Monday, January 7, 2008


These days when everyone is looking forward to what new format will reign supreme, leave it to me to look back at VHS, a format most already consider dead. I find something quaintly nostalgic about VHS, I like the sound, the feel and often when watching old movies that are not widescreen, I'll put in VHS instead of DVD. Many have also asked why we haven't disposed of the VHS in Rocket's collection. Two reasons: 1) many of our customers still do not have DVD players--shocking, I know--and 2) some of the titles we have on VHS have not yet been released on DVD--doubly shocking, I know!!
So, that's why I am coming up with this column or running installments of
REASONS TO HOOK UP YOUR VCR, each time spotlighting something great from our collection that is not on DVD.
Let's begin with...

This all-star anthology film from 1942 follows a cursed tailcoat as it travels through the city from one owner to another bringing misfortune (or does it?) to those who possess it. Directed by
Julien Duvivier, the film contains 5 stories of drama and comedy starring Charles Boyer, Rita Hayworth, Edward G. Robinson, Ginger Rogers, Henry Fonda, Charles Laughton, Paul Robeson and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson. As an added bonus, the tape restored a segment from the film that had been cut prior to its release. Although completely different in tone, the missing segment is an uproarious comic one starring W.C. Fields (as well as Margaret Dumont and Phil Silvers!) and ends with one of the great comedian's best lines.
This film is involving and wonderful; the segments all work well and achieve the desired effect (I even teared up during the
Laughton story). The last story was my least favorite due to its over-the-top preachy tone but its worth sitting through to get to the final shot and the final fate of the cursed coat.
In addition to the cast members listed above, a plethora of character actors and Hollywood perenniels appear in smaller roles making the movie a who's who of talent. It's definitely fun viewing for a rainy afternoon and a good reason to hook up that
Duvivier would also direct another all-star anthology--Universal's "FLESH AND FANTASY"--which some have included as part of the studio's horror line (see the book "UNIVERSAL HORRORS").
   - Jeff

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