Incredible disappearing movies...

I was reading something about Lenny Bruce tonight and it suddenly occurred to me that I have only ever seen the 1974 Bob Fosse/Dustin Hoffman movie Lenny once. I think I saw it on TV in the late 70s. I have never seen it programmed on TV since and can’t recall ever seeing a video or DVD of the movie in a store.

What other worthwhile pieces have disappeared?

I was going to start a thread on this. Good on ya.
And I had a very specific movie in mind…which has now escapes me.

I remember that the video store near my house growing up had “Lenny”. Curiously picking up the box was how I learned who Lenny Bruce was.

It’s been on cable as recently as this spring


John Huston’s “The Kremlin Letter” Never been released on any format, although occasionally it airs on Fox Movie Channel. Despite having a stellar cast, it’s basically a forgotten movie.

I just want to reiterate that “Lenny” has appeared on premium cable quite a bit lately. It was on just last month on one of the “Starz!” channels.

You really can’t expect it to appear on broadcast or basic cable. You’d have to toss most of the standup routines and the best parts of Valerie Perrine’s role.

But at least “Lenny” has appeared on cable. There are huge numbers of great films from the late 1960s and 1970s that never appear on TV. They are too “dirty” for non-premium channels and too old/obscure for the premium ones. Now even films from the 1980s are being treated as “vintage.”

I think there is too much pandering to the youth market which has this “If it was made before I was born it can’t be worth seeing.” attitude. Ergo older great films are “lost” and remakes are made.

(Footnote on “Lenny”, when I watched it earlier in the year, I did the Math. The time from Bruce’s death to the making of the film was far shorter than the time from when I first saw it to when I most recently saw it. I.e., Lenny Bruce was “recent history” back then but now the film itself is an oldie. I.e.[sup]2[/sup], I am getting old.)

Heck, there are plenty of movies I haven’t seen in ages – usually because they’re awful:
Beyond the Time Barrier
War of the Satellites
The Green Slime
Creation of the Humanoids
Dr. Terror’s House of Horror
The Cape Canaveral Monsters
The Black Sleep
The Time Travelers
The Amazing Transparent Man
The Monster of Piedras Blancas

I could go on.

There are some good flicks that are virtually never shown, too. I haven’t seen The Train (except for one time when I found a VHS copy) since it first came out.

King Rat is virtually never on TV.

Hawaii and its low-rent sequel The Hawaiians never seems to be on.

I haven’t seen Exodus in eons.

How about Carny? I know it is availalbe on VHS, but I never see it discussed or shown on TV. And still no DVD. This is a pretty good movie with a great cast: Gary Busey, Jodie Foster, Robbie Robertson, Meg Foster, Elisha Cook Jr., Tim Thomerson, Fred Ward…

Maybe with the recent release of **The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane ** (another Jodie Foster movie that seemed to have disappeared for a while), Carny will get get its due soon enough.

I grew up always watching reruns of Kristy McNichol swoon movies on broadcast TV, I realized I haven’t even seen one in a listing anywhere for over ten years.

“Little Darlings” and “The Night the Lights went out in Georgia” come to mind.

“A Carol for Another Christmas.” Dickens’ tale reworked by Rod Serling. It was shown once, and never again. Those of you lucky enough to be in New York at least have the opportunity to see it, though. The Museum of Television and Radio does show it at Christmas time (or at least they have in recent years), and I think you can request to see it (as well as any other movies in their archives) when you visit.

Another UN-sponsored film (as the previous was) was “Who Has Seen the Wind?” also with a stellar cast. Shown once, and then shelved.

What about RollerBall with LL cool J? What the hell ever happened to that movie?


Ohh you said worthwhile… nevermind then…

The miniseries Amerika has never been repeated to the best of my knowledge. No authorized copies exist on VHS or DVD.

I’ve got Lenny on DVD.

I feel like The Pianist is disappearing, which is disappointing because it was the (real) best picture a few years ago.

I’d give a vote for The Grey Fox, a great Canadian / Western starring Richard Farnsworth and music by The Chieftains. I know it came out on VHS a while back, but has yet to see the light of day on DVD.

The Deceivers starring Pierce Brosnan was a great movie I saw once a few years ago on cable. I regret not recording it, because I really liked what I saw, but have not seen it since.

Well it seems you have seen a lot of the movies that I have. You think “War of the Satellites” is awful? Heck it had that one-two star-power punch of Dick Miller and Richard Devon.

"The Green Slime" was the first American-Japanese cinematic collaboration. And thanks to the free-wheeling days of Napster I actually got the theme song which happened to be released concurrently with the motion picture. (I think the song and the film did equally well :smiley: )

I think you’ve forgotten some other cinematic nuggets. When I was a kid, around Halloween, the local TV stations used to air some really low-budget horror movies:
Fire Maidens From Outer Space” and
The Unknown Terror” are 2 that come to mind.
“The Unknown Terror” was about a Mad Scientist™ who was growing a fungus in a cave in Mexico. Heck, that spells a-c-t-i-o-n right from the go doesn’t it?

Fire Maidens From Outer Space hasn’t completely disappeared. It was skewered on MST3K about ten years ago. I don’t know if it’s been included on any of the DVD collections though.

I mentioned this in the “lost movies” thread in GQ but every week, the Film Threat website has a feature titled The Bootleg Files which reviews movies and TV shows that have “disappeared.”

Once or twice I posted a thread about the utter disappearance of the original version of the movie Willard. (They subsequently released the remake that bombed, but made people recall, “Hey, yeah. I remember Willard.”)

The reason I found the disappearance so odd is that the movie had made a real dent in the late baby-boomer trash-pop-culture psyche when it was first released. I mean, come on – what adolescent boy doesn’t want to be master of a swarm of deadly obedient rats with which to fulfill his revenge fantasies? And such early 70s childhood icons tended to get milked for every nostalgic penny that could be squeezed out of them. But not Willard. It fell off the face of the earth for decades.

It has been on video as I saw it listed about a decade ago in a video catalog, for about $80, which I was not prepared to spend.

I occasional hear that the 1981 “Brave New World” occasionally pops up on the SciFi Channel, but damned if I ever catch it.