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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by Alexander Hall
USA 1933

 

One of the most popular and versatile actresses of all time, Claudette Colbert (Four Frightened People, It Happened One Night, Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife) dazzles audiences in the Pre-Code musical drama Torch Singer. When Sally Trent (Colbert) can no longer support her illegitimate child, she puts her daughter up for adoption and pursues a career as a torch singer. Under the name Mimi Benton, she soon climbs to fame as a sexy nightclub singer and attempts to find her daughter through a children’s radio show. Featuring rare performances of Colbert singing, this emotionally charged classic from directors Alexander Hall (Goin’ to Town) and George Somnes (Midnight Club) showcases the truly great talent of its star. Co-starring Ricardo Cortez (The Maltese Falcon) and David Manners (Dracula).

***

When she can't support her illegitimate child, an abandoned young woman puts her up for adoption and pursues a career as a torch singer. Years later, she then searches for the gave up child.

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 21st, 1994

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Review: Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:12:00.316        
Video

1.33:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,329,149,694 bytes

Feature: 21,156,089,856 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1964 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1964 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

1.33:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,329,149,694 bytes

Feature: 21,156,089,856 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

-NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian Kat Ellinger
-Theatrical Trailers


Blu-ray Release Date:
October 26th, 2021
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 9

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Kino Blu-ray (October 2021): Kino have transferred Alexander Hall's Torch Singer to Blu-ray. It is on a single layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate for the 1 1/4 hour film. Like the 2009 DVD, part of Universal's Pre-Code Hollywood Collection, there are plenty of speckles and surface scratches - in almost every frame. There is also some warping (distortions in the final frame of scenes) but the source density seems fine with solid black levels. The 1080P contrast and textures raise it above SD. Despite the extensive speckling, it is very watchable in HD.   

NOTE: We have added 50 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Kino use a DTS-HD Master dual-mono track (24-bit) in the original English language. Torch Singer has no aggressive moments but a score by Ralph Rainger (City Streets, 1932's A Farewell to Arms) - this includes Give Me Liberty or Give Me Love, Don't Be a Cry Baby, It's a Long Dark Night, and The Slumber Boat sung by Claudette Colbert at a nightclub or on the radio program. The audio only suffers only marginally from its age and is exported relatively cleanly via the lossless. Kino offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

The Kino Blu-ray offers a new commentary by Kat Ellinger. She discusses the maturity of Torch Singer, it's Pre-Code themes of illegitimacy, the un-judged protagonist's complex sexual history, she talks about Claudette Colbert - her personal insecurities about her looks (only wanting to be photographed on her left side when possible) and plenty about some of the other performers, the depression-era fairy tales, like Torch Singer, and what was going on at the studios at the time of production. She covers a lot of ground. There are also trailers but none for Torch Singer.   

Claudette Colbert's Torch Singer is a wonderfully honest and open Pre-Code film dealing with a rarely-addressed topic. We have a morally compromised protagonist navigating her life to the best of her abilities, using her femininity and street-smarts with her maternal instincts eventually eclipsing her misbegotten albeit successful lifestyle (carousing, drinking etc.) to be the focus of her life. It's quite above-average and the Kino Blu-ray provides a solid upgrade over SD and the valuable Ellinger commentary. There is a lot of like about this package. Certainly recommended to Pre-Code era and Claudette Colbert fans - she shines in this.

Gary Tooze

 


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Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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