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William Powell at Warner Bros.

The Road to Singapore (1931)     High Pressure (1931)

Private Detective 62 (1933)     The Key (1934)

When William Powell signed with Warner Bros., he did more than find a new studio home for his urbane sophistication – it was there he solidified himself as a leading man. Culled from the nine 1931-34 films Powell made at Warner, these four films variously draw on the star's renowned romantic, comic and sleuthing talents. The Road to Singapore (1931): The roving eye of boozing playboy Powell settles on a blonde (Doris Kenyon) disenchanted with her neglectful husband (Louis Calhern). High Pressure (1931): Powell's roguish wit is in high gear as he plays a garrulous promoter selling investors on a scheme to make ersatz rubber. Private Detective 62 (1933): Private eye Powell falls for the socialite (Margaret Lindsay) he's supposed to frame. The Key (1934): In volatile 1920 Dublin, British officer Powell sacrifices his freedom for the woman he loves (Edna Best) and her political-captive husband (Colin Clive.)

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Comments

Warner Archive presents some lesser known gems starring William Powell during his brief stay at Warner Brothers and this set can be unofficially called Forbidden Hollywood Volume 8 since all 4 films can be considered pre-codes. The 4 films in the collection offer different aspects of pre-codes. The Road to Singapore (1931) has exotic locations, romance and infidelity. High Pressure (1932) is a social commentary satire where our opportunistic protagonist doesn't get punished in the end. Private Detective 62 (1933) is a crime comedy/drama made a year before Powell starred as Nick Charles in The Thin Man. The last film in the collection, The Key, is a war drama that premiered on May 31 1934, just a month before the enforcement of the code began on July 1 1934. All four films in the collection worth a look with High Pressure and Private Detective 62 being especially outstanding.

 

Each film is presented on a replicated single-layered progressive disc. With running time of each film being just over 1 hour, the bitrate is high. The films are newly remastered, but there are still number of specs and marks due to the prints used for the transfers. Considering the age of the films, they look fine and the contrast is good. The mono audio is decent, with very little damage, but overall they fit these early talkies. There are no subtitles, per usual, but as an extra each film comes with a trailer. A very good release that we can easily recommend to any pre-code fan.

  - Gregory Meshman

DVD Review: Warner Home Video (William Powell at Warner Bros.) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:08:36
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.95 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:
• Theatrical trailer (2:18)

DVD Release Date: September 10th, 2013
4 discs in a Keep Case

Chapters 18

 

 


DVD Menus
 

 


 

directed by Alfred E. Green
USA 1931

 

In this drama, a doctor and his wife are stationed in Singapore where the lonely wife, tired of constantly trying to get his attention, begins soliciting another man into having an affair with her. The man is reticent though. When the doctor finds out and assumes they are involved, the woman becomes so angry that she threatens to take the next boat out and leave them both. Instead it is the would-be lover who ignores the jealous doctor's loaded gun and calmly boards the boat. Songs include: "African Lament" "Hand in Hand" "Yes or No" "Singapore Tango" and ""I'm Just a Fool in Love with You".

Theatrical Release: 10 October 1931 (USA)

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directed by Mervyn LeRoy
USA 1932

 

Based on Abel Kandel's 1931 play Hot Money, this delightfully daffy comedy from Warner Bros. is a typical example of that studio's turbo-charged dialogue and irreverent attitude. William Powell, at the top of his game here, plays Gar Evans, the "world's foremost promoter," hired by Jewish entrepreneur Ginsberg (George Sidney) to boost a new discovery that may turn sewage into artificial rubber. Unfortunately, after Evans and his minions have talked untold suckers into buying stocks in the dubious venture, the inventor (Harry Beresford) goes missing. The good professor turns up eventually but proves to be quite demented and the entire scheme is about to fall apart when Evans, more or less at the seat of his pants, manages to sweet-talk himself into an even better deal. William Powell is a marvel in this comedy, whether cheerleading a gaggle of would-be salesmen or attempting to persuade a disillusioned Francine (Evelyn Brent), his good luck charm, to stay onboard despite ever impending doom. Miss Brent, who usually had only one expression -- sullen hauteur -- is quite charming as Powell's long-suffering girlfriend; and Frank McHugh, whose comedy relief often proved more grating than funny, is more than tolerable this time around as Powell's rah-rah second lieutenant.

Theatrical Release: 30 January 1932 (USA)

Reviews                                                          More Reviews                                        DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner Home Video (William Powell at Warner Bros.) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:13:12
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.56 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: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical trailer (1:45)

DVD Release Date:
4 discs in a keep case

Chapters 14


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(aka "Private Detective" )

 

directed by Michael Curtiz
USA 1933

 

Powell accepts job with shady private detective Hohl and agrees to dupe wealthy Lindsay, but falls in love with her instead. Warner Bros. programmer picks up after a slow start. Originally released as PRIVATE DETECTIVE 62.

Theatrical Release: 10 June 1933 (USA)

Reviews                                                           More Reviews                                             DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner Home Video (William Powell at Warner Bros.) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:06:00
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.95 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:
• Theatrical trailer (2:02)

DVD Release Date:
4 discs in a keep case

Chapters 17

 


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(aka "High Peril" )

 

directed by Michael Curtiz
USA 1934

 

The Key is a story of the Irish "troubles" which avoids taking sides, but spends most of its screen time with the British occupation troops. William Powell stars as a soldier for hire who works on behalf of the British in the Dublin of the early 1920s. Powell is as celebrated for his boudoir antics as his bravery, so it's no surprise that he soon takes up with the wife (Edna Best) of his best friend, British intelligence officer Colin Clive. The plot thickens when Clive is captured by the Irish freedom fighters, to be released only on condition that Irish patriot Donald Crisp is not hanged. Powell makes up for his past indiscretions by rescuing Clive from his captors.

Theatrical Release: 31 May 1934 (premiere)

Reviews                                                      More Reviews                                                  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner Home Video (William Powell at Warner Bros.) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:10:54
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.95 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:
• Theatrical trailer (2:34)

DVD Release Date:
4 discs in a keep case

Chapters 16


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC



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