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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: Bell Bottom George

BOOTLEG FILES 582: “Bell Bottom George” (1944 British comedy starring George Formby).

LAST SEEN: An unauthorized posting is on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: The film and its star are unknown in the U.S.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It has been released on British DVD, but a U.S. release is unlikely.

Very few Americans ever heard of George Formby, but over in Great Britain he is revered as one of the top entertainers of the 1930s and 1940s. With his squeaky Lancashire voice, his toothy grin, his penchant for singing upbeat tunes (many with saucy double meanings) while playing a ukulele or banjolele, and a persona for being a lovable bumbler who somehow manages to save the day, Formby personified what the British refer to as the “cheeky chappie,” but which Americans would recognize as a working-class hero.

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