BOOTLEG FILES 579: “So This is Harris” (1933 Oscar-winning short starring Phil Harris).
LAST SEEN: An unauthorized video dupe is on YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: One of those films that just fell through the cracks.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely at this time.
In 1933, RKO Radio Pictures decided to take a chance on Phil Harris, a brash and fun-loving singer and bandleader whose star was on the rise. The studio initially cast him as the lead in the B-grade feature “Melody Cruise,” and then decided to make him the center of attention in a two-reeler.
Kahane Cooperman’s Academy Award-nominated documentary short offers a simultaneous pull on the heartstrings and a classical meditation on violin strings. The eponymous instrument is a violin donated by Joseph Feingold, a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor, to an instrument donation drive conducted by a radio station to help music students in cash-strapped schools in New York. The violin went to an all-girls academy in the Bronx, where it was presented to 12-year-old Brianna Perez, a gifted student from a broken home who aspires to become a music teacher.
In concept, the 1970 endeavor to enable Japanese daredevil skier Yuchiro Miura to become the first athlete in his sport to descend Mount Everest seemed like an expensive folly: a $3 million budget that initially involved 850 men and 27 tons of equipment. And documentary footage covering this adventure seemed destined to become a standard-issue travelogue, at least in its initial journeys through too-picturesque stretches Nepal.