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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Disc Premieres of DeVito's Lost Directorial Debut, Controversial Film About the Troubles

'Olive Films Releases Acclaimed “Lost” Film, Controversial Film about the Troubles, and Angie Dickinson’s First Major Role'

Chicago, IL – Olive Films, a boutique theatrical and home entertainment distribution label dedicated to bringing independent, foreign, and classic films to DVD and Blu-ray, is excited to announce that July 19th will be the Blu-ray debut of six films. Among these are The Ratings Game, Danny Devito’s acclaimed directorial debut that has been lost for over thirty years; The Outsider, a film about the Troubles that sparked controversy; and Gun the Man Down, an underrated but intriguing Western that features debuts of several talents.

The Ratings Game (1984)

Commemorating the 30th anniversary of Showtime’s first original movie, The Ratings Game actor-director Danny DeVito and producer David Jablin sought to finally bring their passion project to the home video market. ”Being collectors of Special Edition discs of our favorite films, we decided that if we were going to do it at all, we’d want to give our ‘baby’ the same kind of loving treatment and do it in a way that would appeal to comedy fans and video collectors like ourselves,” said DeVito.

“In looking for a distributor, we specifically wanted a filmmaker-friendly company that would recognize and respect that this was a passion project for Danny and I and still is” said Jablin. It’s been great dealing with everyone at Olive who have truly cared about getting all the details right as much as we have. Danny had the one print ever made of the film for its 1984 big screen premier party in storage all this time and Olive Films has done a absolutely beautiful job restoring it in full HD,” said Jablin.

In 1984, Showtime Networks made their first foray into original movies with The Ratings Game starring Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman, which also marked DeVito’s feature directing debut. The hilarious and biting take-down of the ratings-obsessed network television industry was greeted with love-letter reviews from critics and fans alike. The feature also boasts an eclectic comedy ensemble with performances from Gerrit Graham, George Wendt, Vincent Schiavelli, Ronny Graham, Steve Allen, Huntz Hall, Michael Richards, and Jerry Seinfeld. Unfortunately, after its premiere, the film slipped through the cracks of the network’s slowly evolving distribution channels and fell into obscurity as a result, “except with its many fans who continue to hound us for copies to this day” said Jablin.

With some notoriously bad, foreign-made bootleg versions floating around under the name The Mogul, the film has remained essentially lost for over 30 years. ”The mere existence of those totally crap bootleg copies really stuck in our craw and definitely motivated us to set the record straight and put out our film in all of its original glory” said DeVito.

In addition to the film itself, the DVD and Blu-ray will come with a liner notes booklet with photos and art from the film as well as a rare collection of four early short films directed by DeVito. Producer David Jablin said, “The bonus materials we included have also never been distributed on disc and were fan favorites from our early work. Altogether they tell the story of Danny’s journey as a film director of distinction.”

The Outsider (1980)

Olive Films continues previous months’ history of releasing forgotten controversial films of with The Outsider, a film about the Irish Troubles. The story of a disillusioned American Vietnam veteran who goes to fight for the I.R.A. only to discover he’s their pawn, the film received praise for its depiction of the moral murkiness of the Troubles. By all accounts, it is a war film with no heroism, glory, or ideals. Moreover, residents of Belfast frequently identify the movie’s portrayal of 1973 working class Belfast as one of cinema’s most realistic.

The Outsider became the subject of controversy at its release due to its depiction of a British officer torturing an Irish prisoner. The film proved so controversial, in fact, that it was actually dropped from the 1979 London Film Festival. Having never been on disc before in the United States, Olive Films will be giving it its Blu-ray and DVD debut on July 19th.

Gun the Man Down (1956)

Gun the Man Down is a relatively obscure but entertaining Western. It is also a film of firsts. It was Angie Dickinson’s first starring role and the first Western directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, who went on to direct McLintock!, 116 episodes of Have Gun – Will Travel, and 96 episodes of Gunsmoke. McLaglen’s direction isn’t the only thing Gunsmoke fans will recognize, because James Arness, known for playing Marshal Matt Dillon on the show for 20 years, stars in the film. In fact, it was John Wayne (producer of Gun the Man Down through Batjac Productions), who recommended Arness for the Gunsmoke part. Besides being an intriguing installment in the Western genre, it should also be of interest to fans because of how many future icons contributed to it.

Other July Titles

Blu-ray debut of Hoodlum (1997), directed by Bill Duke, starring Laurence Fishburne, Tim Roth, Andy Garcia, Vanessa Williams, Cicely Tyson, and Queen Latifah.

Blu-ray debut of Gang Related (1997), directed by Jim Kouf, starring James Belushi, Tupac Shakur, Lela Rochon, Dennis Quaid, James Earl Jones, and David Paymer.

Blu-ray debut of 'Neath the Arizona Skies (1934), directed by Harry L. Fraser, starring John Wayne, Sheila Terry, Shirley Jean Rickert, Yakima Canutt, Jay Wilsey, Jack Rockwell, and George “Gabby” Hayes.

About Olive Films

Olive Films is a Chicago-based boutique theatrical and home entertainment distribution label dedicated to bringing independent, foreign, documentary, and classic films to life. Its catalog boasts over 500 titles ranging from Hollywood classics to contemporary titles. More information about Olive Films may be found at or by contacting PR/Marketing Director Bradley Powell by email at or by phone at 630.444.1757.


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