7.7/10
1,147
30 user 44 critic

Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004)

A documentary on the Z Channel, one of the first pay cable stations in the US, and its programming chief, Jerry Harvey. Debuting in 1974, the LA-based channel's eclectic slate of movies ... See full summary »

Director:

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Ad

Genius (TV Series 2017)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A series which explores how patent clerk Einstein could not get a teaching job or doctorate in his early life, yet managed to go on to solve the secrets of the universe.

Stars: Geoffrey Rush, Johnny Flynn, Nicholas Rowe
Rewind This! (2013)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Home video changed the world. The cultural and historical impact of the VHS tape was enormous. This film traces the ripples of that impact by examining the myriad aspects of society that were altered by the creation of videotape.

Director: Josh Johnson
Stars: Ben Jousan, David Gregory, Micah Matthews
Winnebago Man (2009)
Documentary | Biography | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Jack Rebney is the most famous man you've never heard of - after cursing his way through a Winnebago sales video, Rebney's outrageously funny outtakes became an underground sensation and ... See full summary »

Director: Ben Steinbauer
Stars: Jack Rebney, Ben Steinbauer, Keith Gordon
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction is a mesmerizing, impressionistic portrait of the iconic actor comprised of intimate moments, film clips from some of his 250 films and his own ... See full summary »

Director: Sophie Huber
Stars: Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Sam Shepard
Girl 27 (2007)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The reclusive Patricia Douglas comes out of hiding to discuss the 1937 MGM scandal, in which the powerful film studio tricked her and over 100 other underage girls into attending a stag party, where she was raped.

Director: David Stenn
Stars: Patricia Douglas, Baby Peggy, Richard Bann
Crazy Love I (2007)
Documentary | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The bizarre true story of Linda Riss and Burt Pugach.

Directors: Dan Klores, Fisher Stevens
Stars: Burt Pugach, Linda Pugach, Bob Janoff
Documentary | Biography | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An experimental documentary that uses archival footage, interviews, and fictionalized scenarios to tell the story of the people around Jeffrey Dahmer, during the summer of his arrest in 1991.

Director: Chris James Thompson
Stars: Andrew Swant, Pamela Bass, Jeffrey Jentzen
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Dubbed "The Cannibal Cop," Gilberto Valle was convicted in March 2013 of conspiring to kidnap and eat young women. Valle argued it was all a fantasy; the prosecution's narrative convinced ... See full summary »

Director: Erin Lee Carr
Stars: Gary Allen, Violet Blue, James A. Cohen
Milius (2013)
Documentary | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A look at the life of filmmaker John Milius.

Directors: Joey Figueroa, Zak Knutson
Stars: John Milius, Ethan Milius, Amanda Milius
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A documentary that shows how George A. Romero gathered an unlikely team of Pittsburghers to shoot his seminal film: Night of the Living Dead (1968).

Director: Rob Kuhns
Stars: George A. Romero, Fred Rogers, H. Rap Brown
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The story of the Australian exploitation genre cinema of 1970s and 80s.

Director: Mark Hartley
Stars: Phillip Adams, Glory Annen, Christine Amor
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A look at 1970s Hollywood when it was known as New Hollywood, and the director was the star of the movie.

Director: Kenneth Bowser
Stars: Martin Scorsese, Dennis Hopper, Peter Bogdanovich
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
...
Himself
Vera Carlisle Anderson ...
Herself (as Vera Anderson)
C.L. Batten ...
Himself
...
Herself
...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself
David Chasman ...
Himself
...
Himself
F.X. Feeney ...
Himself
James B. Harris ...
Himself
...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Don Hyde ...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Himself
Edit

Storyline

A documentary on the Z Channel, one of the first pay cable stations in the US, and its programming chief, Jerry Harvey. Debuting in 1974, the LA-based channel's eclectic slate of movies became a prime example of the untapped power of cable television. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, violent images and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 August 2007 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Kanazi Z: Mia yperohi emmoni  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was made only after the financing for another film project, a fiction film, partially collapsed. See more »

Quotes

Penelope Spheeris: The "Decline of Western Civilization" was financed by two businessmen from the Valley who wanted to finance a porn movie. They had no idea I was going in to pitch a punk rock movie.
See more »

Connections

References Rich Man, Poor Man (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Angel of The Morning
Performed by Merrilee Rush and the Turnabouts
Written by Chip Taylor
Courtesy of BMG Records and EMI Music Publishing
Fingers (1978)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
"Like a film festival in your house every night"
17 September 2004 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

I saw this film at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival. The daughter of the late filmmaker John Cassavetes and actress Gena Rowlands, Xan (Alexandra) Cassavetes grew up surrounded by the culture of film. But in her teens, she began to form her own taste, thanks in part to an innovative Los Angeles area cable channel. Z Channel began in 1974, long before there was a Blockbuster Video on every block, and it showed both neglected American films as well as the greats of European cinema. Xan set out to make a straight documentary about the channel, and in the process found a whole other story.

Jerry Harvey was a film geek's film geek. He joined Z Channel in 1980 after programming films for a local art-house cinema. Under Harvey's direction, Z Channel really took off, competing against heavyweights like HBO. While remaining a local treasure, Z Channel's influence was disproportionate to its subscriber base, since so many filmmakers lived in the LA area. Harvey was a friend and champion of such filmmakers as Sam Peckinpah, Henry Jaglom, Michael Cimino, Robert Altman, and Paul Verhoeven, and was one of the first to show "director's cuts" of such misunderstood films as Heaven's Gate, Once Upon A Time In America, and The Wild Bunch. But he was also a deeply troubled man. His obsessive nature fuelled his work, but it often led to bouts of crushing depression. His mood swings culminated in a terrible tragedy in 1988 when he killed his wife and then took his own life. Remembrances from his friends are still fraught with grief and anger, more than fifteen years later.

While at first, I wondered if I were seeing two films (a portrait of Jerry Harvey, and an appreciation of overlooked films), I realized that the beauty of Cassavetes' film is that she's celebrating the life and achievements of Jerry Harvey by talking about some of the films that he brought to her attention through Z Channel. Not his tragic end, but what came before. So often, when a life ends in tragedy or violence, we only remember that part. Sure, you could call Harvey a murderer. But he was also an incredible film lover and filmmaker's advocate, someone who had a wide ranging influence as well as a group of loyal friends who are still reeling from his loss.

Z Channel only lasted about a year after Harvey's death, and the many people interviewed (Quentin Tarantino, James Woods, Theresa Russell, Paul Verhoeven, Robert Altman, and Jacqueline Bisset among them) seem almost as wistful about the death of a certain era in cable television as of their friend Jerry Harvey.

P.S. It seems fitting that I should end my 2004 Toronto International Film Festival experience with a film about a TV channel that director Henry Jaglom described as "like a film festival in your house every night."


16 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page