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Audacious, controversial and shockingly frank, Forbidden Hollywood: Volume Six turns the spotlight on adultery, alcoholism, prostitution and racism, issues the Production Code would soon ban from the screen. Starring the pre-Code era's biggest stars, including John Gilbert, Richard Barthelmess, Myrna Loy, Kay Francis and Ann Dvorak, these four rarely seen gems are a provocative reflection of American mores in a not-so-innocent time. The Wet Parade (1932): Demon whiskey brings ruin to two families in this all-star adaptation of Upton Sinclair's impassioned novel. Downstairs (1932): A philandering chauffeur (Gilbert) creates havoc in an upper-class household. Mandalay (1934): A Russian refugee (Francis) seeks revenge upon the ex-lover (Ricardo Cortez) who sold her into lavery. Massacre (1934): A college-educated Sioux (Barthelmess) wreaks vengeance upon the white officials who abused his family and cheated his people.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
1934 Mandalay with Kay Francis, Ricardo Cortez, & Lyle Talbot is the main feature. The scene where boards the boat at the last minute with no luggage, gets a cabin, & next we see her she is unpacking a trunk is incredible. Mandalay is 5 star stuff - not to be missed
The other films are: Massacre (1934) a good solid movie with Barthelmess & Ann Dvorak (another great actress); The Wet Parade (1932) an OK (& long!) movie with Walter Huston, Myrna Loy, & Neil Hamilton; & Downstairs (1932) a pretty good but downbeat film with John Gilbert. Overall, a pretty good assortment.
Some of the films include the original trailers, but there are no other extras. Warner Archives has a lot of pre-codes available, most of them minor films. The Forbidden Hollywood collections are the best. Note: this review is based on the films, not the quality of the discs or the format!
But now I've watched MANDALAY - loved it - and looking at the other titles. DOWNSTAIRS stars John Gilbert, and the premise was his idea. Now that I have this, I will finally see Richard Barthelmess, admittedly not at his height, but still.
This is an expensive box set. I bought it for MANDALAY alone and I don't regret it. And just may even enjoy the others.