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Oz was an influential underground magazine available in its native Australia and in England. Catering to the ‘60s counterculture, it’s founding and the love story of editor Richard Neville and his girlfriend Louise Fletcher, as well as a pair of obscenity trials, were to be the focus of a film on the subject. Development began in 1998, with filming finally commencing nine years later. Changes in cast, screenwriters, and directors doomed the project, which was finally completed in 2011. The production company then announced it would not be released. While some have suggested the publicized scandals in star Sienna Miller’s life were the main reason behind the decision, others claim that the film is just not that good.
As the hedonistic yin to the Beatles boy band yang, the Rolling Stones were notorious for their hard partying bad boy behavior, so whatever Robert Frank managed to capture during the band’s infamous 1972 tour must have been really awful. The group sued to keep the documentary under wraps, it’s depictions of sex and drugs too much for their raunchy rock ‘n’ roll mantle. A lengthy court battle ensued with Frank winning the right to show the film, but only under such strict rules and unusual circumstances (i.e.: no more than four times a year, with the filmmaker himself present) that few have actually experienced it’s mindless Me Decade debauchery.
After Orson Welles turned his back on Hollywood for good (or, as some suggest, visa versa), he ran through a series of incomplete projects, none more intriguing and aggravating as this. Fellow filmmaker John Huston stars as an aging industry figure who dies before completing the title film. The result is a look at old Tinseltown taking on the emerging post-modern movement, with Welles using an experimental approach and his typical piecemeal production schedule (filming started in 1970 and ended in 1976). Legal and financial issues halted the editing process with only 45 minutes complete. By 1998, it looked like the film might be completed. Continuing complications with Welles’ unsettled estate derailed that idea.
There is only one reason this former Disney “classic” hasn’t seen a legitimate release since a special 1986 offering: it’s questionable depiction of race and African Americans in a Reconstruction-era Georgia. While the stories upon which it was based—the supposedly beloved works of Uncle Remus, created by white writer Joel Chandler Harris—are considered culturally significant, and the House of Mouse’s experimentation with live action and animation is inventive and inspired, the subject matter is treated with all the insensitivity of a standard Hollywood production circa the late ‘40s. While some minority groups have asked for a special home video release with contextual commentary, Disney has chosen to bury the film. It has been available overseas.
This is it. The Holy Grail of MIA movies. Jerry Lewis, in a recent interview, reiterated once again that his legendary Holocaust dramedy will “NEVER” see the light of day (though some footage featured in an old Dutch documentary recently went viral). Before movies like Life is Beautiful and Jakob the Liar, many considered the mere concept of a quasi comedy set in a Concentration Camp nothing short of a Final Solution level atrocity. Even with the acceptance of these otherwise misguided movies, one imagines that the story of a circus performer kept by the Nazis in order to entertain children as they head to the gas chamber will remain unseen.
// Short Ends and Leader
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