Ask Doug

It’s always pleasing to be the conduit between readers who yearn to see a particular film and those who take pleasure in providing the means of doing so. All the more when the sought-after item is rare. Hence a degree of vicarious delight when a packet arrives from Billy the Kid containing a couple of discs recently sought here. The first of these is Sorok Pervyy (1956), aka The Forty-first, an obscure Russian production whose title Charmain Williams of Forster, was not even able to recall despite seeing the film at the old Savoy Cinema on Bligh Street many moons ago. Glennys Ferguson provided a few clues and Billy did the rest. I wonder how it will play half a century later?
Nanjing Night Net

In the same package from Billy, The Magnificent Showman (1965), aka Circus World, starring John Wayne. An accompanying note suggested the quality of the print might be somewhat ”iffy”, and that being the case I have sent instead a second copy provided by ”The Plucky Learner”, who is located somewhere on the south coast of NSW if the Nowra postmark is authentic. No doubt Michael Kennedy of Raworth will be delighted by both acts of kindness.

While in the approximate ambit of obscure old Russian films, would anyone have data that might provide clues to pursue the 1939 film The Foundling – a warm, comedy-drama directed by Tatyana Lukashevich? It’s the story of Natasha, a young girl who goes walkabout in Moscow and the people she encounters before being returned to her family. Likened to City Lights, it is said to be superbly acted and, according to The Guide’s references, was mentioned in Komediya Davno Minuvshikh Dney (1980). The stars were Veronika Lebedeva, Faina Ranevskaya and Pyotr Repnin. Finding this item would give enormous pleasure to Zika and Dimitry Nester of Cammeray.

Lionel Baker of Engadine was keen to revisit the 1955 drama A Prize of Gold, featuring Richard Widmark. His inquiry prompted the arrival of a package from Sharon Thomson of Gymea with a disc of the film. I enclosed your handwritten address, Sharon, so Lionel can write to you but I’m afraid I couldn’t make it out or verify it in White Pages, so unless Lionel can decipher which street your 95 belongs to, you may have to be gratified by my thanks alone. Also in regard to this film, Sharon reports that it is available on DVD via VicPine Rare and Cult Movies in Britain for £16 (free shipping). The address is vicpine.co.uk. Thanks also to Paul Myers of Minto for providing a disc of the Widmark drama.

Well done, the Tathra Golfer! An albatross! A request by Claudia Chan Shaw for the 1939 thriller The Return Of Doctor X, starring Bogey, has been answered. Should we meet on the back nine, it’s our shout at the clubhouse.

GPO Box 506, Sydney, 2001, or fax 9282 2481.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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