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Karloff: Criminal Kind

The Criminal Code (1931)                         The Guilty Generation (1931)

Behind the Mask (1932)

Before he gained notoriety as "The Monster" in the Frankenstein movies, Boris Karloff had appeared in over 75 feature films and serials. Born to a distinguished British family, he assumed a stage name and immigrated to Canada and then the United States, where he performed various manual labor jobs while trying to launch an acting career. The grittiness of his life experience carries over to his performances in the three films in this collection.

THE CRIMINAL CODE (1931)
After playing bit parts and extras in over 60 films, Karloff finally got his big break by reprising his theatrical role as a prison trustee with an unforgiving sense of justice in this early example of the prison film." Director Howard Hawks (1932's Scarface, 1946's The Big Sleep) consulted actual Death Row inmates on how the picture should end—with a chilling climax that would etch Karloff in the minds of moviegoers as a doer of evil deeds. This was the first feature film of 1931 for Karloff, a year in which he would appear in sixteen movies including the picture that launched him to stardom, Frankenstein.

THE GUILTY GENERATION (1931)
Karloff is Tony Ricca, a notorious bootlegger locked in a mortal struggle with former ally Mike Palermo (Leo Carillo)—even as their children fall in love. This Prohibition-era twist on "Romeo and Juliet," featuring up-and-comer Robert Young as Karloff’s son Marco and Constance Cummings as the young Maria Palermo, reflected a turn in the tide of public opinion against mobsters, who had long been glamorized in the movies. With photography by four-time Academy AwardŽ nominated special effects designer, director and cinematographer Byron Haskin (1939's The Roaring Twenties, 1953's The War of the Worlds), the film paints a tense portrait of crime during the Great Depression.

BEHIND THE MASK (1932)
In production as Frankenstein (1931) was being shipped to cinemas, and released in February of 1932, BEHIND THE MASK would try to take advantage of the former film's success by promoting itself as a quasi-horror film, with Karloff's mug plastered on posters that asked "Who is the murdering monster?" In reality, it is a pure pulp fiction romp by veteran pre-Code drama director John Frances Dillon (1929's Fast Life, 1931's Millie) — a complicated but addictive tale of a secret service agent (Jack Holt) who infiltrates a gang of drug smugglers to bring down its ringleader, the elusive Dr. X, and his henchman Henderson (Karloff).
Posters

DVD Review: Sony Pictures / TCM (Karloff: Criminal Kind - TCM Vault Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Sony Pictures / TCM

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:36:15
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:
• Robert Osborne Introduction (3:15)
• Publicity Stills
• Scene Stills
• Movie Posters
• TCMDb Article

DVD Release Date: May 20th, 2013
3 discs in a digipack

Chapters 11

 

Comments

This is the first authorized set on the market of Boris Karloff movies filmed before the success of the Frankenstein monster. All three crime dramas feature Karloff in supporting roles, but even a few minutes of screen time show his star quality that is about to explode. The Criminal Code was a film adaptation of a stage play and allowed Karloff to reprise his stage role. The Guilty Generation was released in theaters days before Universal premiered Frankenstein in November of 1931. Behind the Mask was filmed right after The Criminal Code, but set on a shelf due to similarities to the earlier film. The success of Frankenstein allowed Columbia to get Karloff on the posters of Behind the Mask for its 1932 release. Each film is presented on a single-layered disc in an excellent progressive transfer. There is softness in some scenes and grain is evident, but it is never distracting. There is very little damage and mono sound is decent. No subtitles or captions are provided, but we get an informative introduction by Robert Osborne on the first disc and a number of galleries for each film. A recommended release.

  - Gregory Meshman

 


DVD Menus
 

 


 

directed by Howard Hawks
USA 1931

Theatrical Release: 3 January 1931

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directed by Rowland V. Lee
USA 1931

Theatrical Release: 19 November 1931

Reviews                        More Reviews  

DVD Review: Sony Pictures / TCM (Karloff: Criminal Kind - TCM Vault Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

Distribution

Sony Pictures / TCM

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:21:30
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.55 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:
• Scene Stills
• Movie Posters

DVD Release Date: May 20th, 2013
3 discs in a digipack

Chapters 9

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


(aka "Secret Service" or "The Man Who Dared")

 

directed by John Francis Dillon
USA 1932

Theatrical Release: 25 February 1932

Reviews                        More Reviews

DVD Review: Sony Pictures / TCM (Karloff: Criminal Kind - TCM Vault Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

Distribution

Sony Pictures / TCM

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:08:24
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.55 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:
• Scene Stills
• Movie Posters
• Lobby Cards

DVD Release Date: May 20th, 2013
3 discs in a digipack

Chapters 11

  


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Sony Pictures / TCM

Region 1 - NTSC



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