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TopBilled

Classic Missing in Action

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It's been too many years since I saw Green Hell to really comment upon it. If I remember correctly, however, I thought it was okay primarily because of the unique opportunity to see such a once-in-a-lifetime cast. Certainly the story line is nothing special.

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I think GREEN HELL was supposed to reignite James Whale's directing career, which did not exactly happen. He made just one more feature before calling it quits in the movie biz.

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Gee, TopBilled, I think the expert on this subject of classic MIA is probably TCM message board member PrinceSaliano, especially on the topic of Universal films that seem to have disappeared from the face of the earth. Check any of his lists for an example of missing films most of which still exist.

 

Of the films that I've seen that I really enjoyed that seem to have disappeared I'd list Exposed (Universal, 1938), Act of Murder (Universal, 1948), One Touch of Venus (Universal, 1948), and the completely misnamed "One Hour to Live" (Universal, 1939). In truth, Act of Murder and One Touch of Venus are both on youtube.

 

One from the 60's that has disappeared that I often wonder about is "Night Walker" (Universal, 1964). Directed by William Castle and starring Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor 12 years after their divorce, I wonder why this one seems to have vanished?

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I am going to feature NIGHT WALKER later in this series (I am saving it for October). Remember that this thread does not focus solely on Universal or Universal-controlled Paramount classics. It includes Republic pictures, Eagle-Lion releases, 20th Century Fox, some RKO, some Columbia and United Artists.

 

All experts are invited to add their comments about the films I will be mentioning daily on this thread.

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010. *SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON* (1940)...RKO...Thomas Mitchell, Edna Best, Freddie Bartholomew

 

From wsureck at the IMDB:

 

Family (dad, mom, four boys) heading for Australia from England during the early part of the 19th century are shipwrecked on an island in the south Pacific and do their best to survive. Concentrate on Thomas Mitchell's usual fine performance and less on the 1940 vintage special effects, and very poor print quality (typically available) and there is some entertainment to be had here.

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According to Leonard Maltin, Disney now has control of the Thomas Mitchell 1940 version. It would be great if they would lease this to TCM or bring it out on DVD.

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Just noticed the other day that SLEEP MY LOVE will be coming out on DVD sometime in the near future courtesy of Olive Films. It seems that this UA release came under the control of Republic Pictures, then Paramount who now has a deal with Olive Films. Check www.classicflix for more Republic titles .

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"Remember that this thread does not focus solely on Universal or Universal-controlled Paramount classics"

 

It was just a coincidence that every film I named was Universal, but now that I think of it, the lion's share of classic films that I would really like to see that are completely unrestored and unavailable yet in existence are in the hands of Universal. Either they are Universal films themselves or they are part of the pre-1949 sound Paramount library that Universal controls. Maybe some billionaire someday will take an interest in them, because if a billionaire hadn't taken an interest in the WB/MGM/RKO library, TCM would never have been created in the first place.

 

Imagine a second classic station populated by Universal/Paramount classics where we get to the point where we look at the schedule and yell "Oh no, Female on the Beach is on AGAIN this month!"

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>Just noticed the other day that SLEEP MY LOVE will be coming out on DVD sometime in the near future courtesy of Olive Films.

 

Excellent news...!

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Well, we do have Encore which essentially is Universal's cable outlet for the airing of some classic films and classic television series. The problem is that it is very genre-specific. So unless it's a western or a suspense thriller or a romantic comedy, it probably will not air. There is no Encore Horror channel; and there is no Encore Sci-Fi channel. They do not really broadcast any classic pirate or swashbuckling films which I think would be found on the Encore Action channel.

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>According to Leonard Maltin, Disney now has control of the Thomas Mitchell 1940 version. It would be great if they would lease this to TCM or bring it out on DVD.

 

I do not see them doing it. They are still making money on the 1960 version and that is why they have long-suppressed the 1940 picture. It's a shame, really, and does a disservice to us all.

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Despite not to kind reviews I would love to see NO MINOR VICES. I've always had a crush on Lilli Palmer. What happened to this film?

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>Despite not to kind reviews I would love to see NO MINOR VICES. I've always had a crush on Lilli Palmer. What happened to this film?

 

It's an MGM film so you would assume that it is in the Turner Library and available for airing. At the TCM database, it says that UCLA has a safety print. Perhaps it is one of those that is in the process of being restored, or in need of funds for restoration...? It does sound like an interesting picture and it has an excellent cast.

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011. *THE MAVERICK QUEEN* (1956)...Republic...Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan, Scott Brady

 

From chazz-7 at the IMDB:

 

Stanwyck's portrayal of the outlaw woman Kit Banion is an all-time classic. This role sets the standard for strong western women in the cinema. Stanwyck is perfect for the role of the beautiful and strong-willed Kit Banion, leader of the Wild Bunch outlaw gang who can ride and shoot with the best of them. Stanwyck more than holds her own, matching wits and pistol shots with outlaws and lawmen alike.

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Pre 1935 Fox can be a bit uneven, but here are a few rare precodes I've seen that really took some hunting down:

 

Over The Hill (1931) - Mae Marsh as a housewife with a no-account husband who at the end of her life winds up in the county poor farm after her preacher son steals what little money she has coming to her and then kicks her out.

 

Quick Millions (1931) Spencer Tracy stars as a truck driver who eventually becomes a crime boss. Non violent for its era but a good performance by Tracy. The only copy I've ever found looks completely restored but has French subtitles.

 

Trial of Vivienne Ware (1932) A woman (Joan Bennett) goes on trial for murdering her lover after she finds him with another woman and he later turns up dead.

 

Call Her Savage (1931) IMHO, Clara Bow's best sound performance as a girl with a wild streak that gets her deeper and deeper into trouble. Seems to be fully restored and until recently was shown frequently on Fox Movie Channel, but never offered commercially.

 

I'd heard that Fox was coming up with a precode collection of their own before the recession hit in 2008, and they have a few precode titles that look restored enough to release, but of course now who knows what they'll do.

 

 

 

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I did record the Clara Bow title when it was last on FMC. If the Cinema Archives line is a success, I am sure Fox will get around to including some pre-codes, but probably of the more well-known stars who had long careers.

 

I have bought QUICK MILLIONS from a collector. I would love to see a boxed-set of Spencer Tracy's early pictures at Fox.

 

Miss Bennett had a long association with Fox, even as a freelance artist. More than one boxed-set could be issued for her.

 

It would be wonderful if OVER THE HILL was chosen as one of Bob's Picks, paired with MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW.

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> {quote:title=TopBilled wrote:}{quote}I did record the Clara Bow title when it was last on FMC. If the Cinema Archives line is a success, I am sure Fox will get around to including some pre-codes, but probably of the more well-known stars who had long careers.

>

> I have bought QUICK MILLIONS from a collector. I would love to see a boxed-set of Spencer Tracy's early pictures at Fox.

>

> Miss Bennett had a long association with Fox, even as a freelance artist. More than one boxed-set could be issued for her.

>

> It would be wonderful if OVER THE HILL was chosen as one of Bob's Picks, paired with MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW.

I forgot about the Cinema Archives line! That would be the most likely way that restored better known Fox precode titles would be released to the public. I would also add "The Bowery" (1933) to the list of precode era Fox titles that would likely get released that way due to the fact it is in good shape plus it has well known stars - George Raft and Wallace Beery.

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I once caught BLOOD MONEY on FMC, back-to-back with CALL HER SAVAGE.

 

The former was an amazing pre-Code gangster film and filled with all of the necessary ingredients to make it into my top ten. But while I was able to record the Clara Bow film on a subsequent airing, I never spotted BLOOD MONEY on the schedule again.

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1929's "Syncopation" is another rare one. Supposedly the first RKO film ever made, but some list it as an FBO title. I've never seen it on TCM or anywhere on TV for that matter. If it was RKO you'd think that TCM would have access to it. It was one of the first movie musicals and features Bobby Watson (diction coach in Singin in the Rain) and Barbara Bennett (sister of Joan and Constance) as feuding vaudevillians Benny and Fleurette. Fleurette is a shameless social climber and it ruins their marriage as she is ashamed of Benny and his friends. Best scene in the film is Morton Downey and Dorothy Lee performing "Do Do Something!" Barbara Bennett and Morton Downey met while making this, married, fought constantly, and divorced. Their son was Morton Downey Jr. of talk show fame.

 

I got a copy of this at an estate sale several years ago and it has no station identification on it at all. I wonder where my copy originally came from?

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> {quote:title=clore wrote:}{quote}I once caught BLOOD MONEY on FMC, back-to-back with CALL HER SAVAGE.

>

>

>

> The former was an amazing pre-Code gangster film and filled with all of the necessary ingredients to make it into my top ten. But while I was able to record the Clara Bow film on a subsequent airing, I never spotted BLOOD MONEY on the schedule again.

Wow! Blood Money is very rare and very good! I don't remember ever seeing it on Fox Movie Channel. Too bad they never aired it again.

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> It's an MGM film so you would assume that it is in the Turner Library and available for airing.

 

It might be worth remembering that just because a film exists in the former Turner Library that Warner Bros now controls, a digital print of that film may not yet be available for Warner Bros to rent to TCM.

 

WBros has a large catalog of films in their library and I believe that George Feltenstein has said in interviews that it will take time for that to happen.

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SYNCOPATION was remade by RKO in 1942 with Adolphe Menjou, Jackie Cooper and Bonita Granville. I have not seen that one on TCM. Wonder where it is...?

 

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>a digital print of that film may not yet be available

 

I think that is likely the case, why NO MINOR VICE is M.I.A. It would be a perfect candidate for a Warner Archives release.

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> {quote:title=TopBilled wrote:}{quote}SYNCOPATION was remade by RKO in 1942 with Adolphe Menjou, Jackie Cooper and Bonita Granville. I have not seen that one on TCM. Wonder where it is...?

>

Several people on imdb have reviewed it, and apparently it has nothing to do with the original 1929 Syncopation as far as plot. I think it's the same kind of thing with a couple of other MIA films. "Trial of Mary Dugan" is MIA because of rights problems. There is a 1929 version, a 1941 version, and a 1957 version. There is no information on the 1957 version on imdb, which is a British production versus MGM like the first two. I've seen the 1941 version and it is an insipid courtroom drama mixed with a romantic melodrama of similar quality and has nothing to do with the original 29 version starring Norma Shearer.

 

Another member of a remake trilogy that is MIA: The 1943 version of The Desert Song. The 1929 version survives as a poor black and white print, and the 1953 version has been shown on TCM several times in the last couple of years. Alas, the 1943 version exists and is tied up in rights problems. The 29 and 53 versions have the same basic story. However, as so many WWII era films did, the 43 version incorporates fighting Nazis into the plot.

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I have not seen any versions of THE TRIAL OF MARY DUGAN. I thought for sure TCM would've aired the Laraine Day one.

 

THE DESERT SONG with Dennis Morgan is high on my wanna-see list. I think the rights issues involve one or two songs, not the story.

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