Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Beat The Devils

If you've been following my Twitter feed you know The Devils, briefly available on iTunes, has been withdrawn. No explanation was given, but I'm not smelling some censorship scandal. Warner Bros, did put the 103-minute version out on VHS in 1995, so it has some history with the title, and I assume its reappearance in a form unseen since the early 70s means some sort of DVD release is in the offing. More likely, as has been suggested, WB's digital distribution team jumped the gun and placed it on ITunes unthinkingly.

This morning I got a Facebook message from a person asking if I could send the file I had purchased to him. I was leery of this, and put off altogether when he said he would then place it on one of those dubious file sharing sites for the cultural good. I'm no angel--I've purchased plenty of gray-market tapes and DVD-Rs from as-reputable-as-possible sources, sometimes in near-unwatchable form. You get what you pay for, and sometimes a lot less. My purchases include that bootleg of the UK Devils telecast I had previously mentioned.

But here we have a pristine copy that, if released, may discourage WB from ever putting it out. And that would be a tragedy. I'm upset that the studio hasn't put it out, either, particularly when there's a Russell commentary available to go with it. But I'm willing to wait for the best possible presentation, and see my file as a bridge to that. I'd gladly give it up for a disc, as I have my gray-market boots when better became legitimately available. How many others ripping it off "Pirate Bay" can say the same?

One more thing: Maybe iTunes will zap my file and I'll get issued a credit, rendering the whole thing moot. And another: Russell will be presenting what's said to be the 111-minute cut from July 31-Aug. 1 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, part of a nine-film retrospective. Hmm, that's getting a lot of circulation these days; maybe I'm a little self-satisfied owning my 108-minute version.

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