Buried way down on the list of this week’s DVD releases — below Limitless and Take Me Home Tonight and Peep World — is a little movie called Skidoo, which you may have never heard of unless you are a bad movie aficionado (as your author is). This 1968 “comedy” was an attempt by Paramount and esteemed director Otto Preminger to make a hip film about the counter-culture geared towards the young people — starring such youth heroes as, um, Jackie Gleason, Carol Channing, Burgess Meredith, Mickey Rooney, and Groucho Marx. It concerns a gangster (Gleason) who is sent into prison to ice an informant and ends up dropping acid and escaping via a flying garbage can. It is as spectacularly ill-conceived as it sounds, and it sank without a trace following its release — though it occasionally popped up on cable, it was never released on home video (not even on VHS) until now.
Of course, Skidoo could be seen via the back channels of bootleg video, but it’s nice to see an oddity like this finally getting an official, authorized, legitimate home video release. And while the movie is an utter mess, it is an undeniably entertaining one, featuring inventive songs by Harry Nilsson and Groucho’s final film performance; let’s face it, even bad movies deserve to at least make it to the marketplace. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a wish list of some other titles that have never made it to DVD — some never even to VHS. Take a look after the jump, and add your own in the comments.
Let It Be
One of the most widely-bootlegged movies in all of filmdom, this 1970 documentary was intended to chronicle the Beatles’ returning to their roots (hence the original title, Get Back) but ended up serving as an exhaustive account of their break-up. Originally devised as a television special but expanded into a feature film to fulfill their contract with United Artists, it shows the Fab Four banging away at their new album and at each other; tempers flare, personalities clash, and everyone acts as though Yoko Ono isn’t there. But, in spite of all the troubles, great music is made — particularly in the film’s famous climax, in which the group took to the roof of 3 Saville Road for an impromptu concert that would turn out to be their final public performance. Let It Be was released briefly on VHS in the late 1970s (those tapes were the source of most of the bootlegs floating around), but has never seen a proper DVD release in spite of countless opportunities to do so (most recently, the release of the re-jiggered and re-mastered Let It Be… Naked album). It would surely make a mint; one can only surmise that the surviving Beatles — particularly Sir Paul, who comes off looking particularly petulant and unlikable in the film — are deliberately keeping it out of public view. That’s too bad; it’s not a pretty picture, but it is a fascinating document.