Bright Lights Film Journal

Dear DVD Companies: Give up the good stuff, otherwise, no more money!

With so many great classic titles still nowhere to be found on disc, it irks me that in the last couple of months (and the summer looks even worse) even top notch DVD companies like Criterion are just re-issuing old titles (do we really need a new version of Thief of Baghdad, or any version of The Red Balloon?) and/or putting out a lot of second rate product and westerns.

Lots and lots of westerns being released these days. I’m sure some of them are good, like the Anthony Mann/James Stewart westerns. But man, do we really need so many, so many of which are clearly second rate filler that might be okay if discovered accidentally on the western channel at 3 AM drunk as hell with your dad over Christmas, but certainly not something you’d ever want to own and watch again.

Clearly the companies release these dull time-wasters only because they are in color and “market research” shows color sells better than black and white, but you stupid fucks, that’s like saying salt sells better than pepper so lets stop selling pepper, but we’re not going to license out the pepper rights to other companies either, so everyone will just have to do without pepper. I say down with the pepper oppressor! Pepper to the people!

In short, please sirs, may we have some more lurid pre-1934 black and white films? You know, like how they pack em in at the art house theaters, the pre-code festivals that are always such hits?

If anyone from the Paramount/Sony octopus is listening, I’m going to do a favor and steer you to these here titles for a nice pre-code boxed set that any true cineaste would snap up in a hot minute:


Disc 1. SHANGHAI EXPRESS / DAUGHTER OF THE DRAGON (Anna May Wong double feature)

Disc 2. ISLAND OF LOST SOULS / WHITE WOMAN (jungle horror/Laughton double feature)

Disc 3. RED DUST (Gable and Harlow and Astor in the jungle with rain barrels and monsoons and wet dresses clinging!) Make this one a stand-alone and give it extras.

4. LADIES THEY TALK ABOUT / GIRLS ABOUT TOWN (Stanwyck! Kay Francis!)

5. STORY OF TEMPLE DRAKE / DANCERS IN THE DARK (Miriam Hopkins double feature!)

6. DISHONORED / MILLION DOLLAR LEGS – (Mata Hari-esque double feature! Dietrich, Fields!)

And here’s a thought – put it in extra fancy wrapping, in a limited edition and then charge extra $$ for it, that way the “niche” market becomes lucrative, as even the casual fan will buy it to sell later on ebay once its out of print (ala Disney).

That’s just for starters… aw, gee whiz. I must be dreamin’ to think this could ever come to pass… but aint Hollywood all about dreams? Hmmm?