Videomatica Unlike Mark Twain Is Very Much Alive & Open!Sunday, October 16, 2011
|Johnny Weissmuller by George Hurrell|
This past Saturday my wife Rosemary, daughter Hilary and her two granddaughter Lauren (9) and Rebecca (14) sat down to watch a Tarzan film after a pleasant home cooked meal (I’m the designated chef). It was the fourth installment of our favorite Tarzan films which must not only include Johnny Weissmuller but also Maureen O’Sullivan. The film (1939) in question was Tarzan Finds a Son (Johnny Sheffield). There are two more to go on our jungle marathon, Tarzan’s Secret Treasure (1941) and Tarzan’s New York Adventure (1942).
Currently as I write this, Monday morning, these films as DVDs while in theory are available at the Vancouver Public Library they are either checked out or listed as “Group Problems” (whatever that means).
All six films (two per DVD case) are available right now at Videomatica.
Videomatica, no matter what you have been told is still open. It is my feeling that the so called saving of the Videomatica collection by one of the two Vancouver universities is not quite a done deal yet. Videomatica is busy renting out stuff but if you still have that VHS playback machine, forget it. No VHS tapes are available. This means that if you want to see the Glass Key (1942) with Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake you cannot as Videomatica had it only as a VHS. Our Vancouver Public Library does not have it and it also does not have the 1982 Wim Wenders wonder Hammett with Frederick Forest. The only known copy (as far as I know) was the DVD (no out of print) at Videomatica and it is listed there as broken.
I believe that Videomatica might just coast into November and meanwhile I am renting films with one hand while my desert island film supplier sinks (and I try to bail out the water as best I can). This means that just about every day I think of a desert island film that I want to see before it is gone.
Not that it will be gone for a long time. Supply and demand will eventually have to come to our rescue and perhaps Ted Turner’s TCM will start a Netflix (TCMflix?) type on line film site for connoisseurs. It has to happen.
Meanwhile there is Gunga Din and Beau Geste, This Gun for Hire, and Sahara, The Wind and the Lion, and The Man Who Would Be King - ditto for all the Buster Keaton films and Laurel & Hardy’s The Music Box. They are all waiting at Videomatica right now. Imagine a Toy Story told from the point of view of films that are no longer seen and have been abandoned. These are films that would be in that no longer-Roman Catholic-limbo. Limbo does not exist anymore. Perhaps these films will go, limping as elephants are want to do in Tarzan films to that great elephant cemetery to die.
It has come as a shock for me to find out that our very good Vancouver Public Library does not consider itself a repository of any archive. This means, I would surmise (perhaps at an extreme), that if not enough shy young men go up to some librarian to ask for a copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover all known copies will be chucked out or put in those wonderful bins where you can still buy good books for $0.25. By this logic films that are not seen (when was the last time you had an urge to see John Pozer’s 1991 The Grocer’s Wife with a delectable Nicola Cavendish?) will be sent with the elephants as only the VPL has a copy and not Videomatica.
What that means is that the VPL has never had the intention of collecting films for their archival value and would have never have considered (and indeed they have not) to buy the Videomatica collection. Shame on them!
Meanwhile play that desert island game and go and take out a film, while Videomatica is around. And if you look here you might just want to donate $15 and save an elephant.
As for me we will finish our Tarzan cycle in two more weeks and if Videomatica is still open I will take out Greystoke - The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984) with Christopher Lambert, Andie McDowell, Ian Holm and Sir Ralph Richarson in his last screen appearance. Will Tarzan's elephants be around to save us for another day?
Mama don't take my Videomatica away!
Tarzan's Opinion on the above