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Forbidden Hollywood Collection: Volume One [2 Discs] [DVD]

Release Date:12/06/2016
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    Baby Face
    Baby Face is a good example of the kind of spitfire lead female characters that appeared in the cinema of pre-code Hollywood. Lily Powers (Barbara Stanwyck) works as a barmaid in her father's factory-town saloon where she learns to deal with the unwanted advances of male customers. When her father dies, she moves to New York City with her maid, Chico (Theresa Harris), to become a ruthless gold digger. First she meets office boy Jimmy McCoy (a young John Wayne in an uncharacteristically clean-cut role) who helps her get a job at the Gotham Trust Company. From there, she seduces and discards various men (George Brent, Donald Cook, Henry Kolker) as she sleeps her way to the top of the company. Jealously between the men causes a murder scene, so Lily takes her furs and jewels and moves to Paris with Chico. The production code censors tacked on an ending that featured Lily giving away her money and returning to her home town with Brent. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi

    Waterloo Bridge
    Mae Clarke had the best role of her career as the heroine of Waterloo Bridge, the first of three filmizations of Robert L. Sherwood's play. Douglass Montgomery (here credited as Kent Douglass) plays a young American soldier who, while on leave from World War I, meets Myra (Clarke) during an air raid in London and falls in love with her, unaware she is a prostitute. Directed with a delicate mixture of realism and impressionism by James Whale, the 1931 Waterloo Bridge is head and shoulders above its heavily laundered 1940 remake -- which in turn is vastly superior to the 1956 re-remake, Gaby. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Red Headed Woman
    Jack Conway complained about being assigned to direct this comedy, claiming that a woman like the title character had almost ruined his own marriage. In a way he had a point , but only Jean Harlow could have made gold digger Lil Andrews a sympathetic protagonist. And Katherine Brush's racy novel (which first appeared, serial-fashion, in the Saturday Evening Post) could only have been filmed in the pre-Code days of the early 1930s. Helping both star and story is the snappy dialogue written by Anita Loos. Lil is the classic girl "from the wrong side of the tracks" -- she's a secretary with a bootlegger boyfriend and a wisecracking roommate named Sal (Una Merkel, who was a delightful foil to Harlow in several films). But Lil has ambitions -- she's "strictly on the level, like a flight of stairs," as one character says. She plans to snag Bill Legendre (Chester Morris), son of the venerable company head (Lewis Stone) -- no matter that he's happily married to his childhood sweetheart, Irene (Leila Hyams). Lil throws herself at Legendre until he can resist no longer and she snares him. But things don't work out as planned. Instead of making a big splash in society, she bombs -- so she casts her attention ever upwards to Gaersate, a coal king (Henry Stephenson). But a wrench is thrown into her scheme when she goes mad for his French chauffeur (Charles Boyer). "I've fallen in love and I'm going to be married!" she gleefully tells Sal, before explaining that it's the chauffeur she loves and Gaersate whom she will marry. However, Legendre Sr. has put a detective on Lil's trail and he shows Gaersate a handful of compromising photos. It looks like her game is up, but the last we see of the mercenary miss, she's leaving a fashionable Paris racetrack with a bearded old sugar daddy -- and her beloved chauffeur driving them away. In spite of all her blatant manipulations, Harlow gives Lil a childlike appeal, which makes her actions nearly forgivable (it also helps that the men are such dolts). But not everyone was able to accept a movie bad-girl who did not pay for her sins and, in fact, actually benefited from them -- the film was banned in Germany and England. It may not have gotten much play in France either, but certainly not because of Lil's wantonness. Charles Boyer, who was a star in his native country, was embarrassed at his failure to make a splash in America and didn't want his fellow Frenchmen to see him play a tiny bit-part. Depending on the source, he reportedly convinced MGM to either 1) release the film in France with his parts edited out (which would have made it quite confusing) or 2) not release the film there at all. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Barbara Stanwyck
      Barbara Stanwyck - Lily "Baby Face" Powers
    • George Brent
      George Brent - Trenholm
    • Donald Cook
      Donald Cook - Stevens
    • Arthur Hohl
      Arthur Hohl - Sipple
    • John Wayne
      John Wayne - Jimmy McCoy

    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.