UNIVERSAL: Pre-Code Hollywood Collection in April

What: Pre-Code Hollywood Collection - Universal Backlot Series
When: April 7th
Studio: Universal
Price: Retail $49.98, Our: $34.99
The Cheat (1931), Merrily We Go to Hell (1932), Hot Saturday (1932), Torch Singer (1933), Murder at the Vanities (1934) & Search for Beauty (1934)
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No you are not reading a spoof announcement or a wish list, Universal has actually announced some catalog titles for release that haven't been released on DVD before. And not just any release, but a PRE-CODE release (no doubt trying to mimic Warner's successful line). A couple of longed for Cary Grant films, plus the lovely and vivacious Ida Lupino in Search for Beauty make up just some of the set.

The only special feature is listed as Forbidden Film: The Production Code Era. However, it's unclear whether it's a featurette or a full documentary. Also included is a reproduction of the original "Production Code."

It will retail for $49.98, but is available at ClassicFlix.com for only $34.99. Details below.

EDITORIAL NOTE: Universal's output last year was dismal. And for those fence sitters out there - GET ON BOARD! I can hear the complaints now, high on price and slim on special features. But if you don't support sets like these, studios like Universal will produce less and less. Among others, we're still waiting for more Michael Shayne, Ma & Pa Kettle and the continuation of the Classic Western line they started. So do all you can to encourage releases like this because if we don't support the risk takers out there, they'll just find some other place to invest their resources.

--David Greenstreet

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.)
A compulsive gambler (Tallulah Bankhead) will do anything to pay off her debt - including turning to a wealthy businessman behind her husband’s back.

Merrily We Go to Hell (1932, 78 min.)
An abusive alcoholic (Fredric March) reunites with a woman from his past and drives his wife (Sylvia Sidney) to drastic measures.

Hot Saturday (1932, 73 min.)
Scandal erupts after a young woman (Nancy Carroll) innocently spends the night with a notorious playboy (Cary Grant) and neglects to tell her fiancé (Randolph Scott).

Torch Singer (1933, 71 min.)
After giving up her illegitimate child for adoption, a notorious nightclub singer (Claudette Colbert) attempts to find her daughter through a children’s radio show.

Murder at the Vanities (1934, 89 min.)
While sexy musical revue “The Vanities” captivates an audience on its opening night, a murder investigation takes place backstage.

Search for Beauty (1934, 78 min.)
Olympic swimming champions (Buster Crabbe and Ida Lupino) are tricked into endorsing a racy magazine - and much worse.

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


  1. Doesn't Universal also own "The Story of Temple Drake"? That's probably the pre-code film I've most wanted to see. Regardless, this is an automatic buy!

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  3. his is great news, David.

    I've always wanted to see several of these pre-codes and that is a great price as well.

    I have also been looking forward to seeing "The Story of Temple Drake" someday, which, as a Paramount production, may still be held by Universal. I have heard from friends in the film archive business that part of the problem with this movie is that the original negative may no longer exist. Since it was cut quite a bit upon release, a new edition of the film would need to be patched together from those often degraded prints--a very costly and labor intensive process. There are copies of dvd-rs floating around the internet, but I've no idea of the quality of these, much less the legality of these items existence.

    Thanks for letting us know about this upcoming event.

  4. Not sure on the status of Temple Drake. Hopefully this set will be a success for Universal and they'll do what they can with the elements they have for Temple Drake down the road.

  5. despite the disclaimer, I can't quite get it through my head that this isn't a hoax!

    on the other hand, I know you wouldn't do that to us thirties-obsessives!

    this is amazing news!

    and chalk up another vote for including Temple Drake in volume two, if they can find it!