Friday, April 26, 2013

Two Mysteries Solved: Why 1943 film "The Desert Song" Disappeared for 60 Years and Why It's Now Screening at TCM Film Festival

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Los Angeles Times

Link to article:

Yesterday we mentioned the upcoming rare screening of 1943's "The Desert Song" at Hollywood's TCM Classic Film Festival this weekend.  As it turns out we aren't the only ones excited about the possibility.  Today's LA Times mentions the film as a rare gem that has been out of circulation for more than half a century.  That's the good news.  The bad news is that all this attention virtually guarantees that festival passholders will attend the screening in droves so there will be no tickets available to the general public.

But the other good news is that another great Technicolor musical featuring Hunter Communications' principal Matt Hunter's longtime stepmother Irene Manning (along with a young unknown called James Cagney in the lead role), Michael Curtiz' great 1942 "Yankee Doodle Dandy", will screen Sunday morning, April 28th, at 10 am. The same warning applies as we mentioned in our earlier post: Festival passholders get preferential admission so the only way to get in is to line up at th Chinese Multiplex box office for waiting list tickets.

Excerpt:  "TCM host Robert Osborne has fond memories of the Technicolor romance, which has been out of circulation for 60 years.
 
The original operetta dealt with a French general sent to Morocco to stop a group of Arab rebels lead by the mysterious Red Shadow. In the updated 1943 version, the rebels are now fighting a Nazi-backed plan to build a railroad in the desert. Morgan plays a U.S. soldier of fortune working as a meek pianist in a nightclub who leads the group against the Nazis.

'He’s been hounding me to get it for TCM,' Tabesh said.

The film and a 1929 movie version of 'Desert Song' were embroiled in legal issues. 'A new agreement had to be struck with the rights holders of the stage work,' said George Feltenstein, senior vice president of catalog marketing for Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, who overseas the studio's vintage catalog of titles."

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