Dead Ringer (lost unreleased film based on Meat Loaf album; 1983)

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Status: Lost

Dead Ringer is the name of an album released on September 4th 1981 by popular American artist Meat Loaf. The album was the follow up to the critically acclaimed and highly successful 1977 release Bat Out Of Hell. The film was directed by Allan F. Nichols and written by Meat Loaf and Al Dellantash.[1] Talks of a movie to accompany the album date back to a news interview with the singer from February 17th, 1979, where he is quoted as saying:
"It'll probably be called Renegade Angel. It's still vision to us. What we're trying to create is film and vinyl. So that you'll be able to sit and look at your speakers and watch pictures come out of them."[2]
. Early talks of this film seem to derive from the 1977 Jim Steinman play Neverland, a futuristic take on the classic Peter Pan story. We can see this in the same interview:
"It's futuristic version of Peter Pan. that takes place about 4,000 years from now," says the Loaf, "and I play Tinkerbell. We're talking about Roman Polanski to direct it. It's a pretty heavy film, that's the way Jim Steinman writes, sort of dark humour. It'll be a black comedy involving his fantasies. And CBS are backing it."

The film would me mentioned a few more times until the release of the album in September 1981. The film had to have been shot before 1982, as it features Davey Johnstone as a member of Meat Loaf's band (The Neverland Express), Davey was already out of the band and replaced by 1982, so these scenes had to have been shot before that. So far, there are 2 known versions of the film. The CBS cut, which was screened in Montreal on August 29th, 1982 and in Hollywood on July 17th, 1991. The film was mentioned in Meat Loaf's 1999 autobiography To Hell And Back and talk of the film would surface online shortly thereafter. We can see threads discussing the film on MLUKFC, the Meat Loaf UK fanclub[3] in mid-2002. It was at this point that a clip of the film had surfaced on the fan-site, www.republicofloadom.com. However, this clip can no longer be accessed due to changes with the site. By this point the story of the 2nd version had begun to emerge. And now, we can confirm it's existence with a 1983 interview, in which Meat Loaf discusses he was still working on the film well into 1983, despite the CBS cut being fully complete by mid-1982.

On November 29th, 2005 a review of the film surfaced on IMDB, leading many to suspect the film had leaked, but it would soon turn out to be a hoax, as the review had been copied and pasted from a 1982 review on jimsteinman.com.[4] The following day it was "confirmed" by Vicki Pearson, a long-term Meat Loaf fan, that the film had been "confiscated by the US government after Meat faced financial difficulty". In October 2006, it was alleged that the BBC had previously aired clips of the film, but this didn't lead to much, the following month an interview with Meat Loaf surfaced where he was quoted as saying he was unaware of any existing copies of the film.

Finally, in April 2011 the film was the subject of an episode of the podcast 'The Projection Booth', and shortly thereafter.[5] The 101 minute cut shown at film festivals in 1982 and 1991 was leaked, in subpar quality. This version featured a previously unreleased music video for the song "Peel Out", as well as already released and discovered videos for "I'm Gonna Love Her For Both Of Us", "More Than You Deserve" and "I'll Kill You If You Don't Come Back". The film also featured "live" footage from the live shows of 1981, however it's likely this footage was not actually live as we can never see the audience and the band at the same time. Strangely, the music video for Dead Ringer For Love itself was missing, despite claims being made of its inclusion in the film. By now, it was clear two versions did in fact exist.

In 2014 an info file was posted about the film on Facebook by Gibson DelGiudice. This info file reveals that CBS Films advanced $1.5 million for the production of the film. This file would also feature a download link for the 2011 leaked CBS cut.[6]

As of 2021, the CBS cut has surfaced and been restored. But Meat Loaf's continued version, with the full Dead Ringer For Love scene has yet to emerge.

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