Thursday, January 03, 2008

Las Horas y el Silencio

One of the many projects I started tinkering with during the two four-day holidays of December that I am continuing in the new year is the digitalization of VHS tapes that date back to my first VCR from around 1983 to 1984. There are a number of yet-to-make-it-to-DVD treasures in there that I can wow my friends with, including such obvious ones as The Boys in the Band and more really obscure ones like À corps perdu (Straight to the Heart), a late 1980s Quebec filmed drama.

Beyond that are some of the broadcasts captured through the years. It's fascinating to see interviews from Jon Stewart's mid-1990s Fox TV show, Charlie Rose asking Kissinger for his opinion on Iraq circa 1991. Then there are the commercials! A spot for a record retailer in Asbury Park from 1993. An ad for a strip club in Oklahoma City called Show Girlz with shots of poles, feathered hair and Jellies circa 1987. Another for something called The Hair Genie that comes with an instructional VHS tape all for just $19.95!

A particular surprise is 1991's The Hours and the Times that speculates on what might have gone down between Brian Epstein and John Lennon while on a holiday on the Continent. I really liked it when I acquired (I'll refrain from sharing how) more than a decade and a half ago. What I had completely forgotten is that it is set in Barcelona. About a quarter of the way through they go to see Bergman's El Silencio. It is one of the best uses of the city's scenery of a film set there that I can recall, especially of evoking foreigner's spending time there, at once a part of and distant from the landscape. It feels like it actually was made just before A Hard Day's Night and not in the Bush I era. It's also such a great title, so familiar sounding that you can swear that it's the name of a Beatles song you know that you have heard but can't find on any of their albums. I look forward to other similar discoveries as I weave through the hundreds of hours of other mystery VHS tapes.

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At 8:19 PM, Blogger Two Write Hands said...

I was cleaning out old VHS tapes today (but fortunately AND unfortunately) I don't have a way to digitize them. I was frightened to rediscover some of the titles I owned. Happy New Year a little late! :)

At 11:35 PM, Blogger WAT said...

Wow, I am most i intrigued by the Epstein/Lennon flick of course! A rare film to own indeed! Hope to be able to view it sometime, since I have heard many rumours throughout the years about those two! Ahem!

By the way, how does one digitize one's VHS crap anyway? Call me naive.

At 11:51 PM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Emily - Oh, don't tell me you have all the Olsen Twins adventures. Don't worry, I won't blow your cover.

WAT - I was actually thinking about it as I posted this. It's not a high art movie, in fact it's only an hour long. But it's kind of intriguing. And seeing two naked actors as Lennon and Epstein making out in a tub is kinda hot, even if the actors aren't all that hot.

VHS to DVD is extremely easy if you have a lot of broadcast to tape VHS as I do. Purchased VHS tapes vary on whether or not you can transfer them. Some have copy guard, others don't. And there are ways around that...

At 7:26 AM, Blogger Salty Miss Jill said...

Sounds like you'll be a busy boy for a while. What a great time capsule! I'll be looking for these on YouTube. :)

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Jill - There are some jewels and some embarrassments alike in that stash of clunky old VHS tapes.


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