For every sure-bet in movie casting, there are scores of questionable decisions on whether an actor can handle a certain role. And that’s where the screen test comes in.
A screen test provides the opportunity for a director and producer to determine whether a specific part should go to an actor who might not be the obvious choice for the role. David O. Selznick memorably shot scores of screen tests to find the right actors that would bring Margaret Mitchell’s characters to life in the film version of “Gone with the Wind” – except for the role of Rhett Butler, which was always envisioned for Clark Gable. Several decades later, George Lucas brought together a line-up of promising under-the-radar talent to test for his “Star Wars.”
BOOTLEG FILES 778: “The New York Hat” (1912 film directed by D.W. Griffith).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On multiple labels offering silent films.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: An expired copyright.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It’s already out there, but that’s not why it is in this column.
In the early years of the silent movies, the bootlegging of film prints was completely out of control. Due the primitive nature of film distribution, it was too easy for cinematic miscreants to swoop in and gather up prints and resell them as their own works, thus denying the profits that the original producers should have recived. Continue reading →
For too many years, filmmaker William Beaudine’s reputation was maligned with false stories of sloppy work and a “one-shot” approach to shooting. In reality, Beaudine was a talented and versatile creative artist who began his career with D.W. Griffith, directed such icons as Mary Pickford, Jean Harlow and W.C. Fields, and worked in the British film industry and for Walt Disney. Continue reading →