Friday, February 19, 2010

DVD woes contd: the wrong vampire

My latest adventure. I walk into the Musicland at Saket, see a very nice-looking DVD of the classic Bela Lugosi Dracula. On sale, Rs 149. With a long list of Extras mentioned on the back-cover, including the documentary The Road to Dracula, and feature commentary by film historian David Skal. So I buy it, come back home and immediately slip it into the player - something I wouldn't normally have done, but I'm eager to see if the "restored" print is any sharper than the print I remember from seeing the film on VHS years ago.

And on the screen is the 1979 version of Dracula with Frank Langella in the title role and Laurence Olivier hamming it up as Van Helsing.

This would have thrilled me back in 1987, when I was in my He-Man phase and had just seen Frank Langella as Skeletor in the live-action Masters of the Universe film. Today, not so much.

I'll return the DVD tomorrow but I can't figure this one out. How exactly are the Indian DVD releases of foreign films put together?
(This one seems to have been jointly produced by BIG Home Video and Universal.) Do they procure the disc first and then separately search for a cover jacket to go with it (in which case a mistake like this was just waiting to happen)? Does anyone know?

P.S. here's an old post about bats in Sheila Dikshit's garden


  1. the same thing has happened to me quite a few times as well...some examples: 'Anna Karenina' - got the 1997 version of the movie, as opposed to the one starring Greta Garbo. This one is still ok compared to the one below.

    Also, the same thing happened with 'Ordinary People', where instead, I got 'The Hulk'.

  2. Even TCM makes errors like this.I was up till 1:00 AM to watch what was listed as the 1934 version of "The Baretts of Wimpole Street" but it turned out to be the 1957 version, which I would not have cared to check out and did not.

  3. Some 11 years ago, I had bought an audio tape of Clapton's Rainbow Concert at a Bangalore music store (the name escapes me now, it was near MG Road, at the ground floor of an office building). Anyway, I went to Delhi, put it on & it sounded nothing like Clapton. Then I checked the tape & found it was some crappy 90s pop artist I don't listen to. I went back to the shop in my next trip to Bangalore, & the guy didn't believe me. He claimed I got my tapes mixed up. I finally threw the thing on his counter, told him that since I can't use it, he is welcome to pull the same scam on someone else & walked off. The store manager's attitude still hurts...

    J, is that picture the one of the DVD cover you bought?

    Rahul, that's dedication! I had stayed up late to watch Belle Du Jour on Star Movies some time in the mid-90's & realized they are showing a French movie with Arabic subtitles :-)

  4. Manan: Ordinary People for Hulk is far more inexplicable than anything I've experienced yet. But was that a properly packaged DVD being sold at a legit store, with bar code and everything? If so, astounding.

    Tipu: yes, that's the DVD cover all right.

    Rahul: that happened recently on Zee MGM with Inherit the Wind - they advertised the Tracy-March version but showed the Jack Lemmon-George C Scott version.

  5. this happened so many times that now i insist the store guy shows me what i am paying for. some don't oblige, if i break the seal, i have to pay for it:whoever heard of such nonsense? and i never believe what my channel guide tells me, have learnt my lesson after many disappointments!!

  6. if i break the seal, i have to pay for it:whoever heard of such nonsense?

    ms: even if the disc inside turns out to be the wrong one? That's bizarre, and I'm fairly sure that no shop can get away with such a demand - you'd have a very solid legal case against them.

    On the other hand, if the disc is the right one, it wouldn't make a difference because you're buying it anyway.