Sometimes it happens. You fall in love with a film that you remember your father watching at 3 o’clock in the morning when you were 6 years old. The howling green swamp monster scared you. Now, 30 years later, you are determined to track down that film, but you can’t find it anywhere. This is not surprising, as only 10 per cent of the films made since 1950 are actually available for purchase. Or perhaps you find the film, but not in a format you can watch because you ditched the VHS and DVD player to upgrade to Blu-ray. In this situation, you need expert assistance to find rare or old films and to convert formats.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Credit card
Check IMDB, the Internet Movie Database. This website lists films and television series that have been produced since the creation of the medium. It will list the distributor of the film in the notes. Check the distributor’s website to gather information about sales of the movie and where a copy can be purchased. It should list the format in which the film is available.
Check the most recent addition of Bowker’s Complete Video Diary, which lists 73,000 titles and details information about the distributors. Check the distributor’s website or call to find a copy of the film for purchase.
Look on Amazon to see whether it carries the rare movie you seek. Amazon has a large array of old movies at reduced prices, including some that might not be available at video stores.
Contact companies that specialise in finding rare films or classic movies that are out of print. These include A Million and One World-Wide Videos. Search the Internet for a list of these organisations.
Some companies specialise in providing out-of-print movies that have never been released on DVD or VHS, with non-commercial rights. They charge for the DVD and transfer costs but not specifically for the sale of film. These items are for collectors only and not for commercial use.
Relay as much information as possible about the movie to the video detective. Details such as director, producer, actors, year of production are important.
Be prepared to provide a credit card payment when using these online services.
Tips and warnings
- If you do not have details such as director or producer, about the rare film, provide information about the country of production, the storyline and any other details that you can remember. Video detectives are highly knowledgeable and may be able to identify the film with very little information.
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