The Bootleg Files: An Inspector Calls

BOOTLEG FILES 630: “An Inspector Calls” (1954 British drama starring Alastair Sim).

LAST SEEN: On the Internet Archive.


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 Snowman (2017)

Watching “The Snowman” is like reading a second hand copy of a novel that’s had its pages ripped out five at a time by the previous owner. Once upon a time there was a coherent story here, and now there are just chunks of one. “The Snowman” is an incomplete botched piece of garbage, it’s the sign of a studio that just didn’t give a crap and a crew that had no choice but to work with what they were given. Tomas Alfredson can’t save what is an inexplicably difficult to follow and watch film that scatters pieces of a puzzle that are woefully incomplete and mixed up.

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The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

The “Cloverfield” universe is the next step in cinematic universes where it exists not just on cinema, but on the world wide web, as well. Sprung from the spontaneity that fans adore, “The Cloverfield Paradox” is the next wave in the story of “Cloverfield” and tackles another corner of the mythos that fans just might appreciate. In 2008 when fans spotted something falling in to the Atlantic ocean which spawns the emergence of the giant beast Clovie, many assumed it was from an experiment that went awry from the evil organization Tagruato, the enigmatic company that’s been running the viral sites. With “The Cloverfield Paradox” we finally get an explanation as to what occurred, and so much more.

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S.W.A.T. (2003): Special Edition [Blu-ray]

While I wouldn’t call it a action movie masterpiece, “S.W.A.T.” is a decent iteration of the television series that broadens its appeal for a younger audience. While I would have loved a movie that was darker and grittier, the movie works as a comic book kind of movie about the S.W.A.T. unit that look kind of like law enforcing Avengers. The 2003 action crime thriller flaunts every would-be super star and up and coming superstar, taking the S.W.A.T. team and turning it on its head when corruption reaches even its ranks.

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Proud Mary (2018)

More “Leon: The Professional” than “Atomic Blonde,” Babak Najafi’s “Proud Mary” is a classic tribute to the blaxploitation films of the seventies that wears its intentions on its sleeves. It’s a film that feels like it would have been made in 1978 with Pam Grier as Mary, Bernie Casey as her ex-lover mobster boss. I wouldn’t be quick to call it a masterpiece, but through and through, it’s a sweet tribute, with some well drawn characters that’s almost brought down by its flaws in storytelling and editing.

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The Old Dark House (1932): Cohen Film Collection [Blu-Ray]

You could almost attribute the invention of the sub-genre involving travelers trapped in a house with a bunch of demented folks to James Whale. While there are no chainsaws or torture devices anywhere, you could see where the seeds were sewn for films like “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “The Haunting.” Whale’s film “The Old Dark House” presents glimmers of dark comedy and some pretty funny one-liners but through and through it’s an atmospheric and very creepy tale about a travelers trapped in a house with a psychotic brood. During a horrific rain storm, a group of travelers in the country side of Wales find themselves soaking wet and seeking shelter from the cold water barreling down on them.

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