Film nerds of the world, rejoice! Earlier this week Warner Bros. announced that it would open up its vaults and make more than 150 of its back-catalog movies available on DVD by special order for $19.95 a pop (plus shipping; they can also be downloaded for $14.95 each). It’s actually a surprisingly clever move considering that DVD sales are down across the board and the studios are now scrambling to find new revenue streams to fill the gap. But is there anything worth coughing up 20 bones for?
Well, since the announcement, we’ve had some time to peruse the dusty on-demand offerings. And while there’s no doubt plenty of junk, there’s also more than a few interesting curios and lesser-known vintage titles with big stars that should get TCM addicts and Hollywood junkies drooling (to see the list for yourself, go to www.WarnerArchive.com).
After the jump, a few of our highlights…
All Fall Down – An early Warren Beatty film (pictured) directed by JohnFrankenheimer and costarring Eva Marie Saint from 1962, right after hisstar-making turn in Splendor in the Grass. Beatty’s 1966 jet-setting comic caper Kaleidoscope is also on the list.
Clark Cable – At my count, there are a dozen Gable films on thelist, with costars who could give it as well as they took it, such asLana Turner, Joan Crawford (including the stand-out, 1931’s Possessed), Norma Shearer, and Myrna Loy.
Mr. Lucky – One of a handful of Cary Grant films beingpulled out of the mothballs, this one from 1943 (other titles starringMr. Smooth include Crisis, Dream Wife, Once Upon a Honeymoon with Ginger Rogers, and Room For One More.
Lost gems (and semi-gems) – 1971’s L.A. drug saga Dusty and Sweets McGee, a pre-Godfather Francis Coppola flick, The Rain People, Noel Coward’s 1931 wit-fest Private Lives with Norma Shearer and Robert Montgomery, Budd Boetticher’s 1959 Randolph Scott oater Westbound(which features the tagline: “Hellbound for vengeance for the flamingredhead who betrayed him!”), and four Greta Garbo titles.
And finally there’s some genre treats for trash lovers like Jim Brown and Lee Van Cleef’s 1970 Mexican western El Condor, Robert Altman’s 1968 NASA dud Countdown starring a young James Caan and Robert Duvall, Burt Reynolds’ underrated 1973 western The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing from cult director Richard C. Sarafian (Vanishing Point), 1975’s cult pulp adventure Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze, Robby Benson’s 1977 coming-of-age basketball flick One on One(with an easy-on-the-eyes Annette O’Toole and a killer performance fromG.D. Spradlin as a sadistic coach), and Rob Lowe’s fish-out-of-waterrowing epic (yes, epic!) Oxford Blues, costarring Ally Sheedy.
Come on, that last one’s worth 20 bucks easy.
Are there any Warners Archives titles you’re planning on buying?