Fourth War & Seven Years Ago…

  • videoarchives
  • April 18, 2023

When the world declared peace, the Video Archives After Show’s battle began! Today we’re clearing out the Video Vault with not one, but two unheard movie chats with Quentin, Roger & Gala - John Frankenheimer’s The Fourth War, and Sergio Corbucci’s The Con Artists. We’ll also go through Quentin’s old wallet and learn about some of the most rented titles at the original Video Archives. I’ve got VHS boxes and vintage video store membership cards on Counter Talk today, so let’s get started…

Albert Einstein famously said “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” This bleak quote inspired the title of post-Cold-War drama The Fourth War, released less than a year after the Berlin Wall fell. This is another film Quentin saw last summer without Roger, but before we recorded the conversation on today’s episode, he made sure Roger and Gala watched the centerpiece scene with Harry Dean Stanton. The legendary character actor (last seen on Video Archives stealing the show in Cry For Me Billy) delivers a showstopping monologue, with more fireworks than anything else in this chilly thriller that never quite boils over.

The Fourth War box from HBO Video uses a square Soviet-ish title typeface, over the even more square stony visages of Scheider and Prochnow.

Einstein quote notwithstanding, this title and the redder-than-red treatment of the German poster is way cooler.

Quentin may be the planet’s biggest Sergio Corbucci fan, but even he struggles with Corbucci’s comedies, which like many Italian comedies can be quite broad and ungrounded. Still, there are pleasures to be had in The Con Artists, Corbucci’s riff on “The Sting”; it doesn’t have the tightness of The Sting’s perfect script (what film does?), but it did net star Adriano Celentano an Italian Academy Award for Best Actor.

The stylish box art highlights Moonraker co-star Corinne Clery (and lets me sneak in another reference to Moonraker!)

In Japan, The Con Artists was released as “Bluff” - the Japanese poster makes this silly comedy look impossibly sophisticated.

Before taping our Buster and Billie episode, Quentin made an incredible discovery: he found one of his old wallets, with rental cards from his favorite video stores inside, perfectly preserved! You’ll need to listen to the After Show to hear the whole backstory, but here’s the wallet in question, a faux-camo promotional item for 1986’s David Carradine feature P.O.W. The Escape.

Keeping these video cards company is a promotional wallet card for another ‘86 film, The Naked Cage, one of Quentin’s beloved women-in-prison thrillers starring Shari Shattuck and Angel Tompkins:

Incredibly, Quentin still has his membership card from Video Outtakes intact…but not his Video Archives card. We’ve been trying to track down an authentic original Video Archives membership card with no luck. (If you have one, please tell us and send us the photo proof!)

Roger joked that it looks like someone took a bite out of Quentin’s Video Jack membership card. It is a tasty design, I love that V and A:

This one takes me back - I used to rent tapes at 20/20 Video! Not the Hollywood Ralphs location Quentin went to though.

And the final card in the wallet…what else could it be but a customer card for New York’s legendary Kim’s Video?

Today’s Merch Spotlight comes from Tom Ruprecht in Westfield, New Jersey! He says “I’m outside the husk of the now-closed Rialto movie theater where I worked during high school. It’s a great old theater with lots of memories if Quentin ever wants to expand his fleet!”

Next week, we’ve got a really fun triple feature, including an Oscar winner led by a Video Archives all star! I can’t wait for you to hear it – until then, rate and review us on Apple and Amazon, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, pick up some Video Archives merch, and tell your friends about the show if you dig it.