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.