The Forbidden Hollywood Collection, Vol. 3 (4-disc)

 

Other Men's Women (1931)      The Purchase Price (1932)       Frisco Jenny (1933)

 

Midnight Mary (1933)         Heroes for Sale (1933)        Wild Boys of the Road ( 1933)

 

Other Men's Women (1931)
This is the story of a love triangle between two burly railroad men and the one woman they both desire (Mary Astor). Jack, an engineer (Regis Toomey) and Lily's husband, is more solid and reliable. Bill (Grant Withers) is a carefree ladies' man with an irresponsible streak. Also featured in secondary roles in this melodrama are James Cagney and Joan Blondell as a wisecracking waitress. Directed with his signature virile style, Wellman balances scenes of fraying domesticity with vigorous vignettes of tough railroad life.

The Purchase Price (1932)
This film is a brisk Wellman mix of comedy and melodrama about torch singer Joan Gordon (Barbara Stanwyck), who tiring of her relationship with small-time hood Eddie Fields (Lyle Talbot), flees to North Dakota and becomes the mail-order bride of down-to-earth farmer Jim Gilson (George Brent). Their wedded bliss is threatened by Gilson's own stubbornness, a lecherous neighbor and the reappearance of Fields.

BONUS FEATURES:
Classic Cartoons:
You Don't Know What You're Doin'!
Moonlight for Two
The Wall Street Mystery Short
Theatrical Trailers
 

Disc 2:

Frisco Jenny (1932)
Along with his films about men in dire straits, Wellman helmed a string of so-called women's pictures like this one. Ruth Chatterton plays the title role of Frisco Jenny, a woman orphaned by the 1906 earthquake who becomes the madam of a prosperous brothel. She puts her son up for adoption and as he rises to prominence as district attorney he becomes dedicated to closing down such houses. When her associate proposes killing the DA, she kills the associate and must face execution.

Midnight Mary (1933)
Working on loan-out for MGM, this crime melodrama very much in the Warner mode was based on a story by Anita Loos, about a young woman on trial for murder (Loretta Young). The story is told in flashback, as she awaits her verdict. Mary Martin recalls how her life of desperate poverty leads to involvement with gangsters. When she meets a young lawyer in a brothel, scion of a wealthy and prestigious family, he helps her turn around her life. But her past catches up with her, and she chooses to face the consequences rather than cause him scandal. By the writers of the pivotal Warner Bros. pre-code gems, Baby Face and Female.

BONUS FEATURES:
Commentary by Jeffrey Vance and Tony Maietta (Midnight Mary)
Shorts:
The Studio Murder Mystery
Goofy Movies #1
Classic Cartoon: Bosko's Parlor Pranks
Theatrical Trailers
 

Disc 3

Heroes for Sale (1933)
Heroes for Sale, filmed with raw, gritty immediacy by the no-nonsense Wellman, covers all the Depression-era bases, and puts the spotlight on the plight of veterans. This is the hard-hitting story of Tom Holmes (Richard Barthelmess), an unsung war hero left wounded and addicted to morphine whose struggles make him an American Everyman, a tough hero for a tough time.

Wild Boys of the Road (1933)
It's the depression, and Tom's mother has been out of work for months when Eddie's father loses his job. Not to burden their parents, the two high school sophomores decide to hop the freights and look for work. This socially conscience message film helped draw attention to wandering youths cut adrift by hard times. Frankie Darro, whose acting career stretched from the 1920s into the '70s, portrays Eddie. And the actress posing as a boy in the film is played by Dorothy Coonan, who became the real life Mrs. William Wellman.

BONUS FEATURES:
Commentary by John Gallagher (Heroes for Sale)
Commentary by William Wellman Jr. and Frank Thompson (Wild Boys of the Road)
Classic Cartoons:
Sittin' on a Backyard Fence
One Step Ahead of My Shadow
The Trans-Atlantic Mystery Short
Theatrical Trailers

Disc 4 (2 Bonus documentaries)

Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick
The documentary traces Wellman's life from his birth in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1896, through his distinguished World War I career as a flier (which later got him the job of directing the classic silent film Wings), his start as a mail boy at Goldwyn, his rise to director in the 20's, his five marriages and stormy career through the 30's to late 50's, with a total filmography of more than 80 films.

The Men Who Made the Movies
William Wellman, the Oscar-winning screenwriter-director of the original A Star Is Born (1937), was called "Wild Bill" during his World War I service as an aviator, a nickname that persisted in Hollywood due to his "larger-than-life" personality and lifestyle. A leap-year baby born in 1896 on the 29th of February to a stockbroker father in Brookline, Massachusetts, Wellman was the great-great-great grandson of Francis Lewis, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. His mother, the former Cecilia McCarthy, was born in Ireland. Despite an upper-middle class upbringing, the young Wellman was a hell-raiser. He excelled as an athlete and particularly enjoyed playing ice hockey, but he also enjoyed less savory pastimes, like joy-riding in stolen cars at night.

 

Titles

 

First, in "Other Men's Women" (1931), a love triangle develops between two railroad workers and the woman they both desire. Grant Withers, Mary Astor, Regis Toomey star. In "The Purchase Price" (1932), a torch singer flees her criminal boyfriend to become a farmer's mail-order bride. Barbara Stanwyck, Lyle Talbot, George Brent star. "Frisco Jenny" (1932) has a prostitute taking a dramatic stand to protect the district attorney son that she gave up for adoption. With Ruth Chatterton, Louis Calhern. Then, in "Midnight Mary" (1933), a woman on trial for murder recalls her sordid past. Loretta Young, Ricardo Cortez star. Next, "Heroes for Sale" (1933) chronicles the experiences of a veteran who has fallen upon hard times. Richard Barthelmess, Aline MacMahon star. Lastly, "Wild Boys of the Road" (1933) follows two Depression-era tees as they hop the freights looking for work. Frankie Darro, Edwin Phillips star. 7 hrs. total. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: English (SDH), French; audio commentary; bonus documentaries "Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick" (1996), "The Men Who Made the Movies: William A. Wellman" (2007); bonus shorts; theatrical trailers. Four-disc set.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Releases: 1931 - 1933

 DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner (4-disc) - Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Warner (4-disc) - Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC
Bitrate:

Disc 1

 Other Men's Women (1931) + The Purchase Price (1932)

Bitrate:

Disc 2

 Frisco Jenny (1933) + Midnight Mary (1933)

Bitrate:

Disc 3

Heroes for Sale (1933) + Wild Boys of the Road ( 1933))

Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.54 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 
Audio English (original mono) 
Subtitles

English (CC), French, none

Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Edition Details:

(see above)
 

DVD Release Date: March 24th, 2009
3 tiered digipack (double-disc compartments) - inside a cardboard box (see image at top)

Chapters: various

 

Comments:

Warner have been listening to our enthusiasm about the wonderful world of pre-codes with this third volume of this Forbidden Hollywood package now being released to DVD escalating content from Volume 1 (2-disc/3 films - bare-bones) + Volume 2 (3-disc/5 films). Warner have added another film, for 6 in total - all directed by William A. Wellman - and a 4th dual-layered bonus disc with 2 fabulous documentaries. Overall this is another excellent package. Thanks again Warner!

 

This 4-disc set (with none, from Warner, sold separately at the writing of this review) has the first 3 discs sharing two Pre-Hayes Code films each. Disc 1 has Other Men's Women (1931) - look for Mary Astor James Cagney and Joan Blondell! -  + The Purchase Price (1932) with Barbara Stanwyck. Disc 2; Frisco Jenny (1933) + Midnight Mary (1933) - one of 2 films in the set with Loretta Young.  Disc 3; Heroes for Sale (1933) + Wild Boys of the Road ( 1933) and disc 4 has bonus documentaries "Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick" (1996), "The Men Who Made the Movies: William A. Wellman" (2007). There are three insightful commentaries - Jeffrey Vance and Tony Maietta (Midnight Mary), John Gallagher (Heroes for Sale) and William Wellman Jr. and Frank Thompson (Wild Boys of the Road). All four discs are dual-layered and progressive - it is coded for regions 1 thru 4 in the NTSC standard. The package itself, supports 2 (each) lapping disc compartments in a three-tired digipack. All six films have original English mono and optional English close-captioned, or French, subtitles. There are other bonus features with vintage cartoons, trailers and mystery shorts.

 

The transfers have Warner's usual consistency and the prints don't vary much quality with some minor flickering that may be my only distraction. Contrast on each seems to improve the appearance greatly with competent black levels and healthy grey tones.  Even if they are expectantly rougher at times with minor scratches and light blemishes - but seemingly far less than the last 2 releases. Midnight Mary has a lot of grain, noise and speckles. These are slightly newer films and I can't complain too much as I am sure these look as good as they possibly could on digital at present. Sharing two films on an SD disc is really not a negative as the productions are all fairly short in length. The light noise, often appearing as grain, is no worse than we have seen from other Warner films of this era. I hope the screen captures below give you a fair idea. They are all very watchable - representing each film adeptly. The audio is expectantly another less-strong facet. One should keep in mind that these films are at least 75 years old each and premium sound quality was not at a high level when the films were initially shown theatrically. There are slight hiss instances but I noted no outrageous pops and drop-outs. In the grand scheme of Pre-codes the audio on these films is most acceptable - at times, surprisingly so. Subtitles (English CC or French), standard at this time for Warner, are appreciated and although unnecessary for standard viewing - but the option is there if desired.

 

     

I am thrilled with the supplement features. The 3 commentaries are filled with knowledge - as seen on 2 commentaries on Volume 2 the pairing of Jeffrey Vance and Tony Maietta are, again, excellent. Vance seems more of an expert acquainted with the silent era (penning numerous books about Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd) but he imparts some good information about pre-code and its many stars. Maietta and him work well together.  "Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick" is from 1996 and runs 1:33:45. It is narrated by Alec Baldwin and has segmented input from many stars like Mitchum, Peck , Poitier, Redford, Eastwood and more - described aptly "a badly-needed recounting of the career of the ultimate Hollywood iconoclast". Newer also on disc 4 is "The Men Who Made the Movies: William A. Wellman" from 2007. This one was done by Richard Shickel, and has a great amount of interview footage of Wellman himself. It runs 57 minutes and is likewise excellent educational viewing.   

As I stated about Volume 2 - It's hard to articulate what I find so appealing about these films - but the clothes, attitudes and decor are a big part of my personal enjoyment. Certainly the, at times, more risqué/adult nature of the narratives plot-turns and limited skin-scenes represents a unique - and somehow totally honest - view of the era's grass root dynamics. This may infer a slight link to Film Noir with its similar inferences to realism and lack of family-oriented fantasy. This package is, obviously, barely touching the surface of pre-code but I am thrilled with the direction that Warner are taking with this third DVD set. For those interested in this fascinating time in filmmaking, or more specifically William A. Wellman, this DVD set has great value, is reasonably priced and strongly recommended!       

Gary W. Tooze



DVD Menus

 

 

Extras and content

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

Other Men's Women (1931)

 

 

 

 


The Purchase Price (1932)

 

 

 

 

 


Frisco Jenny (1933)

 

 

 

 


Midnight Mary (1933)

 

 

 

 

 


Heroes for Sale (1933)

 

 

 

 

 


Wild Boys of the Road ( 1933)

 

 

 

 


DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Warner (4-disc) - Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC




 

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