Friday, June 20, 2014

Unseen Movies

I recently found out that Warner Archives has made the long unavailable Saturday's Children (1940) available on DVD. This is really exciting, because I've been longing to see this Claude Rains/John Garfield feature for a while now, and wasn't able to due to its rarity on home video. Thankfully, this is no longer the case.

However, there are still plenty of movies that I've been dying to see, but haven't because of the near impossibility of getting ahold of a copy; they are unseen movies. The following list (complete with clips) show my current top five: here's hoping that some of them get removed the upcoming years.

1. Casanova (1927)

Ivan Mussuskin was a strange sort of Matinee Idol. He had the charm and smolder of Valentino, but the goofiness and thick pancake make-up of Harry Langdon. This is supposed to be his best movie, and it does sound awesome: plenty of amorous shenanigans, dramatic and humorous, with elegant costumes and set pieces to boot. Please, Flicker Alley, you released 3 of his movies already; perhaps you can make room for one more?

2. Outward Bound (1930)

What's most intriguing about this flick is the cast, primarily Leslie Howard as a cynical drunk, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. as the normal nice guy (as usual), and the eternally etherial Helen Chandler (of Dracula '31 fame). It doesn't sound that great, but come on, it's Fairbanks Jr and Howard on a boat to the afterlife; that's worth it for the curiosity value alone.

3. The Warrior's Husband (1933)
This one's a real mystery: no clips, no trailers, no sign of any festival showings. Perhaps there's no copy in existence. All I know is that this is a movie about ancient greek Amazons, who have their authority challenged by manly men. It may not fit our modern ideas of feminism, but strong women characters are always a treat to see in old movies, mostly because they are so unfortunately rare (and still are: when was the last time you saw a film where a woman participated in combat?)

4. Too Much Johnson (1938)
It must be a rights thing: This long-thought lost silent short by Orson Welles was just rediscovered last year, and has been making the festival rounds, but no word on a home video release yet. It's genius Welles having Joseph Cotton do Harold Llyod stunts while wearing an old-timey straw hat. All I've heard has been praise, so I await its inevitable release with anticipation.

5. The Lovers of Verona (1949)
(ignore the goofy music below and just enjoy the images)

Another forgotten film, this time in French. I've known about this one for years, but aside from some not-subtitled clips on youtube, no dice. It has a great premise: as a movie version of Romeo and Juliet is being filmed, the stars' stand-ins (played by Serge Reggiani and Anouk Aimée) fall in love but, of course, it ends tragically. Sure, it sounds sentimental and melodramatic, but the again, it is a French Romeo and Juliet; I'd feel ripped off it was otherwise.