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Pre-Code Hollywood Collection - Universal Backlot Series (The Cheat / Merrily We Go to Hell / Hot Saturday / Torch Singer / Murder at the Vanities / Search for Beauty)
Pre-Code Hollywood Collection - Universal Backlot Series (The Cheat / Merrily We Go to Hell / Hot Saturday / Torch Singer / Murder at the Vanities / Search for Beauty) (1931)
Actor: Cary Grant, Randolph Scott, Claudette Colbert, Sylvia Sidney, Ida Lupino, Fredric March, Tallulah Bankhead, Victor McLaglen, Buster Crabbe, Jack Oakie, Robert Armstrong, (more) Adrianne Allen, Harvey Stephens, Irving Pichel, Ricardo Cortez, Jane Darwell, Baby LeRoy, James Gleason, Kitty Carlisle, Donald Meek, Duke Ellington
Director: William A. Seiter, Erle C. Kenton, Mitchell Leisen, Alexander Hall, George Abbott, (more) Dorothy Arzner, George Somnes
Genre: Drama
Year: 1931
Studio: Universal Studios
Length: 473 minutes
Released: April 7, 2009
Rating: NR - Questionable for Children
Format: DVD
Misc: NTSC, Full Screen, Black & White
Language: English (Original Language), French (Subtitled), Spanish (Subtitled), English (Subtitled)
SYNOPSIS:
For the first time ever, Universal opens its vaults to bring you 6 classic films from the most decadent era in motion picture history: Pre-Code Hollywood. In 1934, Hollywood was turned upside down by the enforcement of a strict "Production Code" that would change the way movies were made for the next 34 years. During the "pre-Code" period (1929 to mid-1934), censorship barely existed in Hollywood and filmmakers had free reign to make the movies they wanted and the public demanded. No subject was taboo including adultery, murder or sex. Starring screen legends Cary Grant, Fredric March, Claudette Colbert, Tallulah Bankhead, Randolph Scott, and Sylvia Sidney, the Pre-Code Hollywood Collection forever captures one of the most unique periods in cinema history.

The Cheat (1931, 74 min.)
Hollywood wild child Tallulah Bankhead stars as a woman willing to do anything to pay off her gambling debts in an opulent and extravagant drama set in the sheltered environs of the uber-rich. Elsa Carlyle (Bankhead) is on the brink of financial ruin until she recklessly accepts help from lecherous scoundrel Hardy Livingstone (Irving Pichel). Livingston's only condition is that she betrays her husband with him. When Elsa attempts to change the terms of their deal, Livingston's shocking revenge could mean the end of Elsa's sheltered world.

Merrily We Go to Hell (1932, 78 min.)
Abusive alcoholic Jerry Corbett (Fredric March) marries heiress Joan Prentiss (Sylvia Sidney), who helps him realize his dreams of becoming a playwright. Jerry's flagrant affair with his leading lady (Adrienne Ames) pushes Joan into the arms of a charismatic young actor (Cary Grant), but dueling infidelities drive the couple apart before Joan can tell Jerry she is carrying his child.

Hot Saturday (1932, 73 min.)
Scandal erupts after a flirtatious young woman spends a night with a notorious playboy. Ruth Brock (Nancy Carroll) already has a reputation for being "fast" in her small town, but when she stays overnight at the home of wealthy Romer Sheffield (Cary Grant), tongues start wagging overtime. Even her fiancé (Randolph Scott) begins to think something is amiss when Ruth suddenly decides to move up their wedding date and Ruth finds herself caught in a web of malicious gossip that threatens to ruin her life.

Torch Singer (1933, 71 min.)
Abandoned by her lover, Sally Trent (Claudette Colbert) struggles unsuccessfully to provide for herself and illegitimate daughter. After she is forced to give up her child for adoption, Sally reinvents herself as Mimi Benton, a successful torch singer with a reputation for hard living. But she is also Aunt Jenny, the hostess of a children's radio program, who tells bedtime stories and sings lullabies. When Mimi realizes that her daughter may be listening to Aunt Jenny, she mounts a campaign to find her using the show.

Murder at the Vanities (1934, 89 min.)
While the sexy musical revue "The Vanities" captivates an audience on its opening night, a murder investigation takes place backstage. As the mystery unravels behind the curtain, performers Gertrude Michael, Kitty Carlisle, Ann Sheridan, Lucille Ball and Duke Ellington go on with the show, presenting a wealth of memorable musical numbers including "Cocktails for Two," "Where Do They Come From?" and the film's most notorious number, "Sweet Marijuana."

Search for Beauty (1934, 78 min.)
Real life Olympic swimming champion Buster Crabbe stars opposite Ida Lupino in a fast-paced satire of health-food hucksterism and Hollywood hype. Inspired by the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, three con artists trick prize-winning athletes into endorsing a racy magazine-and much worse. The athletes agree to be talent scouts for what they think is a fitness magazine, not realizing that it is being transformed into a far more lurid enterprise.

BONUS FEATURES:
  • Forbidden Film: The Production Code Era (Disc 1)
  • Includes Reproduction of the Original "Production Code" Document
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