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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by Howard Hawks
USA 1930

 

Howard Hawks (Twentieth Century) made his first film for Columbia Pictures with this pre-Code prison movie. The great Walter Huston (Dragonwyck) stars as a district attorney-turned-prison warden who gets to witness first-hand the effects of his convictions, especially Phillips Holmes (An American Tragedy), imprisoned after killing a man in a drunken brawl. Co-starring Boris Karloff (Frankenstein), The Criminal Code is tough, no-nonsense, quintessential Hawks.

***

After young Robert Graham commits a murder while drunk and defending his girlfriend, he is prosecuted by ambitious Mark Brady and sentenced to 10 years. Six years later, Brady becomes the prison warden and offers the beleaguered Robert a job as his chauffeur. Robert cleans up his act, but, on the eve of his pardon, his cellmate drags him back into the world of violence, and he faces a difficult choice that could return him to prison.

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 31st, 1930

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Sony Pictures / TCM (Karloff: Criminal Kind - TCM Vault Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

  

Also available directly from Indicator:

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Sony / TCM - Region 1 - NTSC Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:36:15         1:36:27.782 
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.56 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,152,508,845 bytes

Feature: 17,138,673,024 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio English (Dolby Digital mono)

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles None English, 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

Release Information:
Studio:
Indicator

 

1.33:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,152,508,845 bytes

Feature: 17,138,673,024 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Audio commentary with film historian Nora Fiore (2021)
Behind the Mask (2021, 25:16): author and critic Kim Newman discusses the non-horror career of actor Boris Karloff
Codes and Convictions (2021, 29:12): video essay by Jonathan Bygraves on the many adaptations of Marvin Flavin’s The Criminal Code
The Howard Hawks Masterclass with John Carpenter (1997, 36:14): archival audio recording of a presentation by the cult filmmaker from the British Film Institute’s 1997 Howard Hawks retrospective at the National Film Theatre, London
Lux Radio Theatre: ‘The Criminal Code’ (1939, 58:34): radio adaptation starring Edward G Robinson, Beverly Roberts and Paul Guilfoyle
Image galleries: on-set and promotional photography from The Criminal Code and its lost Spanish-language version, El código penal
Limited edition exclusive 36-page booklet with a new essay by Philip Kemp, Howard Hawks on The Criminal Code, an archival article on Hawks by Henri Langlois, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits
World premiere on Blu-ray
Limited edition of 3,000 copies


Blu-ray Release Date:
March 22nd, 2021
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 10

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Indicator Blu-ray (February 2021): Indicator have transferred Howard Hawks' The Criminal Code to Blu-ray. It appears to be from the same master as Sony's 2013 DVD boxset Karloff: Criminal Kind (reviewed by Gregory HERE.) The 1080P resolution improves the image in the usual areas with an up-tick in detail, significantly more layered contrast and the rich, heavy film texture support.

NOTE: We have added 45 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Indicator use a linear PCM mono track (24-bit) in the original English language. It is another advancement in the film's audio and score by Sam Perry (1930's All Quiet on the Western Front, The Man Who Laughs, 1923's The Hunchback of Notre Dame and 1925's Phantom Of The Opera), where dialogue is at the mercy of the film's original elements. Indicator offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'B' Blu-ray.

The Indicator Blu-ray has a new commentary from the well-prepared Nora Fiore (The Nitrate Diva) discussing the wonderful Art Deco, how The Criminal Code was remade twice by Columbia; as Penitentiary in 1938 and Convicted in 1950 directed by Henry Levin and starring Glenn Ford. She informs us that Howard Hawks was not the first choice to direct The Criminal Code, the visual attributes of the film, it's Pre-Code-ness, the cinematography of James Wong Howe and why he didn't finish the film (his year-long sabbatical etc.), other prison pictures of the era (The Big House), and much more. She's great. I could listen to her all day. There are more supplements; Behind the Mask has author and critic Kim Newman discusses the non-horror career of actor Boris Karloff - recorded in 2021 and running 25-minutes. It is at his usual informative and enjoyable level. Codes and Convictions is a new 1/2 hour video essay by Jonathan Bygraves on the many adaptations of Marvin Flavin’s The Criminal Code. There is an appealing audio extra: The Howard Hawks Masterclass with John Carpenter from 1997 - running about 37-minutes. It is an archival audio recording of a presentation by the cult filmmaker from the British Film Institute’s 1997 Howard Hawks retrospective at the National Film Theatre, London. Also on the audio-front; we get a Lux Radio Theatre adaptation from 1939; ‘The Criminal Code’ This hour long radio piece stars Edward G Robinson, Beverly Roberts and Paul Guilfoyle. There are two image galleries of on-set and promotional photography from The Criminal Code and its lost Spanish-language version, El código penal. The package contains a limited edition exclusive 36-page booklet with a new essay by Philip Kemp, Howard Hawks on The Criminal Code, an archival article on Hawks by Henri Langlois, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits. This is a limited edition of 3,000 copies.

Howard Hawks' The Criminal Code has  rich history. 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 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 Indicator Blu-ray has appeal to Howard Hawks, Karloff, prison + Pre-Code films, and vintage cinema fans. Strongly recommended!

Gary Tooze

ON THE Karloff: Criminal Kind DVD Boxset (2013):  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

 


Sony / TCM - Region 1 - NTSC

 

Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) Sony / TCM - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Sony / TCM - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Sony / TCM - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Sony / TCM - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Sony / TCM - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Sony / TCM - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Sony / TCM - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 

 
Box Cover

  

Also available directly from Indicator:

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Sony / TCM - Region 1 - NTSC Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


 


 

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