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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 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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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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The Bootleg Files: Jésus de Nazareth

BOOTLEG FILES 681: “Jésus de Nazareth” (1942 Mexican film).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: Not to my knowledge.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A once-popular Mexican film that is virtually unknown outside of its home country.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not in an English-subtitled version in the U.S. market.

In 1926, Mexican President Plutarco Elías Calles sought to enforce a federal separation of church and state. But Calles’ virulent anti-Catholic sentiments resulted an excessively violent crackdown on the faith, much to the anger of many people. A popular uprising that became known as the Cristero War paralyzed the country for several years, and even Calles’ departure from office in 1928 failed to heal the scars created by his policies.
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The Bootleg Files: Keeping Fit

BOOTLEG FILES 680: “Keeping Fit” (1942 all-star short film).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: Not to my knowledge.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Rare World War II-era film that had no postwar reissue value.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
Maybe in an anthology of wartime shorts or as a special feature on a DVD.

After the United States entered World War II, the Hollywood studios churned out a series of morale-building films were created to keep civilian audiences engaged in supporting the war effort. The studios often put their biggest names into these films to add a level of star wattage to the messaging.
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The Bootleg Files: Main Street to Broadway

BOOTLEG FILES 679: “Main Street to Broadway” (1953 all-star film).

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

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: Only as a bootleg.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Never made available for U.S. commercial home entertainment release.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not for a long time.

One of the most curious flops of the 1950s was an all-star feature called “Main Street to Broadway.” Originally intended as a fundraising vehicle for a nonprofit devoted to the promotion of live theater, the film went through an excessively ambitious pre-production cycle but emerged as a predictable and strangely unsatisfactory effort that fell considerably short of its lofty mission.
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