Robert Altman's Quintet

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Reggie W, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. Reggie W

    Reggie W Producer

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    I noticed they have been showing this on the Fox movie channel in a letterboxed format...does this mean they will be releasing this on DVD soon? Anyone know?
     
  2. Claude North

    Claude North Second Unit

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    I know it has its detractors, but I'd buy it, Altman completist that I am. Perhaps it might turn up as a Criterion or Anchor Bay release, given both companies' deals with Fox.
     
  3. Jon Hertzberg

    Jon Hertzberg Screenwriter

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    Or, perhaps we could see some kind of collection of Altman's FOX properties show up with Anchor Bay or Criterion. They are certainly a mixed bag and this might be the best way to market and release them. I'm thinking of: H.E.A.L.T.H., A Perfect Couple, Quintet, and A Wedding. 3 Women has already been released, but this could be re-released with the other titles. H.E.A.L.T.H. and A Perfect Couple have never appeared on any home video format.

    It marks an interesting, if ultimately unsuccessful period in Altman's oeuvre. These, along with protege Alan Rudolph's early films, were produced through the auspices of Altman's company Lions Gate (no relation to the current outfit). Most were distributed thru FOX. Going into the deal, Altman was as enigmatic as ever, but still not too far removed from the highs of M*A*S*H*, The Long Goodbye, Nashville, and McCabe and Mrs. Miller. He'd always mixed in oddities which did not necessarily click with mass audiences, i.e. Brewster McCloud, California Split, and Images. They did, however, have their fans amongst critics and cineastes. The Lions Gate/FOX titles, for the most part, did not click with audiences or critics and it was a long 12-15 years for Altman until The Player came along. He did have small successes with tv's "Tanner '88" and "Secret Honor", as well as the independents Streamers (UA Classics) and Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (Cinecom).

    On the subject, where are Rudolph's Welcome to L.A. (FOX) and Remember My Name (Columbia)? The latter has never appeared on home video.

    Robert M. Young's Rich Kids (United Artists) is the rare Lions Gate film to be directed by neither Altman or Rudolph.

    Oh, IMDb credits Roger Spottiswoode's Under Fire as a Lions Gate title. I had not heard that before, but as IMDb is not perfect, I will take it with a grain of salt.
     
  4. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    FMC has been showing QUINTET letterboxed for a while, so I don't think that is any indication of a DVD release.



    Actually, REMEMBER MY NAME did make it to VHS in the early 90's, right before DVD came out. It had plenty of cable airings then as well (after years of being MIA). Can't say it was worth the wait (and I love many of Rudolph's films more than Altman's.)
     
  5. Mark_TS

    Mark_TS Screenwriter

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    I would buy it.
    and BREWSTER McCLOUD would make a welcome DVD release.

    WARNER...?
     
  6. Reggie W

    Reggie W Producer

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    I find it a curious thing that Quintet has not seen a dvd release. I know there are a lot of fans of both Altman and 70's sci-fi and this title would appeal to both groups. It would seem to have market that is just waiting to scoop it up. It is slow moving and a bit odd but fans of Altman or 70's sci-fi (think Zardoz, which has already been released on dvd) would likely eat those aspects of it up.
     
  7. Bruce Morrison

    Bruce Morrison Supporting Actor

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    The Altman title I really want on DVD is 'Thieves Like Us', one of his most successful movies from that golden period from 1970 to 1975. It's an MGM title, not Fox, but I wish MGM would release it.
     
  8. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    That is arguable. QUINTET really is a terrible film. Most critics hated it. It is a chore for even Altman fans to make it through, let alone mainstream sci-fi fans.

    It deserves to be on DVD, yes. But, it won't be a big seller which is why it probably hasn't been released yet.
     
  9. Jon Hertzberg

    Jon Hertzberg Screenwriter

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    Jon, I'm aware of the cable airings, but have never seen anything indicating a video release of any kind. A cursory check on the web turned up nothing. A good indication is usually Maltin's film & video guide. However, I do not have the most recent printing. My 1998 printing indicates no video release for Remember My Name. A LexisNexis search turned up nothing except for a 1996 theatrical screening as part of a "Not on Video" film festival.

    There were several early 90s bootlegs, which many reputable outfits stocked as legit, of Columbia titles that had been held up due to music rights. These included the well-known Heavy Metal and American Pop. A Canadian label called Badcat put them out and many mistook them for the real thing. That, of course, came a few years later. I wonder if this bootleg issue also befell Remember My Name.
     
  10. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    I don't think so. This was after the legit versions of those films came out. The more I think about it, it must have been Critics Choice as they did have the Columbia exclusives.
     
  11. Mark*Mac

    Mark*Mac Auditioning

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    Movies Unilimited is a known bootleg operation, so if they released it, they probably dubbed it off the cable airing.
     
  12. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    Are we talking about the same place? The one I was is out of Pennsylvania or something and they published a phone book size catalogue of every VHS available.

    Maltin and Ebert both recommended them. They were very reputable.

    Since they publish everything that is out there in their catalogue, they may be listing some titles that other companies released that were possibly of questionable legality. But they aren't bootleggers themselves.
     
  13. Mark*Mac

    Mark*Mac Auditioning

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    Yep, we are talking about the same company. And yes, they are bootleggers at least to some degree. Try ordering any of their rare titles which they sell for upwards of $80. You think you'll receive an official studio release or an official ex-rental from an old video store (as they make you believe on their website)? Nope - you'll pay $80 for a generic home-made video with a generic label in a generic sleeve. They also sell DVD's of OOP titles that are just as generic, even if the title has already been released by a legitimate company.

    Of course, they are much more careful with big studio's product and they do sell legit DVD's of recent currently available titles. Just be careful when ordering anything that may be obscure, cultish, or rare. You'll be sorry. Yes, they point the finger at their generic "Video Attic" sub-label as the ones dealing with the rights and they deny any wrong-doing themselves. Believe what you will - I will never purchase from them again - your mileage may vary. Good luck!

    And, yes, their catalogs do look cool because of all those rare titles in them. However, that's the REASON all those rare titles are in there! And I doubt Roger Ebert or Leonard Maltin ever tried to order any of those obscure titles or maybe they just don't care if a tape is legit or not. Most serious video collectors are well aware of this company's practices.
     
  14. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    Interesting. I haven't ordered from them in almost ten years, since before DVD came out, so I don't know how they changed.

    I did get a couple of those "Video Attic" titles they had. Some old Sam Fuller films that were otherwise unavailable. The transfers weren't too bad. But,with the generic boxes, I knew they probably weren't totally legit. But Video Attic is Movies Unlimited and not another company? Hmmm.

    Thanks for the info. I stopped dealing with them when I found out other companies offered discounts. They had a great selection, but all at full price. Even Amazon has at least a 10% discount on most titles.
     
  15. PeterSOB

    PeterSOB Extra

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    Back to Quintet...

    I was at a function for Robert Altman last night and asked him if he knew anything about a possible DVD release of the film (which I personally think is great-the most iconoclastic film by one of America's most iconoclastic directors). He said that Fox has the rights but he knows of no plans of any nature to put it out anytime soon.

    Admittedly, this isn't exactly earth-shattering news but I figured I would mention it since it came from the horse's mouth.
     

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