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The Bootleg Files: To Die in Madrid

BOOTLEG FILES 745: “To Die in Madrid” (1963 Oscar-nominated documentary by Frédéric Rossif).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube, albeit without English subtitles.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Most likely due to a problem with rights clearance.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely at this time.

In March 1962, the Spanish government of Generalissimo Francisco Franco received a request from French producer Nicole Stephane for permission to shoot a travelogue-style documentary called “Eternal Spain.” Stephane identified French director Frédéric Rossif as the creative talent behind the camera.
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Hillary Brooke to the Rescue!

Hillary Brooke could always be relied upon to bring an aura of cool glamour to the screen, whether she was the sophisticated foil to Abbott and Costello’s antics or the arch-enemy of Sherlock Holmes or the bringer of casual cruelty in “Jane Eyre” and “The Enchanted Cottage.” On this “Online Movie Show” episode, film historian Ron Palumbo offers insight on the life and often-surprising career of this much-loved blonde bombshell.

The episode can be heard here.

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The Bootleg Files: You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown

BOOTLEG FILES 744: “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” (1973 television production of the Off-Broadway musical).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Most likely due to a problem with rights clearance.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely at this time.

One of the big entertainment stories this week was the announcement that the classic year-end holiday specials featuring the characters from Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic strip will not be shown on broadcast television, but will instead be seen on a streaming service. Many fans of these productions were deeply disappointed, as these specials have been an integral part of the holiday season television line-up for decades. However, there is another television special based on “Peanuts” that has not been broadcast since its only offering 47 years ago.
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The Bootleg Files: Legend of Superman – Covid Response

BOOTLEG FILES 743: “Legend of Superman – Covid Response” (2020 fan film by Frank Palangi).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A fan film based on copyright-protected characters.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely at this time.

Fan films occupy a curious place in the movie universe. Clearly, these films are the ultimate in bootlegging because they borrow copyright-protected characters and put them into new films made without the blessings of their creators. On the other hand, they offer an affirmation of the popularity of the franchises being pilfered. For the most part, the makers of these films are rarely harassed by the lawyers representing the companies whose intellectual property is being used without permission.
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The Bootleg Files: Harry & Lena

BOOTLEG FILES 741: “Harry & Lena” (1970 television special starring Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS:
Problems in clearing music rights.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely at this time.

If you were watching television variety shows and specials from the 1950s through the 1970s, it was nearly impossible not to see either Harry Belafonte or Lena Horne turn up in a guest starring role. The charismatic and versatile Belafonte would offer anything from calypso music to folk tunes to protest songs reflecting the ongoing turmoil of the times, while the regal Horne provided incomparable beauty and a distinctive styling of the Great American Songbook.
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The Bootleg Files: Know Your Ally – Britain

BOOTLEG FILES 740: “Know Your Ally – Britain” (1944 U.S. War Department documentary).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO:
On public domain labels.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: The absence of a copyright allows anyone to make dupes.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It’s been on DVDs featuring wartime documentaries.

In 1944, the U.S. War Department (the forerunner of today’s Department of Defense) produced “Know Your Ally – Britain,” a 45-minute documentary to be shown to American servicemembers. From today’s perspective, it might seem peculiar that this type of a film would be made relatively late in the war.
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Native Son (1951)

Few films have experienced a more tortured history than the 1951 version of “Native Son,” based on Richard Wright’s 1940 novel. While Wright’s work achieved best-seller status and would be adapted into a Broadway production by Orson Welles and John Houseman, Hollywood studios would only consider a cinematic version if the central character of a disenfranchised African American was changed into an ethnic white man. Continue reading