Wednesday, June 25, 2008

IMDb, you’re pissing me off…

Last Friday night, after I finished watching The Best Man on TCM, I looked the movie up on the Internet Movie Database for some additional information…and spotted something that has since become my current bête noir regarding the go-to website for movie information.

It’s up in the right-hand corner…a little widget that links to Amazon.com…that lets the individual doing the research know whether or not their film is available on VHS or DVD. (There’s also a designation for “CD,” which I guess gives you a heads up as to whether or not the film’s soundtrack is available for purchase.) So, as I’m looking at the info for Man—I see that the “DVD” indicator is showing that the movie is available for purchase on disc. Cool! I exclaim to myself. I really enjoyed this film, and if it’s not too outrageously priced, maybe I’ll get a copy.

But here’s the thing: you click on this booger, and you’re whisked away to Amazon…which then throws a nice ice-cold glass of reality H2O in your puss by saying that technically it’s not available…but if you sign up you can be notified when it is. That’s just wrong, people. It sounds like the IMDb is not doing its homework…and if this is so, then it’s going to be spending a good deal of time in summer school if it expects to graduate.

This past Saturday evening, I watched Lonely Are the Brave (1962) on TCM—a movie that, as was the case with The Best Man, I remembered watching on WTGS-TV in Savannah many years back…and you can just imagine what they did with this one: they scheduled a film that runs 107 minutes in a two-hour time slot…with the usual amount of commercial breaks, yet. This is a very good film—its star, Kirk Douglas, called it his favorite in his autobiography—although my enthusiasm for it was somewhat tempered due to the fact that its theme (the rugged individualist crushed by societal forces) has been done over and over again in many movies that came after it. Still, I would heartily recommend this one—it’s got a top-notch screenplay by Dalton Trumbo (based on Edward Abbey’s Brave Cowboy) and an unbeatable cast in Walter Matthau (as the sheriff who, though duty bound, is pulling for Douglas to escape the long arm of the law), Gene Rowlands, Michael Kane, Carroll O’Connor, William Schallert, George Kennedy, Bill Bixby and Karl Swenson. In one memorable scene, Douglas—who plays a cowpoke arranging to get thrown into jail to rescue Kane from incarceration—does so by picking a barroom fight with a one-armed man…played by Bill Raisch. (Insert your own Fugitive joke here.)

Again, if you hie thee to the IMDb…you’ll see the “DVD” designation highlighted in blue…and you’ll traipse over at Amazon.com to learn that “shucks, we was jes’ foolin’” and that you have to be “on the list” to be notified of its release. Now…technically the IMDb is correct on this one: Brave is available on DVD, but only on a Region 2 (from Spain) disc that you can either purchase from España…or you can get it from this gentleman, who carries other goodities and rarities…for a price.

I watched Colorado Territory (1949) yesterday afternoon, and was pleased to see that this one managed to elude the IMDb’s radar regarding “availability.” That doesn’t mean, however, that it shouldn’t be on DVD: often dismissed as a remake of High Sierra (1941), it’s actually a much underrated Western starring TDOY fave Joel McCrea as an outlaw attempting to go straight but unable to resist one more big bank job. Virginia Mayo has the Ida Lupino role as McCrea’s loyal girlfriend (and I emphasize “loyal”—she goes out with guns a-blazin’, which is more than Ida ever did) while Henry Hull and Dorothy Malone play a father-and-daughter duo that befriend McCrea (unaware that he’s wanted by the law); Hull nobly offers safe haven for Joel but Dotty is ready to turn him over for the $20,000 reward. I wish Warner Home Video would release this on disc ASAP…and perhaps Stars in My Crown (1950), while they’re at it.

2 comments:

Stacia said...

I've been fooled by that Amazon widget multiple times. Most recently it was for the movie "Seconds", which is out of print, although Amazon won't tell you that. I suspect Amazon pads out their "available" roster just to get people to click over to Amazon; that's why they bought the IMDb in the first place, as advertising.

Linda said...

Ah, Lonely Are the Brave. I saw that movie at the drive in after it came out, which means I was about six and a half. The only thing I remember about it was Whiskey the horse having to be shot. I cried for a week about that horse, even after my mom explained that the horse was so badly injured they couldn't save it.