post

The Bootleg Files: Kristo

BOOTLEG FILES 750: “Kristo” (1996 Filipino film on the life of Jesus Christ).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Too obscure for commercial consideration.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not on a U.S. label.

Before we get started on this week’s column, I would like to call attention to this being the 750th entry in The Bootleg Files series that began 17 years ago on another site and has been part of Cinema Crazed since February 2017. I would like to thank the Cinema Crazed publisher, Felix Vasquez Jr., for hosting this column and thank the readers that have been extraordinarily supportive over the years. And now, on with the show…
Continue reading

post

The Bootleg Files: The Divine Mr. J

BOOTLEG FILES 749: “The Divine Mr. J” (1971 religious satire starring Bette Midler as the Virgin Mary).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO:
On a VHS label in 1984.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Legal threats by Bette Midler have kept this out of circulation.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely.

In May 1974, newspapers in New York City began to carry advertisements for a film opening at the Festival Theater called “The Divine Mr. J.” The advertisements alerted moviegoers this was the film debut of Bette Midler, who achieved her career breakthrough two years earlier with the album “The Divine Miss M,” and the caricature of Midler used on her eponymous second album was the featured image of the film’s promotion.
Continue reading

post

The Bootleg Files: Jesus and Daya Sagar

BOOTLEG FILES 732: “Jesus” and “Daya Sagar” (1973 and 1978 films from India about the life of Jesus).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: No perceived commercial value for the U.S. market.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely in the U.S.

India’s film industry never placed great emphasis on Christian-themed films, which is understandable since less than 2.5% of the country’s population identify as Christian and the perceived commercial value of such productions are considered minimal. During the 1970s, a pair of feature films were produced that offered retellings of Jesus’ life through the distinctive spectrum of India’s cinematic styles.
Continue reading

post

The Bootleg Files: I.N.R.I.

BOOTLEG FILES 695: “I.N.R.I.” (1923 silent German epic directed by Robert Wiene).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It was considered lost for years.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not for the U.S. market.

Last week, this column considered a groundbreaking silent French attempt at creating a Biblical epic. This week, we take a look across the border to see the German approach to the sacred subject.
Continue reading

post

The Bootleg Files: La vie et la passion de Jésus Christ

BOOTLEG FILES 694: “La vie et la passion de Jésus Christ” (1903 French Biblical epic).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On a 2012 commercial DVD release.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS:
It is now a public domain work, but it wasn’t always.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
It was included on a commercial DVD label, but its groundbreaking role in the fight against film bootlegging is why it is included here.

In the early years of the 20th century, the motion picture industry was plagued with incessant bootlegging of films. Shady characters who passed themselves off as producers and distributors would obtain copies of films and claim it as their own property, selling prints to unsuspecting exhibitors that were unaware of the original source material. This was particularly problematic with European filmmakers who did not have a U.S. sales presence and, thus, could not defend their property across the Atlantic.
Continue reading

post

The Bootleg Files: The Westminster Passion Play – Behold the Man

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.”
Continue reading

post

King of Kings (1961)

It is difficult to view the 1961 version of “King of Kings” without wondering whether the creative talent involved in the production had any familiarity with the inspiration for their work. Although it was not unusual for Biblical epics to take some fanciful liberties with the subject matter, rarely has the sacred text been so wildly rewritten.
Continue reading

post

The Bootleg Files: In Search of Historic Jesus

BOOTLEG FILES 652: “In Search of Historic Jesus” (1979 feature from Sunn Classic Pictures).

LAST SEEN: On DailyMotion.com.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On VHS and LaserDisc.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It was never released on DVD or Blu-ray.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It could happen.

During the 1970s, movie audiences were bombarded with a parade of weird documentaries and docudramas from a Utah-based company that went by the names Sun International Pictures, Schick Sunn Classic Pictures and Sunn Classic Pictures. This company tapped into the growing public interest in the paranormal and historical revisionism by offering films aimed at challenging scientific and scholarly traditions.
Continue reading