The Bootleg Files: Uforia

BOOTLEG FILES 827: “Uforia” (1985 comedy starring Cindy Williams, Fred Ward and Harry Dean Stanton).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube and Vimeo in unauthorized postings.


REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: The film is hampered by music rights clearance issues.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: There doesn’t appear to be a great rush to get this out.

When Cindy Williams passed away earlier this week, news sites and social media postings recalled her brilliance on the sitcom “Laverne & Shirley” and her early film work in features including “Travels With My Aunt,” “American Graffiti” and “The Conversation.” But far less attention was given to one of Williams’ most interesting work – a small film from the early 1980s called “Uforia” (sometimes spelled “UFOria” – it is hard to say which version is correct because the film’s opening spells the title entirely in upper case letters). “Uforia” never found the audience it deserved – and, by extension, Williams never found the big screen stardom she should have enjoyed.
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1980 in Film

1980 was a remarkable year for movies: “Ordinary People” and “Raging Bull” slugged it out for the awards, comedy cult classics “The Blues Brothers,” “Caddyshack” and “Airplane!” left audiences in hysterics, “The Empire Strikes Back” rewrote the “Star Wars” saga, “Heaven’s Gate” nearly destroyed United Artists and an obscure Soviet film trumped great works by Kurosawa and Truffaut for the Foreign Film Oscar.
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The Bootleg Files: The River

BOOTLEG FILES 826: “The River” (1937 documentary produced by FDR’s Farm Security Administration).

LAST SEEN: On various Internet sites.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: In collections of public domain documentaries.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A lapsed copyright.

A 4K restored version would be wonderful.

In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal policies brought forth the Resettlement Administration, a federal agency designed to assist the nation’s financially struggling rural communities. By this point in the Roosevelt presidency, there were a growing number of critics who argued the New Deal programs were using taxpayer funds to finance lofty socialist endeavors.
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Sammy Davis Jr. on the Big Screen

Sammy Davis Jr. was a larger-than-life personality who was a welcome presence on Broadway, in Las Vegas and on television for many years. His film work was somewhat spotty, yet he proved himself as both a musical star in “Porgy and Bess” and “Sweet Charity” and in serious dramatic roles in “Anna Lucasta” and “A Man Called Adam.” In this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” social media bon vivant Anthony “Kingfish” Vitamia returns to the podcast to celebrate Sammy’s distinctive place on the big screen.
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Chyna’s Hollywood Detour to Ruin

In 2001, Joanie Laurer had departed her precedent-breaking reign in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF – later to be renamed WWE) under the name of Chyna and was hoping to start a new career in movies. In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, she acknowledged she was not going to give Meryl Streep a run for her money.
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Rita Hayworth: The Love Goddess

You can put the blame on Mame, boys, because the 7th season of “The Online Movie Show with Phil Hall” has launched with a celebration of the ultimate Love Goddess, the one and only Rita Hayworth. Actor-writer Joe Mannetti returns as the guest for this season premiere episode.

The episode can be heard here.


The Bootleg Files: The TV Cubana Version of “Hello, Dolly!”

BOOTLEG FILES 825: The TV Cubana Version of “Hello, Dolly!” (1985 Cuban television recording of the Havana theatrical staging of the Broadway musical).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.


REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Rights clearance issues and a perceived lack of commercial viability.


One of the most polarizing films ever made was, oddly, the 1969 musical “Hello, Dolly!” This is not a film that inspires indifference – either you embrace as a grand, old-school screen musical with Barbra Streisand giving one of her best performances or you condemn it as an over-produced mess burdened by a star who was much too young for her role. And if you should ever stumble over a Facebook forum debate on the film’s merits and deficiencies, prepare yourself for one of the most rancorous discussions on social media – trust me, I’ve been audience to several of them!
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