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Some reviews and news items refer to the film as Hail!. In 1973 the film was re-released as Hail to the Chief, which is the title of the song played at functions to introduce the American president. Although the opening credits indicate that The Hail Company copyrighted the film in 1972, the picture was not registered for copyright. The film's actual releasing company is unclear: An April 1972 Daily Variety item indicated that Wildfilm [sic] Distribution would be releasing the film which, as director Fred Levinson's first film, qualified it to be exhibited in the Director's Fortnight sidebar screenings at the Cannes Film Festival. Daily Variety and Hollywood Reporter news items in July and August 1972 reported that Premiere Productions Co., Inc. had acquired the distribution rights for the film, but the November 1972 Box Office review and December 1972 Hollywood Reporter review listed Scotia International as the film's distributor. By the time of the film's New York debut in 1973, Cine Globe was the distributor. The VISTA camps mentioned in the film refer to the Volunteers in Service to America program, created by Lyndon Johnson's Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 as the domestic version of the Peace Corps.
According to the Box Office and Hollywood Reporter reviews, the film opened with a sermon by the president's spiritual advisor, but that scene was not in the print viewed, a 75-minute 1984 video release. The video release included an onscreen written prologue that stated, in part: "The film you are about to see was made in 1970 [sic], three years before the Watergate disclosures. In retrospect, many have called Hail a prophecy... Hail was made as a satirical comedy. Only the Nixon White House didn't laugh. Two carloads of secret service men attended its New York premiere. At the Cannes Film Festival, it was greeted by riots. The Federal Government banned it. To all U.S. Service personnel...the film was forced out of distribution." The allegations in the prologue have not been confirmed. Although a September 1971 New York Sound Track news item stated that Nathylin Flowers was cast, her appearance in the film has not been confirmed. Hail was filmed on location in Monticello, New York.