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The Bootleg Files: Wings Over Everest

BOOTLEG FILES 685: “Wings Over Everest” (1934 Academy Award-winning documentary short).

LAST SEEN: One YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A forgotten work.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not as a standalone film.

Everyone knows that Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first men to reach the peak of Mount Everest with their landmark 1953 expedition up the Himalayan mountain. However, most people are unaware that they were not the first men to see the top of the world’s highest mountain. That achievement belonged to a 1933 aerial expedition led by Sir Douglas Douglas-Hamilton (also known as Lord Clydesdale) and Lieutenant David McIntyre. Sadly, that accomplishment has been mostly forgotten today – except for Academy Award completists who know about the expedition through a short documentary called “Wings Over Everest.”
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The Bootleg Files: Elstree Calling

BOOTLEG FILES 678: “Elstree Calling” (1930 British musical revue co-directed by Alfred Hitchcock).

LAST SEEN: We cannot confirm the last public exhibition of this film.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On bootleg video labels only.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Never made available for U.S. commercial home entertainment release.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
It is possible, but not a priority.

In 1930, the first British musical feature film was released under the title “Elstree Calling.” Today, most people are aware of the film only because of Alfred Hitchcock’s involvement in the production.

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The Bootleg Files: The Wandering Jew

BOOTLEG FILES 675: “The Wandering Jew” (1933 British feature starring Conrad Veidt and Peggy Ashcroft).

LAST SEEN: On GodTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A perceived lack of commercial value.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: A U.S. release is highly unlikely.

The first feature-length production of the sound film era to incorporate Jesus Christ into the on-screen characters was not inspired by the Gospels. Instead, it was based on a weird legend that originated in the 13th century and percolated across Europe well into the early 20th century.
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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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