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The Bootleg Files: The Great Commandment

BOOTLEG FILES 658: “The Great Commandment” (1939 feature film inspired by the ministry of Jesus).

LAST SEEN: On several online video sites.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On public domain labels.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A lapsed copyright opens it up to endless duping.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It is stuck in public domain hell.

In 1939, an Episcopal priest from Red Wing, Minnesota, named James K. Friedrich brought forth “The Great Commandment,” a $130,000 feature-length production as the first offering of his start-up company Cathedral Films. The film created a bidding war among the major Hollywood studios, with 20th Century Fox paying $200,000 for the rights to this production. However, the studio was not interested in releasing “The Great Commandment.” Instead, it planned to shoot a big-budget remake that would star Tyrone Power, its top box office attraction.
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The Art of American Screen Acting, 1912-1960

In this episode of “The Online Movie Show with Phil Hall,” historian Dan Callahan returns to discuss his book “The Art of American Screen Acting, 1912-1960.” Get ready for a fun and insightful discussion on how cinema acting has evolved from the silent era through Hollywood’s Golden Age.

The episode can be heard here.

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The Bootleg Files: Alice the Fire Fighter

BOOTLEG FILES 657: “Alice the Fire Fighter” (1926 animated short by Walt Disney).

LAST SEEN: On several online video sites.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On public domain labels.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A lapsed copyright opens it up to endless duping.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Although it has been restored, it is stuck in public domain hell.

In 1924, an aspiring animator from Kansas City named Walt Disney caught his first big break when he signed with the independent Winkler Pictures to create a series of short films that combined animation with live action. Disney came up with the concept of a having a then-contemporary riff on “Alice in Wonderland,” with a live action little girl interacting with comic cartoon characters. This series became known as the Alice Comedies, and 57 one-reelers were created over the next three years.
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The Bootleg Files: Hare-Breadth Hurry

BOOTLEG FILES 656: “Hare-Breadth Hurry” (1963 animated short with Bugs Bunny and Wile E. Coyote).

LAST SEEN: On DailyMotion.com.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It seems to have fallen through the cracks.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It’s not a priority.

I wasn’t expecting to do another Bugs Bunny-related column after covering “Rabbit Every Monday” a few weeks ago, but I stumbled over the 1963 “Hare-Breadth Hurry” by accident and felt that this deserves a second look.
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Turning Down a Great Role

Jackie Gleason as Popeye Doyle? Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones? Cary Grant as Henry Higgins? These are some of the most amazing original casting decisions involving iconic screen roles, yet all of these stars turned down the opportunity to play immortal movie characters. In this episode, of “The Online Movie Show,” Jerry Roberts from ArmchairCinema.com returns to consider some of the most interesting and outlandish what-could-have-been casting in film history!

The episode can be heard here.

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The Bootleg Files: The Fighting Kentuckian – The 8mm Version

BOOTLEG FILES 655: “The Fighting Kentuckian – The 8mm Version” (severely truncated 8mm version of the 1949 John Wayne film).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Severely edited version of a feature film in a long-defunct home entertainment format.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

Prior to the proliferation of video cassette recorders in the late 1970s and early 1980s, movie lovers who wanted to screen their favorite classic films at home made use of portable projectors that screened the 35mm or 70mm Hollywood theatrical fare in the much smaller 16mm, 9.5mm, 8mm and Super 8 formats.
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