Dennis Morgan's THE DESERT SONG?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by RobertGr, May 11, 2007.

  1. RobertGr

    RobertGr Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Messages:
    321
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am sending this out to all the amazing film historians on this very awesome board including Joe Caps, Steve O and Robert Harris and Robert Crawford and everyone whom might know about THE DESERT SONG starring Dennis Morgan.

    I have never had the chance to see this film but from sources I have read over the years the film is a minor classic which sadly I think is in legal rights hell (Hey Mr. Feltenstein is that issue being resolved?). Has anyone here seen this Technicolor films and is it worth ever releasing on dvd?

    Best
     
  2. Drew Salzan

    Drew Salzan Second Unit

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2004
    Messages:
    280
    Likes Received:
    16
    Warner Home Video has the rights to all three versions (1929, 1942 and 1953). A box set would be great. Same goes for all three versions of Showboat, which I believe is being planned for next year.
     
  3. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2000
    Messages:
    1,977
    Likes Received:
    47
    As I understand it, there is a film element problem with the Dennis MOrgan version. There is no negative. The Negative was cut up and desert scenes inserted into the Gordon Macrae version. I wish that version would show up on dvd. Its on vhs with really good color and sound.
     
  4. Corey

    Corey Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    1,412
    Likes Received:
    0
    so is the copy just in bad shape?
     
  5. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    14,570
    Likes Received:
    2,968
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
    I didn't even know there WAS a version with Dennis Morgan! Wow!
     
  6. RobertGr

    RobertGr Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Messages:
    321
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey Joe that is interesting on the o-neg, I do not remember where I heard it though it must have been on the net a few years back about films MIA and THE DESERT SONG with Dennis Morgan was one of them and the reason being a music rights problem. A interesting story, years ago before Turner bought MGM and cut it up into pieces and kept only the film library I had a close friend at MGM in their NYC office. He was always telling me stories about films in limbo and he was telling me that they were trying to get ANNIE GET YOUR GUN approval from Irving Berlin whom had refused to let the film be reissued. For years the story was that in was Politcally Incorrect depiction of the American Indians that were keeping it out of circulation. In reality the main reason was Irving Berlin was pissed at MGM for killing what was to be Arthur Freed's and Berlin's swan song musical extravaganza in the late 1960's.

    My source had told me "the minute Irving Berlin passes away we are going to be all over ANNIE GET YOUR GUN." Well that seems to have been the case as we did finally see the film's dvd release a few years after Berlin's death."

    I look forward to the next GREAT Warner chat on this AWESOME site and being able to ask George Feltenstein about THE DESERT SONG!
     
  7. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 10, 1999
    Messages:
    1,698
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you want to make 'em cringe, ask 'em about the 1929 version, too.
    I've recently seen a VHS print, and it's down-right scary!
    It'd be nice to know which parts of it were shot in two-strip Technicolour, though; we haven't been able to find that out yet.
    Leo
     
  8. Charles H

    Charles H Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Messages:
    1,526
    Likes Received:
    0
    Although awfully stilted, the 1953 DESERT SONG has great photography by Robert Burks and MacRae is in good voice. There is also a 20 minute Vitaphone adaptation called "The Red Shadow."
     
  9. RobertGr

    RobertGr Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Messages:
    321
    Likes Received:
    0
    I just read the review from the NY TIMES reviewer when the Dennis Morgan THE DESERT SONG was released and it got a rave review from the NY TIMES Star reviewer of the era Mr. Bosley Crowther.

    It makes it clear that this film based on a number of comments on it is indeed a fun picture and a great technicolor film that should see a dvd release. Hopefully someone from Warners is reading this and can tell us what the status is of the gem of a film!

    I quote the NY TIMES REVIEW

    "this brash and gaudy picture is relaxing entertainment and spirited fun, with a great deal of colorful action in odorous cafes and on the burning desert sands."
     
  10. Rod J

    Rod J Stunt Coordinator
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    Real Name:
    Rodney Jewett
    Unfortunately, year after year, it's ALWAYS "next year".. [​IMG]
    At least we have the laserdiscs..
     
  11. Corey

    Corey Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    1,412
    Likes Received:
    0
    maybe we'll get it in 2011 for it's 60th anniversarry.
     
  12. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    14,570
    Likes Received:
    2,968
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
    I'd love to see the 1929 John Boles version. I know it'd be primitive, but curiosity has the better of me. Has TCM ever shown it? They do occasionally show early talkies (RIO RITA, GOOD NEWS), but I'm not sure I've ever seen this one turn up.
     
  13. Corey

    Corey Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    1,412
    Likes Received:
    0
    I hope they include the early version of Rio Rita with the A&C version.
     
  14. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 10, 1999
    Messages:
    1,698
    Likes Received:
    0
    The VHS print I saw was from some "family entertainment" type name of low-budget distributer. Yes, it was a generic name like "family entertainment," I can't remember the actual text on the box, but the box was covered with early film posters, and was not unique to the tape. (The only unique branding was on the tape itself, which was just a black-n-white label on the spine.)
    When the person I know called 'em to ask if they had it, their response was, "yeah, but do you really want this one?"
    Leo
     
  15. Dan McW

    Dan McW Second Unit

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Messages:
    414
    Likes Received:
    64
    Real Name:
    Dan
    Old threads on the TCM boards seem to indicate that the Gordon MacRae version is the only one they've ever shown, and even that's been a while. Some posters there are speculating that both earlier versions had to be shelved when the MacRae version was made, or that legal problems with an individual song are keeping the '43 version in limbo. Apparently dupes are floating about that were made from Irene Manning's personal film copy of the '43 version.
    Here's a June 2004 reply by "tcmprogrammer" on the TCM boards to a request for the Dennis Morgan version:
    "'The Desert Song'" has been tied up with underlying rights issues for many years; I do not know the exact issue, but it's a film that should be in our library but has been out of circulation since I've been here (a little over 6 years)."
     
  16. RobertGr

    RobertGr Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Messages:
    321
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey Dan

    Your post provides great info and jives with what I was told a few years back that it is a rights issue with the music. TCM and Warners has had a good record of bringing these titles back from oblivion example the lost RKO titles recently shwon on TCM and of course the very high profile ANNIE GET YOUR GUN. I would hope George Feltenstein whom I assume reads these boards will give us some answer to the question "will THE DESERT SONG starring Dennis Morgan ever be shown again?" All sources seem to indicate it is a very good and enjoyable film!
     
  17. Mike*HTF

    Mike*HTF Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2006
    Messages:
    872
    Likes Received:
    54
    Real Name:
    ...
    I thought this was a great little film. I remember making a deal with the devil to have a dupe made from a washed out 16mm print held by a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend as a birthday present to my mother years ago. While the video quality was nearly unwatchable, the film itself was quite fun and I thought it was better than the MacRae version (especially the songs). There were other VHS copies of the Morgan version around and I recall that it was something of a collector's item in LA in the late 90s at least. I'm fairly certain that at one time Eddie Brandt's had a loaner copy from Broadcast TV (KTLA w/ commercials!) dating from god only knows when.
     
  18. RobertGr

    RobertGr Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Messages:
    321
    Likes Received:
    0
    I sincerely wish George Feltenstein fill us in on why this title is MIA! The cleared ANNIE GET YOUR GUN so you would think they are agressively trying to clear the films that are theirs but are locked away. I think the same thing happened with SARATOGA TRUNK. If we cannot get an answer I will wait to Warner and this GREAT site host another chat as ask the question then!
     
  19. CineKarine

    CineKarine Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2007
    Messages:
    672
    Likes Received:
    0
    Would love to see the Dennis Morgan version too. As much as I enjoy the 1953 version with Gordon MacRae, the story was changed, the songs truncated and the staging stilted which is a shame because MacRae had - to my ears - the most beautiful voice ever to hit the screen. He did several radio adaptations of The Desert Song and recorded the entire score (in the early 50s and again in 1963) and his recordings are nothing short of magnificent. From what I know, he was very disappointed that the story was changed so much and disliked the film as a result. Even so, I would LOVE to have this film on DVD as a fan of MacRae, the lovely (but miscast) Kathryn Grayson and the breathtaking Romberg music.
     
  20. DrPopi

    DrPopi Auditioning

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have seen the original 1943 Dennis Morgan version in the movies and a friend of mine loaned me a very blurry copy to copy, which I did and have. It is of very poor quality. I have waited years for the re-release of this dennis Morgan version. Hopefully the day will come.
     

Share This Page