EW anticipates the DVD release of cult hits - We get to the bottom of why comedy classic ''Twentieth Century'' and short-lived conspiracy drama ''Nowhere Man'' are not on DVD

By David Koeppel
July 30, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

TWENTIETH CENTURY After playing doomed heroes in ”Grand Hotel” and ”Dinner at Eight,” John Barrymore must have been eager to lighten up. In the 1934 screwball comedy ”Twentieth Century,” he cuts loose hilariously as Oscar Jaffe, a self-dramatizing theater impresario seeking salvation in his ex-lover and alter egomaniac, Lily Garland (Carole Lombard), as they ride the Twentieth Century Limited, the chichi choo-choo that once chugged from Chicago to New York. Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur (”The Front Page”) niftily adapted their play for the screen and it justly made a star of Lombard, every bit Barrymore’s match in grand passions and comic timing. But a source at Columbia TriStar says there are currently no plans to issue the film on DVD. So who knows when we’ll have the pleasure of seeing the wild glint in Jaffe’s eye as he describes Garland dressed as Mary Magdalene ”covered in emeralds…and nothing else!”

NOWHERE MAN Is there a conspiracy to keep one of the best ’90s sci-fi thrillers from being released on DVD? The show, which lasted just one season on UPN (1995-96), had enough apprehension to fuel five seasons of ”The X-Files.” For those who don’t remember (or perhaps your memory’s been erased), ”Nowhere” followed the travails of photojournalist Thomas Veil (Bruce Greenwood, straitjacketed below), who discovers one evening that his identity has been obliterated. His wife doesn’t recognize him, his ATM card won’t work, and he’s being pursued by a mysterious organization desperate for a photo negative. But even creator Lawrence Hertzog can’t assure us that ”Nowhere Man” will be rescued from oblivion. He says despite pleas from die-hard ”Nowheremaniacs,” there are no plans for a DVD. Anyway, he thinks the show still would be underappreciated: ”I’m not sure if it were on now that everyone watching ”American Idol” would say, ‘Wow, right after this comes ‘Nowhere Man’!”’ But they should.