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The Bootleg Files: Murder in the Blue Room

BOOTLEG FILES 661: “Murder in the Blue Room” (1944 mystery-musical flick).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It fell through the cracks.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely at this time.

During the 1940s, Universal Pictures arguably produced the most entertaining films playing in American theaters. This is not to say that Universal had the most artistically extravagant or intellectually provocative output. But for sheer pleasure viewing, this scrappy little studio was aces when it came to noir, Westerns, jukebox musicals, cheesy horror and lowbrow comedies. Back in the day, nobody ever left a Universal film feeling bored.
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The Bootleg Files: Christmas Holiday

BOOTLEG FILES 618: “Christmas Holiday” (1944 noir drama starring Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly).

LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It is unclear what happened.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It’s possible.

During the late 1930s and early 1940s, Deanna Durbin was the reigning teen queen of Universal Pictures’ musicals – which made her something of a big fish in a small pond, considering musicals were not really that studio’s forte. Nonetheless, audiences loved the pretty Canadian-born star with the peerless soprano singing voice, and Universal loved that audiences loved her. But the love did not extend to Durbin herself, who bristled at the saccharine persona created by her employers. She derided her screen image as “Little Miss Fixit who bursts into song,” claiming that films like “One Hundred Men and Girl” and “Mad About Music” created a corny image that “represented the ideal daughter that millions of fathers and daughters wished they had.”

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