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The Bootleg Files: The Madwoman of Central Park West

BOOTLEG FILES 701: “The Madwoman of Central Park West” (1980 television special based on the Broadway musical).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A lack of perceived commercial interest coupled with music rights clearance issues.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

Actress Phyllis Newman passed away earlier this week, and you can be excused if her name doesn’t ring that proverbial bell. The peak period of her career occurred in the 1960s, when her bouncy personality helped to make her a ubiquitous presence in Broadway musical comedies and on television game shows and talk shows. Newman’s 1962 Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical is still recalled as one of the great upsets in that prize’s history – her “Subways Are for Sleeping” performance snagged the honors that many expected to be bestowed upon Barbra Streisand for her breakthrough role in “I Can Get it For You Wholesale.” She later made history as the first woman to guest host “The Tonight Show” while Johnny Carson was on vacation.
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The Bootleg Files: Bedlam of Beards

BOOTLEG FILES 700: “Bedlam of Beards” (1934 short starring Bobby Clark and Paul McCullough).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: There is no great commercial interest in restoring the Clark and McCullough films.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

This column marks the 700th entry in The Bootleg Files series, which ran from 2003 to 2015 on Film Threat and came over to Cinema Crazed in 2017. I would like to take this moment to thank Cinema Crazed’s publisher and editor Felix Vasquez Jr. for having this column here on the site and to thank the longtime readers of The Bootleg Files who have offered invaluable comments, recommendations and support for my work.
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The Bootleg Files: The Ann Miller Great American Soup Commercial

BOOTLEG FILES 699: “The Ann Miller Great American Soup Commercial” (1970 television advertisement).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube in both its full-length and truncated versions.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: There is no market for old-time television advertisements.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

If you are a frequent viewer of today’s American television, you may have noticed some depressing trends regarding advertising. It appears there is a surplus number of commercials for pharmaceutical products that display cheerful images while running soundtracks full of dreadful warnings of toxic side effects, and there are too many commercials from insurance companies that offer obnoxious characters who try and fail to be funny, and there are also too many commercial from packaged food providers that promise immediate and drastic weight loss if you shift your diet to an exclusive focus on their offerings.
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The Bootleg Files: Macbeth

BOOTLEG FILES 698: “Macbeth” (1961 Canadian television production starring Sean Connery in the title role).

LAST SEEN: We cannot confirm the most recent exhibition of this title.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On a public domain label and a collector-to-collector label.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: There might be some rights issue holding it up.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

Sean Connery celebrated his 89th birthday earlier this week and social media was a flutter with tributes recalling his star-making performances as James Bond and his fine work in films stretching from the 1960s to the early 2000s. But few people recalled Connery’s role as the homicidal yet tragic Scottish nobleman who killed his way to the crown in “Macbeth.” Indeed, this work remains among the actor’s least known and most curious efforts.
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The Bootleg Files: John Barrymore’s Hamlet Screen Test

BOOTLEG FILES 697: “John Barrymore’s Hamlet Screen Test” (1933 test footage for a film that was never made).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Too short for a standalone release, not easy to fit into a larger production.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

For every film that finds its way to the big screen, there are an infinite number of projects that got off the ground. Some of these are mere figments of conversation that failed to root into a serious endeavor, others consist of carefully constructed screenplays that never found their way into production, and other projects barely made into a very early stage of pre-production before being abruptly cancelled.
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The Bootleg Files: Stop Messin’ About! – The Very Best of Kenneth Williams

BOOTLEG FILES 696: “Stop Messin’ About! – The Very Best of Kenneth Williams” (1996 documentary on the British funnyman).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Due to its lack of availability in the U.S.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

One of the joys of the long-running British film series of Carry On comedies was the brilliance of its ensemble – this was the rare series where every member of the cast enjoyed a wealth of laugh-out-loud dialogue and sight gags. But if there was a first among equals in the Carry On crew, it would have to be the immortal Kenneth Williams.
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The Bootleg Files: I.N.R.I.

BOOTLEG FILES 695: “I.N.R.I.” (1923 silent German epic directed by Robert Wiene).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It was considered lost for years.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not for the U.S. market.

Last week, this column considered a groundbreaking silent French attempt at creating a Biblical epic. This week, we take a look across the border to see the German approach to the sacred subject.
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The Bootleg Files: La vie et la passion de Jésus Christ

BOOTLEG FILES 694: “La vie et la passion de Jésus Christ” (1903 French Biblical epic).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On a 2012 commercial DVD release.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS:
It is now a public domain work, but it wasn’t always.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
It was included on a commercial DVD label, but its groundbreaking role in the fight against film bootlegging is why it is included here.

In the early years of the 20th century, the motion picture industry was plagued with incessant bootlegging of films. Shady characters who passed themselves off as producers and distributors would obtain copies of films and claim it as their own property, selling prints to unsuspecting exhibitors that were unaware of the original source material. This was particularly problematic with European filmmakers who did not have a U.S. sales presence and, thus, could not defend their property across the Atlantic.
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