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10 Films To Check Out In Amazon's New 'Never Before On DVD' Section

by Cain Rodriguez
May 27, 2012 10:15 AM
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Amazon Never Before On DVD

Taking a page from the successful programs that Warner Bros. and other studios have launched, Amazon has unveiled their “Never Before On DVD” store, which will make DVD copies available for films and television shows that have not yet made the leap to home video.

The catalog currently boasts more than 2,000 titles from the vaults of Disney, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, most of which had already been available from Warner Archive or other similar services. It also includes current content (mostly in the form of reality television) from CBS Networks, Lionsgate Home Entertainment, MTV Networks, Nickelodeon and Universal Studios Home Entertainment, with seasons of short-lived TV shows like "Mr. Sunshine" or "Dark Blue" appearing on disc for the first time.

The store will utilize Amazon’s CreateSpace DVD on demand service, which literally makes discs and packaging after you have ordered them, and it allows studios to provide content on DVD that wouldn’t otherwise be economically feasible to mass produce. Because DVDs would only be produced on an order-by-order basis, there’s no concerns of unsold stock. And Amazon’s director of digital content acquisition, Brad Beale, also adds that “In addition to being available on DVD, many titles are available to digitally enjoy through Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video.”

You can find Amazon's store here: there's a lot of dross, but plenty of gems in there too. Below, we've rounded up ten highlights we found on our initial browse. [After Dawn]

1. "The Seven-Per-Cent Solution" (1976)
A cunning Sherlock Holmes tale from writer Nicholas Meyer ("Star Trek: The Wrath Of Khan") and director Herbert Ross ("The Sting"), this features a coke-addled Holmes (Nicol Williamson) and his faithful companion Watson (Robert Duvall) embroiled in a mystery when they head to Austria so Holmes can be treated by Sigmund Freud (Alan Arkin). Considerably more fun than either Guy Ritchie movie.

2. "The Best Man" (1964)
An adaptation of the Gore Vidal play recently revived on Broadway, this is a gripping, seedy political drama about the battle between two prospective presidential candidates, one with a history of mental illness (Henry Fonda), the other a possibly closeted homosexual (Cliff Robertson). Helmed by Franklin J Schaeffer ("Planet of the Apes").

3. "Beyond A Reasonable Doubt" (1956)
Fritz Lang's last American film, this convoluted but never muddled noirish thriller stars Dana Andrews as a man who takes the fall for a murder in order to expose a corrupt D.A. The film was remade (terribly) with Michael Douglas a few years back, but the original is far superior.

4. "The Search" (1948)
Speaking of remakes, this post-war Fred Zinnemann drama, about a young boy and his mother looking for each after surviving the holocaust aided by a U.S. army engineer (Montgomery Clift), is the next film up for "The Artist" helmer Michel Hazanavicius. His wife and star Berenice Bejo is taking the Clift role, but you can check out the original ahead of time now.

5. "Obsession" (1976)
Brian DePalma's first hit (which came out only three months before "Carrie"), his riff on "Vertigo" stars Cliff Robertson as a man whose wife (Genevieve Bujold) and daughter are killed by kidnappers only for him to come across the doppleganger of his late spouse fifteen years later. It's perhaps a little too under Hitchcock's thrall, but there's plenty of reason to watch if you've never seen it, including the director's first collaboration with John Lithgow, and the final score (written before, but released after "Taxi Driver") by Bernard Hermann.

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  • Jim Tushinski | May 29, 2012 4:53 PMReply

    As others have said, a bunch of these are or were on DVD. I have commercial DVDs of Obsession and Brewster McCloud. Leave it to Amazon to "sort of" tell the truth. And speaking of Freebie and the Bean - it has one of the most homophobic endings in a Hollywood film for the time and is called out as a prime example of "queer equals murderous non-human freak" Hollywood syndrome in both the book and film version of The Celluloid Closet. It's really difficult to watch now since it's sort of played for laughs. It ruined the film for me when I saw it years ago.

  • ry | May 28, 2012 11:47 PMReply

    weird, i've had a dvd copy of 'blue collar' for years - glad to see it get some attention anyway. can't wait to see 'the landlord' and 'freebie and the bean'.

  • Christopher Bell | May 28, 2012 1:14 AMReply

    Love the Landlord and Blue Collar. I completely forgot about "Freebie and the Bean"... I think that came up post-Green Lantern for some reason?

  • sp | May 27, 2012 9:00 PMReply

    " The Landlord" (1970) is my most favorite Hal Ashby film. This timeless movie is a true classic. It is clever, witty, soulful , and edgy without being sappy.

  • Head Buckaroo | May 27, 2012 12:02 PMReply

    The Landlord and Brewster McCloud were both available previously. In fact, The Landlord was just put out a few years ago.

  • jknola | May 27, 2012 11:28 AMReply

    Obsession is available on a nice Region Free blu-ray:

  • Saaaay Jim! | May 27, 2012 11:17 AMReply

    "Remarkably, the directorial debut of Paul Schrader has never before been available on DVD"

    Uh... tell that to my copy that I bought 10 years ago at Media Play. It even has a Paul Schrader commentary track.

  • JD | May 27, 2012 11:03 PM

    Obsession also came out on region 1 DVD many years ago -- with a pretty good documentary by Laurent Bouzereau:

  • Suburban Voodoo | May 27, 2012 11:36 AM

    SAAAAY JIM is correct. Blue Collar has been available on DVD before for a short period of time. It might have been an old Anchor Bay release.

    Still, this is good to know about the Amazon deal...

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