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Be Kind, Rewind. - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Be Kind, Rewind.
Call it the "Hugh Laurie Effect."

That's what my friend Kara (princesskraehe in these parts) calls the phenomenon that occurs when an actor's fame in a highly visible role brings more attention to the actor's other work. Think "House," as the gateway drug back to Laurie in "Jeeves and Wooster."  Or, in the current example, think how Peter Capaldi's regeneration as the Twelfth Doctor is giving his new film, Inside the Mind of Leonardo daVinci, much more buzz.

We can't yet see that film in most of the US (its theatrical release, in 3D, isn't until later this month), but the effect also goes backward with Twelve. When Eleanor first saw Capaldi in this season's premiere, she instantly recognised him at the main character's sidekick from the 1983 Bill Forsyth film Local Hero. We've owned and loved that film and its soundtrack for ages, but it got me wondering why one of Forsyth's other movies from around the same time has never made it from tape to today's format:


Don't believe that image for a second, at least not that bit in the bottom left. If there ever was a 20th anniversary special edition DVD of this 1984 film, it has disappeared, at least from this region.  But VHS copies are still readily available, so I Amazoned one of them and it arrived in time for us to watch tonight- once I got done reconnecting the VCR to the home entertainment loop for the first time in probably two years.

It's just as fun, and bizarre, as it was in its day; a set-near-Christmas film in the grittiness of Glasgow that depicts warring factions of.... ice cream trucks?!?

There's protagonist Alan "Dicky" Bird in his first discovery of the Mr. Bunny family, which is throwing down with the crosstown forces of Mr. McCool. Watch that clip, never mind the entire film, and the phrase "Hello, Folks!" will be in your head for a month.

We enjoyed it in a single sitting, but without the ability to use remotes to pause or go back. I therefore tried to transfer this 1980s technology to the late 1990s by running the VCR signal through our DVD recorder.... and couldn't. An evil beast called Macrovision, encoded in the tape, tripped a code in the DVR and gave us a no-go. With a little checking, I discovered that there are workarounds for this, but it's eminently frustrating that film distributors and recorder manufacturers are so bent on keeping 30-year-old products from being updated into a safer and more flexible format. I'd understand it better if they just wanted us to buy the DVD of the same product,.... but they don't sell it.

Why? Once again, most likely because of those gorram lawyers. One article about the film that I found, also bemoaning it not being available, mentions that Forsyth's first feature, That Sinking Feeling, was finally released on DVD, but "in an insulting format – with a dubbed soundtrack for American audiences." That suggests the problem with Comfort and Joy- in addition to its gorgeous soundtrack of original music by Mark Knopfler, it is set largely in a radio studio and thus includes, duh, the original versions of songs as they were played on the radio. That, in turn, leads to issues over clearances for new-format releases, and possibly to ridiculous demands from the likes of the rightsholders to such classics as "Me and Mrs. Jones" heard on the VHS version.  Sometimes, the rightsholders can't even be found, and lawyers' typical answer in such situations is the easy one: DON'T.

One way or another, I will find a way to secure a lasting copy of this film I can share- because I wouldn't want to fritter away the opportunity;)

(Just go see the film and you'll get that last bit.)
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