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directed by Robert Stevenson
USA 1941

 

Fannie Hurst's novel becomes a pair of classic melodramas in this twin bill. First, Charles Boyer and Margaret Sullavan are the star-crossed lovers in 1941's "Back Street." Reunited in New York City years after their marriage plans were sabotaged, Sullavan discovers that Boyer is now wed to another. Desperate to remain a part of his life, she agrees to become his mistress. With Richard Carlson, Tim Holt, Frank McHugh. Then, producer Ross Hunter's 1961 filming of "Back Street" stars Susan Hayward (in a career-defining role) as a woman who meets and falls for a handsome Marine (John Gavin) returning home from World War II. Fate brings them back together when Hayward moves to the Big Apple to start a fashion design career, but upon learning that Gavin now has a wife and child, she must stay in the shadows and is forced to accept her role as his mistress. Co-stars Vera Miles, Charles Drake, Virginia Grey.

Posters

Theatrical Release: 4 February 1941 (Miami, Florida)

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DVD Review: Universal Studios (Two Movie Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Universal Studios

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:28:57
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.56 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

Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Universal Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Galleries

DVD Release Date: September 26th, 2011
Keep Case

Chapters 13

 

Comments

A Fannie Hurst novel Back Street saw three film adaptations from Universal Studios over the years, in 1932, 1941 and 1961. Now exclusive to Movies Unlimited and TCM shop, Universal released a double feature of two latest of these adaptations. It's unfortunate, that the superior John Stahl film with Irene Dunne was not included in this set and yet to see a DVD release. The 1941 film is considered superior to the 1961 adaptation, but as much as I liked female protagonist Ray Smith played wonderfully by Margaret Sullavan, I could never warm up to the Charles Boyer's character whose selfish actions made everyone's life miserable. In a conscious decision, we actually never see his wife in this version of the novel, so we are never aware of reasoning of staying with her. 1961 version with Susan Hayward and John Gavin changes things around with adding a thankless role for underrated Vera Miles as the wife in question. If this film was made a few years earlier, it likely would have been directed by Douglas Sirk, like many 1950's melodramas produced by Ross Hunter and remade from John Stahl earlier adaptation. Unfortunately, David Miller's direction lacks the depth of Douglas Sirk, but still it's a good tearjerker for a rainy afternoon.

The two-disc set from Universal and TCM was released on pressed DVD as part of their TCM Vault Collection lineup. Each single-layered disc comes with multiple galleries for stills, posters and lobby cards. 1941 film features an older transfer with multiple instances of dirt, scratches and marks, including cue marks (see capture # 3). Mono audio soundtrack is adequate, but there are no subtitles or closed captioning. 1961 film fares much better. The anamorphic progressive transfer is in correct aspect ratio, close to 2:1 than 1.85:1 that is stated on the back cover. Colors are good and well-balanced, but sometimes too soft. There is a monaural soundtrack that is decent. A recommended release if the price is right - definitely not worth 39.99 that is being charged by a third-party seller on Amazon.

  - Gregory Meshman

 


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directed by David Miller
USA 1961

Theatrical Release: 11 October 1961 (USA)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Universal Studios (Two Movie Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

Distribution

Universal Studios

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:46:48
Video

1.99:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.7 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

Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Universal Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.99:1

Edition Details:
• Galleries

Chapters 13

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

 

Distribution

Universal Studios

Region 1 - NTSC

 




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