Monday, November 20, 2017

Postponed movies

Over the weekend, the following story from India came to my attention:

Bounty placed on Bollywood actress' head after Hindu-Muslim film outrage

A top Bollywood actress has been given a special police security detail amid ongoing protests over a historical drama.

Deepika Padukone has received violent threats over her lead role in the film Padmavati - the fable of a 14th century Hindu queen of Rajasthan, based on an epic medieval poem.

Cinemas have been vandalised in response, and riot police put on alert for its release on December 1.

Rightwing Hindu groups claim the film besmirches the name of Padmavati by insinuating she had a romance with a Muslim emperor while she was married to a Hindu king - a charge denied by the film's director.

I did a bit of looking around for info on the epic poem and the movie, and discovered that according to Wikipedia, the movie release has been indefinitely postponed, at least in India. Supposedly it was going to get international distribution too. Not that it would have shown up in my neck of the woods, and not that I necessarily would have gone to see it, anyway. I'm not certain if I'd want to see a Bollywood musical version of an epic. But the story itself sounds like it could be made into just as interesting a movie as any of the western medieval historical dramas.

Anyhow, this got me to thinking about movies that got postponed in Hollywood. One I immediately thought of is Arsenic and Old Lace, which is on the TCM schedule this afternoon at 2:00 PM. It was based on a popular Broadway play, and apparently they were contractually bound not to release the movie until after the original Broadway run ended. Who knew that was going to be another two years; that sort of thing just didn't happen on Broadway back then.

RKO had a couple in the 50s I can remember. The Narrow Margin was held back for a year or two. The story, probably apocryphal, is that RKO boss Howard Hughes wanted to watch a copy before release, but forgot about it for a long time. There's also The Whip Hand, which got postponed because Howard Hughes decided the bad guys shouldn't be the Nazis, but Communists. This required a bunch of re-shoots and a plot that looks a bit of a mess.

Jerry Lewis famously shelved The Day the Clown Cried; I don't know if there were any surviving prints or if he had them all destroyed.

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