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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Hard Luck Dame" )


directed by Alfred E. Green
USA 1935

Joyce Heath's name in lights once meant long lines at the box office. Then the talented Broadway star's luck changed. Her shows folded. Her romances ended. And Joyce spent her days in a self-destructive stupor. But a new romance puts her on the road to recovery and holds the promise of marriage...if she can get her current husband out of the way. As Joyce, Bette Davis is in love and murderously dangerous in this atmospheric melodrama co-starring Franchot Tone. "The script had just enough material in it to build into something," the actress recalled. "I worked like 10 men on that film." As a result, she earned one of those highly coveted little gold men: the 1935 Academy Award statuette for Best Actress, her first in a trailblazing career so linked to the studio's success that Davis would be called "the fourth Warner Brother."


Then came Dangerous, originally titled Hard Luck Woman. The role of Joyce Heath, an actress whose career has been derailed by alcoholism and her own belief that she was a jinx for any man with whom she got involved, was tailor-made for Davis, allowing her to play a wide range of emotions, from angry drunken scenes to the re-awakening of love. The character had been inspired by one of Davis's idols, stage legend Jeanne Eagels, a tragic drug addict who had died at the age of 35.

At first, Davis turned the script down, but studio production chief Hal Wallis convinced her that she could make something special out of the character. Moreover, she would be working with two of Warner Bros.' strongest behind-the-scenes artists, cameraman Ernest Haller and costume designer Orry-Kelly. At the start of the film, a young architect and theatre fan discovers Joyce in a seedy bar. Davis had seen similar women during her early days in the theatre and insisted that nothing be done to glamorize Joyce for these scenes.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE


Television Premiere: December 25th, 1935


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

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Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:18:18

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.18 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.


Audio Dolby Digital 1.0 (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
 Trailer (2:33)

DVD Release Date: March 22nd, 2012
Keep Case

Chapters 10





Dangerous is one of the first to confront celebrity-related addition - alcohol, drugs... watching this you realize why Bette Davis was so... monumental. The film is almost all about her expressive face - starting with her furtive glances moving to her powerful enticing  visage. She's marvelous - making the film marvelous.

It's standard single-layered MoD (Made-on-Demand) disc but progressive in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and looks very good. This is labeled under the Warner's "Archive Collection" marquee and the image is decent but flat with plenty of frame-specific damage (see sample - last capture) throughout. Contrast and grain are decent and they support the film with a watchable, transfer. Pleasing just to see the film. 

The mono sound is acceptable within the confines of the era supporting the score by the trifecta of Ray Heindorf (Young at Heart, The Music Man), Bernhard Kaun (1931's Frankenstein) and Heinz Roemheld (The Monster that Challenged The World, The Land Unknown, The Mole People, 1933's The Invisible Man) and there are no subtitles offered. No supplements except a trailer

I was in the mood for this and had a ball watching Miss Davis. No Pre-Code naughtiness but I loved how the films deals with the subject matter - as I enjoyed films like The Lost Weekend and Clean and Sober. While it doesn't confront the issue head-on, it still deals with it - via the best actress of her era. Davis fans should already own the bare-bones, over-priced MoD disc....  

  - Gary Tooze



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Region 0 - NTSC


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