Search - Z Channel - A Magnificent Obsession on DVD

Z Channel - A Magnificent Obsession
Z Channel - A Magnificent Obsession
Actors: Robert Altman, Vera Carlisle Anderson, C.L. Batten, Jacqueline Bisset, Charles Champlin
Director: Alexandra Cassavetes
Genres: Television, Documentary
R     2005     2hr 0min

From 1974 to 1989, Z Channel graced the Los Angeles airwaves as one of the country's first pay-television stations. Though its subscription rate barely reached into the hundred thousands, the cable station presaged later c...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Robert Altman, Vera Carlisle Anderson, C.L. Batten, Jacqueline Bisset, Charles Champlin
Director: Alexandra Cassavetes
Creators: F.x. Feeney, Alison Palmer Bourke, Ed Carroll, Jonathan Montepare, Leslie Lowell, Marshall Persinger, Rick Ross
Genres: Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Television, Documentary
Studio: Arts Alliance Amer
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 10/11/2005
Original Release Date: 01/01/1974
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2004
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 2hr 0min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
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Member Movie Reviews

Sarah F. (Ferdy63) from DALTON, GA
Reviewed on 2/16/2009...
If you're not from California, you may not have ever heard of Z Channel. I know I never had. This is the story of the man who started the idea of pay cable channels (like Showtime, HBO) with the Z Channel. He was a tormented genius who ended up committing murder/suicide. I was very intrigued by the interviews and also inspired to go and look up some of the movies highlighted throughout the film. If you're a movie buff, you will definitely enjoy learning more about the history of Z channel. Too bad it's not still around and available nationwide.
5 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

"The uncommon denominator, that is what we want. "
Dymon Enlow | 11/14/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Z Channel (a pay channel in 70's/80's L.A. which played an eclectic array of the world's finest cinema) sounds like a paradise for film lovers. Unfortunately this overly talkative documentary isn't so much about Z Channel itself as it is Jerry Harvey, the main guy behind the channel. I appreciate the fact that he put so much effort into the channel and had such a true love for cinema, but honestly he came off as an annoying, abusive type of guy who ended up murdering his wife before killing himself.

The film clips are the best part (especially THE MOON'S OUR HOME and LE MAGNIFIQUE) and the interviews are fun, even Quentin Tarantino who flails around like he's having a seizure, but there's never any actual footage from Z Channel itself. Why not? Personally they could have cut the time about Jerry Harvey down to 5 minutes and had the rest about the films.
Absorbing and informative!
E. Karasik | Washington, DC United States | 02/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This documentary about Jerry Harvey, the innovative and obsessive program director of Z Channel, was just fascinating. The film maker did a very thorough job of piecing together the unique phenomenon that was Z Channel once Jerry Harvey infused it with his incredibly eclectic and knowledgeable zest for offbeat, under-appreciated films. The lengths he would go to to retrieve uncut versions of many films that had been butchered by inept studio-mandated editing were extreme; he became a true hero to a number of directors whose uncut work would never have reached an audience but for his efforts. The documentary is punctuated by clips from many of the films shown on Z channel, which are big fun to see. I found myself rewinding, pen and paper in hand, to make notes about all the films I wanted to see in full. The film maker also does a good job of piecing together the context of events that led to Harvey's tragic end. Media types and film students will be enthralled by this superb documentary, but I think it would be of great interest to anyone even remotely interested in film."
I wanna see More Z Channel
joseph Corey | Raleigh, NC United States | 10/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I enjoyed the film, but it is truthfully lacking in that it has nothing from Z Channel. Where are the promos? Where are the intros to their festivals? What was it like to watch this special channel during its heyday? I would have enjoyed film clips if they were like the "coming attractions" run on the channel.

This documentary can be made into a magazine article. But I do recommend it for viewing. I just wish it was more than talking heads and film clips."