Forbidden Hollywood Collection, Vol. 5 [DVD]

This volume in the Warner Brothers archive collection travels back to the halcyon days of pre-Hays Code Hollywood, the era when onscreen morals were loose and free and generally anything could be seen sans censorship restrictions. Four pre-code classics appear in this box set: Hard to Handle (1933) starring James Cagney and directed by Mervyn LeRoy; Ladies they Talk About (1933), starring Cagney and co-directed by William Keighley and Howard P. Bretherton; The Mind Reader (1933) directed by Roy del Ruth and starring William Warren; and Miss Pinkerton, starring Joan Blondell and directed by Lloyd Bacon.
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Synopsis

Miss Pinkerton
In this murder mystery, a nurse with an unusual eye for detail solves a puzzling case. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Hard to Handle
Hard to Handle stars James Cagney as a fast-talking promoter who pounces upon every current fad and foible to make a quick buck. He promotes marathon dances (where spectators feel cheated because no one drops dead), crash diets, reducing creams and treasure contests, finagling his way into the confidence of high rollers and money men. In a cute "inside" joke harking back to a choice Cagney moment in The Public Enemy, our hero at one point takes up the promotion of grapefruits! Like most conners, Cagney isn't aware when he is being conned himself, and he falls victim to his marathon-dance business partner, who absconds with the winnings. The contest winner is pretty Mary Brian, whose mother (Ruth Donnelly) tries to extract payment by forcing Cagney to marry her daughter. He does, but only after eight reels of high-pressure wheeling and dealing. In the tradition of Jimmy Cagney's other early-1930s, Hard to Handle is socked over by the energetic insouciance of its star. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Mind Reader
In this romance, an con-artist leaves an unsuccessful carnival gig to become a successful phony psychic. He is assisted by two others. He then marries a woman who believes he really does have 'second sight.' When the truth is at last revealed, he decides to become an honest door-to-door salesman. When this doesn't pan out, he teams up with his old partner and hatches a plot to mess with society folk by letting them know when their spouses are straying. Unfortunately, it backfires and someone is killed causing the con man to go to prison. Fortunately, his wife promises to wait for him. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Ladies They Talk About
One of the earliest girls-in-prison yarns, Ladies They Talk About has everything but Ida Lupino as the warden--and had she been in Hollywood at the time, she would probably be here as well. Gun moll Barbara Stanwyck is thrown into San Quentin (which looks more like a summer resort than a house of detention), thanks to her involvement in a bank robbery and the machinations of D.A./preacher David Slade (Preston Foster). It isn't political ambition that motivates Slade: he's in love with Stanwyck, and hopes that her incarceration will rehabilitate her. Instead, Stanwyck becomes a hard-bitten prison-block leader, spearheading a jailbreak. When things go awry, she holds Slade responsible. Upon her release, she goes gunning for Slade, and doesn't realize that she's really in love with him until she nearly puts him six feet under. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Joan Blondell
    Joan Blondell - Miss Adams/Miss Pinkerton
  • George Brent
    George Brent - Inspector Patten
  • Image coming soon
    Mae Madison - 2nd Nurse
  • John Wray
    John Wray - Hugo
  • Ruth Hall
    Ruth Hall - Paula Brent

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