post

The Boris Karloff Experience

On this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” we consider the remarkable career of Boris Karloff, celebrating his iconic horror films and his diverse dramatic and comic work on screen, stage and television. Film historian Troy Howarth is our guest expert.

The episode can be heard here.

post

1917 (2019)

Gimmick films are a pain in the ass, because the gimmickry that frames the production ultimately suffocates their effectiveness. Think of Robert Montgomery’s “The Lady in the Lake” with klutzy use of the camera as the narrator’s POV, the Ray Milland thriller “The Thief” that struggled without spoken dialogue or Lars von Trier’s “Dogville” and “Manderley” with their irritating bare-bones black-box theater settings – the respective gimmicks brought more damage than enhancement to these works.
Continue reading

post

The Bootleg Files: Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood

BOOTLEG FILES 716: “Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood” (1960 all-star TV special).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS:
No perceived commercial reissue value.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

By the time 1960 rolled about, the film industry was in a very strange place. The studio system had mostly crumbled and many of the major Hollywood productions were being shot overseas. The movie studios learned to grudgingly live with television and a few figured out how to profit from the small screen medium.
Continue reading

post

The Bootleg Files: The Vivian Vance and Margaret Hamilton Maxwell House Coffee Commercials

BOOTLEG FILES 715: “The Vivian Vance and Margaret Hamilton Maxwell House Coffee Commercials” (series of 1970s television commercials).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: No perceived commercial reissue value for television commercials highlighting a specific brand.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

For an actor, being typecast in a particular role can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it offers the opportunity to enjoy a high-profile part in a popular production that, with luck, can be leveraged into fame and fortune. On the other hand, however, it locks the performer into a specific character and makes it nearly impossible for that individual to be accepted in other roles, thus severely limiting a career.
Continue reading

post

The Bootleg Files: Orson Welles’ Moby Dick

BOOTLEG FILES 714: “Moby Dick” (Orson Welles’ unfinished 1971 project).

LAST SEEN: Three brief clips are on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Sometimes, the only way to enjoy Welles’ work is via bootleg video.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

Orson Welles had a lifelong fascination with Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick” and pursued adaptations of this epic novel interpretation throughout his career. He produced radio versions of the tale in 1938 and 1946, taking on the role of Captain Ahab. John Huston wanted Welles to play Ahab in his 1956 film version, but Warner Bros. insisted on a star with a bigger box office draw, so Gregory Peck was recruited to play Ahab while Welles had a showy supporting part as Father Mapple.
Continue reading

post

The Bootleg Files: To Tell the Truth

BOOTLEG FILES 713: “To Tell the Truth” (long-running television game show).

LAST SEEN:
Plenty of old episodes are on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: A few of the older episodes are on DVD from a highly dubious label.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Never properly repackaged for home entertainment channels.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely at all.

Liars are the most fascinating people. After all, they can give you a spiel that could be utterly convincing and compelling, but it is only later when you realize their smoke-and-mirror act played you for a fool. And it takes a certain brand of talent to sell a falsehood in a manner that it is happily embraced as a fact and its seller is welcomed as an all-around good sort.
Continue reading