Thursday, October 17, 2013

Not Available on VHS in the U.S.: Vigilante Force (1976, George Armitage)

The above artwork will look familiar to readers of this site.
For obsessive sorts like myself, it's interesting to note when a film has been released on home video in other regions of the world, but not in the U.S.  George Armitage's Vigilante Force is such a title.  It was never released on home video in the States until the recent MGM MOD DVD-R.  However, it was released by Warner Home Video in the U.K. in the early '80s, at a time when UA properties were distributed there by Warner.  Not sure why CBS / Fox (who handled UA titles Stateside, at the time) never released the title over here.  Aside from the colorful, pulpy key art (I own this obscure one-sheet) I like the prominent placement of the "paperclip" UA logo on the cover and spine, which I don't really recall on U.S. video covers, probably because of the MGM / UA merger.


Marc Edward Heuck said...

UA always fascinated me during the early days of home video; they were basically the last holdout to release their films on tape for purchase and rental. Previously, you could only get a few select titles via a mail order outfit that I'm forgetting at the moment; somewhere there's an old issue of "Video Review" I could find that information though. UA finally made a deal with Magnetic Video (and with RCA Selectavision for CED) about a year or so before Transamerica decided to bail out and sell them to MGM. Once the merger took place, this naturally made things strange, in that the majority of UA titles were released by CBS-Fox on tape and laser, but there would always be some random titles that MGM put out themselves, like MIDNIGHT COWBOY. In the disc formats, it got even weirder, because titles would get released *twice*: CBS-Fox and RCA would often both issue many UA movies, especially the Bond films [the RCA discs usually had much better artwork], and both WAR GAMES and OCTOPUSSY saw laser releases via CBS-Fox and by MGM.

As such, I suspect that the overseas arrangement between UA and WB preceded the MGM merger as well, and thus that's why for years those movies ended up under the shield. There was also a bizarre period in the '90's when some UA movies would play on Showtime, and would open with the WHV logo, indicating MGM had given them overseas masters to broadcast; these also naturally had PAL speedup and sounded chirpy on TV.

Ned Merrill said...

As usual, you take the details a few more interesting steps further. Didn't know about the Showtime deal with WB logos and PAL speed-up. Odd.