Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Movies and TV on DVD and video

Casyn recently posted on the distinctly modern flavour [mid-1990s onwards] of her DVD collection (amongst other things, some of which I shall return to in another post). It got me pondering. We probably lean as much towards getting older stuff in that we know and love already as we do new releases either seen or unseen - though in truth I think Cloud would quite like to have a moratorium on consumer spending. [He's perhaps a closet fan of Norm's view on owning movies - if so I will remind Cloud of that the next time he gets the urge to watch Leon for the gazianth time: one of our most favourite of films].

Anyway, our non-period dominated collection means that I will quite happily pursue the purchase of X-files seasons that we have watched several times over (just season 4 to get now), alongside recent releases like Casanova and the Rufus Wainwright DVD All I Want (next on the order list, whatever Cloud says). Not being too nostalgic for the TV of the past, most of that is undeniably recent drama and comedy: and if you don't know by now what that includes then check out the header for this blog, as well as here, here and here for some clues. There are a handful of black and white films - such as Casablanca (every home should have one!) and The Third Man - in the Cloud and Rullsenberg collection of official purchases. But post-WWII gets stronger by the decade. The 1950s are a little sparse, as are the 1960s apart from some early James Bond films; but the 1970s, 1980s and onwards certainly have a presence. We have the first two Godfather films; the French Connection films; Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West and Once Upon a Time in America; works by Terry Gilliam from Brazil onwards; and quirky works like Repo Man.

All this is a by-the-by for working out what Cloud and I do as we try to rationalise our film/TV collection on video and DVD. We have way too much stuff on the awful and constantly, vividly, degrading medium of videotape: and absolutely tons on home tapes (or as Cloud calls them, our amateur dramatics and home-filmed bird and wildlife tapes --- I think he is a little too paranoid about the legal status for materials taped off the television being stored for more than a few days).

But what to do? Do we keep older materials - more obscure, less easy to replace, but equally probably less often watched - or the more recent stuff? Do we replace things on DVD, only to leave them further semi-watched or unwatched but in a more up-to-date and expensive medium? And what to do about treasured items? We have a number of programmes that are not and never have been available on pre-recorded video, let alone anything as technologically advanced as DVD. Okay I admit it, a number of these tapes feature works starring the lovely Douglas Henshall or are of performances by the magnificent Pulp. But we also have a number of cultural documentaries about sci-fiction and art that I love to throw on to accompany a dinner-time slot. And most of all we have movies: weird and wonderful stuff that we probably could track down if we really worked at it, but at ludicrous prices. Should we keep them or take a bold step to launch them into videotape oblivion?

It seems to me that the relative non-modernity of the collection contributes to this problem of selection: what is fit to be kept, what do we keep for appearances sake (worthy, but dull!), and what is in danger of destruction through repeated viewings? Not sure if this is resolvable as soon as we would like, but if anyone is willing to offer their suggestions or experiences I suspect we'd find it helpful.

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