Val Lewton films

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jeff Kuykendall, Oct 21, 2003.

  1. Jeff Kuykendall

    Jeff Kuykendall Stunt Coordinator

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    I've recently been enjoying the Val Lewton-produced horror movies of the 1940's on Turner Classic Movies--what are the chances that they'll ever turn up on DVD? A box set would be nice. Are they all owned by the same studio?

    These seem to be the thrillers...

    Cat People
    I Walked with a Zombie
    The Seventh Victim
    The Leopard Man
    The Ghost Ship
    The Curse of the Cat People
    The Body Snatcher
    Isle of the Dead
    Bedlam
     
  2. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

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    Warner owns all these films as they have the rights to the RKO film library. Warner mentioned in the last chat that they might be releasing some of these films in 2004. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
     
  3. Larry Talbot

    Larry Talbot Second Unit

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    Didn't Lewton do Curse of the Demon? One of my all time favorite black and white horror films...Nice to see Dream Life of Angels in your sig, Jay. Glad to know others liked that movie too.
     
  4. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    Curse of the Demon / Night of the Demon was a Jacques Tourneur movie; a superb film, dodgy demon effects and all!

    ---
    So many films, so little time...
     
  5. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    The RKO library seems to be pretty low on Warner's priority list, but to be fair it sounds as if a lot of it needs restoration work before it can be put onto an acceptable-quality DVD. I'll be patient....for a while. [​IMG]
     
  6. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    Sorry to report that Simone Simon (star of "Cat People" and "Return..." has passed away. (I posted an obit in the Movies forum).

    I don't know what her health was like recently or even if she gave interviews in the last 40 years, but I wonder if Warners was able to secure any interviews, etc. for their upcoming Lewton box set?

    Steve
     
  7. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    I hope so. That's what happens when you wait 8 years to release a classic film to DVD.
     
  8. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Perhaps our grandfather's should have been smart enough to create DVD back in the 1930's that way we could have gotten commentaries with Karloff, Lugosi, Lewton and others. [​IMG]
     
  9. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    Michael, we couldn't do that back then, but since DVD was around as of 1997, there were a lot of potential participants from the DVD era who might have been able to be a part of the format. The opportunity is there (and more increasingly, "was" there).

    I hope they recorded something with Fay Wray during the last decade. [​IMG]
     
  10. Roger Rollins

    Roger Rollins Supporting Actor

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    I read in several different places that Turner started an archival interview project back in 1993, that continued with the support of Warner Brothers after they bought Turner in 1996. Apparently they have something like 350-400 people interviewed, if they worked at MGM, WB or RKO (the libraries WB owns) whether as a star or behind the camera.

    If they didn't get Simone or Fay, one could assume, it wasn't for lack of trying. A lot of elderly people don't want to be photographed any longer (I know for a fact that's Eleanor Parker's deal....)

    I can't think of any other studio that has an archival interview program except for WB, other than the one initiated by the Television Academy.

    By the way, all the Warner/Turner archival interviews are available for viewing by verified film scholars on the premesis of the Herrick Library in Beverly Hills (the Academy's wonderful research center).
     
  11. LaurenceGarvey

    LaurenceGarvey Second Unit

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    Of the Lewton films listed to start this thread, all except THE SEVENTH VICTIM, THE GHOST SHIP, and ISLE OF THE DEAD are readily available on DVD in France. I have the French DVDs, and I can verify that the first CAT PEOPLE and THE LEOPARD MAN could use a little work. I haven't yet watched ZOMBIE, but BEDLAM and CURSE and BODY SNATCHER look terrific and could be issued with minimum restoration. But, as mentioned, they are being worked on and expected for this year in region 1.
     
  12. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Simon was almost 94 years old when she died the other day. I seriously doubt she had interest in any dvd project. Just because a person is alive, doesn't mean they're available to the studios.






    Crawdaddy
     
  13. Amy Mormino

    Amy Mormino Supporting Actor

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    No need for there to be any question as to whether these movies will be released. The last WB chat said that they will be released this year. An ideal October Halloween release, I'd say!
     
  14. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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  15. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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  16. Mark_TS

    Mark_TS Screenwriter

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    I would love to own CAT PEOPLE and CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE
     
  17. Marc^H

    Marc^H Agent

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    The laserdisc box set of Val Lewton films was great, and I'm sorry I sold it on eBay 2 years ago (got $200 for it--I needed rent money [​IMG]. I had only seen CAT PEOPLE before, but it turns out that THE SEVENTH VICTIM and THE LEOPARD MAN became by favorites of the bunch. GHOST SHIP, like all films that are kept from the public for decades and then resurface, was a bit of a letdown, but it was nice to have bragging rights among movie buff friends that I owned a copy.

    I'd recommend anyone buy the complete DVD set when it comes out, even if you don't know these films that well. They are essential viewing if you are interested in thrillers, B-movies, shoestring moviemaking, producer-as-auteur, or just great old movies.

    I hosted a bookstore event here in NYC a few years ago and the late Kim Hunter attended. I of course grabbed her afterward and, under the guise of walking her out to fetch her a cab, tried to talk to her about THE SEVENTH VICTIM. She didn't have a lot to say, only that it was one of the first things she did. She was very sweet and gracious, and seemed shocked a young guy like me remembered that old film!
     

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