Monthly Archives: August 2013

Vilmos Zsigmond season at Filmhouse

The UK film media appears to have gone Heaven’s Gate-mad recently, delighting in the fact that the 1980 flop has been re-released by Park Circus Films in a shiny new print.

Having never seen the film, partly due to its reputation but mainly due to nobody making it easy to watch it, I can’t make any comments on the quality, though I will be able to rectify that when the film comes to Edinburgh’s Filmhouse on Friday 30 August.

Michael Cimino’s epic stars Kris Kristofferson as a lawyer trying to help immigrants on the Western frontier, and the story surrounding its production is almost as epic as the one in the script.

I’m a sucker for Westerns, whether that’s Tarantino’s Django Unchained (2012), Sidney Lanfield’s Station West (1948) or the knockabout They Call Me Trinity (1970), all of which I’ve enjoyed over the last few months. I’ll give the three and a half hour Heaven’s Gate a chance, fingers crossed it’s been worth the wait – I’ll also have another read of Tim Robey’s gushing article in the meantime.

Watch the Heaven’s Gate trailer

Heaven’s Gate is part of a short season celebrating the work of Hungarian cinematographer, Vilmos Zsigmond. There’s a chance to watch John Boorman’s 1972 drama, Deliverance, and the recently re-released Scarecrow (1973), starring Gene Hackman and Al Pacino. The latter title has been shown at a few Scottish cinemas this year and I’ve missed it each time, hopefully in September I’ll get along to see it.

Watch the Scarecrow trailer

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Video: Warner Archive Collection and the Killer Bs

One of the best parts of my two visits to the TCM Classic Film Festival in 2011 and 2012 was the chance to catch up with the team from the Warner Archive Collection, who make old movies their business.

For the last few years Warner Archive have been releasing obscure films and TV series on demand, printing DVDs one at a time as people order them. For some reason that hasn’t caught on in the UK, meaning fans outside America have to order these titles on Amazon rather than straight from the publisher.

I suspect there’s some distrust of the market for these rarer titles on the part of Warner UK, who would rather spend their marketing budget on promoting a guaranteed hit on DVD than a title which may only sell a few hundred/dozen copies. Personally, I think they’re underestimating the audience over here, certainly if my Twitter feed is anything to judge by. There are numerous titles mention on there every day which would sell well if Warner UK took a chance on us.

Online streaming may be on the rise in the UK, but over in the US they yet again have it down to a fine art, with sites such as Hulu and Netflix dominating. A newcomer to the growing market is Warner Archive Instant, which allows film fans to pay a monthly subscription and watch as many titles as they want during the month.

Again, there’s no sign of this coming to the UK, even though there’s a lot of profit to be made.

All of this preamble is to introduce a short video of a panel which took place at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con, featuring Warner Archive, screenwriter Josh Olson and film historian, Leonard Maltin (who I also met at TCM 2012). The guys have a chat about the type of films they release and make me want to watch all them.

Maltin also makes some interesting points about the supposed disposability of films.

Forget modern blockbusters, 1950s B-movies are where I want to spend my hard earned cash these days.

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