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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "The Secret 6" )

 

directed by George W. Hill
USA 1931

 

There’s one very noticeable problem with George Hill's The Secret Six, and that is that the finished film is far less interesting than all of its elements.

First is the title – The Secret Six. Who are the secret six? What secret they could hold? Look elsewhere and see Wallace Beery's mug. Is he a member of the six? What's his gang up to?[...]

The film is ostensibly the story of a man named Scorpio's rise from working in a slaughterhouse to being the top of the underworld. But it's also the story of a girl, and two men, and how those men fell in love with the girl, but one got her, but he's a reporter and he crosses a gangster and realizes the girl set him up, but the girl was really in love with him all along and the other reporter nobly tries to help the other reporter not get murdered but then the other reporter…[...]

The main plot, which gets pushed further and further into the background, is far more enjoyable even if it becomes thinner and thinner. Scorpio is the kind of charming brute that Beery could play in his sleep. He starts off as the person who kills the cows in the slaughterhouse, until one day he meets up with his pal, Johnny, who tips him off as how to triple his income by bumping off the competitors for his bootlegging business.

Ralph Bellamy plays Johnny with a wicked grin and a fake scar that makes him a chilling, nasty creature. Once Scorpio starts becoming too productive in the gang, he decides to frame him for the murder of a rival boss’s kid brother. This results in a showdown that ends the film’s first act. It’s too bad; the slimy Bellamy is one of the movie’s strongest assets.

We still have lawyer Newton around, though, and his upper class alcoholic snobbery plays well against Scorpio’s blue collar grasps at respectability. The two are uneasy partners, and while Newton tries to guide Scorpio to follow a stratagem, while Scorpio simply applies the rules of the slaughterhouse to the rules of crime: be dull, blunt, and painful.[...]

Excerpt of review from Danny Reid for pre-code.com located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: 18 April 1931

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Warner Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

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Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:23:21
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.99 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:
• None

DVD Release Date: October 16th, 2012
Keep Case

Chapters 42

 

Comments

The Secret Six was Jean Harlow's first MGM picture right after the success of Howard Hughes' Hell's Angels. In a short period, under a contract with Hughes' company, she starred for Universal in Iron Man, for Warner in The Public Enemy, for Fox in Goldie, for Columbia in Capra's Platinum Blonde and Three Wise Girls, and finally back at MGM in The Beast of the City where she stayed for the rest of her brief career. The Secret Six was also her first pairing with up-and-coming star Clark Gable, but the real star of this film is Wallace Beery.

The remastered made-on-demand disc from Warner Archive was released in October 2011 together with Red Dust and Hold Your Man and was delayed from Jean Harlow 100th Anniversary Collection to complete its restoration. Despite its age, the print looks fine with good contrast; there are still some marks and specs on the print, but they never become intrusive. The mono audio was restored as well. There are no extras, but the disc gets impressive 42 chapters. Considering just a year earlier this film was not ready for a digital release, this is a very impressive disc that we can recommend for Jean Harlow and pre-code fans.

  - Gregory Meshman

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

 




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