Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Vidstar, top independent video store, to close at year's end

Vidstar Video, the independent video store on Cleveland Heights' Coventry Road, is closing Dec. 31 after 26 years in business. It's a huge loss for local film fans.

Vidstar, the best video store in Cleveland, prides itself on huge selections of classic, foreign, and independent films as well as current Hollywood releases. It has a section devoted to the American Film Institute's 100 Greatest American Movies list and entire shelves set aside for great directors and legendary actors: Alfred Hitchcock, Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, Humphrey Bogart. Its cult classics section was dedicated to the memory of B-Ware, the long-defunct Lakewood video store (Vidstar bought some of its inventory).

An employee who broke the news to me last week blamed the usual suspects: Netflix and downloadable movies. So yes, this is a lament that our changing economy and consumer habits have done in another locally-owned cultural outlet.

But it's also a tip for movie-lovers who will miss Vidstar and stores like it: Its entire stock -- thousands of movies on DVD and VHS -- is for sale, most of it for $10 or less.

If you take pride in your video collection, or if you're looking for some rare or lesser-known movies, I recommend a trip to Coventry Road this month.

I just got back from my while-I-can splurge: I raided the Bogart section for The Big Sleep and the Casablanca-esque Passage to Marseille, then scored copies of Orson Welles' Touch of Evil ("the best B-movie ever made") and Beauty and the Beast -- the 1946 Jean Cocteau version, not Disney.

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