Friday, March 26, 2004

“What do you mean ‘gangsters?’ It’s just business…”

I am a very happy camper this morning, and I am only too pleased to tell you why. I found out yesterday that Republic-Artisan is finally releasing the 1948 noir classic Force of Evil to DVD. Appointed to the National Film Registry in 1994, it’s a cracking good film that cleverly equates capitalism with gangsterism.

I have a copy of this movie on VHS—in fact, if memory serves me correct it may have been one of the first things I bought online when I finally decided to get a computer. I remember seeing the movie on Cinemax in the mid 1990s, as part of a four-film festival hosted by Martin Scorsese (the other three movies were Johnny Guitar, Pursued, and A Double Life).

What makes the release of Force of Evil such good news for me is not only because it’s one of my all-time favorite films (directed by the great Abraham Polonsky, whose career was crippled by the Hollywood blacklist), but because since both Pursued and A Double Life have already been released on DVD—and that has to mean that Johnny Guitar can’t be far behind.

I won’t swear to this, but I think Republic-Artisan owns the copyrights to several other great noirs, including Pitfall (1948) and Try and Get Me! (1950, a.k.a. The Sound of Fury). (The studio released the 1951 underrated Bogart noir The Enforcer also not too long ago, so I’m joyously optimistic.) The wonderful thing about Republic-Artisan is that they make these movies very affordable—Force of Evil has an asking price of $7.19 at Deep Discount DVD.

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