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Robert Harris

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Robert Harris
There are certain films that can easily slip past even the most attentive cinephiles, and unfortunately, this is one of them.

The 1933 (pre-code) melodrama, was directed by Lloyd Bacon, starring Kay Francis, Lyle Talbot, Thelma Todd and Una O'Connor, and has one of Warner's best behind the camera - Sidney Hickox.

Sometimes these films get away simply because the names involved are no longer in our vocabulary.

A few examples.

Mr. Hickox (1895-1982) began his career in 1916 on a Billie Burke film. Between that time and his retirement forty years later, he shot films such as Lilac Time, Blonde Crazy, So Big!, A Bill of Divorcement, Dames, San Quentin, King of the Underworld, All Through the Night, Gentleman Jim, To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, White Heat, and Them!

Many may not be familiar with the work of Kay Francis (1905-1983) - elegant and 5'9", after a stint at Paramount, made a move to Warners, and became known as the Queen of Warner, the highest paid actress in the WB stable until the mid-1930s, and finally lost the title to Bette Davis after a dispute with the home office.

The screenplay was by Rian James (1899-1953) - 42nd Street, Submarine Patrol) and Robert Lord (1900-1976) - The Matinee Idol, Gold Diggers of Broadway, Wonder Bar. He then moved into new arenas as production supervisor, assistant producer and producer. Examples - Captain Blood, Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, The Letter, Dive Bomber, Knock on any Door, In a Lonely Place and Sirocco.


A dear friend, who knows his stuff, asked if I had a copy of the new Warner Archive release, and made note of it being brilliant pre-code, with a new restoration.

I knew enough to take peek, and came away amazed.

Kay Francis is incredibly good. The screenplay could not have been made just a couple of years later, the cinematography is brilliant, and the restorative efforts...

I'd bet that the OCN survives, as the film appears as clean and perfect as it would have on those great silver sheets in the summer of 1933.

Just brilliant in very regard, and a film not to be missed.

To give some idea of content, which I'll not relate, the Breen office refused to allow a re-release. During the same period, they did allow a re-release of Dr. Monica, a 1934 pre-code, also starring Ms Francis, and directed by William Keighley, with photography by Sol Polito.

Unfortunately, the studio was forced to cut the film from 61 minutes, down to 53, which is what survives at the moment with both pix and trk.

It's a film waiting, and in need of a restoration, if elements can be located.

Grab a copy of this one and be amazed that you're watching an 88 year-old production.


One final note. For those into cars, you'll see one of the most beautiful Duesenbergs to be found on film. I'd like to believe that it survives somewhere.


Image – 5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Very Highly Recommended

RAH
 

Marc Hampton

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
63
Real Name
Marc
I was pretty blown away by the picture quality of this one ... and by that certain plot twist 3/4 in !

I'd love to see Busby Berkeley's Gold Diggers of 1933 ...and the wild pre-code Wonder Bar (also with Kay Francis) in an extraordinary presentation like this.
 

RobertMG

Screenwriter
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
Messages
1,634
Real Name
Robert M. Grippo
There are certain films that can easily slip past even the most attentive cinephiles, and unfortunately, this is one of them.

The 1933 (pre-code) melodrama, was directed by Lloyd Bacon, starring Kay Francis, Lyle Talbot, Thelma Todd and Una O'Connor, and has one of Warner's best behind the camera - Sidney Hickox.

Sometimes these films get away simply because the names involved are no longer in our vocabulary.

A few examples.

Mr. Hickox (1895-1982) began his career in 1916 on a Billie Burke film. Between that time and his retirement forty years later, he shot films such as Lilac Time, Blonde Crazy, So Big!, A Bill of Divorcement, Dames, San Quentin, King of the Underworld, All Through the Night, Gentleman Jim, To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, White Heat, and Them!

Many may not be familiar with the work of Kay Francis (1905-1983) - elegant and 5'9", after a stint at Paramount, made a move to Warners, and became known as the Queen of Warner, the highest paid actress in the WB stable until the mid-1930s, and finally lost the title to Bette Davis after a dispute with the home office.

The screenplay was by Rian James (1899-1953) - 42nd Street, Submarine Patrol) and Robert Lord (1900-1976) - The Matinee Idol, Gold Diggers of Broadway, Wonder Bar. He then moved into new arenas as production supervisor, assistant producer and producer. Examples - Captain Blood, Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, The Letter, Dive Bomber, Knock on any Door, In a Lonely Place and Sirocco.


A dear friend, who knows his stuff, asked if I had a copy of the new Warner Archive release, and made note of it being brilliant pre-code, with a new restoration.

I knew enough to take peek, and came away amazed.

Kay Francis is incredibly good. The screenplay could not have been made just a couple of years later, the cinematography is brilliant, and the restorative efforts...

I'd bet that the OCN survives, as the film appears as clean and perfect as it would have on those great silver sheets in the summer of 1933.

Just brilliant in very regard, and a film not to be missed.

To give some idea of content, which I'll not relate, the Breen office refused to allow a re-release. During the same period, they did allow a re-release of Dr. Monica, a 1934 pre-code, also starring Ms Francis, and directed by William Keighley, with photography by Sol Polito.

Unfortunately, the studio was forced to cut the film from 61 minutes, down to 53, which is what survives at the moment with both pix and trk.

It's a film waiting, and in need of a restoration, if elements can be located.

Grab a copy of this one and be amazed that you're watching an 88 year-old production.


One final note. For those into cars, you'll see one of the most beautiful Duesenbergs to be found on film. I'd like to believe that it survives somewhere.


Image – 5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Very Highly Recommended


RAH
Aren't most of the OCN Nitrates with the LOC thanks to Warner's donating them years ago?
 

bujaki

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Jan 1, 2012
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Location
Richardson, TX
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Jose Ortiz-Marrero
I've always had fond memories of Dr. Monica, a film that screened in a 35mm nitrate print at MoMA in 1973. It zipped by at breakneck speed in its short running time, and covered a plethora of taboo subjects, such as: pre-marital sex, adultery, abortion, etc. I was flabbergasted. A total delight!
 

lark144

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 22, 2012
Messages
1,722
Real Name
mark gross
I've always had fond memories of Dr. Monica, a film that screened in a 35mm nitrate print at MoMA in 1973. It zipped by at breakneck speed in its short running time, and covered a plethora of taboo subjects, such as: pre-marital sex, adultery, abortion, etc. I was flabbergasted. A total delight!
I've never seen this, but I'm aware of it. A Kay Francis Warners pre-code in beautiful condition is a must have, at least in my neck of the woods. Haven't gotten around to ordering it yet because of all the other stuff coming down the pike. But I will.
 

ccrawford

Agent
Joined
Nov 17, 2014
Messages
30
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Cathy
My copy came yesterday. I haven't seen it in years, so looking forward to seeing it again, after getting the WAC treatment.
 

rdimucci

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Oct 6, 2007
Messages
225
Real Name
Robert DiMucci
I'm surprised that Warners would release a cut version of the film on BR, what with all their concern over "perfection."
 

Conrad_SSS

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 19, 2003
Messages
440
I'm surprised that Warners would release a cut version of the film on BR, what with all their concern over "perfection."
Perhaps you are confusing Mary Stevens, M.D. with some other film. The new Blu-ray is complete and uncut as released, and it looks and sounds perfect. I’ve watched it twice this week, Ms. Francis is that good in it.
 

ahollis

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Premium
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Joined
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8,412
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New Orleans
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Allen
I'm surprised that Warners would release a cut version of the film on BR, what with all their concern over "perfection."
I think your confusing this with Dr. Monica. This was discussed earlier in this thread of being cut for its re-release.
 

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