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 Posted:   May 21, 2012 - 6:53 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

SON OF DRACULA-73-this was one of those films that horror fans and rock fans heard about but could not find it for years, Harry Nielson is Drac, Ringo Starr is also in it , got a very limited theatrical release and the few places it played it didn't do well , missed free TV, cable TV, barely if ever on Video, DVD/ folks? Guy send me a weak video copy of it years ago, film had some good moments but i felt was for the most part a weak film.But yes indeed a interesting very obscure film that needs to see the daylight[calling TCM or THIS] by the way Nielson was more successful with the music from the film got a top 50 hit out of the tune "Daylight."

 
 
 Posted:   May 22, 2012 - 2:03 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

SON OF DRACULA was produced by Ringo Starr for the Beatles’ production company, Apple, and released in the U.S. by Cinemation Industries. The film was produced between August and October 1972, but didn’t have its world premiere (in Atlanta, Georgia) until 19 April 1974. The film was directed by long-time Hammer Films & Amicus Films stalwart Freddie Francis. Being a comedy-horror-musical film, it wasn’t particularly racy, and received a PG rating.

There are seven Harry Nilsson songs on the soundtrack, but only “Daybreak” was written especially for the film. The background score was by Paul Buckmaster. This was the first score for Buckmaster, who years later would provide the music for Terry Gilliam’s film 12 MONKEYS. A soundtrack LP was issued on the Rapple label, which focused on Nilsson’s songs and only had Buckmaster’s score under a number of dialogue tracks. The album has not been released on CD.



The film’s plot involved Nilsson as “Count Downe,” who is about to be crowned king of the netherworld. But that crowning must happen sometime during a 72-hour period, according to Merlin (Ringo Starr). Complications ensue, while Nilsson wanders around, going to clubs, jamming with the house bands, entertaining at a party for netherworld-types. The bands include Peter Frampton and Keith Moon.

Harry Nilsson was not the first choice to star in SON OF DRACULA. According to director Freddie Francis, Ringo Starr's original choice for the role was David Bowie. Discussing the film in a 1998 interview, Ringo Starr said:

“I produced it for Apple. We had this script, Drac takes the cure, marries the girl and goes off into the sunlight - and it was the only movie we wanted to make. I called Harry because he was a blonde bombshell and we had his teeth fixed, which his mother was always thankful for. We had a lot of fun, there's a lot of musicians in it - John Bonham, Keith Moon, Peter Frampton. We had the premiere in Atlanta, the first movie since “Gone With the Wind” to open there, and we had 12,000 kids screaming, we had bands ... but we left town the next day, and so did everyone else. In America, the movie only played in towns that had one cinema, because if it had two, no matter what was on down the road, they'd all go there! It's a bit of a shambles now - we went into a studio with Graham Chapman and re-voiced a lot of it, so it makes even less sense now."

That, and Apple’s seeming disinterest in releasing its film properties to video (LET IT BE, anyone?) seem to be the major obstacles in getting a DVD / Blu-ray of the film.



Here’s a track from the LP:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaPhL2b-5e4

 
 
 Posted:   May 22, 2012 - 10:36 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

I'm going to be away from internet access for awhile, so this will be my last post until early June.

 
 
 Posted:   May 22, 2012 - 5:57 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

To Bob- good luck with your ventures, looking forward to see you return.

 
 
 Posted:   May 23, 2012 - 6:21 AM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

On this thread i try to put films which i feel are hard to find for the averge movie fan, and is often sought out by the film fanatic, often simply because it is and became a hard find.I personally feel to quailify, a film would not be of recent vintage , so the films i list here would be all 1990 and before, There are many different reasons certain films will fall into these situations, there is no hard rule that states a film that was very popular at one time or one that won awards and was given good reviews by mainstream critics won't also fall into this situation.From theatrical release through the roads of Network showings, Syndication,Cable , Video DVDs etc etc, so many films have nearly vanished from the media's radar.In sports they i believe are still searching for a tape of a early super bowl game, it is amazing how film can be mishandle by it's owners.

 
 
 Posted:   May 23, 2012 - 6:55 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

When it comes to films in recent history being hard finds in many markets, there seems to be a bit of a trend and it is a trend that can leave a sentiment one should be cautious of saying, the statement , this film has been on too much give it a rest, i do indeed understand such a feeling indeed when some films are shown to death while so many are never shown, the irony however of such a remark is the fact that in decades past films that were shown to death for one generation on TV in the 60's and 70's are many of the films that in recent history are so hard to find, leaving a older person to say oh i seen that film dozen of times, but a younger person to say but i can't find it now, i never saw it.It is very interesting to see how films in history have gotten such extreme exposure. Then there are the other films that never vanish from the media map and are easy to find decade after decade.

 
 
 Posted:   May 24, 2012 - 7:01 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

One of the reasons why many of the films that were shown to death on your local TV station in America and in other countries in the 60's and the 70's then have become pretty obscure the past few decades has to do with the change of how films were shown to the public by the early 80's.Many local indie stations around the country whose programming from the 50's into the 70's depended upon large film packages to fill their time were cutting back on buying film packages do to the ever growing cable industry and the video revolution. Many TV stations could get better ratings with alternative programs instead of a old movie, as many film fans spent more time watching the older films on video or on cable. Therefore thousands upon thousands of films that these stations once shown fell into limbo, some did pop up on cable stations, but only some, since Cable stations catered more to the recent films released at the time.Many did in the 80's get put on video, but so many from small labels and fly by night ones.The same later would be true of DVD's.Tried to imagine now a book of the sought that Leonard Maltin puts out would include every feature length film made since 1930[just dealing with the western world] try to lift that book?While the majority of feature lenght films from the 30's to the present[unlike silent films] are not lost, so many are lying in a sought of topical limbo, of course that could change tomorrow or the next day , for sure if you are talking about a service like YOU TUBE.

 
 
 Posted:   May 25, 2012 - 3:53 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

While many Cinerama releasing films have been hard find's from the 70's, the same is true with many of the Allied Artists films that once was were always in syndication packages in the 60's and 70's, this is also true with the dozens and dozens of Greek mythology films made in Italy that were very common on the tube decades ago that are rare these days.

 
 
 Posted:   May 27, 2012 - 8:10 AM   
 By:   vinylscrubber   (Member)

Here are some MIA films that I would have expected to show up on TCM by now:

INTERNATIONAL SQUADRON (1941) with Ronald Reagan, a Warners rip-off of A YANK IN THE RAF that used to play endlessly back in the late 50's-early 60's on TV.

THE BOLD AND THE BRAVE (1956) A WWII film with Wendell Corey, Mickey Rooney (actually nominated for best supporting actor for this) and Don Taylor, a late RKO film that should be in the Turner library, but is seemingly lost to the ages.

BABY FACE NELSON (1957) with Mickey Rooney (unbelievably vicious under Don Siegel's direction), a United Artists film that must tied up in some legal limbo.

 
 
 Posted:   May 30, 2012 - 7:02 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

To vinyl scrubber- looking at You tube i see none of those 3 films are on that service as well just exerpts, they will show up one of these days.

 
 
 Posted:   May 31, 2012 - 9:49 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

I’m back, and I thought I’d kick-start this thread by profiling an obscure film of my own choosing.

THE REVENGERS was a western released in 1972 by National General Pictures. William Holden starred as a Colorado rancher who pursues a group of Indians, led by a white renegade, who have murdered his family. Chasing them across the southern border, the rancher buys six criminals out of a Mexican jail, under the ruse of using them to work in a mine, to aid him in his plans for revenge. Along the way, he is injured and is nursed back to health by a frontier woman with whom he falls in love.

THE REVENGERS had a troubled production history. In November 1970, producer Martin Rackin set up a deal for Cinema Center Films to co-produce THE REVENGERS with Mexico’s Sanen Productions, run by Cesar Santos Galindo and Ernesto Enriquez, with the Banco Nacional providing financing. The film was to be shot, processed, and scored in Mexico with local personnel for a $4 million budget, and was to mark the first of several co-productions.

Van Heflin was selected to play the chief convict hired by Holden, and Mary Ure (WHERE EAGLES DARE) was cast as the frontier woman. Filming was set to begin in May 1971. The following month, however, William Holden became ill, and when the Mexico locations experienced excessive rainfall, the film was postponed until September 1971. During the interim, Van Heflin died of a heart attack, on 6 June 1971. Heflin’s last theatrical film thus became AIRPORT (1970). Heflin was replaced by Ernest Borgnine, Holden’s co-star in 1969’s THE WILD BUNCH.

Then, in August 1971, Mary Ure was released from the production in order to perform on the London stage and was replaced by Susan Hayward, who had appeared with Holden in 1943’s YOUNG AND WILLING. The role marked Hayward’s first feature film since 1967’s VALLEY OF THE DOLLS. It was also her last feature film; Hayward, who had appeared onscreen from the late 1930s, and won an Academy Award for Best Actress for the 1958 film I WANT TO LIVE!, died of brain cancer, at the age of 58, on 14 March 1975.

When finally begun, under the direction of Daniel Mann (WILLARD), filming ran from mid-September to late November 1971. THE REVENGERS was Daniel Mann’s only feature western. The film was shot on location in Parras, Torreon and Mexico City, Mexico, as well as at the Estudios Churubusco in Mexico City. THE REVENGERS first screened at a length of 112 minutes but was cut to 106 minutes before its premiere on 7 June 1972 in New Orleans, LA. The excised scenes featured William Holden’s son Scott, who was making his American feature film debut. Scott Holden went on to act in only one more film, 1973’s BREEZY, which also starred his father.

Upon its release, the film met with an indifferent critical response. Howard Thompson of the New York Times was among those who liked it, calling it “a good, blunt, entertaining western, snugly directed by Daniel Mann.” And the N.Y. Daily News’ Wanda Hale also enjoyed what she called “ a good old-fashioned western.” But the majority of critics sided with Gary Arnold of The Washington Post who claimed that the film was “a shade less exciting than watching the grass grow.” The critics also pointed out the film’s similarities to other recent features. Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times noted that the film “begins to take on strong shades of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN with its pack of personable good-bad guys.” (Ironically, the last of that series, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN RIDE! premiered only 2 months after THE REVENGERS.) Other critics, like Dennis Hunt of the San Francisco Chronicle likened the film to others “about a man recruiting rugged specialists to accomplish some formidable deed, which has been used in THE PROFESSIONALS, THE DIRTY DOZEN, and many others.”

THE REVENGERS has never been on any video format in the U.S., and has virtually disappeared. Like other Cinema Center Films, it is likely controlled by Paramount, although this film’s ownership may be complicated by the Mexican production company’s involvement. This was the last western of producer Martin Rackin, whose earlier westerns had included the 1966 remake of STAGECOACH and Clint Eastwood’s TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA (1970).

The soundtrack by Pino Calvi was released on CD in 1999 on the Screentrax label. The L.A. Times’ Kevin Thomas called it “one of the worst scores in recent memory. Its noisy, too-contemporary sound is so much tacky TV-style hype and often distracts not only from the performers but even the film’s considerable pictorial beauty. It is a regrettable lapse in an otherwise fine production.”

 
 
 Posted:   May 31, 2012 - 10:26 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

Yes may i add about The Revengers, it got shown once on Network Tv in the 70s[ i believe ABC,]was put into syndication shortly afterward in the 70's but has been very obscure on cable and the tube for decades.WELCOME BACK, Bob, we missed you.

 
 
 Posted:   May 31, 2012 - 10:42 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

It does appear as if THE REVENGERS was released on a region 2 PAL DVD out of Belgium, from Paramount.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 1, 2012 - 4:31 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Here are some MIA films that I would have expected to show up on TCM by now:
. . .
BABY FACE NELSON (1957) with Mickey Rooney (unbelievably vicious under Don Siegel's direction), a United Artists film that must tied up in some legal limbo.



BABY FACE NELSON was an original screenplay, based upon the life of the 1930s robber Lester M. Gillis. In addition to Mickey Rooney in the title role, the film co-starred Carolyn Jones and Sir Cedric Hardwicke. Leo Gordon appeared in the role of John Dillinger. The film was directed by Don Seigel, who even in 1957 was no stranger to tough crime films, having previously directed RIOT IN CELL BLOCK 11 (1954) and CRIME IN THE STREETS (1956).

A written and spoken foreword to the film states: "A tribute to the FBI. Under J. Edgar Hoover, its director for thirty-five years, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been forged into America's most formidable weapon against all crimes. To these special agents, living and killed in the line of duty, to these men who sacrifice themselves to help smash the citadels of crime, we respectfully dedicate this motion picture!" Before the opening credits, voice-over narration describes the 1930s era and the criminals it produced.

The film had a lengthy genesis. Producer Al Zimbalist and Herb Golden co-wrote the original story for BABY FACE NELSON way back in 1950. Long-time producer-director Jack Bernhard had purchased that story and planned personally to adapt it into a screenplay and direct it as an "exploitation special." But apparently, that plan fell through. Then, in 1953, Zimbalist and Jack Rabin signed a two-picture deal with Carl Dudley, the second film of which was scheduled to be BABY FACE NELSON. At that time, the producers planned to shoot the picture in Vistarama and were hoping to cast Frank Sinatra as the lead. However, neither Golden, Rabin nor Dudley are credited in the final film, and Golden's contribution to the screenplay, if any, is unknown.

Although the film's onscreen writing credits read: "Screenplay by Irving Shulman and Daniel Mainwaring, story by Irving Shulman," a 23 June 1958 advertisement placed by the production company in the Hollywood Reporter reads: "Through no fault of The Writers Guild of America, West, the writing credits on BABY FACE NELSON are incorrect and we wish to correct them now: Screenplay by Daniel Mainwaring, story by Robert Adler." Van Alexander scored the film. A 29-minute soundtrack LP was issued on the Jubilee label:



Although, as noted by many reviewers, the basic facts of the film represent the life of ruthless 1930s gangster "Baby Face" Nelson, the majority of the picture is fictionalized. As shown in the film, the diminutive Nelson was born Lester M. Gillis in 1908, served time in Joliet for robbery and later escaped prison guards while being returned to jail. He then joined John Dillinger's gang, robbed many banks and in 1934 died of gunshot wounds inflicted by the FBI agents chasing him.

Although the onscreen credits list the production company as Fryman-ZS Productions, the copyright claimant is listed as F-ZS Productions. Fryman Productions was Mickey Rooney’s production company. The filming of BABY FACE NELSON took place from late July to 19 August 1957. The film was released by United Artists in November 1957. After the film's release, it was attacked by California Representative H. Allen Smith, who claimed that it contributed to juvenile delinquency. Despite the fact that the film was dedicated to him, J. Edgar Hoover also denounced the film as glorifying crime, and called for studios to practice more restraint. In a 14 February 1958 Hollywood Reporter article, Zimbalist and Red Doff, president of Fryman Productions, countered that Allen's attack was a mere ploy for attention during his re-election campaign, and pointed out that Los Angeles FBI chief John J. Malone served as a consultant throughout the film's production.

BABY FACE NELSON was not well-received by the critics at the time. Bosley Crowther of the New York Times called it “a thoroughly standard, pointless and even old-fashioned gangster picture . . . erratically directed by Don Seigel.” But even Crowther conceded that the cast was good, citing “Sir Cedric Hardwicke's professional portrait of a seedy, lecherous and alcoholic physician who consorts with criminals. Add, in all fairness, telling bits contributed by Leo Gordon (as John Dillinger, no less), Ted De Corsia and Anthony Caruso.” But neither the critics nor the controversy over the film’s themes hurt its performance at the boxoffice. Reportedly, the film cost $168,000 to produce and grossed $7 million. The film’s reputation has grown in recent years. In June 1996, J. Hoberman of the Village Voice called BABY FACE NELSON "a decade ahead of its time," pointing to its "absurdist violence and perverse love angle" as a precursor to 1967’s BONNIE AND CLYDE.

I'm fairly certain that I saw the film on late-night television in the 1960s, but BABY FACE NELSON has never been issued on any video format. The film was owned by producer Al Zimbalist, and United Artists had retained distribution rights to it for only 10 years after its original release. In 1969, following the expiration of that distribution deal, Zimbalist talked about remaking the film under his newly formed production-distribution company, American Artists Associates, and hinted that it would star Dustin Hoffman. That film was never made. In May 1971, Zimbalist was in discussions with UA about reissuing the film but nothing came of that either. Zimbalist died in 1975, and the rights to BABY FACE NELSON presumably became part of his estate. But his son, Donald R. Zimbalist, a frequent collaborator, died in 2004.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 2, 2012 - 7:04 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

There is no doubt to some extent obscurity in a film does occurred because of controversial subject manner. While it is true some controversial films do get good exposure, many don't, for sure on TV , cable as well, liked this effort-----------------DERANGED-74- Gruesome horror film starring Robert Blossom, film played on a double feature in many markets in America with another obscure film these days" Rape squad" never played on free TV and i really doubt it ever played on cable[maybe a few years after it was made in the 70's], Was put on DVD on a double feature a few years back, was a rare find on video. I know these days cable will show very strong films, like from the 70's Blood for Dracula, Flesh for Frankenstein a few years back, but something about this film i just don't see TCM underground or THIS[in edited form]showing this, although on Mother's day last year THIS did show last house on the left.any comments?

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 2, 2012 - 11:15 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

I watched the DVD of DERANGED about 4 years ago. The film is based on the story of real-life Wisconsin serial killer and necrophiliac Ed Gein. It was produced by Karr International Pictures, and released by American International. Producer Tom Karr raised the $200,000 budget from the money he earned as a concert promoter for acts such as Led Zeppelin, Three Dog Night, The Temptations, and Rod Stewart. Alan Ormsby wrote the screenplay and co-directed with Jeff Gillen. Bob Clark, who previously made CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS and DEAD OF NIGHT with Alan Ormsby and Jeff Gillen, was originally approached to direct this film too. However Clark felt the script was too disturbing for his taste, so he opted to co-produce the film, though he decided to remain uncredited.

DERANGED starred Roberts Blossom, in the only top-billed role of his career. As a character actor, Blossom began his career with a guest role on the television show “Naked City” in 1958, and kept working for 40 years until he retired from the screen in 1999. The film’s score was by Carl Zittrer and its theme music is an instrumental version of an old religious hymn called 'The Old Rugged Cross'. Tom Savini did the makeup effects,. He would go on to work with George Romero on films such as 1979’s DAWN OF THE DEAD.

Filmed during February and March of 1973, in and around Toronto, Canada, DERANGED opened in Los Angeles on 20 March 1974. While the film didn’t impress the few mainstream critics who saw it, it quickly gained a cult status which has only grown over the years.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 3, 2012 - 10:02 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Here are some MIA films that I would have expected to show up on TCM by now:

INTERNATIONAL SQUADRON (1941) with Ronald Reagan, a Warners rip-off of A YANK IN THE RAF that used to play endlessly back in the late 50's-early 60's on TV.


INTERNATIONAL SQUADRON is a 1941 Warner Bros. film about an American flying ace, played by Ronald Reagan, who joins the International Squadron of the RAF to fight the Germans during the Battle of Britain. The film begins with the following written dedication and quotation: "To the men of the Royal Air Force...and to those exiled flyers who still fight for their homelands in England's skies...this story is respectfully dedicated. 'Never before in the field of human conflict have so many, owed so much, to so few....'--Winston Churchill."

The film's working title was “Flight Patrol.” Its screenplay, by Barry Trivers and Kenneth Garnet, was suggested by the play “Ceiling Zero” by aviator-turned-writer Frank Wead, which had opened in New York in 1935. Wead's play, which was about early airmail pilots, had also been the basis for the 1936 Warner Bros.' film CEILING ZERO, starring James Cagney and Pat O'Brien and directed by Howard Hawks. In INTERNATIONAL SQUADRON, Wead’s action was adapted to fit the wartime setting.

Although both Dennis Morgan and Humphrey Bogart tested for parts in the film, it’s not known for what parts they tested. Reagan’s male co-stars were James Stephenson and William Lundigan. This was the last film for British actor Stephenson, who played Reagan’s squadron leader in the film. Stephenson died at the age of 53 soon after the film finished shooting. Interestingly, while Stephenson is third billed in the film, his name doesn't appear on the film's poster at all. Although Lew Seiler is credited on the screen as the film’s director, Lothar Mendes is listed as director in the early Hollywood Reporter production charts and both the Film Daily and New York Times reviews give directing credit to Mendes. The film has no music credits, although the IMDB credits the score to William Lava.

INTERNATIONAL SQUADRON shot from late March to early May 1941. Warner Bros. sought to give the film as authentic a look as possible. Footage of actual fighting between British Spitfires and German Messerschmitts and Heinkels, as well as footage of a London air raid, were shot by technicians from Warner Bros.' Teddington studios in London and shipped to the United States for inclusion in the film. In addition, the film’s technical advisor, Byron Kennerly, was a pilot officer in the Eagle Squadron of the RAF.

The film was released on 11 October 1941. INTERNATIONAL SQUADRON has been compared to the 20th Century Fox film A YANK IN THE R.A.F., which was released only 2 months prior. The stories are similar. The difference is one mainly of budget, with the frugal Warner Bros. scrimping on production costs, even to the extent of raiding their own script files for source material. Although the film had those stock shots of fighter aircraft for the action scenes, for close-ups Warners had to improvise. Reagan’s “Spitfire” was actually a doctored up Ryan monoplane.

The critics were kind to the film, citing its fairly good action sequences and a breezy performance by Reagan as the cocksure American. A few reviewers even commented that it was his best role to date. I can’t think of any reason why it hasn’t shown up yet on DVD from the Warner Archive.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 4, 2012 - 6:25 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

Walt Disney had their own way of distrubuting their films over the decades as most movie fans know, Many of their beloved animated old cartoon classics were rarely shown on free TV and often given special time limited video and DVD releases, i would like to list a string of the more obscure Disney films made over the years, let's start with MIRACLE OF THE WHITE STALLIONS-63-with Robert Taylor, Lili Palmer and Curd Jurgens,this drama i believed only pop up once on TV. Decades ago in two parts on the Wonderful world of Disney , a one hour TV show on Sundays on NBC.As well as being obscure on the Tube, it got a small video release, DVD Folks?, i saw the film a couple of years ago picking up a old video copy- Any comments?

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 4, 2012 - 9:59 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

MIRACLE OF THE WHITE STALLIONS opened in Chicago on 29 March 1963. Robert Taylor stars as a Colonel in charge of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna who attempts to save the school's prized Lipizzan horses, endangered by the bombardment of the city during the final critical months of World War II. Lilli Palmer costarred as his wife, and Curt Jurgens was a sympathetic German general. The cast also included Eddie Albert and James Franciscus. The film was based on a 1960 novel, Ein Leben für die Lipizzaner, by Col. Alois Podhajsky, although the underlying story was a true one.

The film was partially shot on location in Vienna, and the equestrian performances in the film were choreographed by the real Colonel Podhajsky. The film was only the second feature directed by Arthur Hiller, after considerable work in television. Hiller would go on to direct such noted films as THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY, LOVE STORY, and THE HOSPITAL. Music was by Paul Smith, with a song ("Just Say Auf Wiedersehen") added by the Sherman Brothers.

MIRACLE OF THE WHITE STALLIONS was not the typical Disney film, in that it was perhaps too demanding for children, and at 117 minutes would, even in 1963, tax the attention span of youngsters. The film also was primarily talk, with little action. The critics mainly took the film to task. Variety called it “inept . . . a fuzzy, laborious and generally undistinguished dramatization . . . in a confusing and insensitive scenario, plus turtle-tempoed direction by Arthur Hiller.” Robert Salmaggi in the Herald-Tribune wrote that "MIRACLE OF THE WHITE STALLIONS falls between two stools: not schmaltzy enough for the kiddies, too pallid for the adults.”

The Time reviwer wrote that that the horses “are more intelligent than most of the people connected with this picture.” And Bosley Crowther of the New York Times said that “those who love horses will also have to put up with a none-too-eventful or dramatic jumble of narrative” adding that “Mr. Taylor, looking weatherworn and weary, makes the colonel a rather dull sort, so fanatic about horses that he scarcely seems a man.” The film died at the boxoffice, and that’s probably why it has never gotten a re-issue or much television or video exposure. It was broadcast on TV in 1965, but the film wasn’t issued on tape until 1997, and finally came out on DVD in 2004, both in poor-looking full-frame transfers.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 5, 2012 - 9:05 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Here are some MIA films that I would have expected to show up on TCM by now:

THE BOLD AND THE BRAVE (1956) A WWII film with Wendell Corey, Mickey Rooney (actually nominated for best supporting actor for this) and Don Taylor, a late RKO film that should be in the Turner library, but is seemingly lost to the ages.



THE BOLD AND THE BRAVE told the story of two fresh American recruits, played by Wendall Corey and Mickey Rooney, who find themselves on the European front during World War II. They are under the command of Sgt. Ewald "Preacher" Wollaston, played by Don Taylor. The working title of the film was “Battle Hell,” which gives some idea of its themes. The film opens with the following written foreword: “Italy 1944. The battle is big…but some things are even bigger…sometimes the battle inside a man makes the war seem small by comparison…This battle began at the bivouac area with the fresh troops awaiting their baptism of fire…”

THE BOLD AND THE BRAVE was originally slated to be distributed by Filmakers Releasing Organization, but they ended up only providing partial financing for the production after RKO took over the distribution. Filmakers Releasing Organization released five films in the 1953-55 period, including Ida Lupino’s THE BIGAMIST and Don Seigel’s PRIVATE HELL 36. THE BOLD AND THE BRAVE was the last film with which they were involved.

The film’s screenplay was by Robert Lewin. The character of “Preacher” was based on a real-life soldier Lewin knew during the Italian campaign of World War II. B-movie director Lewis R. Foster, who had been directing since 1928, helmed the film. The score was by Herschel Burke Gilbert, with orchestrations by Joseph Mullendore and Walter Sheets. Filming took place from late May to early June 1955 at Kling Studio, with location scenes filmed near Chatsworth, CA.

Although it was reported that Mickey Rooney had agreed to forgo his usual star billing in order to qualify for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination, he received above-the-title billing on-screen, second only to Wendell Corey. Rooney was indeed nominated as Best Supporting Actor, and his performance was uniformly lauded by critics. In addition, Robert Lewin received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Rooney performed additional work on the picture, co-writing the film’s title song with actor-songwriter Ross Bagdasarian, and reportedly directing a crap game scene.

THE BOLD AND THE BRAVE was released on 18 April 1956. The film received generally good notices from the critics. The Pittsburgh Press called the picture “happily different from the general run of war films” and praised Pennsylvania-native Don Taylor’s performance as his “finest acting job to date.” The critic for the Spokane Spokesman-Review, in addition to praising the actors, noted that the “battle photography is particularly good.” But it was Ronald B. Rogers of the Village Voice who was most effusive. Rogers said that the film was “highlighted by a monumental crap game which surely ranks as one of the single most memorable scenes of recent years.” “Mickey Rooney gives a virtuoso performance” he said, in “a war film of some stature.” Rogers went on to praise Robert Lewin’s screenplay which “approaches in directness and poignancy THE BIG PARADE or ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT as a penetrating study of men’s reactions before and under first baptism of fire.” That thought was echoed in the following quotation which appears at the picture’s conclusion: “’Bravery is courage in action. It produces the deed which sets the hero above the coward.’ Omar N. Bradley, General of the Army.”

RKO holds the copyright on the film, so there’s no apparent legal reason why it wouldn’t be available to Warners. There may be a lack of suitable elements for transfer, perhaps because the film was shown in SuperScope. There’s no information on whether the decision to use SuperScope was made before filming or was a post-production decision. If it was the latter, that may have compromised the original elements.

 
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