Forbidden Hollywood Collection: Volume Three [4 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

The Purchase Price
Barbara Stanwyck, displayed in all her pre-Code glory, once again plays "damaged goods" in Warner Bros.' The Purchase Price. Hard-boiled nightclub singer Joan Gordon (Stanwyck) gets fed up being the kept woman of her married boss, bootlegger Ed Fields (Lyle Talbot). Fleeing New York City, she ends up in North Dakota as the mail-order bride of wheat farmer Jim Gilson (George Brent). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Frisco Jenny
Jenny (Ruth Chatterton) becomes pregnant by a young man who is killed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Bearing her child in secret, Jenny gives up custody to a wealthy couple. The years pass, and through the auspices of a crooked politician (Louis Calhern), Jenny becomes the number one "madame" of San Francisco, with interests in several other illicit activities. Crusading district attorney Dan Reynolds Donald Cook decides to rid the city of Jenny's operations -- little suspecting that the notorious woman is actually his own mother. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Other Men's Women
William A. Wellman's triangle melodrama "The Steel Highway" -- a title referring to the film's railroad setting -- was changed to the more suggestive Other Men's Women shortly before it's April 19, 1931 New York premiere. Grant Withers and Regis Toomey played lifelong friends and co-workers in love with the same woman, Mary Astor). She, unfortunately, is also Toomey's wife and the two friends have a blow-out on the job. The train derails and Toomey is blinded for life. When the river floods, the repentant Withers concocts a scheme to save an important railroad bridge by driving his engine across, thus stabilizing the construction. Believing his blindness makes him a burden to Astor, Toomey sacrifices himself instead. The ploy fails and Toomey is killed. Toomey and Astor, who had replaced James Hall and Marian Nixon, and Grant Withers were all fine under Wellman's crisp direction but the film was stolen outright by supporting players James Cagney and Joan Blondell, the latter as Wither's former girlfriend. With typical pre-production code frankness, Blondell's tough-talking waitress advises a fresh customer that she is "A.P.O." What does this "A.P.O. means?" the customer asks. Blondell: "Ain't puttin' out!" Blondell and Cagney, who had appeared together in the Broadway play Penny Arcade and its subsequent film version, Sinner's Holiday (1930), would reach stardom in their third film together, the gangster classic The Public Enemy (1931). Overly static at times, Other Men's Women was livened considerably by the climactic bridge collapse, a successful use of miniatures. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Wild Boys of the Road
This earnest, socially-conscious road drama centers on two California teenagers who find their comfortable lives thrown into turmoil during the Great Depression. To find work for themselves, the adventurous lads sneak aboard a Chicago-bound train. ~ Iotis Erlewine, Rovi

Midnight Mary
Loaned to MGM by her home studio of Warner Bros., Loretta Young suffers her way through the title role in Midnight Mary. A good girl led astray, Mary (Young) endeavors to save the life of her boyfriend Tom (Franchot Tone) by killing the aptly named Leo the Rat (Ricardo Cortez). As her case is heard in court, the clerk goes over Mary's record, and at this point the flashbacks begin, stretching all the way back to her days as an unwanted orphan. One bad break leads to another, and by the time she reaches adulthood Mary is mixed up with a gang of crooked gamblers. For the sake of Tom, a well-connected socialite who loves her unquestioningly, Mary tries to go straight, but her past, and the ill-fated Leo the Rat, catch up with her. No matter what disaster befalls her in Midnight Mary, Loretta Young always manages to look as though she's just stepped out of a beauty salon. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Men Who Made the Movies: William A. Wellman
Heroes for Sale
What isn't Heroes for Sale about? Within its 71-minute time frame, this film (co-written by "professional cynic" Wilson Mizner) tackles such issues as disenfranchised war veterans, misguided hero worship, drug addiction, the Depression, capitalism, labor relations and communism. Richard Barthelmess plays a wounded war hero whose hospital stay has turned him into a morphine junkie. He wanders from town to town looking for work during the Depression, only to be turned away with a "we've got our own to watch out for!" Eventually, Barthelmess befriends millionaire-in-the-making Robert H. Barrat, who has invented a revolutionary washing machine. Becoming Barrat's partner, Barthelmess attempts to quell a strike by workers who've been stirred up by Red agitators. With all this going on, Barthelmess still finds time to romance Loretta Young. Heroes for Sale is very much a product of its time, though its entertainment value has remained solid for well over six decades. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick
Narrated by actor Alec Baldwin, this documentary profiles the adventurous, contentious, and very talented director William Wellman (1896-1975). Ambulance driver for the French Foreign Legion and decorated American pilot in World War I, Wellman later became a barnstorming stunt pilot, but found his true calling directing such classic Hollywood films as Wings, Public Enemy, A Star Is Born, Beau Geste, The Ox-Bow Incident, and The High and the Mighty. Highlights include clips from his movies and interviews with or clips featuring Clint Eastwood, Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, Martin Scorsese, Mike Connors, Nancy Davis, James Garner, Darryl Hickman, Arthur Hiller, Tab Hunter, Richard Widmark, Robert Wise, Jane Wyman, and others. ~ Steve Blackburn, Rovi

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