Last night some friends and I sat down with the recently-released DVD of Lonely Are the Brave. I haven’t seen it since ’96 but it really and truly works. Still. It’s an honest, well constructed, beautifully shot (in ravishing black-and-white Scope), deeply sad film with small servings of comic absurdism on the part of the secondary lawmen characters (i.e., not Walter Matthau‘s but everyone else).

Lonely Are The Brave is probably Kirk Douglas‘s finest film, and his performance as the sentimental but obstinate Jack Burns is argbualy the best of his career. (Although my favorite Douglas performance is still his Colonel Dax in Paths of Glory.) There’s a tribute doc on the DVD with Douglas, Steven Spielberg, Michael Douglas and costar Gena Rowlands praising it as an unsung gem.

And you can only get this sublime little film through mail order. The DVD isn’t buyable in any retail store in Manhattan, or at least none that I could find. (I took the F train to Brooklyn yesterday and snagged a copy from Glenn Kenny.) It’s not in the few DVD stores that remain in business (a fast-dwindling number) because it’s regarded as such a fringe title that it’s not even worth stocking. Terrific. Wonderful news. Let’s all drive down to the plex and go see I Love You Beth Cooper, and then get together outside and take turns committing suicide with a samurai sword.