Important Made-For-TV Movies We Need On DVD and/or Blu

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Dick, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. Dick

    Dick Producer

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    There have been several threads in the past regarding t.v. movies. And I realize the heyday of DVD is past. But I would hope some company would be interested in trying to release some of the most relevant t.v. movies of the past -- made in the day when network television actually produced films every bit as good as Hollywood and often more insightful and socially relevant-- if only as MOD's or double features or something.I'll start with a pair of cable-made films that never made it past VHS:THE BURNING SEASON (HBO, 1994). The late great Raul Julia as Chico Mendes, a Brazilian rubber tapper who was killed trying to protect the rainforest from those trying to exploit it. Never more relevant than now. Brilliant film, directed by John Frankenheimer, Why the f*&^ was this never released to DVD?COUNTDOWN TO LOOKING GLASS (HBO,1984). Nuclear war thriller in the form of a documentary, shot on videotape. Very effective as a cautionary tale, with Scott Glenn, Michael Murphy and Helen Shaver.Then there are the exceptional Network movies:SURVIVING (ABC, Warner Bros, 1984). With Ellen Burstyn, Marsha Mason, River Phoenix, Heather O'Rourke, etc. A devastating, completely convincing story about trying to cope with the suicide within a family.SOMETHING ABOUT AMELIA (1984, ABC). with Ted Danson, Glenn Close. Searing portrait of incest. Not a false note. Could actually be used as a therapeutic tool.DUEL (1971, ABC) Nothing need be said.SOMETHING EVIL (1972, CBS). Another Spielberg, this one about a haunted farmhouse (THE CONJURING, anyone?) Really decent and containing a few genuine scares, it stars Darren McGavin and Sandy Dennis. The director might be embarrassed by it now, thus no video release, but if it ever runs on a cable channel, grab it.NIGHTBREAKER (1991, TNT). Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez and Lea Thompson in a powerful drama about the after effects of nuclear test explosions on the soldiers who were ordered into the trenches.Speaking of Martin Sheen...THE EXECUTION OF PRIVATE SLOVIK (1974, NBC) The story of the only soldier executed for desertion at the end of WWII. Amazing movie.PROMISE (1986, Hallmark, CBS). This is so-o-o good, and remains one of the very few Hallmark tv movies not to be given a DVD release. James Garner and James Woods are brothers, one of them (Woods) suffering from schizophrenia and the other reluctantly trying to care for him. An emotional powerhouse. Should not be neglected as it has been! One of Woods' best roles, m.i.a.GOD SAVE THE CHILD (1988, ABC). Single mother trying desperately to hold on to her child through their abject poverty. Incredibly grim and realistic, and if anything more timely now than then. Network tv would never have the balls to make such a movie now.THAT CERTAIN SUMMER (1972, NBC). A teenager discovers that his father (a superb Hal Holbrook) is gay. Maybe the very first t.v. production of any kind to deal with homosexuality, and it doesn't pull too many punches.DAVID (1988, ABC). John Glover is mesmerizing as the father of a young boy, whom he kidnaps and ultimately sets on fire to get back at his ex-wife (Bernadette Peters).And speaking of children in jeopardy...ADAM (1983, NBC). We all know how this true case ended up. Heartbreakingly played by Daniel J. Travanti (such a fine and underrated actor) and JoBeth Williams as Mr. and Mrs. John Walsh.THE GIRL WHO SPELLED FREEDOM (1986, Disney, ABC). Wonderfully and inspiring true story of one of several Cambodian children who, having escaped the Khmer Rouge and been adopted by an American family, works hard to achieve victory in a national spelling bee. I'd been hoping for this to get released on DVD, at least to the Disney Movie Club, but so far, nada.HEARTSOUNDS (1984, ABC). James Garner's best dramatic role, IMHO. He plays a doctor who is assaulted by a series of increasingly dire heart attacks that his own medical community seems unable to control. His wife is played by Mary Tyler Moore, in her second best (after ORDINARY PEOPLE) dramatic role. Not an uplifting film, but it packs a wallop.THURSDAY'S GAME (1974, ABC). One of the few truly funny made-for-tv movies of the 70's. Weekly poker games begin leading to other extracurricular activities for a pair of married men. With a cast that includes Gene Wilder, Cloris Leachman, Bob Newhart, Ellen Burstyn, Valerie Harper, Ron Reiner and a bunch of others, I just can't figure why this hasn't been put out on DVD.VAMPIRE (1979, ABC). Pretty damned effective horror film, a genre tv did not tackle very often. Jason Miller stars along with E.G. Marshall, Michael Tucker, Jessica Walter and Joe Spinell in a tale of modern vampirism.THE MISSILES OF OCTOBER (1974, ABC). Before any of you just waiting for me to trip up in this list and scream, "Ah-ha! That one's out on DVD, you idiot!" I know it is. But it's a nearly unwatchable transfer of a 2 1/2-hour title that had been shot using videotape. Would someone please rescue this suspenseful take on the Cuban Missile Crisis? William Devane is dynamite as JFK. Can someone do this right, please?ESCAPE FROM SOBIBOR (1987, CBS). Ditto. On DVD, but nowhere near properly. For one thing, about 25minutes were cut out of it (should be 143m) for the Unicorn release. The PQ is awful as well. This is an excellent WWII prison camp escape story, with Rutger Hauer, Alan Arkin, Joanna Paccula and more.MARY JANE HARPER CRIED LAST NIGHT (1977, CBS). Striking and heartbreaking story of child sexual abuse and about the reluctance of neighbors and community to get involved, though they might have prevented the tragic end. Downbeat, yes, but, again, relevant now as ever. With Susan Dey, Kevin McCarthy and John Vernon.ANGEL CITY (1980, CBS). Paul Winfield and Jennifer Jason Leigh headline a story about a hard-working family who accept a job offer from a plantation owner, and find themselves virtual slaves.ACCEPTABLE RISKS (1986, ABC). The old, but never outdated, chemical-plant-spilling-toxic-waste-into-the-water-supply story, this one with the very fine Brian Dennehy, Kenneth (DUNE) McMillan, Cicely (SOUNDER) Tyson, et al.A CIRCLE OF CHILDREN (1977, CBS). Wonderful movie starring the great where-is-she-now actor Jane Alexander as a dedicated school teacher who reaches out to an emotionally disturbed child. Also starred David Ogden Stiers and Rachel Roberts. There was a sequel (LOVEY, A CIRCLE OF CHILDREN PART II), which was nearly as good.There are scores of others, but I'll leave it to others to add titles to this already lengthy list. The point is, could some studio who holds the rights to these titles double or triple or quadruple them up on DVD and just make them available again, please? Right now, all you can get are occasional rips from iOffer of DVD copies from tapes made from broadcast tv, which of course suck and are illegal.
     
  2. Gary16

    Gary16 Supporting Actor

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    Duel has been on DVD. Thursdays Game made it to laserdisc.
     
  3. Dave B Ferris

    Dave B Ferris Supporting Actor

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    Another Made-For-TV movie that made it to laserdisc, but has never been on DVD, is "Breakfast with Les and Bess", starring Dick Van Dyke and Cloris Leachman."Breakfast ..." may not have been "important"; however, as a long-time fan of "What's My Line", I have always wanted to see "Breakfast ..." because I gather it is a thinly-veiled look at the radio show Dorothy Kilgallen did with her husband from their apartment.
     
  4. Dick

    Dick Producer

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    Yup, you got me. I even HAVE DUEL on DVD. I was not aware of the THURSDAY'S GAME laser release.
     
  5. Gary16

    Gary16 Supporting Actor

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    I have the laserdisc. I agree it should be on DVD too.
     
  6. Ron1973

    Ron1973 Beverly Hillbilles nut extraordinaire

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    I would add, though I'm not sure it was a "made for TV" film, the 70's version of "Miracle on 34th Street" starring David Hartman and Sebastian Cabot.

    One of the movie channels showed this a few years ago and I ripped a copy via my DVD recorded but it's not the same as having one officially done.

    I would also add the Gilligan's Island movies. Yes, I believe them to be out on DVD but they stink big time picture quality wise and I believe I've read they've been edited for time. Not exactly at the top of my list but I wouldn't mind seeing them cleaned up and on DVD.

    Edited to correct my mistake of typing "Hart" instead of "Hartman."
     
  7. Richard V

    Richard V Cinematographer

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    The often mentioned, THE LEGEND OF LIZZIE BORDEN (1975) - Elizabeth Montgomery, Katherine Helmond, Fritz Weaver, Ed Flanders, with Montgomery at her best.
     
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  8. davidHartzog

    davidHartzog Cinematographer
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    The Lonely Profession, Harry Guardino as p.i. in San Francisco, used Scott Mackenzie's pop song San Francisco in opening credits, very atmospheric of times.
     
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  9. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    The one I want most is Bruce (MISSION IMPOSSIBLE) Geller's THE SAVAGE BEES (1976), starring Ben Johnson and Michael Parks, which was, by far, the best movie inspired by the relatively-brief 'killer bee' scare that trended in the 1970s (and was also cinematically piggy-backing on the huge success of JAWS):



    It was pretty popular, and spawned a sequel, TERROR OUT OF THE SKY (1978):



    I'm also surprised we still haven't gotten some kind of disc release of Gene Roddenberry's TV-movie/series pilot, SPECTRE (1977), starring Robert Culp, Gig Young and John Hurt:

     
  10. Cowboy

    Cowboy Stunt Coordinator

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    I would like on dvd Tribes and A Case of Rape which I watched originally when aired.
     
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  11. kingfish

    kingfish Screenwriter

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    i would love to see a rumor of war make it to dvd along with the tv versions of midway and mac arthur.
     
  12. Bob Cashill

    Bob Cashill Cinematographer

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    PROMISE is a Warner Archive release. Check their site for other "musts" that may have wound up there. MOD programs are the last best hope for TV movies, which appeal to an older audience (gulp!) that remembers the days of the Big Three networks and early HBO. (Would love to see HBO's PHILIP MARLOWE, PRIVATE EYE show get a proper release.)
     
  13. Dick

    Dick Producer

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    Bob, I can't thank you enough. I had no idea PROMISE was available. I recommend this to any Garner or Woods fans, or for that matter anyone who cherishes superb acting. And I agree with you that MOD's are where we will find these excellent films, if at all.
     
  14. Brian Himes

    Brian Himes Screenwriter

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    Here is one that I would love to see released on DVD.

    Short Walk To Daylight (1972): James Brolin, Laurette Spang. People trapped in the New York subway after an earthquake. Loved this one as a kid.

    Also, The Day the Earth Moved would be great to see again.
     
  15. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I'd like to have Flesh and Blood which starred Tom Berenger in a story of incestuous love between mother and son. I haven't seen it since it originally aired.
     
  16. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    What a fantastic list of titles! The TV movie genre has always taken its share of disparagement, and in the larger scheme of things, perhaps deservedly. But as I sat here reading and being reminded of one after another of these great ones, I found I want them all. These are fully deserving of preservation and new appreciation.
     
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  17. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    I remember seeing Les and Bess! At the time, I thought it reminiscent of J.D. Salinger's Glass family.
     
  18. Rick Thompson

    Rick Thompson Screenwriter

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    Surprised that no one has mentioned David Janssen's last: City in Fear. In addition to Janssen, the great cast included Robert Vaughn, William Daniels, Susan Sullivan, Perry King, William Prince, M. Emmet walsh, Allan Miller and "introducing" Mickey Rourke. In a small role was Mary Stuart Masterson.
     
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  19. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    +1 There is a bunch of titles here I would love to revisit.

    Missile of October (William Devane is a native of Albany, NY!) and Slovik probably head the list.

    I'll add a title I don't think has been available: 1973's Pueblo (which aired on ABC) about the USS Pueblo incident. It starred Hal Holbrook, Ronny Cox, Barnard Hughes and Richard Mulligan among many, many others.
     
  20. Dick

    Dick Producer

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    More to add to my own wish list, but without descriptions:FEAR ON TRIAL (1975)THE U.F.O. INCIDENT (1975)THE NIGHT THAT PANICKED AMERICAFOSTER AND LAURIE (1975)ELEANOR AND FRANKLIN (1976)VICTORY AT ENTEBBE (1976)TAIL-GUNNER JOE (1977)DEADLIEST SEASON (1977)RED ALERT (1977)CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS (1977)DARK SECRET OF HARVEST HOME (1978)A DEATH IN CANAAN (1978)THE SUMMER OF MY GERMAN SOLDIER (1978)FIRST YOU CRY (1978)THE JERICHO MILE (1979)FRIENDLY FIRE (1979)DUMMY (1979)DR. COOK'S GARCDEN (1971)VANISHED (1971)THE PEOPLE (1972)WELCOME HOME, JOHNNY BRISTOL (1972)GO ASK ALICE (1973)THE NORLISS TAPES (1973)POLICE STORY (1973)SAVAGE (1973)TRAPPED (1973)I HEARD THE OWL CALL MY NAMETHE MORNING AFTER (1974)A CASE OF RAPE (1974)LARRY (1974)THE BLUE KNIGHTLOVE AMONG THE RUINSKIDS GUYANA TRAGEDY: THE STORY OF JIM JONESCHILD OF GLASSFLIGHT OF BLACK ANGELIN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD
     

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