Your Questions on Samson and Delilah, The Sterile Cuckoo, Many More Answered

Q: Hi, I would like to know if you would be able to find out if the title Fast Charlie, the Moonbeam Rider with David Carradine and Brenda Vaccaro will be released soon on DVD or Blu-Ray.  As a motorcycle enthusiast, I think this movie is right up there with the best. It was released in 1979, I believe, and I have seen it on VHS although to find one for sale is almost impossible. Thank you for any information you may be able to provide.

A: After a few collaborations between Carradine and producer Roger Corman for Corman’s New World Pictures, Corman and Carradine teamed for this film from Universal. Carradine is a WWI veteran who abandoned his fellow troop members, but tries to make things right by competing in a transcontinental motorcycle race and having his military friends help him. Vaccaro plays the love interest. As the film is owned by Universal, it is unlikely they will put it out. Sorry. It seems to have quite a following, based on the requests we have received for it.

Q: How about The Trap with Oliver Reed ?

A: This 1965 film is a drama with Reed as a rugged trapper in late 19th century Canada who takes a young mute woman (Rita Tushingham) as his wife. Even though she is fearful of him, she comes to his aid in his time of need. The film has never been on DVD, and its rights are under the auspices of MGM. That is a good thing as the company has been aggressive in putting out archive titles of late, so we could see the effort with gorgeous cinematography in the future.

Q: Where is Peter Pan with Mary Martin?

A: In DVD NeverNeverLand. Peter Pan aired on NBC on December 8, 1960, and starred Mary Martin as J.M. Barrie’s boy who never wanted to grow up. Cyril Ritchard played his nemesis Captain Hook. It is owned by Universal, but there are some entanglements about rights issues and licensing regarding its score, which included songs by Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and Carolyn Leigh and Moose Charlap. So, sadly, this classic TV special is not available for the holidays.

Q: Any idea when we might see 77th Bengal Lancers [TV series with Phil Carey and Warren Stevens?] Also the feature film Bengal Brigade with Rock Hudson?

A: Guess you got Bengal on your mind! Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers, a TV series that ran for one year on NBC starting in 1956, involved a regiment of soldiers facing adventure as they try to protect the Crown Jewels of England during the final days of the Raj. Stevens, Carey and Patrick Whyte starred. While it ran on NBC, the show was produced by Screen Gems, which makes it the property of Columbia. We would say it’s a longshot at best for a DVD appearance. 1954’s Bengal Brigade starred Hudson as a leader of the Sepoys in India who finds himself in trouble after leading his troops into battle against orders, then relinquishes his commission. Arlene Dahl and Torin Thatcher also starred in this adventure director by The Wild One’s Laszlo Benedek. It’s owned by Universal and a future DVD release is unlikely.

Q: Betty Grable made so many movies, yet not many of hers do I see for sale. She is and always has been my favorite. I am 78 years young. Would love to see more of them.

A: Miss Grable’s films were made, for the most part, 20th Century Fox, with whom she had a contract with from the 1930s through the 1950s. They have been relatively slow of late putting out catalog titles, but this may be changing, as evidenced by their release of Stars and Stripes Forever. We only hope that Ms. Grable and her gams get their day on DVD.

Q: I am looking for Voodoo Heartbeat and Help Me I’m Possessed.  I would also be interested in any other Nizet titles.  Maybe you can help?

A: As far as we can tell, neither is on DVD, although the latter was released on VHS from the long-defunct manufacturer Video Gems. Remember them? They had the big, plastic boxes. Charles Nizet was an exploitation director from Belgium who worked mostly in Las Vegas. The only film of his we can find on DVD is 1970’s The Ravager, about a Vietnam vet who witness atrocities during his tour of duty, then returns home to become a serial killer. Among Nizet’s other efforts were Rescue Force, Three-Way Split and Slaves of Love.

Q: Any chance of Samson and Delilah with Hedy Lamarr and Victor Mature getting the DVD treatment?

A: We are told by a reliable source that Paramount is gearing up to make a big splash with catalog titles for their 100th birthday. And, good news: Cecil B. DeMille’s 1949 Biblical epic is among the titles slated for a DVD and Blu-ray release.  Look for Chinatown and other classics to get new treatment as well.

Q: What’s the latest on Porgy and Bess with Sidney Poitier?  Will I see the DVD release in my lifetime?  I’m 68.  Probably slim and none. I see on eBay that there are some bootlegs out there.  I am not interested in these.

A: First of all, beware of anyone offering the film because not only would it be illegal, but it’s likely of poor quality. The film has been withdrawn for circulation because of an ongoing feud between the Gershwin estate and producer Samuel Goldwyn’s people. The Gershwins wanted it filmed on location in its original operatic form by director Rouben Mamoulian. Goldwyn decided instead to shoot in on soundstages with filmmaker Otto Preminger behind the camera.  The film is in need of some serious restoration as well, but because of the conflicts, no one has undertaken the chore. The only way to see it, really, is though archival screenings. These only occur once in a blue moon, as there are few viewable prints around.

Q: This is not a comment, but a question. Is there any chance that these 3 movies with Kathryn Grayson will be released on DVD anytime soon, Grounds for Marriage, Desert Song, and Andy Hardy’s Private Secretary.

A: Andy Hardy’s Private Secretary will be available in December, courtesy of the Warner Archive program! Grounds for Marriage with Van Johnson and the 1953 version of Desert Song with Gordon MacRae are Warner-owned and likely future candidates for their archives collection.

Q: I want to see some Henry Aldrich movies.  I loved them as a kid.  Do you remember “Henry — Henry Aldrich!!” “Co-m-ing Mother”?

A: We actually don’t remember them, but we’ve sure heard a lot about them. Eleven films were produced by Paramount, the first starring Jackie Cooper as the problematic kid Henry and the others with Jimmy Lydon in the role. Since Universal now controls the rights, we’d doubt a DVD appearance anytime in the near future. The popular character started in a play called What a Life in 1938, and was adapted into a radio show that same year. Henry later made the rounds on TV.

Q:  I’m looking for the following on DVD: Voyage of Terror: The Achille Lauro Affair (Burt Lancaster), Valentine (Mary Martin), Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (Stockard Channing), and Mythquest and The Peacock Spring (Naveen Andrews).

A: We would say all of these TV productions are a longshot for DVD/Blu-ray release at this point in time.

Q: Does Wait ‘TIl the Sun Shines, Nellie even exist anymore?  If so, will it ever appear on DVD?  It was a nice slice of Americana (as they say) and should appeal to a couple of generations who have never even heard of it.

A: The 1952 film is from Fox, and we’re hoping that the surprise release of Stars and Stripes Forever on DVD will jumpstart interest in further library titles like this. David Wayne is the late 19th century barber who settles in small-town America with wife Jean Peters, even though he’d prefer to move to Chicago.  During their lives, the couple faces tragedies and moments of joy and surprises. And, yes, the title song is featured in the film.

Q: My list of wants is beginning to show some movement, but there are still some omissions.  Any hope for the releases of the following:  The President’s Lady, Hold Back the Dawn, The Sterile Cuckoo,  Red Sky at Morning, The Uninvited, The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, Frenchman’s Creek, A Certain Smile, My Foolish Heart, Rock-a-Bye Baby, The Blue Veil, State Fair (1962), Beyond the Forest, No Down Payment, The Heartbreak Kid (1972), Machine Gun Kelly, Margie, Harriet Craig, Baby Face Nelson (Mickey Rooney), The Dorothy Parker Story,  The Mating Season, Down to the Sea in Ships, Blue Denim or The Devil and Miss Jones? My list is longer, but any of these would be greatly appreciated……oh yes, 10 North Frederick hasn’t been out for a long while.  Thanks forgot:  Goodbye, Columbus, Abandon Ship, The Lusty Men, Wuthering Heights, Full of Life, I’d Climb the Highest Mountain, The Comic and Northwest Passage.  I don’t want to seem greedy.

A: That’s quite a list you have there. Let’s say that you can now order Northwest Passage, Rock-a-Bye Baby will be hitting in late winter, and The Sterile Cuckoo with Liza Minnelli is on its way next year. The others are up in the air for now.

Q: I’m looking for China Beach to be released on DVD, as well as The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd.

A: The pilot for China Beach was on VHS once upon a time, but we are not sure why the 1988-1991 series with Dana Delaney has yet to be offered on DVD. Warner Brothers controls the rights. The Blair Brown-starrer The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, which ran on NBC and Lifetime, is also conspicuously absent, and we don’t have any info about an impending release.

Q: There was a TV movie, I believe, that starred William Holden as a uniformed policeman and Lee Remick as a waitress? It was done in the second half of the 1970’s. Was it called The Blue Knight?

A: You are the correct about the stars of the 1973 TV adaptation of Joseph Wambaugh’s book. It was later transformed into a TV series with George Kennedy which ran from 1975 to 1976 on NBC. Neither is currently available but are certainly candidates as they were produced by Lorimar, now owned by Warner Brothers.

Q: Any information on the following films: Willard, (1971), Ben (1972),The Reincarnation of Peter Proud 1975), Death Ship (1980), Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965), A Cold Night’s Death (1977) and Fright Night Part II (1988).

A: The popular Willard with Bruce Davison and Ernest Borgnine, its sequel Ben, featuring the hit title track by Michael Jackson, and Peter Proud, the parapsychology thriller with Michael Sarrazin and Margot Kidder, were all produced by Bing Crosby, of all people. He also produced Walking Tall and the TV series Ben Casey and Hogan’s Heroes. The films are now under the auspices of CBS and Paramount.  Death Ship with George Kennedy and Richard Crenna is owned by a Canadian company and not licensed for DVD. Dr. Terror, a film that found Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing heading to Hammer competitor Amicus, was left out of the license to MPI, who put out other Amicus films on DVD in recent years. A source says Paramount, which controls part of the Republic library, is the current owner. A Cold Night’s Death (aka Chill Factor), an unnerving TV movie with Robert Culp and Eli Wallach as scientists in the Arctic who become the target of disturbing occurrences, was an ABC Movie of the Week, and was produced by ABC—and owned by Disney. Not likely to be on DVD soon—if ever. The sequel to Fright Night was from the short-lived Vista Organization (along with such films as Russkies and Maid to Order). From what we can tell, its rights are not controlled by anyone right now.

Q: When will Northwest Passage (1940) and the Blondie series be out on DVD? I know that a few Blondie movies have been released but why not the whole set? Also, I agree that the whole Andy Hardy series should be released and with commentary by Mickey Rooney while he is still with us!

A: Some good news here. On the way to DVD is Spencer Tracy as the leader of Roger’s Rangers, who find themselves in trouble during the French-Indian War. Also, there are a half-dozen Andy Hardys on the way including You’re Only Young Once, Out West with the Hardys, Judge Hardy and Son, Life Begins for Andy Hardy, Andy Hardy Meets Debutante and Andy Hardy’s Private Secretary. No commentary from Mickey, unfortunately.

Q: Robots in a shopping mall? Sound familiar?

A: If you said zombies in a shopping mall we would have said “Yep, every Christmas.” Just kidding. Well, we know zombies are in the two Dawn of the Dead films. You must be talking about Chopping Mall, a 1986 Roger Corman production in which a group of teenagers (the popular Keli Maroney among them) are mistaken as intruders by killer robot security guards. Bloody situations and movie references ensue. It is available on DVD and—guess what?—it is in the process of being rebooted (as opposed to “robot-ed”).

Q: I am a big fan of Robert Montgomery, both as an actor in such films as Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Here Comes Mr. Jordan and as a director of Lady in the Lake, Ride the Pink Horse and The Gallant Hours. But he made a lot of films and I was wondering if we would see any of them on DVD in the future?

A: You’re in luck. On the way is The Robert Montgomery Collection, featuring early works with the talented actor/director and father to Elizabeth Montgomery. Included in the set are:

Shipmates (1931): Features Montgomery as a cocky young sailor trying to woo an admiral’s daughter (Dorothy Jordan).

The Man in Possession (1931): This one showcases Montgomery as a bailiff who falls in love with broke heiress Irene Purcell while looking after her goods.

Faithless (1932): Society girl Tallulah Bankhead strings working class boyfriend Montgomery along, at least until she blows her own fortune.

Lovers Courageous (1932): With Montgomery as a struggling playwright who finds a patron, and perhaps more, in wealthy Madge Evans.

…But the Flesh is Weak (1932): Montgomery and C. Aubrey Smith are cast as a father-son gigolo team, with Robert having to choose between his intended target and true love.

Made on Broadway (1933): Press agent/powerbroker Montgomery saves the life and career of despairing actress Sally Eilers.

Live, Love and Learn (1937): Struggling painter Montgomery gets a flash of success, to girlfriend Rosalind Russell’s dismay.

The Earl of Chicago (1940):  Bootlegger turned legit distiller Montgomery learns he’s a British noble.

Q: I keep hoping for The Questor Tapes (Robert Foxworth and Mike Farrell), and also the British series How Green Was My Valley, with Sian Phillips as the mother. Any chance they’ll become available soon?

A: Gene Rodenberry’s 1974 TV movie—created to serve as a launching pad for a TV series after Star Trek was cancelled—is owned by  Universal, so it is unlikely it will be issued anytime soon, although many have asked about it. For the record, it involves the creation of an android (Foxworth) by a team of scientists. When the android’s chief creator goes missing, it teams with another scientist (Farrell) to track him down and find missing data that will inform him of the purpose of his creation. The series was slated as a go with scripts for 13 episodes written, when Rodenberry’s battles with Universal over content eventually led to the show’s the its curbing. As for How Green Was My Valley, the 1975 Masterpiece Theater version is not slated for DVD anytime soon. It’s a BBC production, so Warner would distribute it in the States. It’s based on the same book as the 1941 John Ford Oscar winner, and centers on the tough lives of a South Wales mining family.