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  #1  
Old 05-10-2018, 09:57 PM
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Default New Movie: The Catcher Was a Spy

I just found out about this today. They finally made a movie about the most interesting athlete of all time, Moe Berg! He spied on the Japanese while barnstorming with the Babe and other legends. After his 15 year baseball career, he spied on the Germans.

Can't wait! Here's the trailer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1o3w8GsIDKk

Last edited by Jerry G; 05-10-2018 at 10:51 PM.
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:58 PM
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An awesome card in the 1933 Goudey set.
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File Type: jpg 33G Moe Berg.jpg (67.8 KB, 815 views)
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  #3  
Old 05-10-2018, 10:50 PM
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Movie title? Horrible. Movie itself? Looks very good!
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Old 05-10-2018, 11:03 PM
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Many years ago, I always made it a point to ask Berg's living teammates about him when visiting with them or sending out autograph requests. Nearly every player would be inspired to reply with their take on him. From my recollection, the author of the biography claimed that most of Berg's baseball colleagues were too bumpkin/jock to understand or accept him. The replies I received from those who actually knew Berg and roomed with him painted a different picture. They might not have understood the man, but were definitely in absolute awe of him!
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Old 05-11-2018, 12:01 AM
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Movie title? Horrible. Movie itself? Looks very good!
They didnt make the name up. Its the name of the book that the screenplay was adapted from.
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Old 05-11-2018, 12:38 AM
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This pretty much is going to be a must-see for me. I like a good period piece. And how many movies about vintage baseball are there? Not too many. I have a bad feeling though by the looks of the trailer that they are going to give Berg the Hollywood makeover and get a ton of things wrong. Right off the bat I don't think Berg was much of a ladies man. After reading the book you get the impression that he radiated a certain weirdness but he was comfortably ensconced inside the bell curve in the trailer. Looks like they're wearing double-knits instead of baggy flannels too.
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Old 05-11-2018, 02:32 AM
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It's been noted that Moe spoke seven languages, but couldn't hit in any of them.
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Old 05-11-2018, 05:21 AM
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I'll have to see this. It's right up my alley. Great cast, too. I'm a big fan of Paul Giamatti.
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Old 05-11-2018, 06:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyCox3 View Post
Many years ago, I always made it a point to ask Berg's living teammates about him when visiting with them or sending out autograph requests. Nearly every player would be inspired to reply with their take on him. From my recollection, the author of the biography claimed that most of Berg's baseball colleagues were too bumpkin/jock to understand or accept him. The replies I received from those who actually knew Berg and roomed with him painted a different picture. They might not have understood the man, but were definitely in absolute awe of him!
Odd, my first exposure to Berg was an old paper back biography called "Athlete, Scholar, Spy" and it talked about how he was almost universally admired by his peers, especially Ruth. This had a lot to do with why such a mediocre player was invited on All-Star tours of Japan in the first place.
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Old 05-11-2018, 07:49 AM
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I read that book...the catcher was a spy...I really enjoyed it and I look forward to the movie!
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Old 05-11-2018, 08:01 AM
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The irony in this movie is, although tons of people who are going to see this movie don't know who Berg is, the majority have seen his work come to fruition. If you've seen Pearl Harbor, you've seen the byproduct product of one of Berg's missions.

He traveled with the MLB All Stars on their barnstorming tour in Japan. Lots of eyebrows were raised when they found out Berg, a catcher with very limited abilities on the field, was traveling with the greats of his era. He ended up slipping away and photographing Tokyo from the top of a tall building. The photos he took would later be used by Lt. Doolittle in the Doolittle Raid, the bombing response to Pearl Harbor by the US on Tokyo.

His biggest mission, or at least another major mission of his is I believe what this movie documents.

GREAT cast. Big fan of Paul Rudd, although I'm interested to see him in a serious role as most of his roles in the past have had a sarcastic humor to them (FRIENDS, Ant Man, etc.).
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  #12  
Old 05-11-2018, 08:23 AM
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I'm looking forward to this one. There are a million independent theaters in NYC so I'm sure I'll have no shortage of opportunities. Curious to see if it gets a wide release.
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Old 05-11-2018, 08:42 AM
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Actually just finished the book last night, was not aware of the upcoming movie until I saw this thread this morning. Looking forward to it. Berg was a very interesting guy.
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Old 05-11-2018, 08:52 AM
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Looks like they definitely took some liberties and added some Hollywood flare, but I'm excited nonetheless, particularly for the prewar Fenway scenes!
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Old 05-11-2018, 08:55 AM
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When does the movie open---Great Cast--cant wait.
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Old 05-11-2018, 10:08 AM
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Nobody's talking about the most mind boggling part of his story. He served as a spy in Germany prior to WWII, Aiding atomic scientists in escaping the Third Reich. Why is this the most incredible part of his story? Well, start with the fact that he was Jewish and also that he basically learned atomic physics specifically for this mission because he had to be able to make decisions in the field as to who was valuable. This was a linguist learning advanced physics in a matter of weeks!
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Old 05-11-2018, 10:30 AM
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Isn't that what the movie is about?
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Old 05-11-2018, 12:13 PM
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Seems like the thread was more focused on his surveillance work in Japan, which was cool, but a LOT less dangerous. Don't know what the focus of the movie will be.
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Old 05-11-2018, 12:34 PM
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There is a trailer in the first post. The movie focuses on him determining if Germany has an atomic bomb or not.
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Old 05-11-2018, 12:51 PM
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When does the movie open---Great Cast--cant wait.
The movie will be released June 22, 2018.
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Old 05-11-2018, 03:07 PM
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The movie will be released June 22, 2018.
Thank you, Howard!
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Old 05-11-2018, 04:09 PM
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Looks like fun!
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Old 05-11-2018, 04:37 PM
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Aviva Kempner, who made the wonderful documentary "The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg," is working on a new one about Moe Berg. I was on a panel with her Sunday and saw a good chunk of her work, and it looks terrific, including a lot of really great footage of Berg and other baseball luminaries on the Japanese tour and elsewhere.
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Old 05-11-2018, 04:41 PM
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Awesome! The book is one of my favorite baseball reads
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Old 05-11-2018, 10:28 PM
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I enjoyed the book and will definitely check out the movie.
Picked this up after reading the book...

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Old 05-12-2018, 07:44 AM
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One mo' Berg

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Old 05-12-2018, 02:14 PM
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Cool topical podcast on moe

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/...=1000347711326
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Old 05-12-2018, 04:56 PM
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If you give the book a close read it seems like there are a lot of questions as to what Berg really did and what the folklore is. For example there is a story that he basically picked up a few books on the boat ride to Japan and managed to be conversational by the time the boat docked. The book however suggests that in reality Berg could only say a few common phrases in Japanese. The book also hints towards some possible mental health issues that Moe may have had. I wonder to what extent the movie will deal with the less heroic possibilities
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Old 05-12-2018, 05:19 PM
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If you give the book a close read it seems like there are a lot of questions as to what Berg really did and what the folklore is. For example there is a story that he basically picked up a few books on the boat ride to Japan and managed to be conversational by the time the boat docked. The book however suggests that in reality Berg could only say a few common phrases in Japanese. The book also hints towards some possible mental health issues that Moe may have had. I wonder to what extent the movie will deal with the less heroic possibilities
Yes, you said it. I read the book a couple of months ago and it painted a picture of a (very?) intelligent guy, but most, if not all, of the spy stuff seemed anecdotal at best. Over and over again the author asserted that no one really knew what he was up to at any given time, so I came to the conclusion that his spycraft was possibly more incidental than anything else. Perhaps I am 'misremembering,' but when he made films of Tokyo during the baseball tour there, for instance, he wasn't sent to do that, right? Wasn't it years later, after Pearl Harbor, when he said something to the effect of, "Wait, I have some films from years ago showing the landscape of Tokyo that our guys might be able to use."???
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Old 05-12-2018, 05:21 PM
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If you give the book a close read it seems like there are a lot of questions as to what Berg really did and what the folklore is. For example there is a story that he basically picked up a few books on the boat ride to Japan and managed to be conversational by the time the boat docked. The book however suggests that in reality Berg could only say a few common phrases in Japanese. The book also hints towards some possible mental health issues that Moe may have had. I wonder to what extent the movie will deal with the less heroic possibilities
Agreed. Never underestimate the powerful ambiguity of the term "based on a true story". People hear that and cling on to it, which is why history remembers a lot of things in a skewed way thanks to Hollywood.
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Old 05-12-2018, 05:28 PM
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Athlete, Scholar, Spy definitely deals with his mental health issues, especially later in life. Don't know if it's in print anymore.
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Old 05-12-2018, 06:06 PM
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Yes, you said it. I read the book a couple of months ago and it painted a picture of a (very?) intelligent guy, but most, if not all, of the spy stuff seemed anecdotal at best. Over and over again the author asserted that no one really knew what he was up to at any given time, so I came to the conclusion that his spycraft was possibly more incidental than anything else. Perhaps I am 'misremembering,' but when he made films of Tokyo during the baseball tour there, for instance, he wasn't sent to do that, right? Wasn't it years later, after Pearl Harbor, when he said something to the effect of, "Wait, I have some films from years ago showing the landscape of Tokyo that our guys might be able to use."???
The Tourist Was A Spy

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To describe Berg as enigmatic is perhaps an understatement based on the book.

Will his portrayal in the film be accurate? Hardly, but most who see the film will not have read the book or care.
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Old 07-26-2018, 12:30 AM
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Got around to seeing this the other day. I thought the sets, imagery, and cinematography were very well done. In the end, though, I couldn't help but think that Berg's story just wasn't quite compelling enough to make a Hollywood movie out of.

I also wish there were more baseball scenes. Other than the Fenway clip, which they showed in the preview, there's a clip from the Japanese tour and that's it. I know the story is about his service and not his career as a player, but I think they could have easily worked some more playing scenes for the baseball fans this was meant to appeal to, especially since it barely ran 90 minutes.
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Old 07-26-2018, 08:04 AM
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Got around to seeing this the other day. I thought the sets, imagery, and cinematography were very well done. In the end, though, I couldn't help but think that Berg's story just wasn't quite compelling enough to make a Hollywood movie out of.

I also wish there were more baseball scenes. Other than the Fenway clip, which they showed in the preview, there's a clip from the Japanese tour and that's it. I know the story is about his service and not his career as a player, but I think they could have easily worked some more playing scenes for the baseball fans this was meant to appeal to, especially since it barely ran 90 minutes.
Haven't seen it yet, but I'm excited to.

I need to bring attention to the bold. You mean it's possible to make a movie that doesn't kill 1/4 of my day? Between Jurassic World, Star Wars, etc., I don't know if I can handle another 2+ hour movie. This is refreshing news.
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Old 07-26-2018, 09:55 AM
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Haven't seen it yet, but I'm excited to.

I need to bring attention to the bold. You mean it's possible to make a movie that doesn't kill 1/4 of my day? Between Jurassic World, Star Wars, etc., I don't know if I can handle another 2+ hour movie. This is refreshing news.
Haha. My point was that they had space to throw in a few more minutes of playing scenes but I totally hear you.
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Old 07-26-2018, 10:21 AM
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Haha. My point was that they had space to throw in a few more minutes of playing scenes but I totally hear you.
Oh yeah, I understood what you were saying. Without seeing it, I would still probably agree (from the sounds of it) that they should have thrown in more baseball scenes.

I'm just happy to see a movie be reasonable with its length.
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Old 07-26-2018, 11:04 AM
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I saw this over the weekend at IFC. I thought that the movie was well made and they were able to make some creative decisions to elicit some kind of tension and suspense. I really hated the ending though. I thought they'd built up to this interesting moment that was full of indecision and internal conflict that deflated waaaaaaaay too quickly.

Rudd was a real surprise. I don't think he captured the inner secrecy of Berg quite as well as he could have, but it was nice to see him play something other than a dude-bro who smiles a lot.
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Old 07-26-2018, 10:05 PM
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Just saw it and as others have said, the movie itself was shot very well...but, man, there were quite a few things that bugged me. Here are a quick few...

First, the baseball game was supposed to be taking place in 1936, right? The Fenway they showed had perfectly manicured grass, just ridiculously so. Did the filmmakers do any research? Maybe check out what fields looked like back then? It was so obvious the movie was filmed in 2017 or 2018, and it immediately took me right out of suspending my disbelief. And this game was shown in the first couple of minutes in the film. They should've used some of that Hollywood magic to roughen the field/baselines up a bit to make it look at least somewhat realistic. It just goes to the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of the movie.

Secondly, they show a player during the Japan scenes who was obviously supposed to be Babe Ruth. Sure, the face was passable as him, but this guy was what, 5'5" at most??? Come on. The Bambino was 6'2". A towering sorta dude, not a short, fat schlub. Everyone on the team was taller than him. And this isn't nitpicking. It jumps right out at you.

Lastly, as Packs said, the basic portrayal of Berg's nature was way, way, way off. The book isn't an autobiography, of course, but in reading it you really get the feeling that he was a very aloof guy who seemingly always preferred to be alone with his nose in a newspaper. A real enigma, and a completely secretive sort of guy. I didn't for one second believe Rudd was the guy I read about in the book. He was gregarious as all hell, very outgoing, and I don't think they showed him reading a single newspaper. They even had Rudd state something to the effect of, "I don't fit in anywhere." I screamed at my screen, "Are you watching the same movie as me???!!! You are fitting in EVERYWHERE!!!"

And I won't even mention Heisenberg's ridiculous hairpiece.

Overall, this movie was the CliffsNotes version of the CliffsNotes version of the CliffsNotes version of the novel.
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Old 07-26-2018, 11:01 PM
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Ted Zanidakis
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Moe Berg graduated from Princeton Univ. in 1923. I once asked my wife, who works at Princeton Univ.,
to look up the Alumni listing for any information on Morris Berg. She could not find anything on him.
Did they remove his records since he was a secret spy ? ?

Anyhow, I highly recommend reading his SABR bio...... http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/e1e65b3b




I will check-out this movie.



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  #40  
Old 07-27-2018, 06:12 AM
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I recently sold a Princeton Yearbook in which Berg appeared multiple times.
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Old 01-08-2019, 12:28 PM
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Chris Wood
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I recently sold a Princeton Yearbook in which Berg appeared multiple times.
Movie is out on Netflix.
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:20 PM
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Randy Trierweiler
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Quote:
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Movie is out on Netflix.
Hey Chris, I went to search for it on Netflix, couldn't find it. It is on Amazon Prime however. Randy
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:58 PM
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Hey Chris, I went to search for it on Netflix, couldn't find it. It is on Amazon Prime however. Randy
Weird. Just watched it...must be Canada only?
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Old 01-08-2019, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
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Weird. Just watched it...must be Canada only?
Just watched it? What did you think?
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Old 01-08-2019, 05:24 PM
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Chris Wood
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Just watched it? What did you think?
It was visually very well shot. I like Rudd and any movie with a spy theme, WWII and baseball can’t be that bad. Hadn’t read the book and knew very little about Berg prior - all in all, it was a pleasant watch.
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Last edited by baseball tourist; 01-08-2019 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 01-08-2019, 05:27 PM
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Canada only?
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Old 01-09-2019, 10:31 AM
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I don't know why Netflix would be different in Canada from the US, but I looked for it yesterday and today to no avail. I'm going to rent it from Redbox tomorrow.
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  #48  
Old 01-09-2019, 12:51 PM
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I don't know why Netflix would be different in Canada from the US, but I looked for it yesterday and today to no avail. I'm going to rent it from Redbox tomorrow.
Netflix has very different offerings between the two countries as I understand but typically its their US list of shows that has more choice than up here.
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  #49  
Old 01-09-2019, 01:22 PM
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Netflix is different in every country. There are restrictions on the rights to titles and where the rights apply.
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  #50  
Old 01-09-2019, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
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Movie is out on Netflix.
A nice surprise when I came across it at my local library over a month ago (DVD).
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