Even more clips (70, in fact) of flicks you can’t find on DVD (2024)

Table of Contents
‘Stars and Bars’ (1988) ‘The In Crowd’ (1988) ‘Dudes’ (1987) ‘He’s My Girl’ (1987) ‘Million Dollar Mystery’ (1987) ‘Surrender’ (1987) ‘King Lear’ (1987) ‘Sweet Lorraine’ (1987) ‘Compromising Positions’ (1985) ‘Get Crazy’ (1983) ‘Twice Upon a Time’ (1983) ‘It Came From Hollywood’ (1982) ‘The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia’ (1981) ‘Night of the Juggler’ (1980) ‘The Last Movie’ (1971) ‘Norwood’ (1970) ‘Let It Be’ (1970) ‘Three In the Attic’ (1968) ‘The Oscar’ (1966) ‘Dear Brigitte’ (1965) ‘The Night Walker’ (1964) ‘Bedtime Story’ (1964) ‘Love With the Proper Stranger’ (1963) ‘Porgy and Bess’ (1959) ‘Never Steal Anything Small’ (1959) ‘The Naked and the Dead’ (1958) ‘That Certain Feeling’ (1956) ‘3 Ring Circus’ (1954) ‘Here Come the Nelsons’ (1952) ‘Where’s Charley?’ (1952) ‘The Blue Veil’ (1951) ‘The Senator Was Indiscreet’ (1947) ‘Desert Fury’ (1947) ‘Men With Wings’ (1938) ‘Kitty’ (1945) ‘Love Letters’ (1945) ‘Duffy’s Tavern’ (1945) ‘White Savage’ (1943) ‘Mademoiselle Fifi’ (1944) ‘Song of Russia’ (1944) ‘Hitler’s Children’ (1943) ‘Journey Into Fear’ (1943) ‘Lydia’ (1941) ‘Ellery Queen, Master Detective’ (1940) ‘Spring Parade’ (1940) ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ (1940) ‘Her Jungle Love’ (1938) ‘History Is Made at Night’ (1937) ‘Dead End’ (1937) ‘Anything Goes’ (1936) ‘Crime Without Passion’ (1934) ‘Laddie’ (1940) ‘Anne of Green Gables’ (1934) ‘Caravan’ (1934) ‘Bedside’ (1934) ‘A Bill of Divorcement’ (1932) ‘As You Desire Me’ (1932) ‘An American Tragedy’ (1931) ‘City Streets’ (1931) ‘Girls About Town’ (1931) ‘King of Jazz’ (1930) ‘Just Imagine’ (1930) Paramount on Parade (1930) ‘The Virginian’ (1929) ‘Running Wild’ (1927) ‘Napoleon’ (1927) Beau Geste’ (1926) ‘Old Ironsides’ (1926) ‘The Show Off’ (1926) ‘The Covered Wagon’ (1923) Not even on YouTube

There was a lot of response on social media, as well as by e-mail, to my piece last week on films that are not available on DVD. So here’s a sequel: more than a hundred additional titles, including some suggested by readers, with clips from 70 of them.

Everyone from Bing Crosby (the 1936 “Anything Goes’’) to Steve McQueen (“Love With the Proper Stranger’’) to The Beatles (“Let It Be’’) are represented. There are well-known films like “Porgy and Bess’’ (1959) starring Sidney Poitier, and “The Virginian’’ (1929) with Gary Cooper; cult favorites like “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia’’ (1987) and films that have slipped into obscurity awaiting rediscovery, like the James Cagney musical “Never Steal Anything Small’’ (1959).

I’ve indicated where films are available for streaming, or as imports, often requiring special region-free DVD or Blu-ray players. And, where I know it, whether there are rights issues (literary or music) blocking a release. Sometimes, the film’s surviving elements aren’t up to DVD standards, or the owners just can’t be bothered upgrading them.

At the end is a list of films, often long unavailable, for which I can’t even find any clips:

‘Stars and Bars’ (1988)

Daniel Day-Lewis made his US debut in this delightful comedy about a British art historian searching for a Renoir among Southern eccentrics, available only for streaming at Amazon.

‘The In Crowd’ (1988)

A cult following hasn’t secured a DVD release for this semi-musical set in 1955 Philadelphia starring Jennifer Runyon, Donovan Leitch and Joe Pantoliano. Music rights are the likely culprit.

‘Dudes’ (1987)

It’ll cost you $129-and-up for a VHS of Penelope Spheeris’ road movie about big-city punks meeting rednecks starring a very young and pre-”Two and Half Men’’ Jon Cryer.

‘He’s My Girl’ (1987)

Sort of a 1980s version of “Some Like It Hot’’ starring female impersonator extraordinare T.K. Carter posing as David Hallyday’s girlfriend so they can win a free trip to LA.

‘Million Dollar Mystery’ (1987)

A B-list knockoff of “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World’’ directed by Richard Fleischer, this commands $70-and-up for its out-of-print DVD. The similar “Scavenger Hunt’’ (1979) has been MIA since the VHS era.

‘Surrender’ (1987)

It’s hard to say if rights or remastering issues are holding up the DVD release of this quirky romantic comedy with Oscar winners Michael Caine and Sally Field, plus Steve Guttenberg.

‘King Lear’ (1987)

There are rumors that Woody Allen’s and Norman Mailer’s cameo appearances are the obstacle to a US video release of this English-language Jean-Luc Godard oddity starring Molly Ringwald and Burgess Meredith in a mob-oriented take on The Bard.

‘Sweet Lorraine’ (1987)

Charming and well-reviewed film about the last days of a Catskills resort starring Maureen Stapleton and Trini Alvorado. If you can get your hands on the out-of-print DVD, it will cost $200 and up.

‘Compromising Positions’ (1985)

Susan Isaacs adapted her popular novel for this Frank Perry-directed comedy about a housewife (Susan Sarandon) investigating the murder of a philandering dentist (Raúl Juliá).

‘Get Crazy’ (1983)

Malcolm McDowell plays a rock star named Reggie Wanker in Allan Arkush’s wild cult favorite, MIA on video since the VHS era.

‘Twice Upon a Time’ (1983)

George Lucas co-produced this much-requested animated feature, which Warner Bros. has been promising for DVD release for a while.

‘It Came From Hollywood’ (1982)

Dan Akyroyd, John Candy, Gilda Radner and Cheech Marin introduce clips from “bad’’ movies. Out of print for years, apparently because of rights issues.

‘The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia’ (1981)

Kristy McNichol reunites with the director of the similarly unavailable “Little Darlings’’ for this country-music drama with Dennis Quaid (as her brother) and Mark Hamill. Available only as an Asian import.

‘Night of the Juggler’ (1980)

The most interesting and nastiest of the era’s “Death Wish’’ knockoffs stars James Brolin looking for his missing daughter.

‘The Last Movie’ (1971)

Legendary and inscrutable Dennis Hopper misfire about a film shoot gone bad in Peru. Legally unavailable since the VHS era.

‘Norwood’ (1970)

Kim Darby and Glenn Campbell are reunited for another story written by “True Grit’’ author Charles Portis, also featuring Joe Namath. Streaming at Amazon Prime.

‘Let It Be’ (1970)

Oscar-winning documentary on the making of the Beatles’ final album, legally unavailable on video since the VHS era.

‘Three In the Attic’ (1968)

Three coeds lock campus Casanova Christopher Jones in the attic and take turns having sex with him in this eponymous swinging sixties fantasy that recently surfaced for streaming at Amazon.

‘The Oscar’ (1966)

Camp classic starring Stephen Boyd as an egotistical Best Actor nominee, with lots of cameos by big names. MIA since VHS.

‘Dear Brigitte’ (1965)

Absent-minded prof James Stewart’s young son is a math genius with a crush on Brigitte Bardot in this comedy. Streaming only.

‘The Night Walker’ (1964)

Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck were divorced for 12 years when they got back together again for this well-regarded William Castle thriller, unavailable since the VHS era.

‘Bedtime Story’ (1964)

Gigolos Marlon Brando and David Niven try to fleece heiress Shirley Jones in this comedy that was more successfully remade as “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.’’ Available on DVD only as a region-locked import.

‘Love With the Proper Stranger’ (1963)

Steve McQueen gets Natalie Wood pregnant in this much-sought romantic drama, currently available only for streaming or as a Spanish import.

‘Porgy and Bess’ (1959)

One of the most sought-after titles never on (non-bootleg) video, apparently because the estate of George Gershwin refuses to license the music rights. Otto Preminger’s cast includes Sidney Poitier, Dorothy Dandridge and Sammy Davis Jr.

‘Never Steal Anything Small’ (1959)

James Cagney plays a crooked union official in his last musical, which has been completely out of circulation since before the advent of home video.

‘The Naked and the Dead’ (1958)

Adaptation of Norman Mailer’s famous World War II novel stars Cliff Robertson and Aldo Ray under Raoul Walsh’s direction.

Recently surfaced for streaming at Warner Archive Instant, which may portend a DVD release — ditto for the sci-fi adventure “From the Earth to the Moon’’ (1958).

‘That Certain Feeling’ (1956)

Bob Hope plays a cartoonist in one of his more adult-oriented comedies with Eva Marie Saint, apparently owned by the Hope estate and never available on any video format.

‘3 Ring Circus’ (1954)

The only one of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis’ movies not available on DVD hasn’t even been shown on TV for many years.

‘Here Come the Nelsons’ (1952)

One of several radio-to-TV series adaptations for the movies, this version of “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” is as unavailable on DVD as “The Goldbergs’’ (1950) and “The Life of Riley’’ (1949).

‘Where’s Charley?’ (1952)

Ray Bolger re-creates his stage role in this delightful musical version of the cross-dressing classic “Charley’s Aunt,’’ which has been totally out of circulation for decades, probably because of rights issues.

‘The Blue Veil’ (1951)

Rights issues are blocking the release of this Jane Wyman weepie with Charles Laughton.

‘The Senator Was Indiscreet’ (1947)

Legendary playwright George S. Kaufman’s sole directorial effort in Hollywood was this political satire, one of several not-on-DVD films from William Powell’s interesting post-MGM period, including his flirtation with film noir in “Take One False Step’’ and the semimusical “Dancing in the Dark,’’ both from 1949.

‘Desert Fury’ (1947)

Sizzling Technicolor noir starring Burt Lancaster, Lizabeth Scott and Mary Astor directed by Lewis Allen, whose “The Unseen’’ (1945), a follow-up to his “The Uninvited’’ (1944), has apparently never even been seen on US TV, much less released on video.

‘Men With Wings’ (1938)

William A. Wellman’s follow-up to his Oscar-winning “Wings’’ (1928) is in gorgeous early three-strip Technicolor and stars Fred MacMurray — whose many MIA films on DVD include “Virginia’’ (1941), “No Time for Love’’ (1943), “The Forest Rangers’’ (1942), “Practically Yours’’ (1944), “Captain Eddie’’ (1945) and “Smoky’’ (1946).

‘Kitty’ (1945)

Paulette Goddard plays an 18th-century London wench who gets involved with nobleman Ray Milland in one of numerous MIA films from director Mitchell Leisen, including “Frenchman’s Creek” (1944), “Dream Girl” (1948) and “Take a Letter, Darling” (1942).

A couple are available only for streaming: “The Mating Season’’ and “Darling, How Could You!’’

‘Love Letters’ (1945)

Objectivist icon Ayn Rand (“The Fountainhead’’) penned this lush romantic tragedy starring Joseph Cotten and Jennifer Jones, which was released on VHS eons ago. Even more MIA is the 1941 film version of Rand’s mystery play “The Night of January 16th.’’

‘Duffy’s Tavern’ (1945)

A ton of Paramount stars — including Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour — grace this odd adaptation of a once-popular radio show that has been unseen, except for YouTube uploads, for decades.

‘White Savage’ (1943)

Universal has released the first three of Maria Montez’ campy wartime Technicolor fantasy adventures with (usually) Jon Hall and Sabu, but not the complete set, on DVD.

Besides this one, also MIA are “Gypsy Wildcat’’ (1944), “Sudan’’ (1945) and “Tangier’’ (1946).

‘Mademoiselle Fifi’ (1944)

Producer Val Lewton’s legendary 1940’s horror films have been on DVD for years, but not this excellent Guy De Maupassant adaptation directed by Robert Wise (“West Side Story,’’ “The Sound of Music’’) nor “Youth Runs Wild’’ (1944).

‘Song of Russia’ (1944)

A musical tribute to the Soviet Union starring Robert Taylor as an American conductor who falls in love with pianist-turned-guerilla Susan Peters. Taylor and Ayn Rand both condemned this film as pro-Communist propaganda before the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Awaiting remastering.

‘Hitler’s Children’ (1943)

Jaw-dropping anti-Nazi propaganda starring the erstwhile screen Nancy Drew, Bonita Granville, as a German-American lass who discovers the eugenistic horrors of the Fatherland.

A monster moneymaker directed by Edward Dmytryk, who has two other much-sought-on-DVD movies from the same year, the anti-Japanese exploitationer “Behind the Rising Sun’’ and the politically controversial Ginger Rogers vehicle “Tender Comrade.’’

All are said to require extensive restoration and/or remastering.

‘Journey Into Fear’ (1943)

One of the most inexplicable not-on-DVD movies, an Orson Welles production of a spy thriller in which he supports Joseph Cotten and Dolores del Rio. Also MIA is a 1975 remake with Zero Mostel.

‘Lydia’ (1941)

Director Julien Duvivier’s stylish Hollywood films (“The Great Waltz,’’ “Flesh and Fantasy,’’ “Tales of Manhattan’’) have slowly been trickling onto DVD via manufacture-on-demand programs, but not, so far, this charmer with Merle Oberon, Joseph Cotten and George Reeves.

Speaking of future TV Superman Reeves, where are his Warner B’s, like “Tear Gas Squad,’’ “Father Is a Prince,’’ “Always a Bride’’ and “Calling All Husbands’’?

‘Ellery Queen, Master Detective’ (1940)

This is the initial episode of the only major series of B-mysteries missing authorized DVD releases, four starring Ralph Bellamy and three with William Gargan.

Also MIA are Columbia’s pair of Nero Wolfe mysteries from the 1930s, as well as “Father Brown, Detective’’ (1934).

‘Spring Parade’ (1940)

This Deanna Durbin musical with Robert Cummings has long been blocked because of rights issues with the Hungarian play it’s based on.

‘Love Thy Neighbor’ (1940)

Jack Benny expands his mock radio feud with comedian Fred Allen to the best of his Paramount vehicles, only one of which is available on DVD.

Owner Universal’s lack of interest seems to be the reason why “College Holiday’’ (1936), “The Big Broadcast of 1937” (1936), “Artists and Models Abroad’’ (1938), “Man About Town” (1939) and “Buck Benny Rides Again” (1940) are all MIA.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros. is sitting on “It’s in the Air’’ (1935).

‘Her Jungle Love’ (1938)

Dorothy Lamour’s films without Bob Hope and/or Bing Crosby are poorly represented on DVD, especially her Technicolor sarong musicals like this, “Aloma of the South Seas’’ (1941) and “Beyond the Blue Horizon’’ (1942).

‘History Is Made at Night’ (1937)

Charles Boyer and Jean Arthur star in one of the best romantic comedy-dramas of the ’30s, currently streaming at the Criterion Collection’s Hulu Channel.

‘Dead End’ (1937)

Humphrey Bogart has a key supporting role in this William Wyler-directed drama of Depression-era New York City that first brought the Dead End Kids to the screen. Out of print on DVD.

‘Anything Goes’ (1936)

You can buy Bing Crosby’s second film version of the Cole Porter musical on DVD, but not the superior first one, which has a different plot and Ethel Merman. Numerous MIA Crosbys include “The Big Broadcast” (1932) and “The Big Broadcast of 1936” (1935); “Too Much Harmony” (1933); “Dr. Rhythm” (1938); “The Star Maker” (1939); and, best of all, “She Loves Me Not’’ (1934).

Three of Crosby’s later Paramounts are available strictly for streaming: “Mr. Music’’ (1950), “Top o’ the Morning’’ (1949) and “Little Boy Lost’’ (1953).

‘Crime Without Passion’ (1934)

Super-stylish thriller starring Claude Rains is the first of four unusual films co-directed by writers Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur at the Astoria Studio.

Equally unavailable are “The Scoundrel” (1935) with Noel Coward, “Soak the Rich” (1936) and “Once in a Blue Moon” (1935).

‘Laddie’ (1940)

Rights issues with Gene Stratton-Porter’s novel have blocked this second film version of the romantic drama starring Tim Holt, as well as an earlier one from 1935.

Speaking of Holt, Disney has long suppressed his excellent 1940 version of “Swiss Family Robinson” because of its own inferior 1960 remake.

‘Anne of Green Gables’ (1934)

A similar situation to “Laddie’’ apparently stands in the way of releasing this romantic drama starring Anne Shirley, as well as the 1940 sequel “Anne of Windy Poplars” that she also starred in.

‘Caravan’ (1934)

Charles Boyer and Loretta Young star in this lush musical drama recently restored by MoMA — as was Raoul Walsh’s wonderful western spoof “Wild Girl” (1932) starring Joan Bennett.

‘Bedside’ (1934)

Pre-Code king Warren William is at his seamiest as a medical school dropout who runs a Park Avenue practice using a drug-addled colleague’s license. Currently streaming at Warner Archive Instant.

‘A Bill of Divorcement’ (1932)

Katharine Hepburn’s film debut, directed by George Cukor, stars John Barrymore as her father, who comes home after a long stay in a mental institution. Unavailable since the VHS era, as is one of Barrymore’s best films, “Topaze” (1933).

‘As You Desire Me’ (1932)

One of Greta Garbo’s few unavailable talkies, possibly because of issues with Luigi Pirandello’s play. Co-stars Melvyn Douglas and Erich von Stroheim.

‘An American Tragedy’ (1931)

The great Josef von Sternberg directs this compelling first screen version of “An American Tragedy.”

‘City Streets’ (1931)

Seminal gangster film with Gary Cooper and Sylvia Sidney. Criterion scrapped their planned DVD release because of rights issues.

‘Girls About Town’ (1931)

Racy pre-Code comedy directed by George Cukor with Kay Francis and Lilyan Tashman as ladies who “entertain” out-of-town businessmen Joel McCrea and Eugene Pallette.

‘King of Jazz’ (1930)

Once on VHS, this early all-Technicolor musical with legendary bandleader Paul Whiteman has recently been restored.

‘Just Imagine’ (1930)

This time-travel musical with Maureen O’Sullivan offers a fanciful view of New York City in 1980. Restored a few years ago by Fox and the Motion Picture Academy.

Paramount on Parade (1930)

Never on DVD, this all-star musical revue recently had some of its long-missing Technicolor sequences restored.

‘The Virginian’ (1929)

Gary Cooper and Walter Huston star in this seminal Western that’s been MIA since the VHS era.

‘Running Wild’ (1927)

The best of W.C. Fields’ silent comedies is directed by Gregory La Cava and was previously issued on DVD.

‘Napoleon’ (1927)

Once on VHS. Except for infrequent screenings, Abel Gance’s silent masterpiece has been tied up in disagreements among Francis Ford Coppola and its other rights owners.

Beau Geste’ (1926)

Classic silent French Foreign Legion adventure with Ronald Colman. No authorized release.

‘Old Ironsides’ (1926)

Legendary historical epic received a VHS release from Paramount in the 1980s.

‘The Show Off’ (1926)

The first of three adaptations of George Kelly’s stage comedy that are unavailable because of rights issues. The others, from 1934 and 1946, star Spencer Tracy and Red Skeleton, respectively.

‘The Covered Wagon’ (1923)

Seminal western epic directed by James Cruze. Released on VHS by Paramount for its 75th anniversary.

Not even on YouTube

For starters, there are a bunch of great Paramount B movies from the late 1930s and early 1940s, most notably a series of four adapted from a single nonfiction book by J. Edgar Hoover: “Persons in Hiding,” “Undercover Doctor,” “Parole Fixer” and “Queen of the Mob.”

Also unavailable on DVD (and TV) are two Depression-era (non-musical) versions of “Little Orphan Annie,” from 1932 and 1938.

And rights issues stand in the way of a DVD release of Delbert Mann’s excellent adaptation of William Inge’s play “Dark at the Top of the Stairs” (1960), starring Robert Preston, Dorothy McGuire, Angela Lansbury and Oscar-nominated Shirley Knight.

Even more clips (70, in fact) of flicks you can’t find on DVD (2024)
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