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Five Canadian Videos I Want ASAP

by on 2014/05/19

Hacker Renders
English-speaking Canadians don’t seem much for supporting homegrown. For every Michael, Tuesdays and Thursdays — which finally appeared for sale on Amazon after a stretch only on iTunes — there’s still a Canadian Conspiracy or Time Is All You’ve Got. (The latter is great; the former not so much.)

It’s entirely possible many memorable works will never appear in our homes . . . popularity, artistic merit, or critical recognition notwithstanding.

Over recent years, keeping my eye on Canadian content, I’ve come across things I loved or wanted to see, but couldn’t obtain on video. It’s frustrating knowing I missed a chance, or only slightly less if they never existed in the first place.

So here are just five CanCon contenders I’d love to see more widely released.

Or even, you know, at all.

Dreamland (1974)Dreamland: A History of Early Canadian Movies 1895-1939 (1974)

I was fortunate enough to catch this film as part of a lecture series hosted by the Ottawa public libraries. It’s a treasure trove of vintage footage, from all over Canada, often produced by non-Canadians, but a fascinating historical record of our on-screen evolution. It ends in 1939, as if to pass the baton to the National Film Board created that year.

More information:

Grey Fox (1982)The Grey Fox (1982)

I saw this film on television in the mid-1980s and could kick myself I don’t have a VHS copy. Theoretically, it is possible to purchase in the older format, but only at exorbitant prices for its rarity. Known to most viewers as Matthew Cuthbert from the Anne of Green Gables series, Richard Farnsworth stars as Bill Miner, an out-of-time gentleman bandit. It also features Jackie Burroughs and Wayne Robson.


Highpoint (1982)Highpoint (1982)

I understand this may be a video I’d regret seeing, but let’s call it a future guilty pleasure (I hope). It features Toronto as the backdrop for a comic crime thriller which sounds (on its face) similar to Silent Partner. Like that movie, it stars Christopher Plummer, as well as a retinue of other Canadian stars, including Maury Chaykin, Peter Donat, and Saul Rubinek.


Nobody Waved Goodbye (1964)Nobody Waved Goodbye (1964)

On the other hand, I’m led to believe this film is exceptional, and notable for being one of our earliest English-language features. Again, shot in Toronto, it features a plot of generational conflict, music by a young Paul Anka, and is compared (by the marketese) to Catcher in the Rye. The NFB currently offers this pick for sale on their site (only), though the images show VHS packaging. Fortunately, it’s also available to stream.


You Are Here (2010)You Are Here (2010)

This one I’ve been wanting to see since before it was produced, but I’ve never had the chance to check it out. Sadly, it also turned out to be one of Tracy Wright’s last performances. It seems to exist in a limbo state of perpetual festival touring, and has limited availability on video. Perhaps that’s appropriate for the subject matter.


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