my Hopalong Cassidy post from last week I mentioned that the quality of the movies I downloaded from Epix’s “Vault on Demand” were a crapshoot at best. Several of the Hoppy westerns, though watchable, were from prints beaten up for their lunch money (two of them in truncated 54-minute versions), and that goes for some of the other flicks I grabbed as well. My favorite was a copy of Erich von Stroheim’s Blind Husbands (1919), which was so washed out reading the title cards brought about a severe case of eyestrain. That wasn’t the worst part, however: Husbands had no accompanying music. I know I’ve joked in the past about how in many instances the music used in the prints of some silents rarely rises above dropping a phonograph needle onto a random record…but watching a silent film without music is essentially watching home movies.
One of the East Side Kids vehicles I grabbed, Let’s Get Tough! (1942), was apparently edited with a chainsaw. (The other, Clancy Street Boys , wasn’t too bad.) I knew going in that some of these movies were a gamble because many of them are in the public domain—where little attempt is made to restore them, and the chances of finding a nice print are discouragingly remote. The Epix version of the Monte Hellman cult favorite Cockfighter (1974) I DVR’d left a lot to be desired…though I don’t think that film is P.D.
a movie I talked about back in November 2008, wasn’t pristine but still good considering it was not a major studio release (another entry in the vast UA inventory). Thank You All Very Much (1969) was also impressive, as was David and Lisa (1962)—which The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ is tentatively scheduled to show in July (July 9) as part of a Sunday night double feature with the rarity Ladybug Ladybug (1963—both films were directed by Frank Perry) …assuming neither Ben Mankiewicz nor Tiffany Vazquez have died of consumption and Tee Cee Em pre-empts scheduled programming for a tribute, that is.