The Forbidden Hollywood Collection, Vol. 1 (2-disc)

 

First, a Canadian soldier is forced to give up the woman he loves when his well-to-do family learns she's a prostitute, in director James Whale's heartbreaking drama "Waterloo Bridge" (1931). Mae Clarke, Douglass Montgomery and a young Bette Davis star. Then, "Red-Headed Woman" (1932) is a saucy, pre-Production Code drama starring Jean Harlow as a golddigging secretary who hooks the company's married boss, while carrying on with chauffeur Charles Boyer. With Lewis Stone, Chester Morris. Finally, the daring-for-its-time romantic drama "Baby Face" (1933) stars Barbara Stanwyck as an amoral, greedy gal who sleeps her way up the corporate ladder in a New York bank, not caring who gets hurt. George Brent, Donald Cook, Henry Kolker, and a young John Wayne co-star as some of Stanwyck's conquests....

 

Baby Face (1933): theatrical version and rediscovered longer version


Red-Headed Woman
(1932)        Waterloo Bridge (1931)  

 

Titles

 

Baby Face
Stars Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent, Donald Cook, Alphonse Ethier, Henry Kolker
Directors: Alfred E. Green
Theatrical Release Date: July 1, 1933
Synopsis - Lilly (Baby Face) sleeps her way from basement speakeasy bartender, literally floor by floor, to the top floor of a New York office building. Bank submanager Jimmy McCoy finds her a job in the bank only to be cast aside as she hooks up with the bank's president. When he complains of not seeing her she says: "I'm working so hard I have to go to bed early every night."

Red-Headed Woman
Stars Jean Harlow, Chester Morris, Lewis Stone, Leila Hyams, Una Merkel
Directors: Jack Conway
Theatrical Release Date: June 25, 1932
Synopsis - Lil works for the Legendre Company and causes Bill to divorce Irene and marry her. She has an affair with businessman Gaerste and uses him to force society to pay attention to her. She has another affair with the chauffeur Albert.

Waterloo Bridge
Stars Mae Clarke, Douglass Montgomery, Doris Lloyd, Frederick Kerr, Enid Bennett
Directors: James Whale
Theatrical Release Date: September 1, 1931
Synopsis - Roy Wetherby, a Canadian Solider in London on furlough, falls in love with Myra, unaware that she is a prostitute. She accepts his proposal of marriage just prior to his being shipped to the front. They visit his uncle, mother and sister for a weekend in the country. Myra realizes she cannot escape her past and, after Roy leaves, tells his mother about herself. Back in London she is killed in an air raid.

Posters

Theatrical Releases: 1931- 1933

 DVD Reviews

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

DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

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

Disc 1

Bitrate:

Disc 2

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

English, Spanish, French, none

NOTE: Except Baby Face theatrical has only optional English

Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Waterloo Bridge (1931)
• Baby Face (1933): theatrical version and rediscovered longer version
• Red-Headed Woman (1932)
• Baby Face theatrical trailer
 

DVD Release Date: December 5th, 2006
3 tiered digipack (discs overlapping in center) - inside a cardboard box (see image at top)

Chapters: Baby Face(s)- 20 - other 2 - 22

 

 

Comments:

I'll get my gripes out of the way first - the discs are labeled incorrectly. The one called Disc One has pictures of Jean Harlow and Mae Clark... but that DVD has the two versions of Baby Face (with Barbra Stanwyk). Correspondingly the DVD labeled Disc Two has a picture of Stanwyk on it but has the films Red-Headed Woman (Harlow) and Waterloo Bridge (Clark). Unfortunately, it's blunders like these that make me question the amount of effort put into the production of the boxset. Another issue - there are zero supplements. Ziltch (well, a trailer and a Robert Osborne introduction). Finally - quite a flimsy selection - although we are grateful of the three titles - Warner could have chosen many more. I suppose we can hope for more in subsequent volumes. While I'm at it - the cardboard package itself is pretty weak - no one likes overlapping disc holders. The whole thing stinks of being slapped together in a hurry.

 

     

Disc one has the two versions of Baby Face - theatrical version (1:10:30) and rediscovered longer version (1:15:48). The theatrical is almost unwatchable in comparison (see captures below) - I see no strong evidence of restoration. However the longer version looks to have been put through the Warner process and is fairly bright - as sharp as one might expect for a film of this age. There is plenty of digital nose but it doesn't affect the presentation once you settle in. Audio, although certainly not state-of-the-art, is better than I anticipated - even and no major pops.

Disc 2 shares Red-Headed Woman (1932) and Waterloo Bridge (1931) both represented well by the screen captures below. Waterloo Bridge probably looks the best of the lot, but aside from the theatrical Baby Face - there is not much between the 3 main transfers. They are as good as I anticipated.

The 3 films are wonderful in their own way - I was thrilled to see the 1931 version of Waterloo Bridge as I am such a fan of the 1940 remake. Stanwyck reputation in Baby Face is certainly deserved - ditto for Harlow in Red-Headed Woman - pure Pre-Code magic with sex surprisingly open - more than one might imagine. Still a shame that Vol. 1 is barren of supplements and leaving most craving more, but perhaps Warner/TCM will redeem themselves in Vol.2. As it stands this is a must-own for fans of vintage cinema - our patient wait for Baby Face on DVD has finally been rewarded.       

Gary W. Tooze



 

DVD Menus


 

Disc 2

 


 

Screen Captures

 

Baby Face (1933): theatrical version TOP and rediscovered longer version BOTTOM

 

 


Baby Face (Longer Pre-Release version)

 

 


 

 


Subtitle Sample

 

 


 

 


Baby Face - Original Theatrical release
 

Red-Headed Woman

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

 


Waterloo Bridge

 

 


 

 


Subtitle Sample

 

 


 

DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

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




 

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