Monday, December 29, 2008

Above all . . . it's a love story

This week's A.V. Club inventory focuses on twenty-three films that have yet to appear on Region 1 DVD. Reading through it, I'm reminded that not everything is on DVD, and there is still a hunt for hard-to-find gems. I knew there was a good reason to still have a region-free DVD player and a VCR.

Thanks to Trailers From Hell and almost any interview with Quentin Tarantino, there is no shortage of lost films that I might like to see. Part of the enjoyment in these movies is the scarcity of finding a copy. As nice as it is to have old films restored and readily available on DVD, there seems to be something special with the hunt.

Case in point, a few months ago, I watched Freebie and the Bean for the first time. I enjoyed the film even though what I watched was a DVD-R rip from an old VHS tape. Since the aspect ratio of the film (2.35:1 I believe) was shrunk to fit the pan-and-scan 4:3, plenty got left out of the picture. Still, I found the film to be enjoyable and I hope someday it's released on DVD in widescreen.

But I can't forget something Tarantino once said on a commentary track. Saying something along the lines of seeing an old print of El Topo versus seeing a pristine copy of the film on DVD, it just wasn't the same. In other words, there's a personal sense of liking something that a lot of people have forgotten about or don't even know of its existence. The film is not going to look good and the chances of it appearing in a pristine transfer are small, thus making the gem seem more appealing.

That said, I can't forget seeing Kentucky Fried Movie in widescreen and on DVD. I got so much more out of seeing the film that way, and I have not pined to see it on VHS in pan-and-scan. So, there's always a hunt going on, and that's part of the fandom of films in general.

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