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The Bootleg Files: White Zombie

BOOTLEG FILES 708: “White Zombie” (1932 horror film starring Bela Lugosi).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On public domain labels.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A copyright infringement accusation at the beginning of its production and a lapsed copyright after its release.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: There has yet to be a truly pristine commercial release of this title.

When “White Zombie” opened in New York in 1932, the critics were scathing in their denunciations. Words like “ridiculous,” “ludicrous,” “failure” and “Worst Movie of 1932” peppered the reviews. And while the critical slams did not scare away audiences, it nonetheless saddled the film with a negative reputation that required decades of repeated screenings and new generations of film scholars to mitigate the initial wave of abuse.
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The Bootleg Files: The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t

BOOTLEG FILES 707: “The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t” (1979 TV special with Judd Hirsch and Mariette Hartley).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: A VHS video release only.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Something is holding up a DVD and Blu-ray release.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not a priority.

So, how was your Halloween? If you wish the holiday could go on a bit longer, then you came to the right place because we are digging up one of the silliest productions centered around October 31.
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The Bootleg Files: El Sartorio

BOOTLEG FILES 706: “El Sartorio” (1907 Argentine porn film).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: I have no idea – maybe in an anthology of old smut flicks.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: The underground nature of early 20th century porn resulted in endless bootlegging.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not as a standalone, and probably not in a documentary on Argentine cinema.

The most widely seen film produced in Argentina was not one of Leopoldo Torre-Nilson’s political dramas or the Oscar-winning gems “The Official Story” and “The Secret in Their Eyes.” Instead, it is a smutty silent short of a mysterious origin that has gained contemporary notability for being among the oldest surviving examples of pornographic cinema.
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The Bootleg Files: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Epilogue

BOOTLEG FILES 705: “2001: A Space Odyssey, Epilogue” (2019 fan film).

LAST SEEN: On Vimeo.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Borrowing from classic material without permission.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Negative.

Last week, this column featured a merry little fan film that mashed up the Abbott and Costello and Superman franchises. This week, we are focusing on a new fan film that has quickly become the talk of social media.
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The Bootleg Files: Abbott & Costello Meet Superman

BOOTLEG FILES 704: “Abbott & Costello Meet Superman” (2015 fan film).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS:
It’s kind of obvious what is going on here.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
They’re lucky that Mike the Cop doesn’t arrest them.

Fan films often represent a victory of enthusiasm over talent, with aspiring Spielbergs getting carried away with their mania over popular film franchises. For the most part, these films can be accepted as charming – a few are actually quite polished thanks to an intelligent use of digital effects.
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The Bootleg Files: Talking Pictures

BOOTLEG FILES 703: “Talking Pictures” (unsold 1968 pilot for a TV game show).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: No commercial value for a single episode of a failed production.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

For every television show that gets on the air, there are an infinite number of projects that get proposed but fail to find a slot on the broadcast schedule. Many of these projects never advance beyond the concept stage, but often these endeavors find their way to a level known as a pilot, which serves as a test of what the program would look like if it received the okay to become a full-fledged addition to the channel line-up.
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The Bootleg Files: MetropolisRemix

BOOTLEG FILES 702: “MetropolisRemix” (a new riff on the silent classic).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO:
None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: An unapologetic case of copyright infringement that will not be allowed into commercial release.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
Not likely.

In 1984, music composer and producer Giorgio Moroder unveiled his restoration of the 1927 Fritz Lang silent masterpiece “Metropolis.” Film preservationists were aghast at the liberties that Moroder took – color tinting and isolated color effects within monochromatic scenes, a faster frame projection, subtitles in the place of intertitles and a new rock score that didn’t quite match the vibe of the classic production. However, audiences were mostly appreciative of this endeavor, and for a generation of moviegoers this marked the first time they experienced a silent film in a theatrical venue.
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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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