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A cinematic icon, Boris Karloff was one of Hollywood’s greatest actors. Although synonymous with horror, Karloff excelled in other genres as well, providing a lasting legacy of memorable performances. And in this collection of three rarely seen gems drawn from his work at Warner Bros., Karloff shines in a wide range of roles, encompassing mystery, adventure and drama. West of Shanghai (1937): A wily warlord (Karloff) holds a small group of Americans prisoner in a northern China mission. The Invisible Menace (1938): Army intelligence suspects an ex-con (Karloff) of murdering the ordnance expert who framed him. Devil’s Island (1939): A French doctor (Karloff) wrongfully convicted of treason falls victim to the barbaric cruelties of the penal colony’s commandant.
 

Posters

Theatrical Release: 1937- 1939

DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Boris Karloff Triple Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:04:18
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.63 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 Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• 3 films on 1 disc
• Theatrical Trailer for West of Shanghai (2:26)

DVD Release Date: January 8th, 2013
Keepcase

Chapters 7

 

Comments

From the early days of home video, studios has been unleashing films of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi due to their enormous popularity in Universal's horror films, like Warner's Karloff & Lugosi Horror Classics Set from 2009. But there are still some jewels from their filmography to be rediscovered and Warner Archive Collection just released a triple feature of Boris Karloff's Warner quickies unavailable on home video previously. All three films clock around 60 minutes and each one well worth the time of any Karloff fan.

West of Shanghai is based on a play The Bad Man, filmed with Walter Huston in 1930 and with Wallace Beery in 1941. The latter remake is already available from Warner Archive Collection HERE. For Karloff version, screenwriter Crane Wilbur moved the action from Mexico to China, allowing Karloff to don a yellow make-up to play a Chinese warlord Wu Yen Fang. Those expecting camp of The Mask of Fu Manchu should look elsewhere as West of Shanghai is pretty serious drama with excellent Karloff and good direction from John Farrow. Ricardo Cortez and Sheila Bromley keep us interested in the plot the first 20 minutes before the appearance of Wu Yen Fang. The Invisible Menace, also directed by John Farrow, is a fast-paced mystery comedy that runs only 54 minutes and doesn't overstay its welcome. Some of the comedy bits don't fully gel with the rest of the plot, but Karloff once again gives his all to this little programmer. Devil's Island gives Karloff much bigger role and overall is a much better picture of the three presented on the disc and deserves to be better known. Boris Karloff plays a French surgeon Charles Gaudet who tried to save a life of a revolutionary and because of it, was sentenced to "hellish French penal colony on Devil's Island". There are some surprising turns of events and Karloff is once again gives an excellent performance in a very sympathetic role. Director William Clemens was mostly known for second pictures like this one and directing films in Nancy Drew, Dead End Kids, Philo Vance, Falcon and Whistler series. Just inclusion of this film alone would give me an easy recommendation for the whole set.

All three features are presented on a single dual-layered made-on-demand disc. Overall, the progressive transfers are as good as the film elements being used. There are some scratches and marks on all three prints. West of Shanghai and The Invisible Menace have more scratches than Devil's Island, but all three features have very good contrast and deep blacks - a very important point with their noir cinematography. English mono soundtrack has very little damage and no distortion. A lone extra is a trailer for West of Shanghai, but 3 films for the price of 1 makes it a highly recommended set.

  - Gregory Meshman

 


DVD Menus
 

 


(aka "China Bandit" or "Cornered" or "The Adventures of Chang" or "War Lord" )

 

directed by John Farrow
USA 1937

 

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Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


(aka "Without Warning" )

 

directed by John Farrow
USA 1938

Theatrical Release: 22 January 1938 (USA)

Reviews        More Reviews 

DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Boris Karloff Triple Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 54:34
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.63 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 Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:

DVD Release Date:
Keep Case

Chapters 6

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


(aka "Song of Hell" )

 

directed by William Clemens
USA 1939

Theatrical Release: 7 January 1939 (USA)

Reviews        More Reviews

DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Boris Karloff Triple Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:01:48
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.62 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 Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:

DVD Release Date:
Keep Case

Chapters 7

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

 

 




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