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The Bootleg Files: Going Spanish

BOOTLEG FILES 686: “Going Spanish” (1934 short comedy starring Bob Hope).

LAST SEEN:
On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On public domain labels.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A lapsed copyright enables anyone to duplicate prints.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
The chances of a digitally restored version are nil.

Eighty-five years ago, Bob Hope made his film debut in a dinky little two-reel comedy. And thanks to an indelicate wisecrack about the film’s quality, he almost saw his film career end with that debut effort.
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The Wild, Wild World of Chris Metzler

Documentary filmmaker Chris Metzler has given audiences a look into strange and fascinating subjects through his productions “Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea” (seen in the above photo), “Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone” and his new release “Rodents of Unusual Size.” On this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” Chris discusses his distinctive approach to nonfiction filmmaking.

The episode can be heard here.

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The Bootleg Files: Wings Over Everest

BOOTLEG FILES 685: “Wings Over Everest” (1934 Academy Award-winning documentary short).

LAST SEEN: One YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A forgotten work.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not as a standalone film.

Everyone knows that Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first men to reach the peak of Mount Everest with their landmark 1953 expedition up the Himalayan mountain. However, most people are unaware that they were not the first men to see the top of the world’s highest mountain. That achievement belonged to a 1933 aerial expedition led by Sir Douglas Douglas-Hamilton (also known as Lord Clydesdale) and Lieutenant David McIntyre. Sadly, that accomplishment has been mostly forgotten today – except for Academy Award completists who know about the expedition through a short documentary called “Wings Over Everest.”
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Hitchcock and the Censors

Throughout his career, Alfred Hitchcock engaged in a battle of wits with film censors in Britain, Hollywood and World War II-era Washington. On this episode, we learn about Hitchcock’s ability to evade censorship controls. Our guest on this episode of “The Online Movie Show” is John Billheimer, author of the new book “Hitchcock and the Censors.”

The episode can be heard here.

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The Bootleg Files: Patriotism

BOOTLEG FILES 684: “Patriotism” (1972 educational film starring Bob Crane).

LAST SEEN: One YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: As part of a grey market DVD anthology of educational films.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS:
A fuzzy question of who owns the rights to the film.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not as a standalone film.

In 1972, the United States was not in a good place. The Vietnam War was still dragging on, despite endless attempts by anti-war forces to hold multiple rallies demanding the end of the military conflict, and the push for socioeconomic racial and gender equality created significant social upheavals in the nation that delighted many and upset others. The presidential campaign magnified the political divisions that ruptured in the mid-1960s and had yet to fully heal.
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The Bootleg Files: Ossessione

BOOTLEG FILES 683: “Ossessione” (1943 Italian film directed by Luchino Visconti).

LAST SEEN: We cannot confirm last exhibition of this film.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: There was a DVD release by Image Entertainment.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: For three decades, it could not be seen due to copyright violations.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: The problems were all straightened out and it can be seen.

One of the most famous films in the history of Italian cinema is also one of the most notorious examples of copyright violations. And while the legal issues were eventually sorted out, the sheer audacity of this endeavor is still astonishing.
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The Bootleg Files: The Sea Beast

BOOTLEG FILES 682: “The Sea Beast” (1926 silent film adaptation of “Moby-Dick”).

LAST SEEN: We cannot confirm last exhibition of this film.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: Only on a DVD of dubious heritage.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Warner Bros., which owns the copyright, has never released it for digital home entertainment.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
Maybe some day.

In 1851, Herman Melville’s novel “Moby-Dick” was published. During Melville’s lifetime, the book was a commercial failure – only 3,200 copies were sold in the 40 years between its initial release and the author’s death 1891. It was not until the 1920s that literary scholars re-evaluated the work and recognized its importance as a work of literary art.
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