How can I remember movies that I never saw? No, it’s not past lives. It was the TV listings in the Star-Ledger. I wasn’t allowed to stay up past 8 o’clock, so all I had was the newspaper. And for a lot of those late-night movies, the description was so minimal as to leave you without a hint as to what the movie was about.
Here are three whose titles tantalized me for years.
*Adventures of Tartu (1943): wartime skulduggery among the Rumanian oil fields. I never knew that until much, much later. Something about the title led me to anticipate a show with puppets instead of actors. Or maybe it was some kind of Flash Gordon thing. WWII movies were a dime a dozen back then… but this was the only one about “Tartu.”
*Scudda-Hoo! Scudda-Hay! (1948): You’d never guess from the posters, but this was a movie about mules. There must’ve been kissing in it, so parts of it would’ve been boring. But I’m sure I would’ve liked watching the mules, if it hadn’t always been on so late at night.
*Sandokan the Great (1963): If I’d only known it starred Steve Reeves as a Malaysian pirate battling the British, head-hunters, and man-eating tigers, I’d’ve surely found a way to see it! But no: I thought it was about a magician. “Italian: 1963” is a pretty sketchy description.
I guess this helps disprove the claim that all movies made before 1970, except musicals, were immortal works of art.
How about you? Were there any movies that you always wondered about but never saw? I’ll bet we can turn up some treasures, if we dig.