Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Clint’s debut on UK Video cassette

Intervision's opening video Logo
I was chatting with a few friends last night, reminiscing about the beginning of the Video revolution here in the UK. Naturally the subject got on to Clint, and we were discussing those wonderful big box Warner Home Video releases. It appears that most of us began our collections with one of those releases. I can remember vividly my own first purchase, Dirty Harry. Back then they were in a great large case and we had the pleasure of enjoying the film in a panned and scanned format (oh the joy). 

But I reminded my colleges that Clint’s arrival on VHS / Betamax (and V2000) in the UK actually came courtesy of Intervision video.  

Intervison was one of the earliest VHS labels in the UK. Managed by Mike Tenner and Richard Cooper, the company distributed major film releases (namely those from United Artists) as well as horror films through Alpha Video. The company eventually folded following the rise of major VHS distributors in the UK, but not before they released The Good, the bad and the ugly (UA A B5010) in 1980. I remember the campaign quite well, and the whole TV campaign that ran on UK television. I remember a number of clips contained in that advert alongside The Good, the bad and the ugly, such as Network, Carrie, The Exterminator, Lenny and I think I recall Rollerball.

The packaging came in the shape of a cardboard slip case and the film was of course panned and scanned, which was something of a travesty when it came to Sergio Leone's beautifully crafted vision. I could never recall if these titles could be bought at the time? The sleeve always seem to have ‘rental only’ which probably explains why there are very few of them floating around to purchase. Perhaps some were sold off as ex-rentals once they were worn down to the bone? However, it did prompt me to go and dig out the wonderful cover (front and spines) which I have in my collection. One of the spines is a little worse for wear; remember these were made of card (and it is some 37 years old now). But I did a quick digital restoration on it before presenting it here. It is near impossible to find a good image or a scan of the packaging anywhere on the internet, so I wanted to change that. I suppose it represents a little piece of history in some respects. It was Clint’s first film ever to be available on the new format and could be watched at any given time. It certainly would shape things in respect of how we would come to view movies and arguably signified something of a revolution. 

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