Home Cinema International Corporation – The CIC Video Catalogue

It’s time for another vintage VHS (and Betamax) video catalogue from the early days of home video, this time from mega-conglomerate CIC.

CIC – that’s Cinema International Corporation to give the company its full, rather pompous name – was the international distribution arm of both Universal Pictures and Paramount, a joint venture to help smooth the hassles of international releasing. While the head office was in London, the company operated across Europe, South America and South Africa and by the mid-1970s was also handling international distribution for MGM and Warner Brothers. The company would come to dominate UK film distribution as one of two major players (the other being Columbia-EMI-Warners. In fact, it was so big and so powerful that many considered it a threat to competition.

Of course, with so many big and competing players all involved, it was only a matter of time before the whole thing collapsed, and by 1981, CIC had been merged with MGM/UA to form United International Pictures. However, the name CIC was by this time established as one of the first major players in the home video scene and the name would live on throughout the tape era, lasting until 1999 when both Universal and Paramount went their own way for home video distribution.

This catalogue is a flimsy affair from around 1982 and has a mixed back of classic titles – big name movies that probably weren’t the sort of thing punters were really looking to rent at the time (several of these were, after all, likely to show up on TV at any time). As with other major label catalogues, the emphasis is very much on familiarity and respectability – but as we know, neither of those things counted for much in the early 1980s rental market where customers were more likely to seek out the lurid and the sensational, caring little if they’d never heard of it before. How times change.

We’ll hopefully be unearthing more unusual relics of the video rental age in the future – stay tuned!

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