Rupert Pupkin Speaks: M.I.A. on Blu-Ray Vol. 6: Frank Perry!

Monday, February 7, 2011

M.I.A. on Blu-Ray Vol. 6: Frank Perry!


So I was showing my wife a bit of Frank Perry's film LAST SUMMER the other night off of the dvr(was shown recently on TCM) and I realized that he has no films at all on blu-ray. I was a little shocked about this, but then I also realized that several of his great films(PLAY IT AS IT LAYS, DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE and even LAST SUMMER) are still not even available on DVD! Truly a shame. Carrie Snodgress(who was totally underused in general) gives such a great performance in HOUSEWIFE. A couple of my favorite Perry films, THE SWIMMER & RANCHO DELUXE, are no longer even in print on DVD. RANCHO is up right now on Netflix Instant thankfully, as is his rarity LADYBUG LADYBUG. As far as his campy titles, MOMMIE DEAREST(perhaps one of his best known films) is out there on DVD, but MONSIGNOR is not. Christopher Reeve fans may find MONSIGNOR of some interest. An odd film for sure but interesting. Another of his that I like a lot is DAVID & LISA and that one is on DVD at least and can be found easily. Anyway, it seems to me that outside of the rumored release of LAST SUMMER through the Warner Archive, that it may be a long time before many of these others are ever available on DVD(reissued or for the 1st time) let alone blu-ray. A filmmaker of Perry's caliber deserves to be more widely available. Again, perhaps these movies will end up the fodder of high definition broadcasts, but that may be it unless Criterion steps in at some point.






10 comments:

Thomas Dukenfield said...

PLAY IT AS IT LAYS was broadcast several times on the Sundance channel a couple of years ago, and luckily I taped it. Before that, it was damn near impossible to find. Also, I believe the ancient Goodtimes VHS of MAD HOUSEWIFE was only released in the LP mode! MAN ON A SWING was previously very rare too, but it has turned up as an Amazon VOD for $10.

So, in summary, Perry has been extremely neglected on US home video, especially considering many of the films he made were within the Hollywood system. That said, there's no doubt Mommie Dearest will get a blu-ray release at some point. But, like you said, we may have to hope for Criterion to do something for any of his other titles.

Ned Merrill said...

Rupe,

Check out the vintage Perry newspaper ads, I posted on my site a few years back:

http://knifeinthehead.blogspot.com/2009/02/prime-of-frank-perry-mia-on-dvd.html

Rupert Pupkin said...

THOMAS-I was able to get copies of both PLAY IT AS IT LAYS & MAD HOUSEWIFE, but have never even seen MAN ON A SWING! I'll keep an eye out for it on VOD. You're quite right about MOMMIE DEAREST I think though Paramount seems rather neglectful of their catalog releases on Blu. Have you seen LADYBUG LADYBUG? Interesting film. Glad Netflix has it for now at least.
NED-Great article as always sir! Love that MAD HOUSEWIFE Discovision cover!

Thomas Dukenfield said...

Haven't seen LADYBUG. Will check it out. Thanx!

Dylan S said...

"Last Summer" is one of my favorite films.

Warner Archive told me a year ago that they were in the process of restoring it and that the original film elements needed for a proper widescreen restoration had only recently been re-discovered. I keep waiting for the inevitable announcement, but so far it's not on schedule. I've only seen the old mid-eighties Key Video VHS, so I'm curious how the TCM print looked. Was it presented in widescreen? If so, I have to assume what they aired derives from the upcoming Archive transfer.

Dylan S said...

Well, it seems I've answered my own question:

http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/index.jsp?cid=374391

It looks better than the Key Video VHS, but it's not widescreen. I always thought it was shot open matte, but it's hard to tell. We'll just have to wait for the Warner Archive DVD to compare.

I've only seen this and "The Swimmer," which are both great, so I want to see more Frank Perry in the future.

Ned Merrill said...

The word over at the AV Maniacs forum is that TCM aired an edited, full-frame print of the film. Seems it was a tv print further edited down from the R-rated cut found on the Key Video VHS. LAST SUMMER was originally rated X and was then edited to receive an R rating. Hopefully, the Warner Archive disc will be the full, original X-rated cut; I have little doubt it will be 16x9.

Rupert Pupkin said...

Dylan-the person I've been in contact with at Warner Archives seems to indicate the LAST SUMMER release might be soon(not necessarily this year, but perhaps) or maybe I'm misreading. Anyway, if you like LAST SUMMER and the SWIMMER, you should track down PLAY IT AS IT LAYS & DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE. Also RANCHO DELUXE is pretty great and on instant right now.
Ned- I hope it will be uncut too! Didn't realize it had been originally rated X!

Anders said...

Enjoying the site! Your blog has reminded me just how inventive/creative posters were before the advent of Photoshop. (YBLM)

Rupert Pupkin said...

Anders-couldn't agree more! Boy do I miss the days of great creative poster art!

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