20 August 2008

The 12 "Holy Grail" Films

What twelve widely unavailable films would you screen?

The Dancing Image has kindly invited me to partake in a "holy grail" movie meme – a dozen films I've personally never seen and are not available on DVD in the United States through Netflix, but which I would choose to be screened if at all possible.

Because I get my films from Turner Classic Movies and my university library, I had to cross reference all of my selections, so they should be unavailable for rental. The films on my list, however, are not completely unavailable; I have seen bits and pieces of Deadline – U.S.A. on television, and The Magnificent Ambersons is set to air on Turner Classic Movies in October (the standard RKO cut, of course). There's not much of a rhyme or reason to the films I've selected, except for the fact that they interest me and I've never seen them and apparently can't just rent them on DVD if I were to have the urge. I have listed the films in chronological order.

Hat-tips: The Dancing Image (both here and here), Lazy Eye Theatre, and Out 1. I'm supposed to tag five new people to keep things going, but I'm not sure I know that many. Suffice it to say I'd be interested in reading lists from Film for the Soul, Deadpan, and Cinexcellence.

Without further ado...

1. Greed (1924) (d. Erich von Stroheim)

2. The Big Parade (1925) (d. King Vidor)

3. The Docks of New York (1928) (d. Josef von Sternberg)

4. The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) (d. Orson Welles)

5. The Search (1947) (d. Fred Zinnemann)

6. Odd Man Out (1948) (d. Carol Reed)

7. The Big Sky (1952) (d. Howard Hawks)

8. Deadline – U.S.A. (1952) (d. Richard Brooks)

9. Chimes at Midnight (1965) (d. Orson Welles)

10. Let It Be (1970) (d. Michael Lindsay-Hogg)

11. Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow (1987) (d. Kevin Brownlow and David Gill)

12. Surviving Picasso (1996) (d. James Ivory)

10 comments:

Farzan 21 August, 2008  

hmm..never have heard of any of those films, but they do sound interesting

Joseph 21 August, 2008  

Hmm. This is going to be a hard list to make. I may have to cheat. :)

Brian McFillen 21 August, 2008  

I can't come close to your knowledge of silent and golden age cinema, Tony, so most everything I want to see is widely available.

But there is one glaring exception:
Penelope Speeris' 1981 documentary of the L.A. punk scene, "The Decline of Western Civilization."

Supposedly they're going to release it on DVD, but it seems like they've been "working on it" for at least five years now. Grrr!

T.S. 21 August, 2008  

Brian - Yes! I think The Decline of Western Civilization is a great choice. I wish I had remembered it when I was compiling the list. Maybe it'll get added once I catch The Magnificent Ambersons in a few months...

MovieMan0283 21 August, 2008  

Great selections - I have managed to see a few of these: Greed on VHS(which was a bit of a chore what with all the long photo montages substituting for the scenes the studio had axed), Odd Man Out on TCM, Let it Be as a downloaded video on Kazaa (I think the sound was out of sync), and Chimes at Midnight on a Region 2 DVD, a rarity for me as I think you can only do it so many times before your computer switches to one region full-time...but man, was it worth it!

I just saw the coming attractions on your sidebar...that's a great idea - will you be continuing in that fashion (each month a theme) for the forseeable future. That will be great if you are, but I don't blame you if you aren't; I've done "only watcing _" marathons before and they can get exhausting...

T.S. 21 August, 2008  

MovieMan - Wow, I'm envious on the ones you've seen... I think my library has Greed on VHS, but I'm not sure. I'm a gargantuan Beatles fan and I'd love to catch Let It Be sometime but my computer has never handled Internet video downloads that well. (Sad too that McCartney and Starr nixed a plan for a DVD, but not surprised.)

It is my plan to keep up with the monthly theme; we'll see how it goes. I do agree that saturating yourself with one particular thing can become very tedious, so I'm sticking with broad categories (silent films, inductees in the National Film Registry, foreign films, films by decade, etc.). Hitchcock month will be a delight because I've seen so many of his films so many times that I look forward to posting reviews, but I imagine that'll be my only month where I devote space to a single person.

Joseph 21 August, 2008  

Posted mine. Thanks for the tag! :)

Joseph 22 August, 2008  

No problem at all. I neglected to add a quick ;) In my post. Cheers!

Ibetolis 27 August, 2008  

Some great choices here; I've only seen 3 of them but I know of many of their reputations. I'm a massive Welles fan and the Magnificent Ambersons is a great film. Can't get enough of any film by King Vidor either.

I've been away for the past couple of weeks and only just seen the tag. Thanks by the way. I'll get working on this and have a list up real soon.

Again, thanks for the tag!

Dean Treadway 29 September, 2008  

Incredible choices, For me, especially GREED (seems to me its short version was released a few years ago when it first showed on TCM, but it probably out of print now), LET IT BE and CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT (which have never been on DVD). I know I've seen AMBERSONS on DVD before, but again, it is probably out of print. The is something I'm noticeing with a lot of Holy Grail choices (including one of mine): many were at one time available, but have now long been sold off in bargain bins--video stores, and especially Blockbuster can be quite suprising, even draconian, in what they eliminate from their collections.

When it comes to classics, this is especially true. Silents and forign classics? Forget it. 90% of video stores don't even stock that stuff. Sad, really. Anyway, the good news: things like AMBERSONS, ODD MAN OUT and THE SEARCH (which were out at one time) will come back soon, I'm sure.

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