Alfred Hitchcok’s Charade should have been one of his best known films. The mystery thriller starred Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, James Coburn, and George Kennedy, it was directed by Stanley Donen (On the Town, Singin’ in the Rain, Blame it on the Rain) with music by Henry Mancini (the Pink Panther, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Victor Victoria). Sound good? Unfortunately, due to a copyright error the film went into the public domain the moment it was released. The studio took two aspirin, had a stiff drink and wandered away from the project forever.
As Openculture explains it:
“It seems that pre-1978 United States copyright law absolutely required you to include some sort of mark on your work indicating your intent to claim copyright at all — ©, for instance — and in Charade‘s case, Universal Pictures seemed to have just sort of forgotten about it.”
You can watch it for free, right now and even download a copy if you like.