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Ladies of Leisure (1930)         Rain or Shine (1930)        Miracle Woman (1931)

Forbidden (1932)           Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933)

Ladies of Leisure (1930)
Kay, a cynical, streetwise party girl lands a job as a model for aspiring painter Jerry Strong, the son of a wealthy railroad magnate. When their work sessions eventually evolve into a serious romantic relationship, Jerry’s status-conscious parents attempt to buy Kay off like a common prostitute. This movie marked Capra’s first association with Barbara Stanwyck (they would make five movies together) and his first feature with screenwriter Jo Swerling, who would become a frequent collaborator.

Rain or Shine (1930)
Smiley Johnson, the manager of the Greater John T. Rainey Circus, must constantly wheel and deal to keep his traveling carnival operational and true to is promise of offering two shows a day. Complicating his mission is bad weather, internal saboteurs, poor business and pursuing creditors. Based on a hit 1928 Broadway musical, this rollicking comedy-drama omits the musical numbers, providing instead a rare screen showcase for vaudeville legend Joe Cook in the starring role.

Miracle Woman (1931)
Sister Fallon, a young woman with a gift for religious oratory, gains fame through the efforts of an unsavory promoter who stages phony ""faith healings"" during her services. At first seduced by the money, she soon goes weary of the deception and tries to escape the racket, a situation that becomes a genuine trial by fire. Loosely inspired by the famous California evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson and Sinclair Lewis’s novel Elmer Gantry, The Miracle Woman was one of Capra’s few boxoffice failures for Columbia Pictures but it remains a fascinating expose of religious charlatans and phony faith healers.

Forbidden (1932)
On an ocean voyage, Lulu, a thrill-seeking, small town librarian, enters into a carefree affair with Bob Grover, a lawyer with major political ambitions. Even though she learns that Grover has an invalid wife and will never leave her, Lulu continues to carry on their affair in private, despite the fact that she now has an illegimitate child to consider. When a newspaper editor threatens to expose the couple publicly, tragedy ensues. Capra’s attempt to create a popular “women’s picture” in the style of a Fannie Hurst soap opera like Back Street is made credible by the strong performances of Barbara Stanwyck, Adolph Menjou and Ralph Bellamy.

Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933)
Set in war-torn Shanghai, this visually stunning melodrama opens as Megan, the financee of a missionary, arrives in China for their marriage. But their plans are interrupted by civil war and Megan finds herself caught in a riot after visiting an orphanage. General Yen, a ruthless Chinese warlord, comes to her rescue and whisks her away to safety in his palace. Megan soon suspects she is not his guest but his prisoner yet she begins to feel a strange attraction to her captor. The once controversial topic of interracial romance between a Caucasian woman and a Chinese man earned this film some notoriety upon its release but Capra considered it a “strangely poetic romance” which was a risky art film for its era.

An immigrant from Bisacquino, Sicily, Frank Capra is one of the great American success stories. After growing up in Los Angeles and serving in the First World War, he found his calling in the burgeoning film industry of the early twenties. Working at a variety of jobs from lab assistant to film cutter to gag writer, Capra was promoted to director by silent comedian Harry Langdon who scored several box-office hits with Capra at the helm. The films featured in this collection contain five key movies made after Capra struck out on his own in the early sound era and became Columbia Pictures’ most important and financially successful director, transforming the company from a poverty row studio to a major player in Hollywood.

Posters


DVD Menus
 


(aka "Ladies of the Evening" )

 

directed by Frank Capra
USA 1930

Theatrical Release: 5 April 1930 (USA)

Reviews        More Reviews  

DVD Review: Sony Pictures / TCM (Frank Capra: The Early Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Sony Pictures / TCM

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:39:36
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.31 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: Sony Pictures / TCM

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by Film Historian Jeremy Arnold
• Scene Stills
• Lobby Card
• TCMDb Article
• Frank Capra biography

DVD Release Date: September 3, 2012
5 discs in a digipack

Chapters 9

 

Comments

Turner Classic Movies has been releasing some of the most welcome DVD collections from Universal and Columbia film catalogues and early films of Frank Capra is one of the most wanted collections, considering 2 of the titles making their debut in region 1, has been available in other regions. For a change, they even include some very welcome extra features including a silent version of Rain or Shine, 2 commentaries and featurettes on Frank Capra that includes some insights from Martin Scorsese, Michel Gondry and Ron Howard. We compared The Miracle Woman and The Bitter Tea of General Yen to UK editions of those films, and they don't look that much different; a big plus is US discs don't have PAL speed-up.

All five films have nice-looking restored progressive transfers. There are some specs, but they are not intrusive and most of the time go unnoticed. Each film has its own single-layered disc, except Rain or Shine - due to inclusion of a totally different silent version the disc is dual-layered. Silent version is 20 minutes shorter and uses different takes, but I attempted to compare two captures of silent and sound versions and comparison gives you an idea of how two prints look. I preferred audio commentary from Jeremy Arnold on Ladies of Leisure, but Jeanine Basinger commentary on Forbidden also has some informative bits. Mono audio has been cleaned up as well and has very little damage. Per usual, there are no subtitles or captions included. A highly recommended release from Sony Pictures and Turner Classic Movies that may be my favorite set from them.

  - Gregory Meshman

 

 


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directed by Frank Capra
USA 1930

Theatrical Release: 7 August 1930 (New York City)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Sony Pictures / TCM (Frank Capra: The Early Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Sony Pictures / TCM

Region 1 - NTSC

Distribution

Sony Pictures / TCM

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:28:18
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 Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures / TCM

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Rain or Shine - The International Version (1:08:10)
• Michel Gondry on Rain or Shine (10:33)
• Galleries (Stills, Posters, Lobby Cards)
• TCMDb Article
• pdf file on Rain or Shine - The International Version (2 pages)

DVD Release Date:
5 discs in a digipack

Chapters 8

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 Domestic version TOP vs. International Version - BOTTOM

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

directed by Frank Capra
USA 1931

Capra was already an established director when he began working with the incomparable Stanwyck around 1930. This adaptation of a play, derived from the life of evangelist Aimée Semple McPherson, gave her a strong role as a woman so upset by her father's death after his congregation has rejected him that she embarks upon a career as a 'miracle worker', aided by a con man (Hardy). She finally sees the error of her ways, thanks to a burgeoning relationship with a blind musician-ventriloquist. Shot in just four weeks, this is a minor miracle in itself, courtesy of Stanwyck's mesmerizing personality and Capra's infectious direction. 

Excerpt from Channel 4 located HERE

 Poster

Theatrical Release: July 20th, 1931

Reviews                 More Reviews                    DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Sony Pictures / TCM (Frank Capra: The Early Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Sony Pictures / TCM

Region 1 - NTSC

Distribution

Sony Pictures / TCM

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:30:00
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 Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures / TCM

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Ron Howard on The Miracle Woman (7:09)
• Galleries (Stills, Photos, Lobby Cards)
• TCMDb Article

DVD Release Date:

Chapters 10

 


Screen Captures

 

1) Sony Pictures / TCM (Frank Capra: The Early Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP
2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Sony Pictures / TCM (Frank Capra: The Early Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP
2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Sony Pictures / TCM (Frank Capra: The Early Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP
2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Sony Pictures / TCM (Frank Capra: The Early Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP
2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Sony Pictures / TCM (Frank Capra: The Early Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP
2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Sony Pictures / TCM (Frank Capra: The Early Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP
2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Sony Pictures / TCM (Frank Capra: The Early Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP
2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 


(aka "Jane Doe" )

 

directed by Frank Capra
USA 1932

Theatrical Release: 9 January 1932 (New York City)

Reviews        More Reviews 

DVD Review: Sony Pictures / TCM (Frank Capra: The Early Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

Distribution

Sony Pictures / TCM

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:25:15
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.0 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: Sony Pictures / TCM

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by Film Historian Jeanine Basinger
• Galleries (Stills, Photos, Posters, Lobby Cards)
• TCMDb Article

DVD Release Date:

Chapters 9

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 


 

directed by Frank Capra
USA 1933

Deliciously romantic melodrama - and unknown Capra territory - which has the great (and underrated) Stanwyck as Megan Davis, an American missionary who comes to wartorn Shanghai in the 30s and is kidnapped by a Chinese warlord. Coming across as a kind of raw, emotional The King and I (but without the whistling of happy tunes, thankfully), the film's narrative dips in and out of Stanwyck's strange dreams, where she is both attracted and repelled by the sophisticated General (Asther). A heady and sensual cocktail of drama and emotion and, in pre-Hollywood morality code times, a goodly amount of sexual tension.

Excerpt from Channel 4 located HERE

 

  Poster

Theatrical Release: January 3rd, 1933

Reviews                        More Reviews                          DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Sony Pictures / TCM (Frank Capra: The Early Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Sony Pictures / TCM

Region 1 - NTSC

Distribution

Sony Pictures / TCM

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:27:09
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.96 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: Sony Pictures / TCM

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Defining Capra's Early Style with Martin Scorsese and Ron Howard (9:08)
• Screen Snapshots (Behind-the-Scenes Production Short) (9:32)
• Galleries (Stills, Posters, Lobby Cards)
• TCMDb Article

DVD Release Date:

Chapters 10

 


Screen Captures

 

1) Sony Pictures / TCM (Frank Capra: The Early Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP
2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Sony Pictures / TCM (Frank Capra: The Early Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP
2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 


1) Sony Pictures / TCM (Frank Capra: The Early Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP
2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Sony Pictures / TCM (Frank Capra: The Early Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP
2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Sony Pictures / TCM (Frank Capra: The Early Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP
2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Sony Pictures / TCM (Frank Capra: The Early Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP
2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Sony Pictures / TCM (Frank Capra: The Early Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP
2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Sony Pictures / TCM

Region 1 - NTSC

 

 




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