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Missing Films: The Blue Veil and When I Grow Up; Does Anyone Know of Any Good Copies of These?


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Two supposedly classic films of the early 1950s are The Blue Veil and When I Grow Up.  As far as I can tell, neither of these has ever been commercially released.  I'm told that the production companies that produced them no longer exist and copyright is nebulous.  But that wouldn't normally stop some enterprising person with a good copy taped off television, or a good 16 mm print, from putting out at least a DVD-R version and selling it on Amazon or Ebay.  With the original company long defunct, it is likely that copyright on these two films has never been renewed and they are now public domain, meaning it would be legally safe to produce copies and sell them -- if one had a good print.

I see a very bad copy of When I Grow Up on YouTube, but it looks as if it would be painful to watch, and I'd rather save the experience of seeing the film for when I can get at least a tolerable copy.

Has anyone heard of anyone with good copies of these?  I tried looking them up on Loving the Classics, a site I used to buy from, but that website is now so slow to load that I'd have to wait hours for anything to come up.   It seems to be run by people with the technical know-how one associates with the era of the Commodore Super-Pet!  I see one ad for The Blue Veil on Ebay, but it says that the item is "factory sealed" -- which is not likely for what has to be a homemade copy.  Any suggestions?

 

  

 

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I have been waiting for years to see "The Blue Veil" again.  I remember a long time ago it being presented on local TV, but nothing recently.  This is such a shame, because Jane Wyman gives  an outstanding performance in this.  And both she and Joan Biondell received Oscar nominations for this.  I do hope that somehow we can enjoy this wonderful movie again.

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7 hours ago, Old Film Lover said:

Two supposedly classic films of the early 1950s are The Blue Veil and When I Grow Up.  As far as I can tell, neither of these has ever been commercially released.  I'm told that the production companies that produced them no longer exist and copyright is nebulous.  But that wouldn't normally stop some enterprising person with a good copy taped off television, or a good 16 mm print, from putting out at least a DVD-R version and selling it on Amazon or Ebay.  With the original company long defunct, it is likely that copyright on these two films has never been renewed and they are now public domain, meaning it would be legally safe to produce copies and sell them -- if one had a good print.

I see a very bad copy of When I Grow Up on YouTube, but it looks as if it would be painful to watch, and I'd rather save the experience of seeing the film for when I can get at least a tolerable copy.

Has anyone heard of anyone with good copies of these?  I tried looking them up on Loving the Classics, a site I used to buy from, but that website is now so slow to load that I'd have to wait hours for anything to come up.   It seems to be run by people with the technical know-how one associates with the era of the Commodore Super-Pet!  I see one ad for The Blue Veil on Ebay, but it says that the item is "factory sealed" -- which is not likely for what has to be a homemade copy.  Any suggestions?

 

  

 

According to the US copyright catalog, The Blue Veil was copyrighted in 1951, renewed in 1979.  Copyright renewal claimant is RKO General Inc.

When I Grow Up was first copyrighted in 1951, and renewed in 1979.  Copyright renewal claimant is Horizon Productions, Inc.

 

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I bought a copy of The Blue Veil from a hard-to-find videos outlet a few years back--I can't remember which one. It's a poor copy and may have been filmed from television. Robert's Hard to Find Video doesn't list it but theclassicslocator.com does. Amazon shows a photo of the DVD package for The Blue Veil but says it is unavailable. As lavenderblue19 says, contacting the MoMA makes sense.

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Thanks to everyone above for these responses.  I will check out the MoMA possibility.  Regarding the copyright holders of the two films, I don't know how to find them.  There is a long Wikipedia article on RKO General, but who owns the rights once owned by RKO General today, I have no idea.  I don't know whether RKO General even still exists, or, if it was swallowed by another company, which company that was.  And I tried a Google search for "Horizon Productions" and came up with nothing.  If anyone knows the current incarnations of either RKO General or Horizon Productions, and will give me the information, I will write to the current owners and try to get more information on the status of the films.

  

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9 hours ago, Old Film Lover said:

Thanks to everyone above for these responses.  I will check out the MoMA possibility.  Regarding the copyright holders of the two films, I don't know how to find them.  There is a long Wikipedia article on RKO General, but who owns the rights once owned by RKO General today, I have no idea.  I don't know whether RKO General even still exists, or, if it was swallowed by another company, which company that was.  And I tried a Google search for "Horizon Productions" and came up with nothing.  If anyone knows the current incarnations of either RKO General or Horizon Productions, and will give me the information, I will write to the current owners and try to get more information on the status of the films.

  

Most, but not all, of RKO's properties are now held by Warner Bros.  I don't know if they have the rights to this one, but generally, most of the old RKO properties get lots of airplay on TCM's rotation.  There may be other issues holding it up with the rights, or perhaps there's just not a good copy of this particular film (or one hasn't been found).  When RKO was going through its financial problems in the 50s during and after Howard Hughes' ownership, from what I've read they apparently weren't always being careful with maintaining their properties.  And once General Tire bought them (and they became RKO General), it was not long after that that they shut down production and sold the studio properties to Desilu.  RKO General was more interested in their TV properties and other interests (cable companies, airlines, soft drink bottling, and tires, among other things).  The cable system where I grew up was an RKO system from the 1950s until Capital Cities bought them in 1980.

There may be some confusion over the Horizon name.  I've seen it listed as Horizon Productions and Horizon Pictures Ltd, and it's not clear to me if they're the same company or just related companies (one American, one British).  Both involve Sam Spiegel.   Other films listed under one or the other include The African Queen, On The Waterfront, The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia.   Those certainly aren't lost.  It's puzzling that this other film is so hard to find.  Given that the version posted on the internet is in such bad shape, there may not be a good enough copy for broadcast.

I found that a foundation called The Baird Foundation (and its associated Lansing Foundation) held a mortgage on When I Grow Up in the 1950s and early 1960s.  Apparently these were foundations run by David G. Baird, who was a NY stock broker.  The mortgage information came from a Congressional briefing on the foundation's business, and it was clear from what I saw that the investigators considered many of the foundation's transactions questionable.  Whether or not this has any bearing on the status of the film, I don't know.   If the mortgage was never paid off, then the rights might be in a messy state.

As you can see, it can get pretty complicated quickly.  

Congressional report:

https://books.google.com/books?id=4RPsAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA356&lpg=PA356&dq=horizon+productions+"when+i+grow+up"&source=bl&ots=uRsvFVC8T0&sig=ACfU3U21bbDRmrB8A42-A-d-154nMG6-Ag&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiS-9bR3NLxAhVBHc0KHeP8Df4Q6AEwC3oECBEQAw#v=onepage&q="when i grow up"&f=false

Apparently, these foundations were part of shady dealings for decades.  They were finally ordered to dissolve the foundations in the mid 1980s, per this NY Times article:

https://www.nytimes.com/1986/01/22/nyregion/a-foundation-chief-agrees-to-repay-1.3-million.html

So if they still held the mortgage to that film in 1986, and the foundation's assets were dispersed, who knows what happened.

That's about as much as I can do.  There's a reason why film companies hire expensive lawyers to keep all of this straight.

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