Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession

Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession

Director: Xan Cassavetes

Cast: Xan Cassavetes, Robert Altman, Quentin Tarantino, Penelope Spheeris

     
 

The Z Channel wasn't America's first premium cable outlet specializing in feature films, and it wasn't the most commercially successful, but few, if any, had as strong an impact on the film industry or a more influential list of customers. Based in California and blanketing sections of the state dominated by the movie business, Z Channel had been operating for several…  See more details below

Overview

The Z Channel wasn't America's first premium cable outlet specializing in feature films, and it wasn't the most commercially successful, but few, if any, had as strong an impact on the film industry or a more influential list of customers. Based in California and blanketing sections of the state dominated by the movie business, Z Channel had been operating for several years before former screenwriter Jerry Harvey took over as head of programming in 1980. Under the guidance of Harvey and his staff, the channel became a film buff's dream, screening rare classics, important foreign films, and maverick American titles that had fallen through the cracks of commercial distribution. Harvey and his staff also programmed original and uncut versions of films which had only played American theaters in altered form (including Heaven's Gate, Once Upon a Time in America, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, and The Leopard) long before the concept of the "director's cut" had currency beyond the most hardcore of film fans. And The Z Channel aggressively championed pictures they believed were overlooked, and programmed deserving Oscar-nominated movies during the Academy's voting period, years before studios began distributing video "screeners" to potential voters. (More than one industry expert has credited Z Channel's showings of Annie Hall as a key factor in the film winning Best Picture.) But Jerry Harvey was also a deeply troubled man, and when legal and economic problems began dogging the company in the late '80s, he snapped, leading to a horrible and tragic murder and suicide. The Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession is a documentary that looks at the channel's short but remarkable history as well as Harvey's damaged personal life. It includes interviews with Robert Altman, Quentin Tarantino, James Woods, Jim Jarmusch, Alexander Payne and a number of other filmmakers and critics who attest to Z Channel's lasting impact.

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Product Details

Release Date:
10/11/2005
UPC:
0829567025529
Original Release:
2004
Source:
Virgil Films
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
2:00:00
Sales rank:
53,703

Special Features

Extra interviews with film clips; Z Magazine photo gallery; On the Film Scene with critic Charles Champlin; 30 minute radio interview with Jerry Harvey; AFI tribute to Z with panelists Oliver Stone & James Woods; Director's commentary with film crew

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Robert Altman Interviewee
Quentin Tarantino Interviewee
Penelope Spheeris Interviewee
Jacqueline Bisset Interviewee
Alan Rudolph Interviewee
Jim Jarmusch Interviewee
Paul Verhoeven Interviewee
James Woods Interviewee
Alexander Payne Interviewee
Henry Jaglom Interviewee
Vilmos Zsigmond Interviewee
F.X. Feeney Interviewee
Theresa Russell Interviewee
Vera Anderson Participant
Charles Lynn Batten Participant
Charles Champlin Participant
David Chasman Participant
Stuart Cooper Participant
Andrea Grossman Participant
James B. Harris Participant
Donald Hyde Participant
Charles H. Joffe Participant
Bill Mechanic Participant
Edwin Michaelove Participant
Ned Nalle Participant
Jerry Pam Participant
Chuck Ross Participant
Doreen Ringer Ross Participant
Timothy Ryerson Participant
Jeff Schwager Participant
Bob Strock Participant
Kevin Thomas Participant
Jonathan Turell Participant
Douglas Venturelli Participant
Oliver Stone Interviewee

Technical Credits
Xan Cassavetes Director
Vera Anderson Cinematographer
Alison Palmer Bourke Executive Producer
Ed Carroll Executive Producer
F.X. Feeney Co-producer
Steven Hufsteter Score Composer
Iain Kennedy Editor
Leslie Lowell Associate Producer
Jonathan Montepare Associate Producer
Marshall Persinger Producer
John Pirozzi Cinematographer
Rick Ross Producer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession
1. Intro [3:00]
2. Early Z [2:25]
3. UCLA and Beverly Canon [3:10]
4. "China 9"/Ann's Suicide [3:03]
5. Insomnia and Cable TV [1:57]
6. Jerry Arrives at Z [5:19]
7. Manic Programmer [5:09]
8. Z Mags [:58]
9. Heaven's Gate [1:28]
10. "I'm Crazy You Know" [4:58]
11. Finding Films [5:45]
12. An Enigma [2:34]
13. Film Festivals [3:37]
14. "Have You Ever Been Married" [6:12]
15. "Creature of Habit..." [1:34]
16. "You Never Know When You're Living in a Golden Age" [:48]
17. "The Day Peckinpah Died..." [3:33]
18. "Two Guys Bailing Hay on an Intellectual Level" [1:46]
19. "Sergio Leone Was a Genius" [1:52]
20. "Myriads of Crossroads..." [3:28]
21. The Innovators and Immitators/Night Owl [4:36]
22. Verhoeven [5:01]
23. Personal Darkness [4:03]
24. Salvador and Z [3:47]
25. "Like a Castle in the Air [7:51]
26. "A Cause for Hope" [3:13]
27. "Lest We Forget" [4:12]
28. Action and Inspiration [5:36]
29. Credits [9:20]

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