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What's the most obscure movie you've ever seen?


Mr. Gorman
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     I reckon the most obscure movie I've ever seen is  "THE STREAK CAR CO."   Filmed in Salt Lake City in 1974.  A very amateurish movie about streaking college kids, but a real time capsule.  The protagonists of the film are seen exiting a Utah Stars basketball game at one point.  This movie has no listing for itself on the IMDb, but it is mentioned by director Paul W. Kener (whose real name is apparently Paul Kiener) when he wrote his own mini-biography on the IMDb. 

 

     (Director Kener/Kiener also helmed the 1978 Indian-lore opus about the spirit of the 'WENDIGO' and the 1979 travelogue-wanna-be-slasher-film 'SAVAGE WATER'.  If a person enjoys watching very slow-moving films then "Wendigo" and "Savage Water" are for you!  Everyone else will fall asleep).

 

      What mindless obscurities have the rest of you seen?  

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Well, it wasn't "mindless" in fact, I thought it was pretty good.

 

But when the movie "Let's Scare Jessica To Death" came out, my girlfriend wanted to go see it.  So we went to our favorite DRIVE-IN for a look.  I thought it was a "snooze fest".  But, on the bill with it was one I hadn't previously heard of called

 

DADDY'S GONE A-HUNTING.  PAUL BURKE was the only name and face I recognized in it, but it did have me on the edge of my seat.

 

 

Sepiatone

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Silent: "Atlantis" (1913)--This Danish film featuring the sinking of an ocean liner was banned in some countries because it was too similar to the Titanic.  Special Effects are excellent for 1913.  The sinking occurs about an hour into the film--movie can be seen on archive.org.

 

Sound: "Ghost Cat of Ouma Crossing" (1954)--Japanese ghost story isn't listed on TCM.com, is listed on imdb.com but isn't rated because minimum five people have not rated it.  I found it on archive.org.

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If by obscure you mean "a film not easily seen" I'd say Letty Lynton, Mother's Millions, and Come Fill The Cup. People know about them it's just hard to see them.

 

If by obscure you mean "a film not well known" I'd pick the only one that the Information Please people on this board could not find the title of. I'll describe it. It starts in 1945 and the police rush in on a hotel room where a woman, covered in blood, is putting on makeup like nothing is wrong. She has killed her lover with an ax because she is pregnant and he would not marry her. Then the movie moves to present day (early 70s) and a heavyset woman in her 40s gets off a bus carrying only a suitcase. This is supposed to be the ax murderess from 25 odd years ago. She gets a job keeping house for rich people, but then suddenly people start turning up murdered...with an ax. I remember her talking to one of the residents about how she had to give up her daughter for adoption (because she was in jail) and she had always wanted to find her. Thus this movie is so obscure I can give you no film name, no names of the actors, just something that I saw once when I was a teenager and have never seen again. If you think you know the name let me know.

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I'll agree with calvinandme that Letty Lynton and Come Fill the Cup are among the most obscure movies I've seen, both on a website which no longer exists. Both are quite good. The same website is where I saw This Angry Age (mostly in black and white, not in color, alas) and The Passionate Thief, an absolutely superb Italian comedy with a brilliant performance by Anna Magnani.

 

Another pretty obscure, and again quite enjoyable, British film I saw in the theater when it was released in 1982: Experience Preferred . . . But Not Essential. I've only met one other person who has ever seen the film, our own SueSueApplegate, who also liked it.

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Kovacs (or maybe it's Kovacs!) a 1971 compilation of kinescoped clips from Ernie Kovacs' TV shows. I seem to recall it having some sort of connection to Dutch Master cigars, the sponsor of Ernie's legendary 1961-2 series of monthly specials. I saw it once in the '80s, butchered to fit a 90 minute slot as filler on a religious cable TV station. I have not seen a trace of it since. It's apparently not listed on IMDb, though Rotten Tomatoes does mention it.

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Kovacs (or maybe it's Kovacs!) a 1971 compilation of kinescoped clips from Ernie Kovacs' TV shows.

 

I've seen bootleg DVDs of this (possibly the same or not) at old film festival dealers booths. You'll often see old TV shows and rare Laser Disk titles burned to DVD, usually rough quality, though.

 

"Lovers and Lollipops" (1955)

 

Does not sound like a movie about a mature man & woman's relationship, does it?

 

The most obscure film for me is ITALIAN AMERICAN 1974, Martin Scorsese's student film where he interviewed his parents. It has shown on TCM before and if I had known it would disappear forever, I would have recorded it. 

It's not even available as an "extra" on any of Scorsese's movies packages.

 

It is an absolutely delightful peek into first generation immigrant's experience. I'm sure most people watching it are reminded of their own relatives. And the description of their lives, their family & experiences & traditions are so insightful. Plus, Marty's Mom is a hoot!

 

I'm sure when he made it, Scorsese had no idea what a valuable time capsule it would become. 

At least I've actually seen it.

 

I have searched for years, unsuccessfully, to see "THE LIFE OF TONY PISCHEDDA" It was a short film created by Rob Reiner while making THIS IS SPINAL TAP. I understand it's compiled of material not used in Spinal Tap that fleshes out the charactor brilliant Bruno Kirby created as the Sinatra loving limo driver. Never been available.

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Probably the most obscure feature I've seen is PASSPORT TO HEAVEN, released theatrically as I WAS A CRIMINAL.  This was the 1941 American version of THE CAPTAIN FROM KOPENICK starring Albert Basserman, Mary Brian, Eric Blore, Herman Bing, Luis Alberni, Wallis Clark and Russell Hicks.  I have a print struck in the 1950's which I ran at CineFest a few years ago.  It was very well received.  NTA had television rights and they supposedly have passed to Paramount.  But Paramount has no materials.  Independently produced by John Hall productions with release delayed until 1945 (Film Classics), it's anybody's guess where the 35mm negatives might be.

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Possibly the most obscure film I've seen is a 1927 silent, NIGHT OF LOVE, a lavish costume adventure starring Ronald Colman as a gypsy out for revenge on the artistrocrat who kidnapped his bride, leading to her death.

 

There are, I believe, only one or, perhaps, two, known prints of this film in existence, occasionally produced for a local film festival. I was shocked that a collector I know had a copy of it (a good looking one, too) on DVD, and I managed to get a copy from him.

 

Guess what, the movie was a lot of fun to watch, too, directed by George Fitzmaurice just after he had directed Valentino's last film, Son of the Sheik, and very much in the same kind of adventurous mode as that Valentino film. Something else it had it common with Rudy's last movie: the same leading lady and villain, Vilma Banky and Montagu Love.

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I believe the most obscure mainstream-ish movie which I have watched is: Elysia (1933). It is a sort of humorous pseudo-documentary of alternative lifestyle from the time prior to people needing SPF1000 lotions.

 

I have watched some movies several times which I believe were watched by less than one hundred people ever. My uncle worked for a time for the government making documentaries in remote locations. Every person on such crews was jack-of-all-trades and so he was cameraman/cinematographer and developed the film at the end of each day. He would keep track of the length of every shot and so would know how much unexposed film remained on each reel. He would cut that off prior to developing the film and save it for his own projects. There were many times when they were idle for a week or more and he would then use the cameras to make his own movies. Some were as short as five minutes but several were near to an hour. He would at random times show one at the theater which he later operated. He sent many to France for copyright and one was given entry to a film festival there. I believe my favorite was: The Moon is Ridiculous. It was quite daring in that he installed an a mounting anchor on a rock so registration would remain perfect and then had his wife, his mistress and his girlfriend on subsequent days each do a pantomime of going to the edge of the cliff as if thinking of committing suicide. He then blended the shots to make it appear they were all there at the same time and were oblivious to the presence of the others.  

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I don't know how obscure it is, but I remember watching Michael Kohlhauss on the CBS Late Movie in 1973 or possibly as late as 1975.  CBS showed movies after the late local news in the late 60's through the late 70's since the network didn't have a talk show like Carson or Bishop or Cavett.  Anyway, this is a German film made in 1969.  IMDB says it was a West German mini-series, but as I recall, it was a movie that lasted about an hour and a half to two hours.  I was still in school and could only watch these movies on a Friday night or during the summer months.

 

Another film shown during that time in my life that stuck with me was Summertree, with Michael Douglas and Brenda Vacarro.  I think it may have been on YouTube last year, but I haven't checked it out lately.  Again, I don't know how obscure it is, but in both instances, I saw these movies on CBS when I was in high school and I haven't seen them anywhere since.

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I don't know how obscure it is, but I remember watching Michael Kohlhauss on the CBS Late Movie in 1973 or possibly as late as 1975.  CBS showed movies after the late local news in the late 60's through the late 70's since the network didn't have a talk show like Carson or Bishop or Cavett.  Anyway, this is a German film made in 1969.  IMDB says it was a West German mini-series, but as I recall, it was a movie that lasted about an hour and a half to two hours. 

 

I saw it then too. I very vaguely recall Judith Crist mentioning it in her TV Guide column.

 

I first saw quite a few interesting films on the CBS Late Movie: Rebecca and other Selznicks, Jailhouse Rock, Head, Otley come to mind.

 

This reminds me of another vague Crist-related memory, CBS airing The Picasso Summer, which was then MIA for decades, although I see it's now available from Warner Archives.

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What mindless obscurities have the rest of you seen?  

 

Obscure but definitely not mindless, I saw this film in London when it came out:

 

Crazy Love (1987) -- based on the writings of Charles Bukowski, an excellent but deeply disturbing Belgian movie about a boy with really bad acne. And other stuff too strange to mention. 

 

crazylove.jpg

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crazy_Love_(1987_film)

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RayFaiola said: I have a print struck in the 1950's which I ran at CineFest a few years ago.

 

And we thank you for that! Your trailer compilations are also most entertaining!

 

All these reminiscence reminded me of a short film I saw as a 10-11 year old on TV. There was a show called "CBS Children's International Film Festival" on TV Saturday mornings in the early 70's that showcased all kinds of kid oriented movies. Not maudlin kiddie stuff, but really nice films. (Guess I was a cinephile snob even as a child)

 

It was an adorable movie about a lonely little boy who became enthralled with a traveling carousel. The carousel owner broke the machine up and sold a horse to a spoiled rich kid's Mom. The horse was set up in his yard and the boy sat on it & whipped it while the lonely little boy watched from the bushes. It started to rain & the spoiled boy went inside while the horse's the eye paint ran, as if the horse was crying.

The little boy stole the horse from the spoiled kid's yard and hid it in his barn. The next morning when he awoke-the pony was REAL & he rode it away.

 

Now to a horse crazy little girl, this was a great story. I always rode the same horse on my childhood carousel, hoping someday he'd be "real". And now, I restore carousel figures and always ache when a machine is split up & sold. They belong in the public domain for everyone.

 

When the internet came around, I went searching for this obscure movie I only viewed ONCE, over 30-40 years ago. And didn't I find it? I plunked down $20 for the DVD & wasn't disappointed. It was EXACTLY the way I remembered it!

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Another film shown during that time in my life that stuck with me was Summertree, with Michael Douglas and Brenda Vacarro.  I think it may have been on YouTube last year, but I haven't checked it out lately.  Again, I don't know how obscure it is, but in both instances, I saw these movies on CBS when I was in high school and I haven't seen them anywhere since.

 

I first and last saw that movie in the summer of '73 on the ABC affiliate channel 7 late show in the Detroit area.  Don't recall much of what it was about now, but I do recall liking it.  But as at the time, Michael Douglas's TV show THE STREETS OF SAN FRANSISCO was a big hit, thought it the reason WHY they were showing it as "Streets" was an ABC program.

 

Could be, because they also that summer they showed HAIL, HERO!,   ADAM AT 6:00AM  and NAPOLEON AND SAMANTHA.  Three other pre "San Francisco" Douglas film attempts.  AND equally obscure.

 

 

Sepiatone

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I've seen  ADAM AT 6 A.M. (1970)  several times.  I bought the CBS/Fox Video tape many moons ago; had to 'Special Order' it back in the 1990s as it wasn't readily available sitting on video store shelves for sale or rent.  The Leonard Maltin review (*** - Good) in his book intrigued me so I took a chance on it.  I like the music score, too.  A very young Meg Foster shows up early on in the film as a girl friend (with benefits) of Michael Douglas' Professor of Semantics. 

 

     I decided to buy HAIL, HERO! (1969)  next.  Also on CBS/Fox Video.  Had to special order it just like 'Adam at 6 A.M.'.  Leonard Maltin only gave *½ star for "Hail, Hero!", but I liked it well enough to bump it up to '**' stars for 'Fair'.  The run time is 87 minutes; apparently the original run time was 97m. and the movie was shortened at some point to the current run time.  That's the print CBS/Fox used. 

 

      I don't think either film has been released on DVD or Blu-Ray. 

 

     I have yet to see SUMMERTREE and NAPOLEON AND SAMANTHA.  I reckon Disney probably released 'NAP AND SAM' on VHS or DVD at some time.    

 

     Also, remember the 1971 Tv movie Michael Douglas appeared in?  "WHEN MICHAEL CALLS" starred Elizabeth Ashley.  I saw it once a very long time ago; I'd like to see it again but I don't believe it's been released on any homevideo medium.  Runs 73 minutes or so.  Filmed to fit those long-gone 90-minute network time slots.  Lots of tele-films in the 1970s ran between 73 and 78 minutes to fit those 1½-hour slots. 

-----------------------------

A couple of made-for-Tv movies I had a very hard time tracking down so I could finally watch:  

 

STRANGE POSSESSION OF MRS. OLIVER, The (1977-Tvm)  Karen Black, George Hamilton, Robert F. Lyons.

 

ALASKA EXPERIMENT, The (1973-Tvm) (aka: "A Cold Night's Death")  Eli Wallach, Robert Culp, Michael C. Gwynne.     

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All these reminiscence reminded me of a short film I saw as a 10-11 year old on TV. There was a show called "CBS Children's International Film Festival" on TV Saturday mornings in the early 70's that showcased all kinds of kid oriented movies. Not maudlin kiddie stuff, but really nice films. (Guess I was a cinephile snob even as a child)

 

 

If you want to bring up that excellent series, there are some movies from it I can recommend, all steeped in obscurity.  First is Skinny and Fatty (1958), a Japanese movie about an unlikely friendship between two young boys.  Tiko and the Shark (1966), a love story set in Polynesia between a boy, a girl, and a shark.  And the last, and by far my favorite, Lucy and the Miracles (1970), with the most adorable child actress in movies, ever, Viktorie Cermakova.  She plays a girl in an orphanage yearning for parents, and finding them in a free-spirit house painter and his even more free-spirited wife.  Along the way she finds parents for her fellow orphans.  Thoroughly charming, quixotic, and magical.

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