Cinelicious Pics has announced that it will re-release in theaters and on VOD and Blu-ray this Summer its new 4k digital restoration of director Leslie Stevens’ long-missing 1960 thriller PRIVATE PROPERTY, starring iconic American character actor Warren Oates (TWO-LANE BLACKTOP, THE WILD BUNCH) in his first significant screen role. A major rediscovery for noir and crime fans, PRIVATE PROPERTY has long been considered a lost feature until UCLA Film & Television Archive recently located and preserved the only known film elements. Director Stevens, who died in 1998, was a protégé of Orson Welles, and went on to create the classic sci-fi series “THE OUTER LIMITS” (1963 – 65), and direct the wonderfully-weird supernatural feature INCUBUS (1966) starring William Shatner. PRIVATE PROPERTY was Stevens’ first feature as director.The 4k restoration will have its world premiere at the 7th Annual TCM Classic Film Festival, which runs from April 28 through May 1 in Hollywood.
Following a very brief release in the early 1960s, the film had essentially vanished — until now. Three years ago David Marriott, now Cinelicious Pics’ Director of Acquisitions, sat in on an early screening of UCLA Archive’s initial preservation of PRIVATE PROPERTY (which, once completed, would go on to premiere at the UCLA Festival of Preservation in March of 2015).
“I was completely bowled over by the film,” Marriott recalls. “A sort of hothouse late-period film noir, PRIVATE PROPERTY is deeply bizarre and incredibly compelling. Considering the talent involved – director Stevens, cameraman Ted McCord, actor Warren Oates – it’s very rare to rediscover a completely lost crime film like this.”
“We’re thrilled to be showcasing a discovery of this caliber at the TCM Classic Film Festival,” said Charles Tabesh, senior vice president of programming for Turner Classic Movies (TCM) “Our mission at TCM is to bring audiences great classic films and to help them discover unknown classics, such as Private Property.“
PRIVATE PROPERTY begins as two homicidal Southern California drifters (played to creepy perfection by Warren Oates and Corey Allen) wander off the beach and into the seemingly-perfect Beverly Hills home of an unhappy housewife (played by Leslie Stevens’ real-life spouse, Kate Manx). Shimmering with sexual tension and lensed in stunning B&W by master cameraman Ted McCord (THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE, EAST OF EDEN), PRIVATE PROPERTY is both an eerie, neo-Hitchcockian thriller and a savage critique of the hollowness of the Playboy-era American Dream.
Warren Oates delivers his first great screen performance here as one of the murderous vagabonds, years before he emerged as one of the finest character actors of his generation; his bizarre, voyeuristic Lennie-and-George relationship with the underrated Corey Allen (James Dean’s hot rod rival in REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE) is fueled by a barely-suppressed homoeroticism. Shot almost entirely in the Beverly Hills home where director Stevens and lead actress Manx lived at the time, PRIVATE PROPERTY has a deeply unnerving autobiographical feel to it. (Manx tragically committed suicide several years after the film opened.)
“In considering titles for Cinelicious Pics’ first round of restorations and re-releases, PRIVATE PROPERTY immediately leapt to mind as a film crying out for restoration and re-release theatrically and on Blu-ray and VOD,” commented Paul Korver, Cinelicious Pics’ Founder. “Working with our colleagues at UCLA Film & Television Archive and utilizing the talents of our parent company, Cinelicious, we’ll be re-releasing the film using the best possible elements.”