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The Bootleg Files: An Inspector Calls

BOOTLEG FILES 630: “An Inspector Calls” (1954 British drama starring Alastair Sim).

LAST SEEN: On the Internet Archive.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It has been commercially unavailable for years in the United States.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: There is a U.K. DVD version, but no U.S. version yet.

In the aftermath of World War II, British writer J.B. Priestley put forth the play “An Inspector Calls,” which offered an interesting mix of drawing room mystery and socialist agitation against his nation’s suffocating class system. The play was first performed in the Soviet Union in 1945 and later had its London premiere in 1946 starring Ralph Richardson as the eponymous investigator. The Broadway premiere occurred in 1947 with Thomas Mitchell as the inspector. “An Inspector Calls” also turned up on British television in 1948 and in radio adaptations in 1950 and 1953.
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The Bootleg Files: The Frito Bandito Commercials

BOOTLEG FILES 629: “The Frito Bandito Commercials” (1967-71 television advertising campaign).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: No afterlife for politically incorrect commercials.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: We’ll see that border wall first.

When Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president in 2015, he flabbergasted many people with this impolite description of Mexicans: “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

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The Bootleg Files: The Jungle

BOOTLEG FILES 628: “The Jungle” (1967 documentary made by a Philadelphia street gang).

LAST SEEN:
On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Murky rights issue.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It’s possible.

Movies about street gangs rarely resonate with any degree of honesty, if only because filmmakers have a tendency to sanitize or glamorize the gangs with the hope that something good can be found in their bad boy behavior. However, there was one strange little film that attempted to get a street level view of gang behavior, and what made it so unusual was having real gang members on both sides of the camera.
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The Bootleg Files: Laverne & Shirley in the Army

BOOTLEG FILES 627: “Laverne & Shirley in the Army” (1981-82 animated series).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Never re-released after its initial broadcast.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Oh, I hope not.

In concept, making an animated series based on “Laverne & Shirley” made perfect sense because the beloved sitcom was the most cartoonish program in the 1970s prime-time schedule. With its propensity for slapstick comedy and a line-up of over-the-top characters, “Laverne & Shirley” was a living cartoon.
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The Bootleg Files: Daughter of the Dragon

BOOTLEG FILES 626: “Daughter of the Dragon” (1931 thriller starring Anna May Wong and Sessue Hayakawa).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Politically incorrect content makes it difficult to sell in today’s too-touch environment.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Maybe someday.

In 1913, English writer Sax Rohmer published the crime thriller “The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu,” focusing on the elaborate homicidal activities of the brilliant yet deranged white-hating Chinese criminal mastermind. At a time when Western attitudes to the Chinese ranged from suspicious to violently hostile, the outlandish Fu Manchu was politically incorrect long before that toxic phrase was coined.
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The Bootleg Files: Madge the Manicurist Commercials

BOOTLEG FILES 625: Madge the Manicurist Commercials (1966-1992 series of television advertisements for Palmolive Dish Detergent).

LAST SEEN: Some of the commercials are on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Television commercials are never gathered together into a single anthology celebrating a specific product or brand.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Nope.

If you were watching television in the mid-1960s through the early 1990s, there is a good chance that you were inspired to buy a bottle of Palmolive dish detergent thanks to a long-running series of commercials featuring a character known as Madge the Manicurist. Of course, those readers who came around after that era might not see the immediate connection between a dish detergent and a manicurist. However, some very clever advertising executives and one remarkably lucky actress helped make that unusual combination work.
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The Bootleg Files: A Bell for Adano

BOOTLEG FILES 624: “A Bell for Adano” (1945 drama starring John Hodiak and Gene Tierney).

LAST SEEN: On cable television.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Never commercially released in the U.S. home video market.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It deserves it.

Watching Hollywood’s war films produced during World War II is often unsatisfactory, if only because much of the gung-ho patriotism that permeated those movies feels corny and propagandistic today. But one film from that era stands out for offer a somewhat harsh and often unpleasant consideration of how the U.S. Army operated in Europe: the 1945 production of “A Bell for Adano.”

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The Bootleg Files: Cozzilla

BOOTLEG FILES 623: “Cozzilla” (1977 Italian riff on “Godzilla, King of the Monsters!”).

LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Never commercially released outside of Italy.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Utterly unlikely.

In 1976, Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis unleashed a remake of “King Kong” on the moviegoing public. Inspired by the commercial success of this endeavor, Italian filmmaker Luigi Cozzi figured that he could score his box office hit with a monster film. But rather than create a new film from scratch, he sought to re-release the 1954 Japanese classic “Godzilla.” But Cozzi’s simple plan turned out to become a lot more complex than he anticipated, and what he eventually put into theaters is widely regarded as one of the most bizarre productions ever made.

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