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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

directed by George W. Hill
USA 1930

 

Not the first of the prison pictures, but the one that truly put the genre on the map. Playboy Kent (Robert Montgomery), driving drunk, kills a couple of pedestrians and is sentenced to a 10-year manslaughter term. His cellmate is forger Morgan (Chester Morris), a tough but essentially decent con; the cell-block leader is Butch (Wallace Beery), whose outer oafishness hides a cruel, calculating mind. Butch lives for the day that he can bust out and doesn't care who gets hurt along the way. Panicking, Kent "rats" on Butch and is murdered during the climactic breakout as a consequence. Morgan behaves courageously, saving the warden (Lewis Stone) and the guards from Butch's wrath; as a reward, Morgan earns a reduced sentence and the love of Kent's sister Anne (Leila Hyams). Remarkably brutal for an MGM film, The Big House (a double Oscar winner, for best screenplay and sound recording) established not only the grimy mise-en-scene of prison life, but also a whole new glossary of slang terms and a veritable menagerie of movie "types," from the firm but kindly prison chaplain to the embittered lifer. The film was gloriously lampooned by Laurel & Hardy's Pardon Us, in which Walter Long played the Beery counterpart.

Posters

Theatrical Release: 14 June 1930 (USA)

Reviews                                                                           More Reviews                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

DVD Comparison:

Warner Home Video (Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Warner Home Video (Triple Feature Reissue) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for all the Screen Caps!

(Warner Home Video (Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Warner Home Video (Triple Feature Reissue) - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

      

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Warner Home Video
Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:27:15 1:27:09
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.5 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.83 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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

Bitrate:

Warner Home Video (Archive Collection)

Bitrate:

Warner Home Video (Triple Feature Reissue)

Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles None None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
� Warner Archives Promo

DVD Release Date: March 22, 2009
Keep case

Chapters 9

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
� 3 versions of the film - English, French and Spanish

 

DVD Release Date: March 11, 2014
2 discs in a Keep case

Chapters 22

 

 

 

Comments

The Big House made its DVD debut in March 2009, in the first batch of 150 titles released by Warner Archive. It was one of the first DVD reviews we made for their releases and, unfortunately, like another pre-code released at the same time, The Beast of the City, the transfer was disappointing - interlaced, muddy and in dire need of a new transfer. 5 years later, in 2014, Warner Archive revisited The Big House, with a nice remaster - a progressive transfer, more film-like, opening up the frame on all 4 sides. Moreover, the 2-disc set also features 2 alternate films shot simultaneously in Spanish and French languages. It's a nice option to see the difference in each version and we provided screen captures of some scenes.

The French version was started by Jacques Feyder ( Le Grand Jeu, La Kermesse Heroique), but subsequently was fired and the film was finished by Pál Fejös (Lonesome), who was filming German version at the same time, unfortunately not included in this set.

The Spanish language version was co-directed by Spanish-born Edgar Neville and an American, Ward Wing. Both versions were remastered for this Triple Feature release. The English and French versions are on a dual-layered first disc and the Spanish version gets a single-layered second disc. There are no other extras, but getting to see this rare example of Hollywood film-making for international markets in early sound years is a treat in itself and this set is highly recommended.

 - Gregory Meshmam

 


DVD Menus
(
Warner Home Video (Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Warner Home Video (Triple Feature Reissue) - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 


Screen Captures

(Warner Home Video (Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Warner Home Video (Triple Feature Reissue) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)


(Warner Home Video (Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Warner Home Video (Triple Feature Reissue) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Warner Home Video (Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Warner Home Video (Triple Feature Reissue) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Warner Home Video (Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Warner Home Video (Triple Feature Reissue) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Warner Home Video (Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Warner Home Video (Triple Feature Reissue) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Warner Home Video (Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Warner Home Video (Triple Feature Reissue) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Warner Home Video (Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Warner Home Video (Triple Feature Reissue) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 

Distribution French Version Spanish Version
Runtime 1:30:39 1:28:00
Video

1.19:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.84 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.42 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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

Bitrate:

Warner Home Video (French Version)

Bitrate:

Warner Home Video (Spanish Version)

Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (French)

Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (Spanish)

Subtitles English, None English, None

 


directed by Pál Fejös, George W. Hill and Jacques Feyder

France 1931

Some films are remakes of originals. But from the pre-subtitles era, this French-language version of the classic The Big House (1930) is not just a remake, but the same film, shot-for-shot, with French actors substituted for American. Well, not exactly shot-for-shot; in one of the last scenes, John Morgan (Charles Boyer) has his right arm in a sling, while in the American version (and, for that matter, the Spanish-language version, El Presidio), it’s on his left. Mind you, in the very final scene (taken straight from the original US version ) Morgan’s sling has dramatically switched sides.

Excerpt from PrisonMovies.net located HERE

 

 

 


directed by Edgar Neville, Ward Wing

Spanish 1930

Kent Marlowe, under the influence of alcohol, accidentally runs over and kills two people. Receive criminal charges and ends in a prison serving 10 years beside different criminal past; Butch Smith is a seasoned criminal with several relapses, and is king in the cell block. John Morgan (a nice guy who shares the cell with Kent) is a forger who apparently has been regenerated and want to rebuild their lives. But it is not what others want to Morgan. Kent is forced to plant a knife among the belongings of John and it loses the possibility of leaving prison on parole. Desperate, John escapes from prison...

 

 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Triple Feature Reissue

Sound:

Triple Feature Reissue

Extras: Triple Feature Reissue

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

      

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Warner Home Video
Region 0 - NTSC

 

 




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