Wednesday, February 28, 2007

More "Forbidden Hollywood" DVD Sets Coming!

In a chat held the other night at the Home Theater Forum, Warner Home Video executives confirmed we can expect to see more Forbidden Hollywood DVD sets featuring the best Pre-Code films. Direct from the chat transcript:

[WayneH] I'm wondering if there will be more FORBIDDEN HOLLYWOOD sets and what flicks might make it in future volumes? Many folks were also saddened by the lack of extras in the first. Great movies, though!

[WARNER] Yes. FORBIDDEN HOLLYWOOD #1 was a huge success. We were disappointed that we couldn't add extras either. We had planned to include a documentary that turned out to have clearance issues which prevented its inclusion. As you are aware, we always try to release discs that are full with great extras, so we were bummed. We hope to make it up to you with this year's release, which we plan to have include SIX features, plus a brand-new pre-code documentary that we at WHV are producing right now as we speak. We hope to have two FH releases per year starting in 2008

Great news, and it also addresses the concern over the lack of features on what seemed to be a hurried Volume 1 release. It seems we will get at least one Norma Shearer title in this year's six feature set. Can't wait to find out what the lineup will be.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Pre-Code Musicals

Two repertory houses on different coasts are spotlighting pre-code musicals on their schedules this winter and spring. First, the Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto will be showing early "all singing, all dancing" films every weekend from February to April. Pre-code movies include:

Monte Carlo (2/24, 2/25) - This early Ernst Lubitsch talkie from 1930 stars Jeanette McDonald.

One Hour With You (3/24, 3/25) - More Lubitsch magic, co-directed by George Cukor.

Footlight Parade (4/7, 4/8) - Busby Berkeley's kaleidoscopic chorepgraphy dazzles in this 1933 musical.

The eclectic winter schedule also features some rare film noir as well as Val Lewton classics.

3000 miles away, Film Forum continues to bring unsung and forgotten classic films to new audiences, this time with an eclectic series of B Musicals. Though most films on the schedule are from the late '30s through the '40s, there are a few nights featuring rarely-screened pre-code musicals.

Sitting Pretty (4/1) - A pre-Fred Astaire Ginger Rogers is pared with Jack Haley in this Paramount production from 1933. Also stars Thelma Todd and Jack Oakie.

Torch Singer (4/1) - Another Paramount gem starring a sultry Claudette Colbert as a New York City nightclub chanteuse. "The worst woman in New York...sang the best love songs!"

Melody Cruise (4/4)- Where else could you see a pre-code "ice ballet?"

Moonlight and Pretzels (4/4) - William Frawley (Fred Mertz) is in this intriguingly titled Universal low-budget musical.

Hips, Hips, Hooray! (4/10) - Wheeler and Woolsey's corny jokes alternate with catchy tunes and scenes of scantily-clad models in this sexy Pre-Code musical.

College Rhythm (4/11) - "Wanna buy a duck?" comic Joe Penner stars in this college musical released at the end of the Pre-Code era.

Song of Love (4/15) - Once thought lost, this 1929 musical features Eve Arden in her film debut.

Also on 4/15, a program of restored Vitaphone shorts from 1926-1930 featuring Broadway and vaudeville stars of the era.

Check out the rest of the schedule for more movie musicals. Though they may not have the budget or name recognition of "Dreamgirls," many of them are sure to get your toes a tapping.