Of Hotels And Motels

Question: When, oh when are Arthur Hailey’s Hotel and the TV series of The Ghost & Mrs. Muir ever going to be introduced on DVD?


Answer: Good questions that, unfortunately, we don’t have all the answers to. With respect to Hotel, if you are talking about the 1983-1988 ABC TV series produced by Aaron Spelling starring James Brolin and Connie Sellecca, we’ve got the first season available, but no news on when subsequent season will be released by Paramount. The DVD appearance of the 1967 film with Rod Taylor, Catherine Spaak and Merle Oberon is more likely, a perfect candidate for a future Warner Archives release. As for The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, the popular show that ran on NBC and ABC from 1968 to 1970 with Hope Lange and Edward Mulhare, its rights are owned by Fox. According to a company spokesperson, “it is not on our schedule.” So it will remain invisible to video fans for a while longer.

Question: My friends and I are big fans of Hammer horror movies. Any chance we’ll get to see more of the British shockers on DVD in the future?

Answer: Even though the Hammer titles have had their rights divided between many studios in the United States, Sony seems to have the edge of late in putting out titles from the house that Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing built. The studio has two Hammer collections out already, and is planning a third one in the spring of 2010. Some of the anticipated titles are Maniac (1963), with Kerwin Mathews caught between a woman, her daughter, and a blowtorch killer; Never Take Candy From a Stranger (1960), a creepy, little-seen shocker in which two young girls accuse the most respected man in their town of weird behavior; and the much-requested There Are the Damned (1961), Joseph Losey’s chilling look at children bred by the military to withstand a nuclear war. Let’s hope we get the original, UNCUT 96-minute version of that one.


Question: When will Rich Man, Poor Man come out on DVD?

Answer: The absence on DVD of this popular 1976 epic miniseries adaptation of the Irwin Shaw novel about the brothers Jordache (Peter Strauss and Nick Nolte, in a career-making performance) totally baffles us. Universal produced it and had it on VHS really briefly, and every so often, we hear they are contemplating a DVD release. As it stands, there are no plans for it now or in the coming months. Sorry!

Question:  Can you tell me when Love, American Style will be on DVD?

Answer: We’ve got the first season of the “truer than the Red, White and Blue” romantic skitcom that ran on ABC over 1969-1974 available, but it’s been some time since Paramount last issued episodes of the show.  Look for more of the slightly risqué romances featuring the likes of late 1960s/early 1970s faves Michael Callan, Yvonne Craig, E.J. Peaker, Alice Ghostley, and Stuart Margolin in mid-2010.

Question: Can you tell me why 200 Motels with Frank Zappa has never been on DVD, and are there plans to put it out?

Answer:  We recently spoke to Howard Kaylan of The Turtles/Flo and Eddie fame, who belonged to the Mothers of Invention when the 1971 cult favorite was lensed. He told us that members of Frank’s family are keeping

slither-1a close hold on the film and are attempting to make a deal to put it out on DVD and, possibly, Blu-ray. As of right now, however, there are no immediate plans to offer the far-out film (shot on videotape) that also features Theodore Bikel, Keith Moon and Ringo Starr.  In its VHS incarnation, it was issued by MGM, controller of the library of United Artists, its theatrical distributor.

Question: Any chance of The Chosen with Robby Benson and Rod Steiger getting reissued on DVD again?

Answer:  Funny you should m

ention that. We understand there is a deluxe DVD version being on worked on as we speak from the good people at Hen’s Tooth Video. This edition will have some interesting extras like commentary from director Jeremy Paul Kagan. Based on the book by Chaim Potok, this 1981 drama set in 1940s Brooklyn centers on the friendship between teenaged Hassidic Jew Benson, raised by his strict rabbi father Steiger, and a worldly-wise Modern Orthodox youth (Barry Miller), whose secular father (Maximilian Schell) is a professor.

Question: Looking for two movies: Slither with James Caan and Johnny Guitar with Joan Crawford. Any chance of them coming out?

Answer: Good news and bad news. Slither, the quirky 1973 farce with Caan as a thief looking for stolen loot in a Winnebago, is expected in the coming months by way of the Warner Archives. Sally Kellerman, Peter Boyle, Alan Garfield, Richard B. Shull and Len Lesser (Seinfeld’s Uncle Leo) also star in this zany road farce.  The director, by the way, is Howard Zieff, who went on to helm House Calls and Private Benjamin.  Sadly, we haven’t anything new on the release of Nicholas Ray’s subversive  1954 sagebrusher Johnny Guitar, in which Crawford plays  the saloon owner battling arch-nemesis Mercedes McCambridge over the arrival of the railroad as well as the titular guitar-strumming gunslinger (and ex-Crawford boyfriend) Sterling Hayden. Lionsgate currently controls the rights to this Republic production, and its negative is sadly collecting tumbleweeds as we speak. A real shame.