The Throwback Jersey Nobody Wants to See

How screwed up is this?

A UK firm has just announced the release of new DVDs of Budd Boetticher's Decision at Sundown and Seminole. Now I wouldn't put either title on a list of my favorite Boetticher films (although Decision is extraordinary as a critique of the Randolph Scott character in the other films the two did together, and fascinating as an example of the way a veiled attack on McCarthyism crept into the "town western" in the '50s), but the fact that you can get them from a British firm and they aren't available on disk here in the U.S. is a reminder of the bad old days when the only people who took American genre films seriously were French or marginalized.

Just the sort of nostalgia we don't need.

However, if you want to find out more or to order these and many, many other worthy DVDs, I heartily recommend a trip to the DVD Beaver website, a fount of information on DVDs, DVD players and other such mechanical contrivances, not to mention a wealth of hearty film debate of the sort I don't get to hear much anymore. And that is the kind of nostalgia I do need.


Daryl Chin said…
Have to comment that, yes, there is a real regression in terms of the way the DVD market has developed the audience for "classic" films. It's like a year ago, i got into a fight on various message boards when there was a debate over (can you believe it) Olivia De Havilland vs. Joan Fontaine. Stupid me: i thought this had been settled decades ago, when Andrew Sarris declared that in the Olivia vs. Joan sweepstakes, it was Joan all the way, because Joan had the luck and the good taste and the dedication to seek out "masters" to work with (George Cukor, Alfred Hitchcock, Max Ophuls, Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder). Sometimes the choices didn't work (as in the case of THE EMPEROR WALTZ, though Joan is very pretty in it), but she tried! Olivia (on the other hand) was content to work in mostly studio-defined fare, directed by the likes of Michael Curtiz and Archie Mayo... If Olivia's best film is (perhaps) THE HEIRESS from 1948, well, that's the year Joan did LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN, and which is the greater film?

But most of Joan's films are inaccessible (REBECCA was issued and then went out-of-print TWICE, once with Anchor Bay, the other time with the Criterion Collection; LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN is not available in Region 1), and Warners has been pushing the Errol Flynn collections (with Colivia prominent) and (of course) GONE WITH THE WIND. And so for this (and not on any artistic merit of their respective filmographies) Olivia is now enshrined as an important star, and Joan has been mostly forgotten? And when i brought up Andrew Sarris, i was pelted with responses of people furious that i dare to bring up some ancient film critic!

It's like all that work in the 1960s, to redefine how we see American movies, and to appreciate the art of American movies, has been for naught, because the stodgy old "prestige" pictures (things like BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES) are getting trotted out onec again as "great" films, and movies like the Boetticher-Scott westerns are still marginalized.