A few random thoughts as we celebrate Harvest Home: first, while I was working on last night’s obituary for Ingrid Pitt, I went to insert a link to my B100 review of Where Eagles Dare, only to discover that there was nothing to link to. That’s right, I must have been so busy doing whatever the hell I was doing in the aftermath of posting “Bradley’s Hundred #81-90” back in May that I plum forgot, and the sad thing is that nobody noticed, not even me. So, one of my first orders of business when time permits (“Aye, there’s the rub”) will be to rectify this shocking oversight and treat you all, if that is the word, to the final installment of my 100 more-or-less favorite movies.
Second, on a seasonal note, I have, as always, much to be thankful for throughout the year. I am grateful for our wonderful friends and family (both two- and four-legged), gainful employment, relatively good health, and a home I love, even if its perennially chaotic condition does drive my long-suffering spouse to distraction. I am grateful for the long-awaited publication of my book, although I wish it had made more of a ripple; for this humble little weblog and its “small, deeply disturbed following” (per William Hurt in The Big Chill); and for the legacy of those wonderful authors and filmmakers who ensure that I might run out of time to write this, but never material.
Finally, Bruno’s puckish comment on my recent Thriller post—yes, I’ll wait while you go and check it out—reminds me that I never did recount the story of this blog’s abortive original title, obliquely promised back in March, so, as the saying goes, there’s no time like the present. You will be unsurprised to learn that my home-video library is vast indeed, requiring me to catalog its contents. Possibly inspired by my Penguin pal Tom (I forget the chronology here), I wanted said catalog to be much more than a mere list of titles, but a collection of capsule reviews, written in a customarily off-beat, in-joke-laden style for the benefit (?) of the few who would actually read it.
Thus was born an ever-expanding document known as “Holdings of the Bradley Video Library” or, less formally, The BVL Catalog, which I (never one to waste good material) sometimes draw upon when creating posts for BOF. The need for such a catalog became increasingly acute as the BVL grew exponentially, and I could no longer remember all of the riches it contained. For that, I am eternally thankful to have known my friend Brian G. Ehlert, and although he did not live to see this blog, which I fancy myself he would have richly enjoyed, he is integral to this story, and indeed, it doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch to say that without him there might be no story.
Brian was, shall we say, a compulsive giver, and as compulsions go you could do a lot worse; we used to call him “the gift that keeps on giving” and Santa Ehlert. He had a home-video library to dwarf any I’ve seen before or since, including not only professional releases but also stuff he had been taping from TV for ages, with many rarities that were—and perhaps remain—commercially unavailable. Because he subsisted on an annuity, he didn’t work, which left him all day to make me (and my friends) copies of countless films and television episodes, first on VHS and then on DVD when burners became available, refusing reimbursement for blank tapes, discs, or postage.
Needless to say, we gratefully bombarded him with gifts at every available holiday, but nothing could equal his relentless generosity. As a result of various upgradings and downsizings (he and his surviving significant other relocated a lot), he even gave us a laserdisc player, with more than a hundred discs, and our very first DVD player. We had many interests in common, and we met through a personal ad courtesy of the now-defunct Movie and Entertainment Book Club, which I had posted in search of The Beat Generation, one of at least two Richard Matheson movies that, to the best of my knowledge, has never gotten a legitimate release…but of course he had a copy.
So I ended up with a document approaching 200 pages, complete with cross-referenced alternate titles, and the longer it got, the more often it occurred to me that this might make a book of some sort, kinda like Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide on acid, but what to call it? It had to have a title that was catchy and hip and irreverent, while giving the reader some idea of the recurring elements that characterized many, if not all, of the films covered therein. The genres most often represented were, naturlich, horror, science fiction, war, Westerns, mystery/noir, and exploitation, and after pondering what several of the categories had in common, I came up with Guns, Monsters, and Naked Women.
Obviously, that book never happened—or has yet to happen?—yet fate intervened when my friend Gilbert urged me to launch a website, which might serve both to promote Richard Matheson on Screen when it was released, and as a vehicle for some of my material that otherwise wouldn’t see the light of day, except to a [smaller] handful of people. My natural impulse was to retain the GM&NW title, which would have pleased me mightily, but I was afraid that “naked women” might give people the wrong idea (I don’t exactly review porno films here) and scare them away from what is, essentially, a family blog, so I wimped out and went with BOF. And that’s the long of it, as Gilbert would say.
Bradley out, wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving.