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Fanex Files - Arkoff: The Incredible Story of the Founder of American International Pictures (2008)

Samuel Z. Arkoff  |  NR |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Fanex Files - Arkoff: The Incredible Story of the Founder of American International Pictures + Amicus: House of Horror - A History of England's Groundbreaking Studio of Terror (2-DVD) + Fanex Files: Hammer Films
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Product Details

  • Actors: Samuel Z. Arkoff
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Alpha Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 28, 2008
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001D263FA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,768 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The life and times of American International Pictures Founder Samuel Z. Arkoff. Includes film clips from A.I.P. classics such as ""The Day the World Ended"", ""I Was a Teenage Werewolf"", ""The House of Usher"", and many others.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much better... July 14, 2009
AIP was a studio that changed Hollywood - it brought independent cinema to the masses, and it entertained as many people as it frustrated. For every fan of "The Wasp Woman" and "Beach Blanket Bingo" there is a person to decry them, but nobody can deny the sheer entertainment value of so many of these films. The Pit and The Pendulum, The Thing With Two Heads, Foxy Brown, and the shamefully unavailable Rolling Thunder are a few of the seemingly endless titles AIP released in their tenure as drive-in champions. Anyone who doesn't like at least a few of those films is - well, to put it nicely, not someone I'd like at a party.

So I was looking forward to this DVD... but it's a little disappointing. I'm being generous with three stars, because this is one of the only sources to hear Arkoff speak, albeit at the end of his life and to a small audience.

Here's the thing - he started the careers of Woody Allen, Dennis Hopper, Martin Scorcese, Jack Nicholson and Robert DeNiro among many others, but the only interviews on the disc are with no-name cable access hosts and fan-club president types. Aside from a very brief talk with Roger Corman, there is practically nothing we learn from the interview subjects aside from the fact that they loved AIP. Well, duh. We're even subjected to scenes from some of their unknown cable shows, which have nothing at all to do with Arkoff, and lots to do with padding running time. Heck, at least when AIP padded time in their films they made it entertaining...

The narration, also, is pretty lame. "Through a series of truth-is-stranger-than-fiction occurrences, Arkoff teamed up with Nicholson to start American International Pictures". What might those astounding occurrences be? We may never know - the video won't tell us. Weak.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars PRESS REVIEWS October 17, 2009
DVD DRIVE-IN REVIEW BY JASON MCELREATH: Midnight Marquee Productions and Longthrow Multimedia International, through Alpha Video, present the story of the founder of American International Pictures full frame and barebones. The quality of the picture varies from crystal clear to covered in nicks and scratches due to its editing together of recent and archived interviews with vintage trailers. Taken as a whole, the presentation is quite nice with very little worth fusing over. Audio fares similarly, with the majority of Arkoff's convention interview, which really is the meat and potatoes of this release, easy enough to follow. While I was already aware of AIP's history and a huge fan of its eclectic library, hearing Arkoff relive the glory days of AIP was like listening to an old relative spinning a yarn on lazy Sunday afternoon. I may have heard his story a hundred times before, but there's something about the way he tells it that holds my attention every time.
DVD VERDICT REVEIW: When Samuel Z. Arkoff saw the declining fortunes of the downtown movie houses due to television and the exodus to the suburbs after World War II, he said to himself, "This is the time to get in and make pictures."
Arkoff, the co-founder of American International Pictures, saw markets in neighborhood theaters, drive-ins, and eventually television. Since he was a father, he also saw a market in teenagers--although you'll notice his movies featured a lot of old hands like Morey Amsterdam, Vincent Price, Basil Rathbone, Peter Lorre, Ray Milland, and Buster Keaton.

In today's multicasting and niche environment, his ideas seem obvious, but they were unusual back in the Fifties when AIP and predecessor ARC first came onto the movie scene.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Expected a bit more January 9, 2010
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If you're interested in the first 10 to 15 years of AIP's 26-year history of independent film production, as related not by filmmakers or anyone directly tied to other words, if you want fan perspectives on the Beach movies and a few Poe adaptations, this lightweight documentary may satisfy your curiosity. The only interview footage of Arkoff himself is taken from the last few months of his life, when he was speaking at a convention or film festival; his stories are always amusing, fairly informative, but not nearly as detailed or as in-depth as those same anecdotes were in his autobiography, Flying Through Hollywood By The Seat Of My Pants.

If the filmmakers had spent more time on AIP's Seventies output, and had access to some of the studio's behind-the-scenes footage, as well as interviewed some actual talent that worked with Arkoff at AIP, the DVD would've been much more satisying. As is, it leaves a lot to be desired. It plays like a 70-odd-minute EPK, very shallow and innocuous in its approach to the subject matter, barely skimming the surface of the handful of AIP pictures it does focus on.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Loving Tribute... October 31, 2009
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This was nothing more than an interview with an old man who'd made a terrific contribution to the movie-going public. I'm a junkie for AIP movies, and only wonder why so many aren't available on DVD..."It Conquered the World", "Invasion of the Saucer Men"...This overview of Mr. Arkoff's career is loving and respectful, as it should be. There are things he doesn't talk about, like his relationship with Nicholson, but the bottom line is that it's a fun romp thru the life of a great man with some great ideas, and I like his ideas very much.
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