Friday, December 31, 2010

Jane Curtain, Susan Saint James & Jessica Lang in How to Beat the High Cost of Living 1980

It was 1980, the country was in a recession, we'd just gone though gas rationing and the mood was rebellious. All of this was finding its way into popular culture in productions like this film from American International Pictures. Jane (Susan Saint James), Elaine (Jane Curtin) and Louise (Jessica Lang) all have complicated relationships and precarious financial circumstances. In a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps kind of spirit, they decide a little larceny at their local shopping mall will solve their problems. Hilarity ensues as they encounter one obstacle after another that they proceed to hop, scramble or trip over in the pursuit of their goal. Look for Dabney Coleman as one of the few sympathetic characters he played around then, as well as Richard Benjamin, Fred Willard and Eddie Albert all playing the men in these woman's lives. It's also notable that this film, and the chemistry between Curtin and Saint James was the impetus for the television series Kate and Allie. 
Unlike films like 9 to 5 from the same era, this one didn't become part of the popular culture and has been largely forgotten. It is available on DVD, however, and can be watched on Netflix as well. There is no video of it available anywhere else that I can find except for the television commercial for it which can be seen on YouTube. The poster above is available at MoviePosterShop.com.


Obscurity factor: 7 (Rarely seen on TV, available on DVD)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sandra Dee & Bobby Darin in If A Man Answers 1962

For those of you who are fans of the Doris Day/Rock Hudson comedies, I have a treat for you. In 1962 Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin took a stab at the genre with this cute film. Free spirit Chantal Stacy (Sandra Dee) finds romance with photographer Eugene Wright (Bobby Darin), and after a whirlwind courtship, they're married. The course of love is never smooth in this genre, however, and Chantal soon finds herself neglected by her husband. So, advised by her French mother, she sets about to solve this using a series of deceptions and is, of course, eventually deceived herself. As in all these films, all is well in the end. The cast also includes a young Stefanie Powers and veteran Caesar Romero. The production values are top of the line with beautiful color photography and lush sets and costumes. It's a frothy bonbon, but a fun way to spend an evening.

I was completely unaware of this film until I stumbled across it on Netflix. It's been pretty much forgotten and is rarely seen on TV. There is a DVD of it available and you can find the trailer, uploaded to YouTube by bobbyfan64 above.

Obscurity factor: 5 (largely forgotten, rarely on TV, DVD available)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Elizabeth Montgomery in The Legend of Lizzie Borden 1975

When we think of Elizabeth Montgomery we naturally think of Bewitched. She had quite a range as an actress that you rarely get to see. Three years after Bewitched ceased production she did this TV film of the story of Lizzie Borden. It's notable in both its accuracy and its supposition - the court scenes are practically reenactments of the trial transcripts, however, there are a series of flashbacks that portray the theory of the crime that supposes that Lizzie committed the murders in the nude. Ms. Montgomery acquits herself admirably in the production, playing Lizzie as a demure, but troubled girl, nude murder scenes not withstanding. Also in the cast are Katherine Helmond, two years before playing Jessica Tate in the series Soap and Fritz Weaver as Lizzie's father. An odd tidbit about the production was brought to light by genealogist Rhonda McClure in her book Finding your Famous and Infamous Ancesters (Betterway Books, 2003). Apparently Ms. Montgomery and Miss. Borden were 6th cousins!

The entire film has been uploaded to YouTube by SuperBewitchedFan. The first installment of it is above. This is rarely shown on TV and isn't available on DVD. You can find it on iOffer.com, however.

Obscurity factor: 7 (rarely screened on TV, no DVD available, available on YouTube and iOffer.com)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rosalind Russell in The Velvet Touch 1948

In 1948 Rosalind Russell and her husband Fredrick Brisson (occasionally referred to as The Lizard of Roz) embarked on a career partnership that paralleled their marriage with this film. It was the first of many of Roz's films that was based on a Broadway play that Brisson negotiated the rights for. It centers around the complicated life of actress Valerie Stanton (Russell) who is under the thumb of her producer (Leon Ames), but wants to try her wings at more challenging material than he is willing to offer her. During an overheated meeting she inadvertently kills him. Circumstances lead to an enemy of hers being accused of the crime and Valerie finds herself in a moral conundrum. 
 
This suspenseful film is full of sparkling dialog with witty turns of phrase that contrast the dramatic subject matter and make it a delight to watch. Also starring in the film are Sydney Greenstreet and Claire Trevor. It's hard to find and only occasionally shown on TV. You can get the old video tapes of it on Amazon.com, but that's about the only source for it right now. Perhaps it will find its way into TCM's DVD release series. We can only hope.

Obscurity factor 9 (No DVD, hard to find, not on YouTube or iOffer.com, rarely seen on television)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Joan Crawford in Della 1964

1964 was a good year for obscure films. Two of the films we've featured in the short history of this blog are from that year - The Visit and Where Love has Gone. Della started out life as the pilot episode of a series called Royal Bay about a town in northern California. Joan Crawford plays the daughter of the town's founder, an uncompromising woman who rules her home with an iron fist and exerts her influence over the town she owns so much of. The story finds a young lawyer attempting to get Della to sell a parcel of land to a government contractor who will bring lots of jobs to the town. He's invited to visit her home in the middle of the night and discovers her and her daughter living in a nocturnal world, sleeping during the day and going about their business during the night hours. He finds the daughter intriguing and is lured into their world with subsequent visits. The relationship eventually takes on tragic proportions.

The film, which is only 70 minutes long, was released as a feature - probably on a double bill, and was lost to obscurity until the late 1980's when it was released on video tape with misleading cover art, under the title Fatal Confinement, no doubt to capitalize on the success of Fatal Attraction. While not a high point in Ms. Crawford's career, she looks fantastic in it, and it does have some fun twists and turns. Also in the cast is Diane Baker in her second turn as Joan's daughter (Straitjacket) and her third time working with Ms. Crawford (The Best of Everything) and Paul Burke, who many of you will remember from his portrayal of Lyon Burke in Valley of the Dolls. You can find the second hand video tapes on Amazon.com, the DVD on iOffer.com and the full version has been uploaded to YouTube by annavissifan. The first installment is above.

Obscurity factor: 8 (practically unknown, available on video tape, at YouTube and on iOffer.com)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Claudette Colbert and Don Ameche in Midnight 1939

When it comes to screw-ball comedy, no one has such a light touch as Claudette Colbert. Her cavorting with Rudy Vallee in The Palm Beach Story makes for one of the most delightful comedies in screen history. Lesser known, but every bit as charming is Midnight with Don Ameche. Eve Peabody arrives in Paris from Monte Carlo with nothing but the evening gown on her back. She happens on handsome cabbie Don Ameche and convinces him to drive her around town looking for work as a chanteuse. She eventually finds her way into a society party and just as she's about to be thrown out, is rescued by John Barrymore, a neglected husband who wants Eve to seduce his wife's lover away from her. So she gads about France in pursuit of the lothario, and just one step ahead of Don Ameche.

Directed by Mitchell Leisen and with a screen play by a young Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett, this film touches on risque subjects like infidelity and features a woman alone getting by on her wits. It's forward thinking for 1939.

I'm happy to say this film has been rescued from total obscurity by TCM, which released a DVD of it in 2008. Before that it languished in the netherworld of largely forgotten classics. The DVD release has one of the always insightful introductions by Robert Osborne and is highly recommended.  Above is a scene from it uploaded to YouTube by classicscreengems. Have a look and put the DVD on your Netflix list. You won't be disappointed!

Obscurity factor: 5 (Formerly little known, DVD available, occasionally on TCM)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Jim Backus in Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol 1962

When it comes to holiday tradition nothing fills the bill like A Christmas Carol. Most people think of Reginald Owen or Basil Rathbone, or even Michael Caine if you're fond of the Muppets (and who isn't?). We mustn't forget Mr. Magoo, however. For some, this is the definitive Scrooge, simply because it was their first exposure to the character. It's a very cute adaptation, even if it doesn't have the weight of some other versions. This one, like Scrooge with Albert Finny which premiered 8 years after this, is a musical with some delightful original songs. Though it has it's champions, this version has largely been forgotten by the culture as a whole, which is a shame because it has some charming moments.


If you find yourself with a little time on your hands today, spend some time with Mr. Magoo. The full version is above, thanks to Hulu. You have to endure commercials, but there's a bonus at the end - a feature with Mr. Magoo as Rip Van Winkle. You can also find this on DVD.

Obscurity factor: 3 (available on DVD, available on Hulu, largely forgotten except by hard core fans)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Geraldine Page in Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory 1966

I wasn't familiar with this beautiful little story until I was researching specials for this blog, but now, I think it's one of my favorite posts this holiday week. Originally published in Mademoiselle magazine in 1957, the short story about young Buddy and his best friend - an older distant cousin named Sook - was produced for television and aired on ABC Stage 67 in 1966. It's a tender story of companionship and the joy that can be found in simple things. Directed by Frank Perry and set in the rural south in the 1930's, the largely autobiographical story finds Sook and Buddy making fruitcakes to give and send as gifts to people they feel a kinship with, and celebrating Christmas morning together. It stars Geraldine Page as Sook and she gives a delicate and touching performance. Truman Capote narrates the story himself and injects sly and distinctly southern humor into his narration.


The original production was in color, but subsequent broadcasts were in black and white as are erp65's uploads of it to YouTube. The first installment is above. It's available on DVD, however it's received some poor reviews for the quality of the print.

Obscurity factor 7 (Rarely seen on TV, poor quality print available on DVD, full version available on YouTube)

Image from Google Images

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Joel Grey & Tammy Grimes in 'Twas The Night Before Christmas 1974

Rankin & Bass were the go-to guys for holiday specials in the 60's and 70's. Their roster of holiday specials are legendary including Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1970), The Year Without Santa Claus (1974) and the one that started them all, Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer (1964). Their formula was simple - choose an iconic story, frequently based on a song or holiday legend, and cast a big star from old Hollywood, the theater or music - Burl Ives, Fred Astaire, Shirley Booth. The best known specials feature stop-motion animation, though the one we're concerned with today is drawn animation.



'Twas the Night Before Christmas is based, on the iconic poem "A Visit from St. Nick" by Clement Clarke Moore. It concerns Joshua Trundle, a clockmaker (voiced by Joel Grey, above) and his family and the family of mice that live in his house. Albert, the eldest son of the mouse family (voiced by Tammy Grimes, pictured to the right), in his analytical way, is convinced that Santa is a myth, so he sends Santa a letter telling him so, and signs it "All of Us" which Santa takes to mean the whole town of Junctionville. So Santa decides to skip the town all together. I've always thought that this was the weakest plot point in the story. I don't believe Santa would be that easily offended. He'd just Ho, Ho, Ho, and deliver gifts to the town anyway. I don't think he's in it for the recognition. Anyway, I digress. Mr. Trundle, the clockmaker seeks a commission from the town to make a clock that will welcome Santa on Christmas Eve. He gets the commission and builds the clock, only to have Albert, in his curiosity about how it worked, break it. Will they be able to fix it by Christmas Eve? You'll have to watch and find out!

The entire show has been uploaded to YouTube by aimstaind18 in one, 21 minute segment (I'll never know how people get the clearance to upload videos longer than the proscribed 15... <sigh>). It's a delightful 70's Christmas story and has some really charming original songs in it. There's also a DVD available and it's occasionally shown on ABC Family channel's 25 days of Christmas.

Obscurity factor: 2 (on DVD, occasionally shown on TV, available on YouTube)

Images from Google Images

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Marilyn Sokol in Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas 1977

This holiday special from 1977 is borderline for this blog. It was very well received and quite popular when it was released on HBO and in subsequent airings on ABC, and marked a turning point in the production capabilities for Henson productions. It's also been forgotten over the years, though many people sill hold it dear and there is a large fan base for it. Because it was, and still is, one of my favorite holiday specials, I decided to include it.

When Jim Henson and company set out to produce this project they raised the bar for their already high production values. This project would be the most realistic production they had ever produced with elaborate, complete sets and characters that moved through them using a variety of different puppetry methods. The result is a visually stunning, delightfully crafted and utterly simple story about an otter and his widowed mother trying to get along with the little they have. It features lovely, folksy songs by Paul Williams that really stick with you, and charming humor that warms your heart. Playing against type, as one can only completely do when voicing an animated character, Marylin Sokol is Ma Otter.
 
Image courtesy of FilmDope.com
 You may remember her from her comedic turns as the dark haired side kick in Foul Play (1978) and Can't Stop the Music (1980). The original airings featured an introduction and sign off from Kermit the Frog, but because Henson sold off the rights to the character those segments have been removed, unfortunately.

This musical number from the show is courtesy of HensonCompany on YouTube. I'm happy to say that there is a collector's edition DVD available now and it includes some great behind the scenes footage that shows how they created such realism in the final product. If you haven't seen this one, you should definitely rent or buy it. It's charming from start to finish.

Obscurity factor: 2 (Not widely known, but has a large cult following, Available on DVD)

Image from Google images

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sebastian Cabot in Miracle on 34th Street 1973

Since the 1947 original premiered, Miracle on 34th Street has been a holiday classic. It's was remade twice for television in the 50's and 60's, as a Broadway play in 1963 called Here's Love starring Janis Paige and featuring a lovely score, and was remade again in the 1990's. Sebastian Cabot stars as Kris Kringle in this 1973 television film remake. It's a fairly faithful retelling of the story, updated to the mod 70's. Cabot is charming as Santa Claus. It also features Roddy McDowell as the officious Dr. Sawyer, Jane Alexander as Susan's mother, David Hartman as the love interest, Jim Backus as the VP in charge of sales at Macy's, David Doyle as Mr. Macy and Tom Bosley as the Judge. I'm especially fond of the footage of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from the period, and the opening sequence features some wonderful shots of New York City in the early 70's.

Here's a the opening sequence and a few moments of the film, uploaded to YouTube by baythebike. It hasn't been released on DVD in its own right, but I first saw it in the DVD extras of another film (I'm one of those annoying people who watch all the DVD extras of every DVD I rent), and I've been racking my brain to remember which one it is. It's not the obvious 1947 version of the film and I've gone back through my Netflix queue and none of them look likely. If any of you know the answer to this conundrum, please let me know with a comment. There are lots of people out there who will thank you!

Obscurity factor: 7 (Not available on DVD, rarely shown on television, full film available on YouTube)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Liza Minnelli in The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood 1965

This week on The Obscurity Factor, in honor of the season, we'll be featuring some obscure holiday television specials and movies.

Early on in her career, Liza Minnelli did this odd little holiday special for ABC. It was produced by General Electric, with rather cardboard production values and also starred veteran English actor Cyril Richard, crooner Vic Damone and, strangely enough, rock band The Animals, well cast as the wolf's cronies. The story line is the familiar fairy tale updated and set at Christmas time with new music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Bob Merrill, and the twist of it being told from the wolf's (Cyril Richard) point of view. Ms. Minnelli displays the amazing energy of youth (she was 19) and the numbers are charmingly choreographed and executed. Mr. Richard lends a comically erudite quality to the wolf that has to be seen to be believed. The Animals have only one solo song but it's lots of fun and really contrasts with the big band arrangements of all the other numbers, pointing up the tension that was mounting between the establishment and youth culture at the time.



The upload to DailyMotion from NilbogLAND is in black and white, though the original production was broadcast in color. Here's the first installment. There is also a DVD available that's in black and white as well. It was obviously thrown together to capitalize on the names involved and has received some scathing reviews on Amazon.com for it's lack of remastering. But if you're a hard core Liza fan, it might be worth it!

Obscurity factor: 7 (largely unknown, available on DVD, full version on DailyMotion)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Stockard Channing & Joseph Bologna in The Big Bus 1976

Before the Airplane franchise that revitalized Leslie Nielsen's career there was this 1976 disaster movie parody. The Big Bus had it all - action, suspense, danger... On the cutting edge of technology, the nuclear powered Cyclops is the first luxury bus. For its maiden run - a non stop trip from New York to Denver - after a bomb wipes out the driver and co-driver the team turns to Dan Torrence (Joseph Bologna), a promising bus driver with a dark incident in his past that kiboshed his brilliant career. The film follows the progress of the enormous Cyclops as it navigates the route to Denver and a minefield of attempts to sideline it by a group of oil sheiks and Iron Man, a diabolical villain in an iron lung. Also featured in the cast are a veritable who's who of 70's Hollywood actors - Ned Beatty, Lynn Redgrave, Sally Kellerman, Larry Hagman, Richard Mulligan Jose Ferrer and the irrepressible Ruth Gordon.

The centerpiece of the action is the bus itself - an articulated double decker affair with 32 wheels, wrap around windows and a graphic, orange and yellow paint scheme. It was fitted out with an amazing assortment of features, including automatic, enroute tire changer and flags of the world that sprang from the roof at the touch of a button. Inside were found a cocktail lounge, captains dining room, swimming pool and bowling alley. Here, in a clip uploaded to YouTube by clipfilmix we see the bus making its first appearance:





If you enjoy disaster movies, or parodies of them, then The Big Bus is a must see.

Obscurity factor: 4 (available on DVD, rarely shown on television, footage available on YouTube, recent enough to still be remembered by many)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Edna May Oliver in the Hildegard Withers Series

Edna May Oliver is one of those ubiquitous character actors seen in films of the 30's and early 40's. You're probably familiar with her from the 1933 classic Little Women with Katherine Hepburn (she played Aunt March) and Pride and Prejudice (1940) with Greer Garson (she played Lady Catherine). Before she moved over to the greener pastures of MGM, she was a contract player at RKO, where she was cast as the lead in a series of films based on the Stuart Palmer novels about a crime solving schoolmarm. There were three of them, beginning with the Penguin Pool Murder (1932), followed up by Murder on the Blackboard (1934) and Murder on a Honeymoon (1935). Assisted ably by her detective/boyfriend played by James Gleason, Hildegarde perseveres to solve the crime and save the day.


The films are pretty fluffy, but have a fun, 1930's quality to them that makes them enjoyable to watch. They were recently on TCM in a celebration of Ms. Oliver's birthday. But while the books are still available, the films are not released on DVD. When Ms. Oliver decamped for MGM they tried to recast Ms. Withers with Helen Broderick and Zasu Pitts, but no one could embody Hildegarde like Edna May - at least until 1972 when the inimitable Eve Arden played the part in a made-for-TV movie that has persisted in eluding me. Watch for a post on that one sometime in the future! The poster above can be purchased at MoviePosterShop.com.

Obscurity factor: 7 (not available on DVD, occasionally aired on television, not available on YouTube)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Valentina Cortese & Richard Basehart in The House on Telegraph Hill 1951

Hard core film buffs will know Valentina Cortese and Richard Basehart. They're both film industry veterans and have done some significant cinema, however, the casual fan might be unfamiliar with their work. The House on Telegraph Hill, (1951) masterfully directed by Robert Wise, is a great opportunity to see them at their best. This film is beautifully crafted and delightfully suspenseful. It centers around a woman who takes the identity of a deceased, wealthy friend after being imprisoned with her in a concentration camp during WWII. She emigrates to the US to rejoin the woman's son, who was in infant when she was imprisoned. The boy's father was killed in the war, and no one in his prominent San Francisco family knows the mother personally, so she has a chance of taking over her life quietly and completely.  Upon arrival she's welcomed with open arms but strange and accidents begin happening.


I highly recommend this film. It's very well made and lots of fun to watch. It's available on DVD and the trailer is on YouTube. I can't caution you strongly enough against watching the trailer, though. It has some really unfortunate spoilers in it. Avoid it at all costs until you've seen the film. The poster above is available at MoviePostershop.com

Obscurity Factor: 3 (available on DVD, considered a cult classic in some circles)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bette Davis, Susan Hayward & Joey Heatherton in Where Love Has Gone 1964

When it comes to tearing up the scenery, no one does it better than Bette Davis. Although, Susan Hayward is no slouch in the scenery tearing department either. Put them together in a film and expect fireworks! Where Love Has Gone certainly delivers on that promise. Based on a pulpy Harold Robbins novel of the same name, it's loosely based on the Lana Turner/Cheryl Crane/Joey Stompanato story of a mother/daughter love triangle. Bette Davis plays the domineering mother of sculptress Susan Hayward. Her interference in her daughters affairs have tragic consequences for Hayward and the man she loves (Mike Conners of Mannix fame). They bear a child (Heatherton) and divorce, leaving Hayward to raise her alone. Not an easy task for a woman who is in a constant state of rebellion herself.

Be ready for a huge dose of drama in this one. It's at a fever pitch right from the start. It's fun to see three generations of Hollywood women in one film, though Heatherton hasn't fully owned her glamorous womanhood yet. The film was recently released on DVD and for the time being can also be seen on YouTube in its entirety, thanks to LorreB




Obscurity factor: 5 (available on DVD, rarely seen on television, available on YouTube)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rosalind Russell in Rosie! 1967

What do you get when you combine Rosalind Russel and King Lear? You get Rosie! The 1967 comedy/drama Produced by veteran Ross Hunter and starring Russell as the matriarch of a family who has an unusual way of doing things. She wants to buy an old vaudeville theater to save it from the wrecking ball. Her granddaughter (Sandra Dee) is all for it but her daughters (Audry Meadows and Vanessa Brown) and son-in-law (Leslie Nielsen) are dead set against dissipating their future inheritance, and take measures to make sure it doesn't happen.


The betrayal of a figure head by their children is a powerful story whether its a medieval monarch or a mod matriarch. What starts out as a fun romp through a sexagenarian's last fling at life - driving recklessly, wearing outlandish clothes, standing on her head - turns suddenly dark with an oppressed Russell held captive in an insane asylum. Her realization of what's happened to her results in a powerful dramatic scene as only Roz could do it. The end is a little loopy, but it's worth it for the fun of the rest of the film. Look for a young James Farentino as Sandra Dee's love interest. The poster above is available at MoviePosterShop.com.

There is no footage of this one on YouTube, but if you're obsessed by it, it can frequently be found on iOffer.com.

Obscurity factor: 10 (no DVD or VHS, Rarely screened on television, no footage on YouTube)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ingrid Bergman in The Visit 1964

This 1964 film is based on a 1956 play by Swiss playwright, Friedrich D├╝rrenmatt about an impoverished European town that receives a visit from one of it's former citizens who has become the richest woman in the world. She had been shunned by the town at 17 years old after having an affair with one of the men and giving birth to a child out of wedlock. She offers to give the town a million dollars to help them escape the poverty they find themselves in on one condition - they kill the man who fathered her child.

Ingrid Bergman plays the rich woman and Anthony Quinn is the man she had the affair with in this Italian production. It's a very strong brew with lots of intense emotions and broadly played scenes, but it packs a mighty wallop and is worth watching alone for Ms. Bergman's wardrobe, which is spectacular - just look at those glasses! As in many Italian films the dialog is recorded after principal photography is completed, so there's that slightly out of sync quality to the finished product, but it was originally done in English, so it's not dubbed in that sense. The whole film isn't available on YouTube (yet) but one scene is there, as well as this tribute to the film by ILoveRayMilland. Have a look.



If this ever comes up on television, be sure and watch or record it. It's really worth seeing for the spectacle and the intense emotions that it brings up. If you're obsessed with seeing it you can sometimes find discs for sale at iOffer.com.

Obscurity factor: 9 (no DVD, no VHS, Infrequently aired on television)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Madeline Kahn in The Dove 1968

Do you stay up late to watch the TCM Underground films? Are you always looking for something new from the past? Then we'd probably get along just fine. This is the blog for you. Here you'll find all sorts of unexpected films, the ones that slipped through the cracks of history and are now laying forgotten, under the floorboards of fandom. Subscribe and discover the wonders of Ingrid Bergman in The Visit, Joan Crawford in Della and Rosalind Russell in Rosie. I'm sure many of you will know more about the films than I do, but I'll try and provide some new and unexpected information to keep you entertained.

To begin with let's talk about Madeline Kahn. Oh, how I wish she was still alive! She was one of those actresses that I wished I could have worked with in some capacity. Her light touch was tempered with an off beat sense of humor that was just a few steps down from Andy Kaufman's. She went to Hofstra University, on Long Island, graduating in 1964 with a degree in speech therapy. Her first major film role was Eunice in What's Up Doc, which is one of my favorite films, and hardly obscure to anyone who has a modicum of film knowledge. However, two years before that she was part of an obscure short film parodying the work of legendary Swedish film maker, Ingmar Bergman called De D├╝va or The Dove. Ms. Kahn plays a lesbian with designs on the young ingenue. The film was produced by George Coe, Sidney Davis and Anthony Lover. You may remember Coe from the film Kramer vs Kramer as the head of Dustin Hoffman's agency. I was so pleased to finally get a chance to see the film when Tbirdsof1965 uploaded it to YouTube earlier this year. Watch for Madeline Kahn calling a cigar a "phalika symbol" as if that's what the Swedish translation of the word was.





Obscurity factor: 8 (not available on DVD or VHS, never shown on television, full version available on YouTube)

Look for more posts soon on the best films you never saw!