DVD Release for "Nightmare Alley"??

Discussion in 'DVD' started by MarcoBiscotti, Nov 30, 2004.

  1. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    I believe, though not certain, that Fox holds current distribution rights over this 1947 classic, "Nightmare Alley".

    [​IMG]

    I've done numerous searches at all the popular online retail sites and not only has this film been denied release on dvd to date, but has apparently never seen video release either!

    Why??

    Is there a reason that this film was never distributed on home video and is it unlikely that we will ever see this classic rightfully preserved on dvd int he near future?

    Please fill me in...
     
  2. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

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    Marco... when we were at Fox back in September for the HTF meet, Nightmare Alley was specifically asked about - assuming it would have been one of the first Fox noir titles about to release. According to Peter Staddon, unfortunately, it is not.

    I certainly would have thought it would be among one of their first noir titles released.

    Herb.
     
  3. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    Great movie. Saw it on AMC years ago (when AMC was good).

    Couldn't believe that a 40's film from a major studio (starring Tyrone Power, no less) could have such a seedy atmosphere. Wonderful!
     
  4. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    That's too bad Herb... was there any reason given why Fox seems to be avoiding this title on home video release?

    I really hope it's on their 2005 release slate.
     
  5. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

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    As we know, what gets released varies by studio. Almost all fo the majo and minor calssics of MGM and pre-1949 Warners were either on tape or laserdisc at one time.
    Same goes for Paramount, thought there were certain titles they never touched (Ace in the Hole, Darling Lili, Anything Goes etc).
    However, missing in action, even in the old days were a ton of Universal classics, older pre-1950 Paramount films that universal owns (lets get some of those DeMille films on dvd - Cleopatra, The Crusades, the uncut Sign of the cross).
    Fox is one of those studis. There were always SOME releases out there, but many didnot get onto laser. Fox did a great series of Alice Faye, complete with filmed outtake musical numbers. None of them made it to laser, just VHS.
    The recent poor sales of Alices Alxanders Ragtime Band gives me little hope that we'll see more of her stuff. Would especially love to get Rose of washington Square as Fox has five cut numbers preserved - three with Alice and two with Al jolson.
    Fox had many major stars in the forties and fifties and fox vid has done little to promote them oneven vhs, never mind Laser and DVD.
    Examples -
    Tyrone Power - where is Nightmare Aley, Untamed, captain from castille, Prince of Foxes, King of the Khyber Rifles, The razos Edge.

    Susan Hayward - where is David and Bathsheba, With a Song in My Heart, Garden of evil, Untamed, Soldier of Fortune (rrecently showed in a dynamite restoration in widescreenand stereo on Fox Movies).

    Fox has a bunch of goodies that have not been on tv in at least 25 years. - I'll Never Forget you, The Wayward Bus, View From Pompeys Head.

    BTW - Nightmare Alley is an amazing film and a really strange film for Tyrone Power to do in his career.
    Fox always seems to do the most courageous films in that era of the late 40s.
     
  6. Charles H

    Charles H Screenwriter

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    NIGHTMARE ALLEY was announced for a showing on either AMC (in the good old days before drug commercials) or Cinemax and was cancelled after being listed in TV Guide. It has not been shown on FMC in the two years since I've had the channel. This could be a case of irrepairable damage. In the 80's it was under consideration for a remake with Billy Dee Williams so could it be a source property issue over the original novel? I did pick it up from cable TV in the late 80's.
    I was also surprised when Kazan's BOOMERANG (1947) was abruptly halted from "Studio Classics" VHS a week before distribution despite evidence of cover art and print promos. (It was never replaced by another February selection.)
    These are both terrific films. Does anyone know what happened?
     
  7. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

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    This is in my top 3 most wanted DVDs list right after The Devils & The Conformist. I've been dying to see this film all my life. I don't understand why this film has never been released on any home video format, especially since it has a large cult following, very frustrating.
     
  8. Jim_K

    Jim_K Executive Producer

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    This is one of my most sought after titles due to it's reputation in the Noir cannon.

    I'd probably buy it blind (which I rarely do).
     
  9. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Nightmare Alley is an landmark Noir and a home video release is WAY overdue, especially today, when Noir is more popular than ever.
     
  10. Mike D

    Mike D Stunt Coordinator

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    I believe this title is held up in legal wranglings between Fox and the estate of George Jessel, its producer.

    Dupes of the AMC broadcast are often seen on Ebay and 5minutestolive.com offers a DVD of unknown quality and legality.

    The film has also played at film festivals as recently as Sept. 2004 (Calgary Int'l Film Festival) so hopes remain high for an eventual resolution of any disputes and an official release on DVD. A status update would certainly be appreciated from Mr. Staddon at his next HTF chat.
     
  11. TimJS

    TimJS Second Unit

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    Check out the latest Barrie Maxwell column at the Bits :



    [​IMG]

    Tim
     
  12. RafaelPires

    RafaelPires Second Unit

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    Great news. Even if the folks at Fox change the schedule, the mention of Nightmare Alley as a possible release is, in fact, a indication that this movie is in works for a dvd edition.
    I'll buy all the others mentioned in the Noir List. Also waiting for House of Strangers, Fallen Angel, I wake up Screaming and others from the 40's.
    Any possibility for Daisy Kenion, starring Joan Crawford, Henry Fonda and Dana Andrews? A terrific movie, in my opinion.
     
  13. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    I'm starting to believe we'll NEVER see "Laura"! It keeps slipping farther into the murky future. I'm glad I still have my Laserdisc of it. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  14. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

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    First off, Barrie thanks for your post at the Bits. I know you are as passionate about some of these classics as the rest of us, particularly Nightmare Alley – very much appreciated.



    Let me preface this by saying that I’m usually pretty supportive of the studios and their efforts, particularly when it relates to older titles. I suppose I’ll be the lone voice of dissent, but I’m not taking anything to the bank here… at least with respect to the Fox noirs and frankly, I find the whole issue rather bewildering.

    Last year (or early this year), we heard an announcement that Fox was about to release a noir line (similar in fashion their War Classics line, titles to be released in a rather informal manner – released being the operative word). Then, we learn the line is pushed back until the spring of ’05. Fair enough. The initial line then changes in terms of what is going to be released. Again, fair enough – I suppose.

    I can’t help but think Fox is suffering from a great deal of trepidation about the whole classics thing and they are fearful of falling flat on their face. But I also can’t help but feel that at least in some respects, they haven’t quite got their finger on the pulse. Noir right now is huge. All you have to do is go to eBay and search “noir DVD” to see how huge, huge really is. People are paying outlandish sums for crappy DVD-R’s and they’re selling like hotcakes.

    I guess my greatest sense of frustration (confusion) is how can Fox be worried about titles not selling if they are unwilling to make the first step…? I’m not going to dig too deeply here in terms of questioning their decisions with respect to the titles they have chosen, but suffice it to say, that perhaps that same sense of questioning is the reason they’ve had to revamp their Studio Classics line. If you go into game after game and keep your “A” players on the bench, it’ll only be a matter of time before you have to rework your lineup. And not that I’m unappreciative to have Alexander’s Ragtime Band among my collection but using that title as an example, I have to question if that was a). the most desirable or sought after title available as a Studio Classic which led to b). the straw that broke the camel’s back. My point? Quite simply, Fox has a ton of classics among their prestigious library and I don’t think the best decisions were made in terms of what to release and when to do so.

    Other studios seem to be handling classic (or vintage) titles with great success.

    Fox is only second to WB (meaning WB, RKO, MGM and A.A.) in terms of what they have in their noir library. They would have upwards of a hundred (a quick guestimate) of noir titles – presently they’ve released three and actually one of those is a Criterion licensed title. They other two are Marilyn Monroe titles – we know why they were released… and apparently we’ll have two others in the new year, again, thanks to Criterion.

    Considering the depth of their library, they should come out of the blocks strong and they should be strong for some time, but the manner in which they seem to be approaching this (apprehensively), many of their “A” titles will continue to sit on the shelves and they’ll wonder “why hasn’t this noir thing worked out…?
     
  15. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    Herb,

    Thanks for expressing so eloquently what many are thinking but unable to express as well as what you did.

    Fox's treatment of their classic catalog is baffling. Yes, they have a studio classics line, but the quantity of those releases is paltry compared to what Warners, Universal, et al are doing quite successfully with their libraries. Fox is sitting on a treasure trove of not only Noir, but comedy and mystery titles as well. Where are they in the pipeline? In many cases, it would seem they are completely off the radar.

    Warners is fairly open with their future plans which only increases awareness and excitement for their product. Fox seems to take the opposite approach by keeping their plans for classic films fuzzy and vague. Occasionally their stated reasons for not releasing certain titles leave one scratching their head in disbelief.

    Is Fox perhaps lacking an employee who will champion the cause of these films and knows how to market them effectively? In my view, a big reason for Warners' success is that George Feltenstein is a genuine fan of his library in addition to being a good businessman. He finds ways to make his titles work in the marketplace.

    Let's hope Fox finds the way also.

    Steve
     
  16. Dan McW

    Dan McW Second Unit

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    Movies Unlimited is listing Nightmare Alley, House of Bamboo and Street With No Name for release June 7.

    Regarding Cinemax, I made my copy of Nightmare Alley off a friend's old tape that was recorded directly from an early-'80s Cinemax broadcast.
     
  17. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    See this post for more details on the next wave of Fox noirs.
     

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