Few columns have elicited as much response as one in October that listed the most-requested movies that are not yet on video.
Everyone, it seems, has a favorite that video companies have overlooked in favor of some obscure Italian horror movie that has a recognizable American name in the cast.But some video companies and movie studios are attempting to rectify the situation - however slowly.
The good news is that several of the titles people frequently ask about - "The Long Long Trailer," starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz; Bob Hope & Bing Crosby in "The Road to Hong Kong"; "The Clock," which was the basis for Kevin Costner's "No Way Out," starring Judy Garland and Robert Walker; Joan Crawford in "Humoresque"; Woody Allen's "What's New, Pussycat?" starring Peter Sellers and Peter O'Toole; and "Bombshell," a Jean Harlow comedy - will be in video stores Dec. 5, each for the sell-through price of $19.98.
Three others - "The Hucksters," with Clark Gable, Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr; "Too Hot to Handle," with Gable and Myrna Loy; and "Tea and Sympathy," with Kerr - were released on video this past week.
But there are still an awful lot of oft-requested movies - a very disparate batch, I might add - that are not on video, including, in no particular order:
Forever Darling - Another '50s Lucy & Desi comedy, with James Mason as their guardian angel.
Two for the Road - Stanley Donen's bittersweet marriage comedy with Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney.
The Uninvited - Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey in a haunted house; a genuinely chilling ghost yarn.
Nosferatu - The Vampyre - Werner Herzog's moody 1979 "Dracula" tale, with Klaus Kinski and Isabelle Adjani, is a great, low-key horror film.
Murder, He Says - Very funny farce about innocent Fred MacMurray finding himself in a house full of hillbilly killers.
Othello - Laurence Olivier's superbly acted version of Shakespeare's classic.
The Eddy Duchin Story - The famous pianist's biography, glossy Hollywood-style, with Tyrone Power and Kim Novak.
It Came from Beneath the Sea/
Valley of Gwangi - Two monster tales highlighted by Ray Harryhausen effects, the first a giant Octopus attacking San Francisco, the second a modern Western about a dinosaur discovered in Mexico.
Merry Andrew/The Five Pennies - Two Danny Kaye features, the former a circus comedy, the latter the Red Nichols story, with Louis Armstrong in support.
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken - Don Knotts' haunted house comedy is always asked about around Halloween.
Move Over, Darling - Doris Day and James Garner star in this remake of the comedy "My Favorite Wife."
A Christmas Carol (1984-TV) - The George C. Scott version shown on network TV every other year; every Christmas it becomes a much asked about item.
The Secret Garden (1987-TV) - Delightful family film based on the classic book. (The 1949 film version isn't on video either.)
The Prize - Paul Newman in a Hitchcock-style thriller based on the Irving Wallace novel; Elke Sommer, Edward G. Robinson.
Annie Get Your Gun - This terrific musical, starring Betty Hutton and Howard Keel is tied up in the Irving Berlin estate and simply unavailable.
Porgy and Bess - Similarly, this one is tied up in the Gershwin estate.
Cheaper By the Dozen/Belles on Their Toes - Delightful domestic comedies starring Myrna Loy, and in the first one, Clifton Webb.
The Villain - Terrible Western based on - believe it or not - "Road Runner" cartoons, but people want it. Stars Kirk Douglas, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ann-Margret.
The Front Page - The Billy Wilder version, with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.
It Happens Every Spring - Ray Milland's baseball comedy is asked about every spring.
A Foreign Affair - Billy Wilder's great comedy with Jean Arthur and Marlene Dietrich, an underrated and largely forgotten gem.
Seconds - Arguably, Rock Hudson's best performance, as an aging businessman who gets a new lease on life - literally.
There are plenty more, of course - and as always, nominations are welcome.
- A BRIEF QUIZ FOR videophiles without video files:
Is your cassette collection growing by leaps and bounds? Do you sometimes have trouble finding the tape you're looking for? Have you ever accidentally erased something you meant to keep?
DEX-IT is the solution, according to Salt Laker Fred Blackburn, who has created this convenient filing system of index cards designed to keep track of videos, what's on each tape, how much recording time is left per tape, etc.
And if you've ever lent someone a tape and then forgotten about it, you'll appreciate the space for noting (in pencil, of course) to whom and on what date.
Of course, there's work involved - you have to be willing to fill out a card for each of your videotapes and then separately log each title for an alphabetical listing.
But, as the DEX-IT instructions point out, if you fill out a few cards at a time while watching TV, it'll be done before you know it.
Blackburn's is a simple system really, yet can be considered innovative since it is one of those things we always mean to do but never get around to. DEX-IT makes it easy by providing 100 cards, a separate alphabetical index, an instruction pamphlet and a cardboard cover that resembles a tape box - and therefore fits right into whatever shelf or container you use to file videos.
The cost per DEX-IT is $14.95 and they are available at Deseret Book. If you prefer, order directly from DEX-IT, P.O. Box 70941, Salt Lake City, UT 84170-0941 (add $2 shipping and 93 cents sales tax per order).