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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:20 pm 
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Probably the craziest pre-code short, The Devil's Cabaret (1930) is available on pressed DVD Cimarron (1931) and on MOD Classic Musical Shorts from the Dream Factory. It's also currently on YouTube in 2 parts.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 6:20 pm 
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In case anyone missed it from the Warner Archives thread:

rockysds wrote:
William Powell at Warner Bros.

Contains four pre-codes: The Road to Singapore (1931); High Pressure (1931), Private Detective 62 (1933) and The Key (1934). It's basically a Forbidden Hollywood-set by another name, since:
Quote:
Initial quantities of this release will be traditionally replicated (pressed) in anticipation of high consumer demand.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2014 3:22 pm 
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Does anyone know what happened to the Columbia Pictures Pre-Code Collection? It is not for sale anywhere, including TCM, despite the first post stating it eventually became MOD. There are no copies for sale on eBay, and only a single third party listing on Amazon for a ludicrous price. It's barely 2 years old and seems to have completely disappeared altogether.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 9:58 pm 
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It's seemingly in stock at TCM as of this posting

I've updated the first post, but I suspect I've missed any recent (say, within the last year) Warner Archive announcements outside of the Forbidden Hollywood release, so any additions can be posted here or PMed to me for the beginning of the thread


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 4:36 am 
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The Death Kiss (1932) has been released by Kino Classics in Blu-ray and DVD, as per a review in this month's Sight & Sound.

There's a UK DVD from Elstree Hill, and Amazon Prime Instant Video subscribers in the UK and Channel Islands can stream it.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:51 am 
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Recent Pre-Code viewings:

Arsene Lupin (Jack Conway 1932) Two Barrymores, one mysterious burglar, one great film. I don't know why Warners is still sitting on this one, as it's one of the most devilishly naughty pre-codes I've seen yet, chock full of brow-raising innuendoes and come-ons (including a notable and lengthy banter session between John Barrymore and a nude Karen Morley who has snuck into Barrymore's bed) all in the service of a clever and engaging mystery plot wherein for most of the film we're not quite sure which Barrymore is actually the titular thief. Any passing problems one might have with some of the more outlandish plot twists are surely smoothed over by A+ exchanges like this: "We were going to be alone to talk." "If you ever get tired of talking with him, come see me, I have a big dictionary."

Blonde Crazy (Roy Del Ruth 1931) Pretty fun con artist film for an hour (and it even has a natural end point after about sixty minutes) with Joan Blondell and James Cagney getting revenge on hucksters by out-huckstering the hucksters. The biggest entertainment here as is often the case in con flicks is in seeing the tricks, and there's a couple clever swindles played out to great amusement. The film's central duo has a peculiar relationship, one built mostly on slapping each other and melodically stretching out the vowels in "Honey," and Blondell gives as good as she gets. However, that ending… Without spoiling it, it's like something piped in from a completely different film and when the end title card flashes up the immediate response is confusion not conclusion.

Counsellor at Law (William Wyler 1933) Wonderful energetic early work from Wyler tracking three eventful days in the life of bigshot lawyer John Barrymore. The film is strikingly paced and almost too manic in its early passages, but it all feeds into the film's surprisingly effective hymn to the necessity of constant stimulation and work. You could re-title this film the Puritan Work Ethic and no one'd blink. And yet there's so many turmoils and emotional struggles Barrymore must grip with in his small allotments between other turmoils and emotional struggles that the "happy ending" of the film hardly seems like much of a victory. Future directors Richard Quine and Vincent Sherman pop up in small roles as well. Highly recommended.

Dark Hazard (Alfred E Green 1934) The films in the eighth volume of Forbidden Hollywood just get worse and worse as one progresses through the discs and this is the bottom of the barrel. Edward G Robinson is a no-account lout who gambles away everything only to finally find solace in his one true love: the titular racehorse. It should be mentioned that he abandons his wife and infant child in the process. A beguiling film in that Robinson's character is patently unappealing and yet the film is in his corner. While the film on whole is pretty mild, it ends with a string of groan-worthy sexual innuendos that are embarrassingly on-the-nose.

Evelyn Prentice (William K Howard 1934) William Powell's busy DA finds himself agreeing to defend a woman accused of murder, unaware that his wife Myrna Loy may be the real guilty party. The contrivances stack up pretty quickly here, leading to one of the least-plausible scenes in film history, a courtroom showdown that has to be seen to be believed (but don't see it)

Hi, Nellie! (Mervyn LeRoy 1933) I have no earthly idea why Paul Muni is wasting his time in this trifle about a newspaper editor who is fired but contractually obligated to fill the editorial role of his paper's Miss Lonelyhearts equivalent, Nellie. Muni's arrogant figure briefly humbles himself and does a good job at his new position but then gets the itch to investigate a mystery closely related to his firing. This leads to one of the more inexplicable sets/concepts in film history: The Merry-Go-Round Club, wherein bar patrons are lined up along the circumference of an indoor merry-go-round. Because what establishment wouldn't want to serve drunks upon a spinning disc?

Strangers May Kiss (George Fitzmaurice 1931) Norma Shearer does the Norma Shearer thing as a once-virginal young woman who, after being spurned by her lover, decides to cat around with the entire male population (except for poor Robert Montgomery, who takes it all in stride like everything else). A film that occasionally flirts with some compelling ideas concerning a woman's role in a patriarchal society, only to reveal these moments as half-hearted lip service with its head-scratcher of a finish.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:32 pm 
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Location: Upstate NY
Does anybody know the quality of the French release of Safe in Hell? (i.e. the one listed here: http://www.amazon.fr/Safe-Hell-Collecti ... fe+in+hell)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 4:21 am 

Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:31 am
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^ It's okay - mine was pressed and French subs are optional, not forced. But (like blu-rays) it's encoded in widescreen format, which results in huge windowboxing on a 4:3 set and, as previously discussed on here, lowers DVD image resolution on any display.

The print itself is a bit rough - presumably the same lone survivor used for the R1 release.

Unrelated, but still on topic, my checks for R1 Warner DVD rot (see Technical Issues thread) have revealed a problem with disc one (The Divorcee/A Free Soul) of Forbidden Hollywood Vol.2. Mine has acquired a very sticky playing surface, presumably due to glue leakage caused by the disc being forced to rest against an illustrated card panel of Warner's packaging. Has anyone else found this problem with that disc (or whichever one contacted with the folded-in panel)?

I've experienced this problem before with some UK David Attenborough DVD sets where only the discs resting against ink/cardboard panels had glue seepage.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:44 pm 
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I had the identical problem with the same disc. I just washed it off with hand soap and it was fine


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:09 pm 

Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:31 am
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Thanks, I suspected it might be a different problem to the total rot I've found on another Warner DVD. I'll be keeping my Forbidden Hollywood disc in a separate case though, as I found after cleaning the Attenborough DVDs that the stickiness recurred (only) when they had further contact with the packaging.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 12:27 pm 
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Jonathan, thanks for pointing this out. My disc was not sticky, but it was visibly cloudy compared to the other 2 discs. Not sure if that is the first signs of disc rot or not. The disc loaded fine and I was able to fast forward completely through both films. Best to back it up just in case though.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 3:14 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:11 pm
The discussions above led me to inspect my copy of Disc 1(The Divorcee/A Free Soul) of the FH Collection Vol. 2. The surface of the playing side looks mostly cloudy, with some shiny spots here and there. I'm wondering about the same thing, whether this is the start of the disc rot. I'm afraid that it might be just a matter of time that the disc will become unplayable. The other two discs in the set look fine (shiny).


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:40 pm 
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Jonathan S wrote:
^ It's okay - mine was pressed and French subs are optional, not forced. But (like blu-rays) it's encoded in widescreen format, which results in huge windowboxing on a 4:3 set and, as previously discussed on here, lowers DVD image resolution on any display.

The print itself is a bit rough - presumably the same lone survivor used for the R1 release.

Thanks for the info. I suppose it's still better than the MOD disc so I'll just have to grin and bear the other downsides.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:58 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:16 pm
Location: Arlington, VA
Although mostly lost, the notable pre-code silent Flaming Youth (1923) should not be forgotten. Featuring the then highly popular Colleen Moore, it was the movie that planted the idealized image of the flapper permanently into the American's public psyche. There were other earlier movies featuring flappers but Flaming Youth became the flapper movie of the early 1920s, primarily due it provenance, the scandalous eponymously titled novel by writer and investigative journalist Samuel Hopkins Adams, published under his pseudonym, Warner Fabian. Flaming Youth was one of those books, while widely known and a bestseller, wasn't kept lodged with other books on the family bookshelf. The bottom drawer of the bureau under a pile of papers was more likely. Tame by today's standards, but in the '20s, was controversial, risque stuff. Adams wrote two other so-called naughty books, both later realized in film: Sailors' Wives, the basis for the eponymous film (1928) starring Mary Astor and Unforbidden Fruit, brought to the screen as The Wild Party (1929) with Clara Bow and Fredric March.

Sadly, only one reel of Flaming Youth is knowingly extant and that is now housed in the Library of Congress. The fragment's been uploaded to YouTube and for some unknown reason labeled a trailer, which seems woefully inaccurate as the clip runs 11 minutes, 6 seconds. We can only hope that somewhere, someplace a complete version of this film remains resting, waiting to be seen again.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:36 pm 
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Makes a bunch of sense to post this here instead of the first spot I put it--first and foremost these are Hollywood pre-code films before budgetary tagging comes into play..


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 4:25 pm 
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The Slums of New York, a glorious little z budget pre-code. Tiny little Brooklyn-y Mickey Rooney is simply unbelievable in this thing, and I was stunned at how they handled him. It's also known as Sin's Payday (1932). There's also a link to the film in the piece, but I think the A/R got warped.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:05 pm 
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Forbidden Hollywood Volume Nine coming... next week!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:01 pm 
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Location: Boston, MA
A while ago I received Forbidden Hollywood Volumes 1 (Baby Face, Red-Headed Woman, Waterloo Bridge) and 3 (Other Men's Women, The Purchase Price, Frisco Jenny, Midnight Mary, Heroes for Sale, Wild Boys of the Road). Being inundated with other things to watch, I've never even opened these sets. This week I went ahead and listed them for sale on eBay, since they're out of print and could each fetch a decent price. Any thoughts about whether I should hang onto them instead? Are any of these films must-owns? I've seen a couple of the films from Volume 2 (like Night Nurse) and found them mildly interesting as historical artifacts but not really capital-G great films. At this point my DVD collection has gotten large enough that I feel like I can really only afford to hang onto things that have strong replay value.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:14 pm 
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I'd personally call Waterloo Bridge capital-G great, and Baby Face might be the quintessential pre-Code film.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:41 pm 
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Vol. 3 is the Wellman set and has some real gems, my favorites being Midnight Mary and Other Men's Women.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 9:04 pm 
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I just watched Waterloo Bridge for the first time last week, and I must echo the praise. It's among the greatest films I have seen from the 1930s, let alone the pre-code era, with wonderfully fluid camera work that you don't see in many Hollywood movies of the early 30s, and a remarkably natural performance from Mae Clarke.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 9:38 pm 
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I am a big fan of Baby Face, Waterloo Bridge, Heroes for Sale, and Wild Boys of the Road.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 9:41 pm 
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Feego wrote:
I just watched Waterloo Bridge for the first time last week, and I must echo the praise. It's among the greatest films I have seen from the 1930s, let alone the pre-code era, with wonderfully fluid camera work that you don't see in many Hollywood movies of the early 30s, and a remarkably natural performance from Mae Clarke.

And it isn't willfully salacious like you might expect from a pre-Code. It's only in this set because it doesn't shy away from Clarke's character being a prostitute.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 4:43 am 
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Hard to Handle is terrific and so funny.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 7:44 am 
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Vol. 1 is great.
Baby Face amazing.

The Wellman Vol. 3 set is interesting.

Imo Vols. 1 & 3 were the bets of that series (I haven't seen Vol. 8 yet.


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