Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rare movies that aren't

There are so many good rare films available now on DVD that it can be tough to parse the good from the bad. Back before video you would have had to wait years to see good films come back around. And while there are still a lot of films not on DVD there is plenty to keep any cinefile occupied for a while.

Here are five 'rare' ones that are relatively easy to get on Amazon or for rent at places like Greencine.

Wildcat [Kino] - A very funny, uniquely shot German silent film made in 1921 by Ernst Lubitch. This film has the makings of a landmark film but for some reason it is only mentioned in obscure silent film books. It should be taught in every film school. Once you see it you'll know why. It is also one of Peter Bogdanovich's favorite comedies.

The Adventures of Prince Achmed [Image] - A 1926 animation masterpiece made by Lotte Reiniger using a silhouette cutout technique it tells an enchanting Arabian night tale. This film is rare in the sense that no one made films like this then and no one [or very few] makes films that this now.

Drole de Drame [HVE] - A wonderful 1936 farce by Marcel Carné [written by Jacques Prévert] about a rich man and wife who try to fool a visiting guest but only land themselves in hot water. Odd film that keeps the laughs coming. Look for it to be release at some point again under Criterion's Eclipse box sets.

Moontide [Fox] - This is one of those rare 40's suspense films [not technically a noir] starring Ida Lupino and Jean Gabin - only it's not rare anymore. Directed by Archie Mayo, it is one that people talked about in the past but few had seen. Tense, humorous, well shot by Charles G. Clarke and an interesting pairing of two stars. After seeing it you'll know why it has a cult following.

Gumshoe  [Sony/Columbia] - All but forgotten Albert Finney seventies comedy/noir directed by Stephen Frears. Just released on DVD. When you watch it you will feel like you have really made a find. Don't tell your friends you got it used at Amazon for $5.99.

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