BOOTLEG FILES 660: “The Westminster Passion Play – Behold the Man” (1951 British feature film).
LAST SEEN: It is on Amazon Prime, albeit for the wrong reason.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: Yes, but for the wrong reason.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It is complicated.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely at this time.
In 2011, a DVD label called Synergy Entertainment made one of the most spectacular blunders in the history of the home entertainment industry. This label, which specializes in public domain titles, brought forth a release of the rarely-seen 1921 French silent film “Behold the Man,” which told the story of Jesus’ last days. But there was a problem: the print used for the Synergy Entertainment was not from the French silent film, but instead belonged to a 1951 British production originally titled “The Westminster Passion Play – Behold the Man.”
BOOTLEG FILES 658: “The Great Commandment” (1939 feature film inspired by the ministry of Jesus).
LAST SEEN: On several online video sites.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On public domain labels.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A lapsed copyright opens it up to endless duping.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It is stuck in public domain hell.
In 1939, an Episcopal priest from Red Wing, Minnesota, named James K. Friedrich brought forth “The Great Commandment,” a $130,000 feature-length production as the first offering of his start-up company Cathedral Films. The film created a bidding war among the major Hollywood studios, with 20th Century Fox paying $200,000 for the rights to this production. However, the studio was not interested in releasing “The Great Commandment.” Instead, it planned to shoot a big-budget remake that would star Tyrone Power, its top box office attraction.