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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Dark Chapter" or "Love Without Reason" or "Take It Easy')

Directed by Norman Z. McLeod
US 1938


The Kilbourne's are a curious lot. Henry, the irascible patriarch, has his patience duly tried by his three impetuous and irreverent children: Geraldine (Jerry), Kane and Marion. Mother Emily rounds out the clan and may be the most endearingly peculiar of them all, as she doesn't knit or collect stamps as a hobby, but instead takes in "Forgotten Men" intent on rehabilitating them.

However, after her latest protégé makes off with the family silver, Emily swears off any do-gooding... that is until the vacationing Wade Rawlins shows up at her doorstep and is mistaken as a tramp. Becoming the family's new chauffeur, Rawlins soon proves useful to the Kilbourne's in more ways than one. He also quickly grabs the attention of nearly every female about him especially and including Jerry's.

Billie Burke is not only reunited in Merrily We Live with her Topper co-stars Constance Bennett (Jerry) and Alan Mowbray (Grosvenor, the Kilbourne's long-suffering butler), but her performance as the delightfully daffy Emily also garnered her the only Academy Award nomination of her career (Best Supporting Actress). Joining the Topper trio is also a sublime cast including Brian Aherne, Clarence Kolb, Bonita Granville, Ann Dvorak, Tom Brown, Patsy Kelly and Willie Best.

A textbook example of screwball comedy, this Hal Roach production was directed by Norman Z. McLeod (Horse Feathers, My Favorite Spy) and received five Oscar nods in all, including for Norbert Brodine's sparkling cinematography and Charles D. Hall's art direction.


The wealthy Kilbourne family is tired of Mrs. Kilbourne (Billie Burke) hiring ex-convicts as servants. After a servant steals the family's silver, Mrs. Kilbourne agrees to never hire another drifter for help. But when a rough-looking man named Rawlins (Brian Aherne) arrives at her doorstep, she cannot help but hire him as the new chauffeur. As Rawlins catches the eye of their oldest daughter, Jerry (Constance Bennett), the Kilbournes realize that he may not be the vagrant he claims to be.


Posters and Book Covers

Theatrical Release: March 4th, 1938

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

Box Cover


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Distribution ClassicFlix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:34:56.958   

1.37:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,142,765,097 bytes

Feature: 23,964,432,384 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


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



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1821 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1821 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit) 

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:


1.37:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,142,765,097 bytes

Feature: 23,964,432,384 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


Edition Details:


Blu-ray Release Date: 
August 28th, 2018
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12



ClassicFlix Blu-ray to date:


Along Came Jones


Another Man's Poison


Casanova Brown


Crime of Passion


Down 3 Dark Streets


Five Steps to Danger


He Walked By Night



Merrily We Live


Raw Deal


The Killer is Loose


The Man Who Watched Trains


The Noose Hangs High




Tomorrow is Forever


You Only Live Twice





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

ClassicFlix have put this little cracker 1938 comedy. (with some romance), to Blu-ray. Merrily We Live is on a single-layered disc with a very high bitrate and looks very nice with some grain and layered contrast. The 1080P has some depth and modest tightness and the 1.37:1 framed image is damage-free and exports a pleasing HD image.

ClassicFlix use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel (24-bit) in the original English language. There are no aggressive effects and a
light score by Marvin Hatley (notable for 'Ku-Ku' in Flying Deuces) as well as the theme 'Merrily We Live' sung by an offscreen chorus during the opening and closing credits as well as Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! (The Boys Are Marching) sung a cappella by Bonita Granville. It supports the film well in the lossless. There are optional English subtitles (see sample) on the region 'A'-lockedBlu-ray disc.

Unfortunately, ClassicFlix have given us no supplements. This is a true bare-bones release, as is much of their output.

I quite liked this fun title - Constance Bennett is great! Extras would have augmented the 
Blu-ray value although the film still deserves an audience. Vintage film fans will enjoy!

Gary Tooze







Subtitle Sample





Screen Captures




















































Box Cover


CLICK to order from:


Distribution ClassicFlix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray





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