Turner Classic Movies’ Ongoing Lost & Found Series Presents World Television Premiere of “The Runaway”
Long-Unreleased Family Adventure, Starring Cesar Romero, Anita Page and Roger Mobley, To Premiere Sunday, Nov. 30, at 8 p.m. (ET)
October 7, 2008
Film Begins Double-Feature Tribute to Cinematographer Haskell Wexler.
In the latest installment of its ongoing film series Lost & Found, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will present the world television premiere of The Runaway (1962), a family adventure starring Cesar Romero, Anita Page and Roger Mobley. The film never received theatrical release because of difficulties producer Arthur Rupe had in obtaining distribution.
The Runaway will air Sunday, Nov. 30, at 8 p.m. (ET) as the first part of a double-bill celebrating the work of legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?). It will be followed at 9:30 p.m. by a telecast of Bound for Glory (1976), the Woody Guthrie biopic that earned Wexler the second of his two Oscars.
“The Runaway is an unfortunate victim of distribution problems that have kept it from the public eye for decades,” said Charles Tabesh, senior vice president of programming for TCM. “This is a charming family adventure, beautifully filmed by Haskell Wexler and featuring enjoyable performances by a good cast. TCM is the only network that can bring this kind of Lost and Found classic to movie lovers.”
The story of The Runaway opens with a delinquent youngster named Felipe (Mobley), who lives by his wits in a small Mexican border town while scheming to cross into California to search for his long lost father. The opportunity arrives when the boy and a greyhound he has stolen sneak aboard a truck driven by Father Dugan (Romero). Once they manage to cross the border, however, the dog falls out of the truck and is severely hurt.
Two orthopedic surgeons take on the task of repairing the dog’s injured leg using a silver staff from a statue of St. Michael. Felipe and Father Dugan decide to train the greyhound, now named St. Mike, to be a championship racer. But when St. Mike wins an important race, it catches the attention of the man from whom Felipe had stolen the dog, setting the stage for a heart-tugging finale in which Felipe must decide whether to run away again or admit to his crime and give St. Mike back to his rightful owner.
The Runaway originally began shooting under the title St. Mike. Once shooting was finished, producer Rupe took the film around to several studios to obtain distribution, but the amount of upfront money the studios were willing to put up didn’t meet with Rupe’s expectations. They were also not willing to give him full control of the negative. He eventually decided to distribute the film himself, even creating a full comic book version of the story as a promotional item. But that effort proved fruitless, as well, and the film has been languishing in storage ever since.