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The Bootleg Files: Elstree Calling

BOOTLEG FILES 678: “Elstree Calling” (1930 British musical revue co-directed by Alfred Hitchcock).

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

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On bootleg video labels only.

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

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
It is possible, but not a priority.

In 1930, the first British musical feature film was released under the title “Elstree Calling.” Today, most people are aware of the film only because of Alfred Hitchcock’s involvement in the production.

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The Bootleg Files: Disney’s 3 Days in the County Jail

BOOTLEG FILES 677: “3 Days in the County Jail” (1976 nontheatrical short film distributed by Walt Disney Educational Media Company).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On a gray market DVD with other imprisonment-related short nonfiction films.

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

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Nope.

Back in the mid-1970s, when Walt Disney Pictures was stuffing theaters with such happy nonsense as “The Apple Dumpling Gang” and “Escape to Witch Mountain,’ the company’s nontheatrical subsidiary Walt Disney Educational Media Company was attempting to convince America’s youth that crime didn’t pay. Through a four-part series called “Under the Law,” the sons o’ fun at the mouse factory offered a grim and gritty – at least by Disney standards – view of the mishaps that befell naughty young people who thought they were above and beyond the reach of law enforcement.

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The Bootleg Files: Nimbus Libéré

BOOTLEG FILES 676: “Nimbus Libéré” (1944 propaganda animated short).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: It was included in the 1993 Claude Chabrol documentary “The Eye of Vichy.”

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS:
Unauthorized use of copyright-protected animated characters.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It is in “The Eye of Vichy,” but it is also posted online without authorization.

By early 1944, Nazi Germany saw its control over Europe weaken dramatically due to Soviet advances from the East and the arrival of Allied forces into Italy. An invasion of France was expected, and the Germans were not eager to see their brutal control over the French removed.

In one of the weirdest attempts to convince an occupied nation that they should not welcome liberation, the German authorities commissioned an animated short designed to show the stupidity and recklessness of the liberating Allied forces.

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The Bootleg Files: The Wandering Jew

BOOTLEG FILES 675: “The Wandering Jew” (1933 British feature starring Conrad Veidt and Peggy Ashcroft).

LAST SEEN: On GodTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A perceived lack of commercial value.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: A U.S. release is highly unlikely.

The first feature-length production of the sound film era to incorporate Jesus Christ into the on-screen characters was not inspired by the Gospels. Instead, it was based on a weird legend that originated in the 13th century and percolated across Europe well into the early 20th century.
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The Bootleg Files: McLintock!

BOOTLEG FILES 674: “McLintock!” (1963 Western starring John Wayne).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On both public domain labels and in official commercial release.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It’s complicated.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: There was an official commercial release, but the film is still being bootlegged.

Earlier this week, John Wayne was the subject of news headlines and social media buzz – which is no mean feat, considering that the star passed away 40 years ago. The new focus on Wayne was due to politically incorrect comments on race and sexual orientation that he made in a 1971 interview with Playboy Magazine. Back in the day, nobody thought twice about the interview – contrary to popular insistence, people did not read Playboy for the articles. But today, of course, it seems that the mainstream media has a racism outrage quota to fill. And when the demand for racist behavior to condemn outpaces the supply of current incidents, clickbait scoundrels scour the archives – or, in a certain Chicago case, hire a pair of oversized Nigerian brothers – in order to stir new waves of frenzy.
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The Bootleg Files: The Jack Benny Birthday Special

BOOTLEG FILES 673: “The Jack Benny Birthday Special” (1969 TV special).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO:
None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It fell through the cracks.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely.

During the mid-1960s into the early 1970s, Jack Benny made a number of TV specials that aired on NBC. Most of these offerings were pleasant but entirely forgettable, and Benny often seemed to be dialing in his performances.
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The Bootleg Files: Who’s Out There?

BOOTLEG FILES 672: “Who’s Out There?” (1975 documentary short hosted by Orson Welles).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On a public domain label.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Produced for the federal government, hence the absence of a copyright.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: One public domain label carries it, but a full-throttle digital restoration is unlikely.

During the 1970s, a great deal of attention was being paid to outer space. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) kept people focused on the sky with its various lunar missions and probes into the deepest corners of the galaxy. But many people insisted that space traffic was a two-way endeavor, and sightings of UFOs along with various claims of personal encounters with intergalactic visitors became headline news throughout the decade.
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The Bootleg Files: Kokoda Front Line!

BOOTLEG FILES 671: “Kokoda Front Line!” (1942 Australian newsreel).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: No perceived commercial value for the U.S. market.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It can be found on Australian DVD, but it is not likely to be released on a U.S. label.

If you are an Academy Award trivia buff, you will recognize “Kokoda Front Line!” as the first Australian film to win an Oscar. If you are World War II history buff, you will be familiar with the importance of “Kokoda Front Line!” in covering an important battle in the Pacific combat. But if you are not up to speed on either your Oscar factoids or your World War II knowledge, then hopefully you might come away from this week’s column with something worth learning.
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