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The Bootleg Files: The Story of the Kelly Gang

BOOTLEG FILES 620: “The Story of the Kelly Gang” (1906 Australian production that is widely credited as the first feature-length narrative film).

LAST SEEN: A reconstruction using the surviving film fragments is on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It is nearly unknown outside of Australia.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: There is an Australian DVD of the reconstructed version, but it is not commercially available in the United States.

On December 26, 1906, film history was made in Melbourne, Australia, with the premiere of “The Story of the Kelly Gang,” a cinematic retelling of the rise and fall of that nation’s most colorful 19th century outlaws. At the time, however, no one realized they were witnessing history in the making. And even at this late date, many people are not aware of the film’s importance to the development of the motion picture industry.

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Ricardo Cortez: The Magnificent Heel

During the 1920s and 1930s, Ricardo Cortez was one of Hollywood’s most versatile leading men. His best known films include D.W. Griffith’s “The Sorrows of Satan,” Greta Garbo’s first American film “Torrent” and the original 1931 version of “The Maltese Falcon.” In this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” we celebrate the life and career of this remarkable talent with Dan Van Neste, author of the book “The Magnificent Heel: The Life and Films of Ricardo Cortez.”

The episode can be heard here.

“The Online Movie Show” is produced at Platinum Wolfe Studios.

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Marion Davies: A Second Look

In this very special episode of “The Online Movie Show,” we offer a new appreciation of the much-maligned actress Marion Davies, who is now receiving a long overdue reconsideration thanks to the re-release of three of her long-unseen silent features on DVD and Blu-ray. Film historian and composer Ben Model joins us to celebrate the beauty and talent that Marion Davies brought to the silver screen.

The episode can be heard here.

“The Online Movie Show” is produced at the Platinum Wolfe Studios.

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The Bootleg Files: A Free Ride

BOOTLEG FILES 602: “A Free Ride” (the oldest surviving extant pornographic film made in the United States).

LAST SEEN: It can be found on Wikipedia.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: It was included in at least once porn anthology and a documentary on erotic cinema.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: The difficulties in releasing this type of film back in the day.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Eh, you can watch it online for free.

One of the most historically significant films in the development of the American cinema is also one of the most mysterious and obscure. And if you never heard of the silent short film called “A Free Ride,” do not consider yourself ignorant – this is not the kind of film that you will see in a college film appreciation class or in a TCM showcase.

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When Knighthood Was in Flower (1922)

Barely seen since its 1922 theatrical release, this silent epic is a major surprise: a charming, entertaining adventure that contradicts the long-held prejudices by film scholars against the costume dramas starring the much-maligned Marion Davies and produced by her lover, publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst.

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The Twisted Doll (2017)

Ultimately I am a big fan of the revenge picture, but “The Twisted Doll” is the victim of too much story and not enough run time. “The Twisted Doll” by director Andrew de Burgh feels like he had an initially larger scope story in hand and kind of reduced it for a nine minute movie. I wouldn’t say “The Twisted Doll” is a bad movie, as it’s a solidly written picture with some good performances, I just wished I knew more about the characters to understand their motivations.

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Francis X. Bushman: King of the Movies

100 years ago, Francis X. Bushman was one of the top stars of the movie industry. Today, he is either mostly forgotten or only remembered for his least characteristic role as the villainous Messala in the 1925 version of “Ben-Hur.” On this episode, film historian Lon Davis recalls Bushman’s turbulent film career – which was full of amazing scandals – and his late-life comeback on TV, including appearances on “You Bet Your Life” and “Batman.”

“The Online Movie Show” is produced at the Platinum Wolfe Studios.

The episode can be heard here.

The Longest Daycare (2012)

The-Simpsons-Longest-DaycarBasically, “The Longest Daycare” is a much more advanced and intricate sequel to Maggie Simpson’s adventures in daycare that pays homage to Looney Tunes while also giving the character Maggie some depth. We only saw a portion of it in the episode “A Streetcar Named Marge,” where Maggie united her fellow babies to reclaim her pacifier in the spirit of “The Great Escape.”

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