8. PEG O’ MY HEART (1933) ^ Based on the long-running sentimental Broadway melodrama, “Peg o’ My Heart” concerns a young Irish lass who stand to inherit a fortune if she leaves her poor fisherman father and moves to England. The casting of vivacious comedienne Marion Davies as Peg might seem a bit awkward, considering she was too mature and glamourous for such a role, but the resourceful Ms. Davies brought a flawless Irish accent and a genuine sense of emotion to her performance, confounding her many critics with a sincere performance as spirited yet sensitive young lady who places love and family above money and is ultimately rewarded for her virtues. ^ WHY IS THIS FILM NOT ON VIDEO? Marion Davies’ reputation as an actress has suffered over the years mainly because the vast majority of her films are inexplicably not available for review (and the shrill caricature of her as the talentless floozy in “Citizen Kane” did not help either). “Peg o’ My Heart” is widely considered one of her finest roles, yet sadly the film has never been made available in home entertainment channels.
9. WALTZES FROM VIENNA (1933) ^ Alfred Hitchcock was hired to direct this biopic of Johann Strauss, but he became so frustrated with the hackneyed screenplay and low budget production that he openly stated his hatred of the film during its shooting. Despite a cast of high talents including Jessie Matthews, Edmund Gwenn and Esmond Knight as Strauss, Hitchcock never felt comfortable with the subject and would later grumble the film was made during his “lowest ebb” of creativity. The film later turned up in America as “Strauss’ Great Waltz” but disappeared almost immediately upon hitting theaters. ^ WHY IS THIS FILM NOT ON VIDEO? Perhaps the most obscure Hitchcock film, “Waltzes from Vienna” has mysteriously been unavailable for review for many years. Bootleg copies of a low quality are in circulation, but a full restoration of the film has yet to take place and the film has literally waltzed into obscurity, unknown to all except diehard Hitchcock fanatics.
10. FACE TO FACE (1952) ^ This independently-produced feature actually consists of two short dramas about courage. The first is based on Joseph Conrad’s “Secret Sharer” and stars James Mason as a ship’s captain who hides a fugitive on his vessel, certain that the escaped prisoner has been unjustly tried and punished. The second is based on Stephen Crane’s “Bride Comes to Yellow Sky” and stars Robert Preston as a sheriff in the Old West who brings his new wife home just as trouble is brewing in town. The latter story was scripted by James Agee, who had a bit role as a jovial prisoner. ^ WHY IS THIS FILM NOT ON VIDEO? “Face to Face” was not a box office success and the two films were later released as separate featurettes. Kept out of circulation for many years, the film was ready to emerge in the mid-1990s as a home video release, but the title was abruptly withdrawn prior to its distribution and has not been seen since.
Get the complete list in the next part of NEVER ON VIDEO II: THE NEXT TOP 20 “MISSING” MOVIES>>>
Posted on August 26, 2001 in Features by Phil Hall
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