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Entertainment Weekly's Hidden Treasures

By: Sonja

The 100 best movies you’ve never heard of…

It’s the big dilemma of the video age: You walk into the local rental store, see that all 60 copies of Ghost are rented out, and scan the aisles with dread. Thousands of titles stare you down, and you haven’t heard of one of them. How many bad movies can they make, anyway?

Wait a minute: Total obscurity doesn’t necessarily mean that a film is unworthy, merely that it’s unknown. In fact, there are movie treasures buried on the shelves of every video store. Lost classics hide behind lousy titles (I Walked With a Zombie has to be terrible, right? Wrong.) Neglected jewels suffer from hideous packaging; forgotten miracles are filed in the wrong section, because the stock-kid’s cultural memory stops at Young Guns 2. None of it matters: They’re still good movies.

Don’t believe us? Fine, we’ll prove it. On the following article, you will find 100 Great Movies You’ve Never Heard Of. You’ll also meet some of the great unknowns who made them. You’ll learn how bad things can happen to good movies, and how to unearth the gems of your choice when you can’t find them at the neighborhood Blockbuster. And maybe next time the new Tom Cruise of Schwarzenegger flick isn’t available, you’ll take home a mysterious stranger with surprising charms instead.

Written by: Ty Burr, Owen Gleiberman, Steve Daly, and Lawrence O’Toole.

Where to Go Digging for Video Treasures

If some of these video treasures are so rare, how are you supposed to find them? Try asking your local video store to special-order a title. Most retailers will cooperate — provided that you promise to purchase the tape upon arrival.

If you’d rather rent a movie than purchase one (some titles can cost up to $100), turn to a mail-order club. Several rent videos through the mail at rates comparable to those of the chains, plus the price of round-trip postage. The Home Film Festival carries 1,500 titles, many for as little as $3.50 plus postage for three nights, with a membership cost of $10. The Video Library offers more than 11,000 titles at a rate of $5 plus postage for three nights. Membership is free.

To purchase a tape by mail, try Movies Unlimited, a mail-order dealer of everything from vintage movies to instructional videos.

Written by: Taehee Kim

Originally published in Entertainment Weekly July 1991.

Missing from MUBI database:
Burn! (1970)
Say Amen, Somebody (1983)
The Sender (1982)



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Picture of Steve Michael Trager

Steve Michael Trager


Pity that anything by Nicholas Ray is now considered "hidden".


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