The Bootleg Files: Mack the Knife

BOOTLEG FILES 648: “Mack the Knife” (1989 film version of “The Threepenny Opera” starring Raul Julia and Roger Daltry).

LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: VHS and LaserDisc releases only.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Out of circulation for many years

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely, but not impossible.

One of the minor mysteries of the movie musical genre has been the failure to create a satisfactory screen adaption of the Bertolt Brecht-Kurt Weill theatrical landmark “The Threepenny Opera.” Not that there haven’t been several attempts. In 1931, director G.W. Pabst simultaneously helmed a German- and French-language version. (An English-language version, to be distributed in the U.S. by Warner Bros., was planned but never shot.) Those films, unfortunately, jettisoned much of the glorious score and were burdened by the stodginess that permeated many of the early sound-era films.

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