BOOTLEG FILES 737: “Lucky Ghost” (1942 comedy starring Mantan Moreland).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On public domain labels.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A lapsed copyright allows anyone to make dupes of this animated short.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It is unlikely anyone will do a 4K restoration of this title, which is a shame.
During the 1940s, most Americans enjoyed Mantan Moreland’s presence in B-level productions from Monogram Pictures where was the comic relief sidekick in a series of light entertainments starring Frankie Darro and he stole the show as the jittery chauffeur in the Charlie Chan mysteries. Outside of Monogram, the other Hollywood studios had relatively little use for Moreland, giving him bit parts (often uncredited) in their A-list and B-grade productions. 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 →
In the first of a two-part episode, Lon Davis, author of the critically acclaimed “Silent Lives,” offers a fascinating insight on the tumult and career disruptions brought about when the microphone entered the movie studio and the silent film stars were expected to talk on the screen.