Taking Off, The Last Movie, Diary Of A Mad Housewife?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jon Hertzberg, Mar 28, 2006.

  1. Jon Hertzberg

    Jon Hertzberg Screenwriter

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    These films were part of Universal's "youth division" movies which existed briefly, in the wake of Easy Rider's success. While Universal licensed other films from this group (Two-Lane Blacktop, Minnie and Moskowitz) to Anchor Bay, Milos Forman's first American film Taking Off, as well as Frank Perry's Diary of a Mad Housewife and Dennis Hopper's The Last Movie remain M.I.A. on DVD.

    Universal have themselves released Peter Fonda's The Hired Hand and Douglas Trumbull's Silent Running.

    Taking Off has never appeared on home video and Diary... was released by Universal on tape once in the early eighties. The Last Movie was released on VHS by a third party (public domain?) company. Does Universal still control this title? Do they still control the other titles in question?
     
  2. Jon Hertzberg

    Jon Hertzberg Screenwriter

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    Is no one else familiar with these titles?

    I'm just wondering if there has been any word that Taking Off, Diary of a Mad Housewife, or The Last Movie were on Universal's radar.

    I think Forman, Buck Henry, Jean-Claude Carriere, and John Guare would constitute a very enlightening commentary track or featurette on Taking Off. And, I'm pretty sure Dennis Hopper would be an entertaining and valuable presence all by himself on The Last Movie. Unfortunately, Housewife director Frank Perry and star Carrie Snodgress are no longer with us, however co-stars Frank Langella and Richard Benjamin are still around, and since this was one of the key "feminist" Hollywood efforts of the day, perhaps a Camille Paglia could weigh in.

    Forget all those possibilities, these important films of the American New Wave should be available on DVD, perhaps in a box set with the other films of Universal's short-lived "youth division."
     
  3. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    I'm not sure how true it is but I heard somewhere that Hopper owns the rights to THE LAST MOVIE. I believe there was a rumor at one point that Anchor Bay was going to release it but nothing ever came of it.
     
  4. Jon Hertzberg

    Jon Hertzberg Screenwriter

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    I had thought about this as well, especially since the film was available on VHS from an independent label in the '80s. This was a troubled film and one which essentially blackballed Hopper in Hollywood for most of the next decade and a half. I think a fully-sanctioned Hopper edition could be a fascinating release if an Anchor Bay or a similar outfit could come to an agreement with Hopper.

    If it's still with Universal, then the aforementioned "youth" boxset would be the ideal forum for its release.
     
  5. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    You might try going to Anchor Bay's website where they have a suggestion link. It might not work but it doesn't hurt to try.

    Nichsolson also made a film around this time (DRIVE, HE SAID), which hasn't been released but the rights do belong to Nicholson.
     
  6. Jon Hertzberg

    Jon Hertzberg Screenwriter

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    Hmmm...this was a Columbia title. I did not know that Nicholson also had the rights to this title, as he does for The Passenger. Perhaps Sony Pictures Classics can persuade him to do the same thing as they did with the Antonioni film, although I do realize there is not nearly as much interest in this title. On top of this, Sony, of course, has control of Columbia so there is some synergy, for whatever that's worth.

    What else is Jack sitting on?
     
  7. Bruce Morrison

    Bruce Morrison Supporting Actor

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    Yes, 'Taking Off' is certainly on my most-wanted list - I was beginning to wonder if there was anyone else out there who was interested in it. It's always been a favourite of mine since I first saw it in 1972. I do recall that there was a certain amount of controversy at the time about the "Ode To A Screw" song that figures in the singing contest at the beginning, and there might have been censorship issues that prevented it from being released uncut on video originally, but it wouldn't be an issue these days. Anyway, I hope Universal are still aware that they have this fine film in their library.
     
  8. walter o

    walter o Supporting Actor

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    I have both LAST MOVIE and DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE on video, problem with LAST MOVIE is, it really is a test of endurance for me. Probably one of the most self-indulgent film ever made. DIARY I'm suprised had not been released on DVD, as it was one of the first movies MCA put out on video.

    It would be nice if MCA digs into their vault and put out other 70's stuff, like RED SKY AT MORNING, MIDNIGHT MAN, NAKED APE, TWO PEOPLE PLAY IT AS IT LAYS, GONG SHOW THE MOVIE, etc.

    As for DRIVE HE SAID, are you sure Nickelson controls it? Use to play on cable alot, back when Cinemax and Starz plays alot of old Columbia films, so I assume Columbia still has the rights.
     
  9. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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    Columbia does still own DRIVE, HE SAID. There was a recent screening of the movie in L.A. with many original castmembers attending. Unfortunately, none of them are apparently "big" enough to prod Sony into releasing a DVD of the film. I'm sure there's a music rights issue there too.

    Urban legend says that Universal made some sort of deal with Dennis Hopper where they would turn over the rights to THE LAST MOVIE to him in exchange for all the "extra" material he was holding on it - deleted scenes, workprint, etc. I guess maybe they have wanted to be rid of all that material so that Hopper could not reassemble another version of the movie that would make him look good and them look bad, hence letting him keep his self-indulgent cut of the film provided it's the only extant version. In any case, Hopper does own the film, and made the previous deal with the former United American Video label. I'm sure he's thinking like Nicholson did with THE PASSENGER: waiting to find a company that will treat the movie in the way he wants it treated, whatever that entails.

    There is almost no music in DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE, but what little there is comes from Alice Cooper; I smell a clearance problem. Aside from it's low visibility and popularity, I wonder if PLAY IT AS IT LAYS has been hindered by some sort of intellectual property snag with Joan Didion? Many movies (REAR WINDOW, GIANT, NIGHTMARE ALLEY) have been held up from home video due to disputes regarding their original authors and publishers.

    And technically, THE HIRED HAND came from a unique sublicense agreement between Universal, Hamish McAlpine's UK-based Tartan Films, and the Sundance Channel's DVD label. The latter two parties were the only ones interested in letting Peter Fonda go back to recut the film and as such put up the money to do it. Universal gets package credit an a likely cut of the sales.

    In short, while I think that five film box set is a top-shelf idea, we're not gonna see it happen.
     
  10. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    THE GONG SHOW MOVIE has been playing on Sundance recently, first time on TV in over 10 years.

    I'd love to see TAKING OFF, the only Forman I haven't seen.

    And didn't Goodtimes Home Video release DIARY on VHS in the mid 80's as well? It was one I always remembered seeing for sale on the budget bins, in the early days of video.
     
  11. walter o

    walter o Supporting Actor

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    Goodtimes used to sublicense titles from MCA, Columbia, Orion, and they used to put them out on EP or LP speed "sell-thru" versions, this was late 80's. What it meant was (besides not tracking) is you had to pay 59.99 for the MCA or Columbia's SP speed version, or pay 9.99 for Goodtimes LP speed ones, ideal for Suncoast and Camelot chains.
     

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