The Bootleg Files: Jésus de Nazareth

BOOTLEG FILES 681: “Jésus de Nazareth” (1942 Mexican film).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: Not to my knowledge.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A once-popular Mexican film that is virtually unknown outside of its home country.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not in an English-subtitled version in the U.S. market.

In 1926, Mexican President Plutarco Elías Calles sought to enforce a federal separation of church and state. But Calles’ virulent anti-Catholic sentiments resulted an excessively violent crackdown on the faith, much to the anger of many people. A popular uprising that became known as the Cristero War paralyzed the country for several years, and even Calles’ departure from office in 1928 failed to heal the scars created by his policies.
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The Bootleg Files: The Great Commandment

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.
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