25 August 2009

Five Movies I'd Like to See on DVD

I usually try to shy away from list posts--they've always seemed to me a sort of lowest common denominator of blogging (not that my posts consisting entirely of a sole image and a pithy caption are much better). Unfortunately, my soul-crushing and unrewarding job usually leave me so burnt by the end of the day from staring at computer monitors that I can't quite motivate myself to write anything more meaningful.

Apologias notwithstanding, let's have a look at five movies that I'd like to see on DVD. Although it would be nice, I'm not asking for anything Criterion Collection-quality, a digital transfer of a decent-quality print of the film is all I'm asking for. And with many classic movies making their way to DVD thanks to efforts such as the Warner Archive Collection, perhaps my hopes may yet come to fruition.

1. Palmy Days (1931)

In Palmy Days, Eddie Cantor wreaks havoc in what must be the sexiest bakery in the history of the world. The plot might be about as thin as pastry dough, but the musical numbers are catchier than the Swine Flu (featuring choreography by none other than Busby Berkeley!) and the gags are fantastic (including a scene wherein Eddie disguises himself as a bakery girl to escape from two mugs who want to beat the tar out of him). Besides, with donuts and the Goldwyn Girls, you can do no wrong. Along with the other five pictures Eddie Cantor made for Samuel Goldwyn, Palmy Days has been released on VHS, so one imagines that a DVD version wouldn't be too hard to pull off.

2. Show People (1928)

Show People is great for a variety of reasons--it showcases the comedic talents of Marion Davies and William Haines and the directorial skills of King Vidor, but it is also a highly entertaining send-up of the motion picture business. The innumerable cameo appearances by moving picture stars of the day are an additional plus. The Patsy (another delightful Marion Davies/King Vidor collaboration from the same year) has recently been released on DVD, can Show People be far behind?

3. Señorita (1927)

I haven't actually seen this picture, so I can't give an honest appraisal of it's quality. Nevertheless, Señorita deserves a DVD release by virtue of the fact that it is not only one of the (seemingly very) few Paramount pictures that survive from the 1920s, but it also stars Bebe Daniels. Feel my Pulse (1928) is also extant and meets both of the aforementioned criteria, but Señorita seems like the more interesting of the two pictures.

4. Our Dancing Daughters (1928) / Our Modern Maidens (1929) / Our Blushing Brides (1930)

By this point I should even have to explain why I want these three movies on DVD. Besides, can you honestly tell me that this wouldn't make a great boxed set? You can keep your Lord of the Rings and forget about Star Wars; there is only one trilogy that truly matters, and this is it.

5. The Big Parade (1925)

King Vidor's moving portrait of American soldiers in the Great War deserves to be counted among the greatest films of the silent era. The scale of the film is comparable to any of Cecil B. DeMille's or D.W. Griffith's epics, and the special effects are astounding (by the standards of 1925, at any rate). It's such an engrossing picture, in fact, that I forgot at times that I was watching a silent movie. This is one that I really would like to see released as part of the Criterion Collection. A DVD release of The Big Parade would be a benefit not only to lovers of classic films, but to lovers of film in general.

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