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Jane Russell: A Tribute

Jane Russell’s stardom was engineered by Howard Hughes’ fervid imagination, and her initial publicity overemphasized her remarkable physique. But she was a genuinely talented performer adept at light comedy and melodrama. In this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” actor/writer Joe Mannetti returns to offer a tribute to Jane Russell’s iconic place in Hollywood history.

The episode can be heard here.

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The Bootleg Files: The Passion Play of Oberammergau

BOOTLEG FILES 664: “The Passion Play of Oberammergau (1898 film at the center of a historic lawsuit).

LAST SEEN: The full film has not been seen since its original release.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASONFOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A landmark patent infringement case.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Too late.

Thisweek’s column is different because it does not involve a production that can only be seen in an unauthorized presentation. Instead, we are going to revisit a long-forgotten story about one of the first legal challenges of patent infringement connected to the film industry.

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The Bootleg Files: The Apple-Knockers and the Coke

BOOTLEG FILES 663: “The Apple-Knockers and the Coke” (1948 stag film).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: Not believed to be included in any commercial release.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A naughty film that circulated underground for decades.

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

For a number of years, rumors circulated that Marilyn Monroe appeared in pornographic movies. Much of the fuel for that belief came from her 1949 nude calendar art photo shoot, for which she only received $50. After all, if the great MM could disrobe for a still photographer during the period when she was a struggling actress, why wouldn’t she go one step further and go clothing-free for an adult film?
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Ernie Kovacs: The Centennial Edition (DVD)

During the 1950s and early 1960s, Ernie Kovacs stood out from his comedy peers who approached television with a vaudeville and Borscht Belt vibe. Kovacs’ ingenious use of visual sight sags and off-kilter sound effects created a new school of small-screen comedy, and his gallery of brilliantly warped characters – including the mincing poet Percy Dovetonsils, the hostile Hungarian cook Miklos Molnar and the musically violent derby-hatted simians of The Nairobi Trio – brought a subversive sense of humor to a comedy scene that was often a little too safe for its own good.
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The Bootleg Files: It’s the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown

BOOTLEG FILES 662: “It’s the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown” (1988 TV special).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On VHS video.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It is out of circulation for many years.

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

Following the dismal reception of his 1988 made-for-television special “It’s the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown,” Charles M. Schulz lamented that “I wanted this to be my ‘Citizen Kane,’ but it’s not.” From an Orson Welles analogy perspective, the production might have been closer to those infamous drunken outtakes for the Paul Masson champagne – a weird, embarrassing blip in the late stages of a brilliant career.
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The Other Side of the Wind (2018)

Orson Welles’ “The Other Side of the Wind” was, for many years, the second most infamous unfinished film of all time. (A certain Jerry Lewis film earned the top spot within incomplete cinema.) As everyone knows by now, the film was posthumously stitched together 42 years after principal photography was finished and is now being made available via Netflix. To be blunt, it would have been better if Welles’ unedited work was left in oblivion.
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