Warner Archive New Releases: Pre-Codes in Bloom

Last season, inspired by her seemingly providential run-in with old summer camp boyfriend Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III), Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) moved to West Covina, California foisting unforeseen consequences for everyone in town – most of all, herself. As she tries to carve out a happy, useful, moral place in the world, in the town where Josh Chan just so happens to live, for the first time in her life, Rebecca has the freedom to make choices, many of them disastrous but hey, who’s counting? In the end, she finds herself entangled with both Josh and Josh’s BFF Greg (Santino Fontana) and must make a choice between messy reality and her beloved fantasy world. You know, how you’re on a date to a wedding with a guy and next thing you know you’re making love on a magic carpet over Southern California…? Special Features: DVD EXCLUSIVE Commentaries by Aline Brosh McKenna (Co-Creator & Executive Producer) and Rachel Bloom (Co-Creator & Executive Producer) for Season 1 Episode 1 and Season 2 Episode 1; Season 2 Gag Reel; Deleted Scenes (Season 1 and Season 2). 16×9 Widescreen
WIDE OPEN (1930) New to DVD
This pre-Code caper put comic relief titan Edward Everett Horton in a most unusual position – romantic leading man! Thankfully, for Horton’s sake and ours, the filmmakers wisely chose to fill his comic relief role with the amazing Louise Fazenda, who even gets the chance to sing the blues! Timid, fluttery, cat-loving confirmed bachelor Simon Haldane (Horton) is used to having his excellent ideas ignored by his abusive boss Trundle (E. J. Ratcliffe) while being pursued against his will by co-worker Agatha (Louise Fazenda) when one dark and stormy night turns his life upside down. While Simon is confronted by Agatha’s matrimony demanding mother (Vera Lewis), a young lass take shelter in his apartment who happens to be undressed… Louise Beavers adds some sanity as Simon’s maid, Easter.
After being chastised by the sitting Senator for challenging “the old order,” firebrand defense attorney Jeff Keane (Lionel Barrymore) runs for the Senate – and wins! Unfortunately, it’s a triumph that carries Keane to defeat and ruin in this timeless piece of pre-Code cynical cinema. Suborned to run by his fellows in the Bar Association, Jeff proves a formidable foe of the corrupt forces of big business and crony politics, earning him the nickname of “the new Lincoln.” But this new Lincoln is an old widower, and sinister forces set the most dangerous woman in Washington, Consuela Fairbanks (Karen Morley), in Jeff’s path. Jeff quickly marries Consuela who wastes no time in leading Jeff into political corruption, much to the dismay of Jeff’s daughter Ruth (Diane Sinclair) and Jeff’s own conscience.
SHE HAD TO SAY YES (1933) New to DVD
“Could a good girl stay good when she had to say yes?” is the question put to Loretta Young as a steno girl plucked from the secretarial pool for the dating pool in this pre-Code corker that still astonishes decades after its debut. Sales are down at Sol Glass’ (Ferdinand Gottschalk) clothing company when whiz kid salesman Tommy Nelson (Regis Toomey) makes an immodest proposal – why not send the young and innocent company girls more used to dictation to entertain important out-of-town buyers instead of the usual gold-digging sales models? The one caveat being the office girls have to be willing, of course. But Tommy’s scheme catches his own lady, and Flo Denny (Loretta Young) who finds herself in a compromising challenge with slick tycoon Danny Drew (Lyle Talbot). Surrounded by the hypocrisy of men, Florence’s flirtation with seduction may prove to be her undoing. Busby Berkeley makes his behind-the-camera debut, co-directing with George Amy.
STAGE MOTHER (1933) New to DVD
One-of-a-kind stage, silent and sound star Alice Brady delivers a remarkable performance alongside co-star Maureen O’Sullivan in this pre-Code melodrama about a mother’s twisted love, based on a book by backstage tell-all master Bradford Ropes of 42nd Street fame. After husband’s death, vaudeville star Kitty Lorraine (Brady) is forced to give up her infant daughter to her in-laws. Years later, when she has outgrown the boards, she sends for her innocent daughter Shirley (O’Sullivan) and grooms her Pygmalion-style to be the stage sensation she never was. But as Shirley matures, she enters into a romance with painter Warren Foster (Franchot Tone), a romance that Kitty twists into something sordid as she extracts a payout from Warren’s wealthy parents… and a pattern begins to emerge.
GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 (1933) Back in Print on DVD
Soon after 42nd Street, the brothers Warner again kicked the Depression blues out the stage door and into a back alley. A Broadway producer has the talent, the tunes, the theater – everything he needs to put on a show – except the dough. Not to worry, say Ginger Rogers and the other leggy chorines decked out in giant coins, as everyone will soon be singing, We’re in the Money. Mervyn Le Roy directs the snappy non-musical portions involving three wonderfully silly love matches (including Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler) while Busby Berkeley brings his peerless magic to the production numbers with the camera swooping and gliding to showstoppers naughty (Pettin’ in the Park), neon-lit (The Shadow Waltz) and soul-searing (Remember My Forgotten Man).


NOTE: These DVDs are Manufactured on Demand (MOD); to order, fans must visit The Warner Archive Collection, WB Shop.com, Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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