Q: I am looking for Black Tuesday with Edward G. Robinson and Peter Graves; Baby Face Nelson with Mickey Rooney and Carolyn Jones (Don Siegel directs); and Breaking Point with John Garfield. Will any of these be released on DVD?
A: What a cool batch of movies you have requested. We can’t get a handle on who controls the rights to 1954’s Black Tuesday, with Edward G. and Peter G. busting out of prison in a crackerjack crime drama. The problem is that it was independently produced and released in theaters by United Artists, so figuring out the rights holder is a toughie. The oft-requested gangster epic Baby Face Nelson (1957) seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth—at least until Warner Archives gets a hold of a suitable print of this top-notch hood bio originally released by Allied Artists. The Breaking Point (1950), based on the Ernest Hemingway novel and directed by Michael Curtiz, stars Garfield as a boat captain who unknowingly takes a group of thieves on his ship. It’s another Warner property and, based on their past history, a surefire future release from their Archives collection.
Q: I was wondering if the movie Streets of Laredo will ever be released. The main stars were William Holden, William Bendix, McDonald Carey, and Mona Freeman. Please let me know.
A: We believe this 1949 Technicolor remake of Paramount’s 1936 The Texas Rangers (which starred Fred MacMurray, Jack Oakie and Lloyd Nolan and was directed by King Vidor) is owned by Universal, who has not been really big lately on putting out library titles. We would say it’s a longshot to see this entertaining sagebrusher in the near future.
Q: Anyone know what’s up with both of Bob Newhart‘s TV series? Why won’t the distributing houses complete the series? The Bob Newhart Show ended release after season four and only the first season of Newhart was made available. Who can I complain to? Ugh! Luv Newhart. Complete the series please!
A: According to the people at Fox, there are no current plans for any Bob Newhart releases now or in the near future. We understand this practice of putting out sets of TV shows, then slacking off on them, although a change in regimes in the video division often dictates change in release strategies. Sorry—we feel your pain.
Q: Any word yet on the release of Where’s Charley? with Ray Bolger??? Once in Love with Amy is not enough. I would love to hear Ray sing it again. Tell them to release it and let those who love the movie get the chance to see it again. Tell them PLEASE!
A: The 1952 version of the Broadway hit, a musical version of Charley’s Aunt, featured The Wizard of Oz’s Scarecrow showing off his singing and dancing talents. The George Abbott/Frank Loesser production included the ever-popular tune “Once in Love with Amy,” but, sadly, this Warner-owned release has never been out in any format. Musical rights may play a part in its absence from home video, but we know there’s a whole legion of fans out there who want to see Mr. Bolger cut the carpet in his idiosyncratic fashion (sans straw).
Q: I once saw The Grey Fox on a rented VHS and was bowled over by the unforgettable performance of Richard Farnsworth. The movie was released in 1982 and directed by Phillip Borsos. I have waited for so long for it to be on DVD. Why has it not been released on DVD by now?
A: One of the great mysteries of DVD. Even though it was presented by Francis Ford Coppola, The Grey Fox was backed by Canadian money and its rights are somewhat in limbo. A real shame, because it is a beautifully realized movie about an elderly American stagecoach robber, memorably played by Farnsworth, who can’t adjust to life after prison and heads to Canada to rob trains. It deserves a top-notch DVD treatment. It is an unsung classic, but, alas, we don’t expect it anytime in the near future.
Q: I would love to add Good Morning, Miss Dove with Jennifer Jones to my collection. Any chance it will be out on DVD in the near future?
A: A wonderful performance by Miss Jones, as an elderly teacher who reflects on her life and students during an illness, highlights this fine 1955 drama from Fox. Unfortunately, the studio has not put the time and effort into putting it on DVD—it would make an ideal double bill with The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie or Goodbye, Mr. Chips. The good news is that we expect Fox to get into the manufacture-on-demand game at some point, and this has prime archival potential.
Q: This is my wish list:
One of our Aircraft is Missing (1942) Michael Powell
Alias Nick Beal (1945) Jack Farrow
The Beast of Hollow Mountain (1956) Edward Nassour
Magic Town (1947) William Wellman
Manhandled (1949) Lewis R. Foster
Mayerling (1936) Anatole Litvak
Stranger in Our House (1978) Wes Craven
Tropic Holiday (1938) Theodore Reed
A: Impressive list! Point by point: We do have the Powell-Pressburger WWII drama One Of Our Aircraft…available along, with Spitfire and We Dive At Dawn, on a special British WWII Collection. The top-notch drama Alias Nick Beal, in which righteous politician Ray Milland makes a Faustian deal that leads to his corruption, is a Paramount film now owned by Universal, so odds are against it coming out any time soon. Oddly enough, the Mexican production Beast Of Hollow Mountain has never been available on any format. It’s owned by a Mexican company, but no one has picked up the cowboy-meets-dinosaur opus for release stateside.
Magic Town, a Capra-esque tale written by Frank’s frequent collaborator Robert Riskin, offers pollster James Stewart’s adventures in Middle America where he meets town planner Jane Wyman. It’s owned by Republic, and is languishing in the vaults of Lionsgate. We believe Paramount still holds the rights to Manhandled, a rarely seen film noir in which psychiatrist’s secretary Dorothy Lamour teams with shady detective boyfriend Dan Duryea for a heist of a patient’s jewels. This one is unlikely to see the light of DVD day unless Paramount licenses it out to another enterprise.
Mayerling has been available, but isn’t now—at least by itself. It is currently on the market as part of Criterion’s Essential Arthouse IV Collection along with five other foreign classics. No news on the made-for-TV Linda Blair thriller Stranger in Our House, AKA Summer of Fear. Universal owns the musical comedy Tropic Holiday, with screenwriter Ray Milland who heads to Mexico for inspiration and finds infatuation with South-of-the-Border beauty Dorothy Lamour instead. Small chance it will land on DVD anytime soon.
Q: I am looking for the “American release” of Tobacco Road, not the release in Portuguese. I cannot find it anywhere. Someone in the Middle East has a copy for sale on Amazon.Com for $125.00 but that’s ridiculous and I do not know if that is a bootleg copy. Can you tell me if this movie will be released so I can order it?
A: Believe it or not, the 1941 film, based on the Erskine Caldwell novel about the struggles of a backwoods family and their community, was part of the huge, now-discontinued Ford at Fox set. There may be some people out there selling separated sets on the Internet. But we really can’t help you locate the movie. There is always a chance that Fox will put it out as a single, if they go the MOD route.
Q: Do you know if there are plans to release the entire, uncut Hawaii (1966) with Julie Andrews on DVD?
A: Right now, many of MGM’s projects are on hold since they are about to be sold once again. MGM owns UA films like Hawaii, and their fate will rest with the next ownership. For the record, Hawaii originally clocked in at 189 minutes, and has since been reduced to 171- and 150-minute versions.
Q: In the beginning of the Warner Archive DVDs, they show previews of coming films. Most of these films have been released on DVD—however, Don Juan (1926), with John Barrymore and Mary Astor, has not. I have a copy on laserdisc but would like the DVD edition. Please advise. Also, is Warner planning to release any of the Rin Tin Tin films?
A: No current release date on Don Juan—finding a usable print could be a problem. As for Rinty, look for some exciting news in 2011.
Q: Is there any chance that a DVD of The Uninvited will be out any time soon?
A: Universal is certainly dragging their tails on their classic ghost story. No word yet.
Q: I would really like to know when my favorite TV medical comedy series will be available—Temperatures Rising with Cleavon Little. It was so-o-o funny, and I don’t understand why it hasn’t been available yet.
A: This entertaining sawbones sitcom was set at a hospital in Washington, DC and ran from 1972-1974 on ABC. Cast members also included James Whitmore, Joan Van Ark and, in later episodes, Paul Lynde. Sony owns it; they have no current plans for a release, although it seems like it could be a candidate for their MOD program.
Q: I am looking for The Desperate Hours, the 1947 version. It was available earlier this year, but now it is missing.
A: Can a classic with Bogart, Fredric March, Martha Scott and Arthur Kennedy directed by William Wyler be out of print on DVD? It can if you are Paramount Studios and have discontinued scores of classic titles! The film is one of several (including Chinatown, Don’t Look Now, The Day of the Locust, In Harm’s Way) that have evaporated, courtesy of the folks atop the Paramount DVD mountain. Whether it will come back anytime soon is anyone’s guess. Our figuring is that they have other plans for these gems, but we’re not sure what.
Q: Any chance that the Jean Arthur classic The Devil and Miss Jones will be showing up on DVD anytime soon? I was glad to see such titles as If You Could Only Cook, Too Many Husbands, and The Ex-Mrs. Bradford released.
A: The terrific 1941 rom-com with Ms. Arthur as a department store saleswoman, Robert Cummings as her co-worker/boyfriend out to unionize the business, and Charles Coburn as the tycoon owner of the establishment who becomes the original “Undercover Boss” to sniff out labor unrest is conspicuously absent on DVD, a genuine shame for lovers of 1940s farces. Warner has the rights, we believe, to the RKO production, so we wouldn’t be surprised if the Archives bring it out in the not-so-distant future.