Friday, March 04, 2011

Produced and Abandoned #9

Ten more titles deserving a commercial DVD release.

1. The Bed Sitting Room (1969)- Richard Lester's post apocalyptic... comedy? Avant garde absurdest drama? I've only heard it described as an extremely loony affair and I just know I have to see it. Update: looks like its available on Netflix Instant Play and a showing is scheduled on TCM later this month.
2. Ministry of Fear (1944)- Fritz Lang's nightmarish film is odd, but highly effective. The first half of this film plays like a 40’s David Lynch movie- including a suburban carnival that takes place at midnight, an eerie entrance for a blind man on a train and a seance sequence that ends in murder. Once the plot (concerning Ray Milland being mistaken for a spy and hunted by a shadow NAZI organization) is defined, “Ministry of Fear” becomes a little more commercial in its second half. Still, fans of Lang deserve to have this available.
3. Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970)- Jerry Schatzberg's psychological drama about a model (Faye Dunaway) having a nervous breakdown leads the pack of under-represented Schatzberg on DVD, followed by "The Seduction of Joe Tynan", "Street Smart" and "Sweet Revenge".
4. The Stone Tape (1972)- British television show that scared the shit out of me as a kid. I found a copy recently, and while it's not as terrifying as I remembered, its primal exploration of ghost phenomenon recording devices and bare-bones chills (ohh that high pitched scream) manage to create an entertaining viewing experience.
5. The Stolen Children (1992)- Gianni Amelio would make waves a few years later with his well regarded 1995 film "L,America", but "The Stolen Children" ranked in quite a few lists in '92 and took home the Grand Jury Prize at that year's Cannes Film Festival.
6. Mickey One (1965)- It's still a shame that Arthur Penn's ode to the French New Wave isn't readily available. Warren Beatty gives a fairly vapid performance, but part of that's the point. As a nightclub performer mixed up with the mob, Penn's black and white cinematography continually offers something new and the use of disorientation and dream sequences giddily recall Fellini. Sure, "Mickey One" can be found quite easily on cable, but it would still be nice to own the DVD.
7. Kid Blue (1973)- One more of the lost Dennis Hopper films of the 70's by veteran TV director James Frawley, its narrative recalls the story of a young man (Hopper) who arrives in a small Texas town and becomes involved with seduction and crime. I've often read this is yet another under seen revisionist western in the loosest of terms. It also stars Peter Boyle and Warren Oates.
8. Many Wars Ago (1970)- Another Francesco Rosi makes the list. I admire this Italian director so much, yet so little of his work is available. I'm not holding out much hope for this one either, as google searches yield very little besides an obscure San Francisco screening 5 years ago. I suppose I should be glad there's at least one print out there. This film tracks the disastrous results of an Italian army unit's attack during World War I. Also known as "Not Another War".
9. Little Fauss and Big Halsey (1970)- "A story of two motorcycle racers, the inept, unsuspecting Little Faus (Micheal J.Pollard) and the opportunistic, womanizing Halsey Knox (Redford)".... from the description. Go to any MIA DVD movie list and this title shows up over and over and over....
10. Dudes (1987)- Antone else besides me remember this movie from the VHS cover? Jon Cryer and someone else dressed as cowboy and indian?

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