Rich Heldenfels’ mailbag: Andy Griffith’s movies, ‘The Bridge’ and ‘Betrayal’

By Rich Heldenfels
Beacon Journal popular culture writer

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Andy Griffith, in Universal's "Angel in my Pocket" his first starring motion picture role since culminating his popular TV series. (Universal Pictures)

You have questions. I try to have answers.

Q: Have any of Andy Griffith’s movies been put on DVD or VHS? I am especially interested in “Angel in My Pocket.”

a: While Griffith was best known for his TV work in the series The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock, he did venture into the movies on TV and the big screen. Titles available on DVD include No Time for Sergeants (his acting breakthrough), A Face in the Crowd (his greatest role), Play the Game, Murder in Coweta County, The Second Time Around, Waitress and Hearts of the West. There is also a budget-priced four-movie DVD package with A Song for the Season, Pray for the Wildcats, Daddy & Them and Street Killing. Daddy & Them is also on Netflix. His movie Onionhead was released on VHS; although retailers selling videotapes of movies are increasingly rare, I did see it on Amazon.com. It is also available there as an Amazon Instant Video.

Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, Angel in My Pocket has not made it to an authorized VHS or DVD, nor did I see it on a couple of streaming sites. This is somewhat surprising since Griffith was very popular and the movie got some good notices; Roger Ebert called it “a most enjoyable family film.” But it may be that it fell victim to neglect. Even when the movie was new in 1969, Ebert wrote that it was “the worst first-run print I’ve ever seen,” so full of splices that the overall quality was “shameful.”

Q: Will “The Bridge” be back? What a fabulous show! Please tell me it is returning.

A: It is. Look for a second season of the border drama this summer on FX.

Q: I remember that the wonderful show “Southland” was written by Ann Biederman. And the equally good “Blue Bloods” is written by Ian Biederman. Could they be husband and wife?

A: Southland’s creator was Ann Biderman, not Biederman. And as far as I can tell, she and Ian Biederman are not married. Biderman, by the way, has gone on to work on the Showtime series Ray Donovan, due back for a second season later this year.

Q: Are there plans to release the 1983 movie version of Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal” with Jeremy Irons, Patricia Hodge and Ben Kingsley on DVD?

A: While there was a VHS release, I do not know of an authorized DVD or plans for one. As with Angel in My Pocket, this is a disappointment since the screen version of Pinter’s play was widely praised. And it inspired a Seinfeld episode, The Betrayal, which like Pinter’s play and film told its story in reverse. (The Seinfeld episode also included a character named Pinter.)

Q: The 1991 movie “Hear My Song” with Ned Beatty isn’t out on DVD; might that happen soon?

a: The lovely little film inspired by Irish singer Josef Locke is available on DVD as an on-demand title sold by Amazon.com for $19.98. (It is also on Netflix). And it has one of the most hilarious uses of the phrase “Vice Versa” you are likely to see.

Q: Can you tell me when the second-season episodes of “Longmire” will be available for viewing? I was out of town last summer and missed about half of the season. Also, when will the third season begin?

A: If you want it on disc, the complete second season of the contemporary western drama will be on DVD on May 13. It is available as a digital download on Amazon.com and iTunes now; episodes are $1.99 apiece or $22.99 for the complete season in standard definition, or $2.99 per episode or $32.99 for the complete season in HD.

Do you have a question or comment for the mailbag? Write to the Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44309 or rheldenfels@thebeaconjournal.com. Please mark the email or envelope with “mailbag.” Letters may be edited for publication. Please do not phone in questions. Individual replies cannot be guaranteed.

Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including the HeldenFiles Online, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Facebook and Twitter.


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