I’ve been getting DVDs from John Andrushkoff for over ten years now. I imagine I’ve bought over a thousand from him during that time. He claims to have dealt with that many dealers in his career as a collector. He has an excellent range of films from all genres, including religious ones, and charges just $9 plus postage per film.
By now he knows which genres I prefer (film noir from the 1940s especially) and which I don’t much care for – westerns, comedies and war films. He records and copies public domain films.
“I’m a Catholic so Christmas is very important to me,” he says. From this point of view you might be interested in his nativity-themed films, or more mainstream ones like Bing Crosby’s White Christmas or It’s A Wonderful Life, the much-loved Frank Capra feature starring James Stewart and Donna Reed.
Easter is important to John too. Crucifixion and resurrection themes figure strongly in his collection, with films like George Stevens The Greatest Story Ever Told, Barabbas and of course Ben-Hur.
John is from Quebec, near Montreal. He’s in his 80s now. He’s been collecting films for almost seven of those decades. One of the first films he remembers seeing as a child was Cecil B. De Mille’s The Sign of the Cross.
Made in 1932, this is De Mille’s epic about Christians seeking religious freedom in Nero’s Rome. Frederic March and Claudette Colbert are the main stars. Charles Laughton gives a typical carpet-chewing performance as Nero.
John bought his first 8mm projector at a Salvation Army sale in 1952. Three years later his uncle died. He inherited two 16 mm projectors and a lot of rare films from him. He kept building on these over the decades. With the advent of VHS tapes his business grew.
When the DVD phenomenon came about in the mid-1990s he transferred his tapes to this format. Then the internet arrived; it meant his collection increased exponentially. It now runs to a staggering 30,000 films.
You can order many Bible-inspired classics from John including old faithfuls like The Ten Commandments, The Robe, Demetrius and the Gladiators and David and Goliath.
As well as what he calls “sword and sandal” films he has more devout titles like The Song of Bernadette, Joan of Arc, In Search of Historic Jesus and the six-hour epic from 1977, Jesus of Nazareth.
John has met screen legends like Danny Kaye, Harry Belafonte and Larry Parks. He’s a very obliging man to deal with. Over the years he’s dug out many films for me that no other collector could find. Like the Royal Mounted Police, he always gets his man no matter how much trouble he has to go to in order to do so.
Other iconic films in his vaults include The Story of Ruth, David and Bathsheba, Herod the Great, Sodom and Gomorrah, Salomé and The Egyptian. if you’re interested you can email John to firstname.lastname@example.org