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Laramie Movie Scope:
Movies Unlimited Catalog

A Century of Cinema, the 2000 Movies Unlimited Video Catalog

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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June 5, 2000 -- I was invited to review the Movies Unlimited Catalog, so I looked through it to find some hard-to-find movies, new and old. It has most, but not all, of the ones I looked for. It is a pretty good reference book, however, if you are looking for video-buying ideas including ancient TV shows.

The first thing I looked for was "Call Me Madam" a 1953 musical starring Ethel Merman. Since that movie has not been released on video, at least in this country, it wasn't listed. One of the bigger online services, reel.com, lists it, but doesn't sell it. By the way, Movies Unlimited has a web site, www.moviesunlimited.com, of course. Please note that at the time I write this review I have no advertising on my site, so I have no conflicts of interest that I know of. I may have advertising in the future, however, perhaps at the time you read this.

The catalog also fails to mention some better-known films of more recent vintage like the 1991 film "Paris Trout" starring Dennis Hopper and the 1984 Wim Wenders film "Paris, Texas," at least neither one is listed in the index. While it is not in the catalog, it is at the Movies Unlimited web site under "Out of Print Titles" (and it is not listed in alphabetical order). "Paris, Texas," is still for sale by Reel.com, but not by Amazon.com.

The catalog does list a lot of cult films, like "Six-String Samurai" and John Waters' "Pink Flamingos." In fact, there is a small John Waters section. Russ Meyer's "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" is also listed as is my favorite, "Beneath the Valley of the Ultra Vixens", as well as other Russ Meyer films. There is also an extensive Playboy section and lots of X-rated stuff for people who like that. The catalog does not list, however, a couple of Harry Knowles' cult favorites, "The Dividing Hour" and "Footlight Parade" (The Movies Unlimited web site is now accepting advance orders for "Footlight Parade"). Reel.com carries "Footlight Parade," but doesn't list "The Dividing Hour;" it is listed at Amazon.com, but it is not currently available on VHS or DVD at that site. Amazon.com has a nice feature where you give them your e-mail address and they will notify you when the out-of-circulation video you want becomes available. The site www.emovies.com/ has a similar feature.

The catalog lists a number of Hong Kong martial arts films, including cult favorites like "The Heroic Trio," and "The Five Deadly Venoms," and numerous Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Sonny Chiba, Jet Li, Chow Yun Fat and John Woo movies. It lists classic Japanese films like the Samurai Trilogy, a number of Akira Kurosawa's films and even a few films by lesser-known directors like Yasojiru Ozu ("Tokyo Story," "Floating Weeds"), and a number of other foreign films. It doesn't list "Princess Mononoke," however. The Movies Unlimited web site reports the latest edition of the catalog does list it, however. I have the 2000 catalog, but apparently, the catalog is updated more frequently than once a year. "Princess Mononoke" is a masterpiece of Japanese animation made in 1997. The English-dubbed version (which is excellent) will be released shortly. The U.S. theatrical release of the English version of the film was in 1999.

In addition to movies and made-for-TV-movies, the catalog lists an extensive collection of television shows, including "Dr. Who," and such diverse shows as "Wagon Train," and "Car 54 Where Are You?" There's a section on Westerns with everything from Tim McCoy and Red Ryder to Hopalong Cassidy, to Roy Rogers. There are all-black Westerns from the 1930's and "B" Westerns, and, of course, the Western icons John Ford, John Wayne and Randolph Scott.

All in all, it is an impressive list of videos, over 800 pages, the size of a Penney's Catalog, but it seems to me to be easier to find movies on a web site than in a book, if you know what you are looking for. Books lack search engines. For instance, the catalog doesn't list the movie "Mushashi Miyamoto," the first movie of the Samurai Trilogy in the index. Instead, it, and the other two films are referred to with only a single listing, "Samurai I-III." Web sites are also the best way to keep up with the latest video releases and the latest sale prices. For instance, I checked out "Floating Weeds" at the Movies Unlimited web site and it was $1 cheaper than the listed price in the Movies Unlimited catalog because it was on sale, it was even cheaper at Amazon.com and even cheaper than that at Reel.com, so shop around for the best deal.

One thing the catalog gives you is a chance to browse and find movies or TV shows you might not have thought of otherwise. It also might have offerings (especially vintage television shows) not found in other places and it can be used as a reference book when you are offline. It does have a number of films not listed in Leonard Maltin's annual Video Guide. This catalog rates a B.

You can order the catalog at www.moviesunlimited.com for $9.95 plus $3 shipping in the U.S., $31.95 in some foreign countries. Once you get to the site's main page, click on the catalog link at the left side of the page just below "movie links." When you get to the catalog page, scroll down past all the blurbs to get to the ordering links.

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Copyright © 2000 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail as roten@lariat.org[Picture of letter and envelope]