Everyone is familiar with Jack Nicholson’s Oscar-winning and -nominated performances, as well as his icon roles in beloved cult films. But less attention is bestowed on his early screen work – and many of these films only gained belated notice after Jack’s rise to superstardom. Today, we are honored to have the celebrated film historian James L. Neibaur, author of “The Essential Jack Nicholson,” to discuss the star’s earlier films, including his now-classic collaborations with Roger Corman and Monte Hellman.
BOOTLEG FILES 582: “Bell Bottom George” (1944 British comedy starring George Formby).
LAST SEEN: An unauthorized posting is on YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: The film and its star are unknown in the U.S.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It has been released on British DVD, but a U.S. release is unlikely.
Very few Americans ever heard of George Formby, but over in Great Britain he is revered as one of the top entertainers of the 1930s and 1940s. With his squeaky Lancashire voice, his toothy grin, his penchant for singing upbeat tunes (many with saucy double meanings) while playing a ukulele or banjolele, and a persona for being a lovable bumbler who somehow manages to save the day, Formby personified what the British refer to as the “cheeky chappie,” but which Americans would recognize as a working-class hero.
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Roger Sherman sets his camera on Israeli culinary culture. With Israeli-American restauranteur Michael Solomonov as the on-screen narrator and guide, the film wanders throughout Israel sampling the foods prepared in the nation’s finest eateries and in the homes of several private cuisine.
Carmine Capiobianco is the beloved star of such below-the-radar/over-the-top classics as “Psychos in Love,” “Galactic Gigolo,” “Land of College Prophets,” “Bikini Bloodbath” and “The Sins of Dracula.” Most recently, he starred in Debbie Rochon’s “Model Hunger” and the documentary “VHS Massacre.” On today’s show, Carmine discusses his illustrious career in underground cinema with host Phil Hall.
BOOTLEG FILES 581: “Zenobia” (1939 comedy starring Oliver Hardy, Harry Langdon and Hattie McDaniel).
LAST SEEN: An unauthorized posting from a TCM telecast is on YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: A 1997 VHS video release.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A film that slipped through the cracks.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It is not a priority.
In 1939, producer Hal Roach announced that he was creating a new film that teamed Oliver Hardy with Harry Langdon. This was not something that Hardy welcomed, but he had no choice. Hardy and his longtime partner Stan Laurel were signed to separate contracts with Roach – their teaming came about by accident rather than design – but after a dispute involving the production of the team’s 1938 feature “Block-Heads,” Roach terminated Laurel’s contract. With Hardy still under contract for another year, the producer looked about for a vehicle to fit his rotund comedy star.
One of the most fascinating figures in Hollywood history had one of the most fascinating figures in Hollywood history. On this episode, host Phil Hall celebrates the legacy of the ultimate blonde bombshell with Richard Koper, author of the biography “Affectionately, Jayne Mansfield.”
BOOTLEG FILES 580: “Detective Felix in Trouble” (1932 Japanese amateur animated short).
LAST SEEN: A video of this rare film is online at the Japanese Animated Film Classics website.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: The unauthorized use of the Felix the Cat character.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely at this time.
Today, it seems that anyone with a video camera and a mania for popular movies can make their own fan film based on the latest multiplex hit. But the concept of the fan film is not new, by any stretch. The earliest known fan film was a 1925 short “Anderson’s Own Gang Comedy,” a South Carolina-lensed riff on the Our Gang series.
This week’s podcast episode celebrates the continuing appeal of short films and the importance they play in launching new filmmaking talent. Host Phil Hall’s guest is Kim Adelman, author of “Making it Big in Shorts: The Ultimate Filmmaker’s Guide to Short Films,” which was recently republished in its third edition. She also reports on short films for Indiewire, co-programs the American Cinematheque’s annual Focus on Female Directors short film screening series, and is the co-founder of FFC Female Filmmaking Collective.