Saturday, April 10, 2010

Everywhere and Nowhere


image via Empire Online

It's a little hard to believe that every time I've tried to rent Chaplin's The Great Dictator, it's rented. We're talking about a 70-year-old movie here. It's not like James Cameron just made a re-make of it and everyone is scrambling to see the original. It's not as though there's a European politician who looks like Charlie Chaplin in the news. It's not in any current references. It's just one of those big time classic movies I've had on my list to cross off and can't seem to do it.

This is a very good case for Video on Demand. Though in the current version you of VoD I'm not sure a 70-year-old film would be available anyway. I just checked iTunes - nothing. I just checked the Toronto Public Library. They have 12 copies, 10 are on hold, one is overdue and another one is missing. No copies available.

What is going on with this film? It's just not in the current zeitgeist, so why can't I find a copy to watch. If I were to illegally download this film, who could blame me? It probably hasn't been broadcast in years. It's been available to rent since home video has existed (the 1980s?). At 70 years, isn't it officially in the public domain? Shouldn't my DVD player or set top box come with a free copy? To be honest I'm surprised it's not available on Google Video like The Day the Earth Stood Still. There you have it. I'm forced into illegal action. I present this argument before the court and ask my peers of the jury to ask themselves how can you steal something that is everywhere and nowhere at the same time?

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