—now finally available—over the years.
Q: Here’s another person asking about a DVD release of Jean Simmons‘ The Blue Lagoon… Also, where is the 1949 version of The Great Gatsby? How about a DVD release of the 1960s TV series Tarzan, with Ron Ely? Loved it as a kid, haven’t seen it since.
A: Before Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins, a different generation knew the sensuous desert island shipwrecked saga as starring Simmons and Donald Houston (in a part that Roger Moore and Laurence Harvey auditioned for!). The 1949 property is owned by a British concern and is not licensed to DVD, so it’s anybody’s guess when it will be issued. The Great Gatsby is a Paramount property. Its rights present a problem for DVD release, and the studio has been unable to get them cleared. Finally, from what we can tell, the 1966-1969 Tarzan is owned by NBC/Universal but remains a long shot for future DVD release at this point.
A: The film is called House of the Long Shadows and is just now coming out from MGM’s on-demand service. The 1983 film, produced by the folks at Cannon films, tells of a writer (Desi Arnaz, Jr.) who takes a bet that he can turn out a novel comparable to Wuthering Heights over a 24-hour period. He heads to a Welsh mansion to work, but soon encounters a series of odd characters, played by the likes of Price, Cushing and Lee as well as John Carradine. The film takes an Old Dark House-type approach to the horror, something different than director Pete Walker’s other, more violent horror excursions like House of Whipcord and Schizo.