Daily Archives: January 5, 2010

The DVD Savant

Glenn Erickson (a/k/a DVD Savant) is one of my go-to guys when I have any questions about film releases on DVD. As his title might indicate, the man is a bit focused, and I find his updates informational and his takes even-handed and thought-provoking.

But one of my favorite Savant rituals is his annual “wish list” – classic films that have yet to be released on DVD. It’s been great to watch several older classics finally get the proper respect, and you can also see ones that are at least scheduled for production. And yes, every year will unearth a few more that made it to a cinema and maybe even a VHS tape but still languish behind in the DVD world.

Here’s Glenn’s brand-new DVD Wish List.

Of course, just about any recent movie worth its salt is available, as are most television shows. Studios realize that with hundreds of cable channels, Internet video and an explosive gaming industry – just to name a few – people’s lives are filled with distractions. And yes, you can watch a majority of current television programming on your laptop or even your phone (although why you would want to go small when a fifty inch screen can be had for under a grand is lost on me). But with the addition of commentaries, subtitles, outtakes and other bonus features, studios budgeted the DVD-buying audience into their marketing plan.

But older films didn’t have that luxury. And it’s hard enough to pull a recent cast together to do any sort of retrospective feature, let alone the surviving members of a cast who might be in ill-health and poor memory. And the market is small, of course. Thankfully recent years have seen Criterion, Warners, Fox and other production houses assemble great reissues and box sets, and sales had been strong enough to warrant a cautious continuation of the product line. But now, like with music, a generation of freeloaders downloaders has impacted the business model. Warners has even moved to releasing movies on demand instead of pre-packaging titles.

It’s rewarding to see a younger audience discovering some true greats from the past in music, and the same applies to the history of film. But their methods might kill this marketplace too. If so, I guess The Buggles will have to write a sequel.

Glenn has a great essay on that topic as a lead in to his newly revised wish list. Trust me, you’ll want to bookmark his main site and visit often.

So that’s my long-winded way of saying thank you Glenn Erickson – please keep ’em coming! (And while you’re out there looking for astute film essays, don’t forget Roger Ebert.)


Filed under Editorials, Features and Interviews, Film/TV, Reviews