Nothing Sacred: Kino Classics Edition [Blu-ray]
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As potent today as it was when released in 1937, this classic screwball satire stars Carole Lombard as Hazel Flagg, the small-town girl who mistakenly believes she's dying of radium poisoning. Sensing a great human interest story that will tug the public's heartstrings and help sell newspapers, exploitative journalist Wally Cook (Fredric March) brings Hazel to New York City and turns her into a media darling. Wally's callous strategy takes a sudden turn when he starts having feelings for the vulnerable Hazel. Filmed in early three-strip Technicolor and scripted by Ben Hecht and James H. Street, this sharp comedy still sizzles with its cynical take on media profiteering, and the matching of Lombard and March is unforgettably entertaining. First time ever on Blu-ray!
MASTERED IN 1080P HD FROM AN ORIGINAL 35MM NITRATE PRINT. THIS IS THE ONLY VERSION OF THE OF THE ORIGINAL FILM AUTHORIZED FOR RELEASE FROM THE ESTATE OF DAVID O. SELZNICK
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Originally produced by Selznick International and distributed through United Artists, this satirical, sharp and snotty comedy is about the newspaper business in New York. And how, in a series of accidents, the newspaper promotes a dying girl on their pages who isn't really dying!
This film, along with "My Man Godfrey" and "Twentieth Century" is the best comedy Carole Lombard ever made. Fredric March also shines as the reporter. The supporting cast includes two of the best character actors of the 1930's, Walter Connolly and Charles Winninger. They're both hysterical. Look for Margaret Hamilton, Hattie McDaniel, and Frank Fay featured in a small parts too.
Ben Hecht was responsible for the screenplay, and the lush, Gershwin-esque music was composed by Oscar Levant. There's even a hot swing number by the Raymond Scott Quintette.
For my money, this was one of the 5 funniest films of the 1930's and it's great to finally get a superior quality print of it on DVD.
This DVD (or Blu Ray) is an absolute must-have.
Do not be misled by the jacket that indicates Nothing Sacred is in B&W, it is not. Both are early Technicolor films. There is some image loss, but that is to be expected in films that are 70 years old. Neither film was given the Wizard of Oz treatment.
At this price, its a good buy.
Nowadays, everybody and their dog's company is offering old movies on DVD. With the results you'd expect. Having spent about a bazillion bucks on old movies, I learned the hard way that you generally get what you pay for. So, I wasn't expecting much when I ordered Marengo's double feature of "Nothing Sacred" and "A Star Is Born." Imagine my delight when it turned out to be a terrific bargain.
Both movies are Selznick productions made in 1937, both directed by William Wellman and both are technicolor starring vehicles for Frederick March. March's leading ladies are respectively Carole Lombard and Janet Gaynor.
"Nothing Sacred," co-starring Lombard, is a hilarious screwball comedy about fibbing, fraud and all the attendant tangle-ups. The ensemble cast plays it broadly and brilliantly. Hazel Flagg (Lombard) has been diagnosed with radium poisoning (fatal) by the local doc. But early on, Doc admits to her that she's OK after all - says he'd got so he was seeing radium poisoning everywhere. Hazel's a little disappointed. Not much excitement in a small New England burg and it was fun being the center of attention. Meanwhile, a reporter (March) from a big New York paper has arrived to do a human interest story on Flagg. He's so taken with her "bravery" in the face of impending death that he offers her a fabulous all-expenses-paid trip to New York to do it up right before the bitter end. They know it's wrong, but Hazel and Doc convince themselves that after all they've been through they're entitled. So, off they go, Hazel becoming the next New York flavor of the month. The movie's a great romp, skewering hypocrisy, affectation, sham and pretense, sparing "Nothing Sacred."
"A Star Is Born," co-starring Gaynor, is a well made drama that was rather overshadowed by the Judy Garland/James Mason remake of 1954. But this picture has merit because of the fine performances of the cast and Wellman's directorial touch. Janet Gaynor plays Esther Blodgett, an average kid who wants to be in the movies, so her loving granny subsidizes the trip out to Hollywood with her funeral money. Esther meets top actor Norman Maine (March) by accident while waitressing at a party and it's through him that she eventually gets her toehold in the industry. They fall in love, marry and live "happily" ever after. As Esther's star rises, Norman's becomes eclipsed and he succumbs to alchoholism. There's hypocrisy, affectation, sham and pretense in this movie, too, framed within the story of the movie industry itself. However, instead of fun and satire, we find tragedy and sorrow.
Gaynor had a meteoric rise in silents and in fact became the recipient of the first Oscar for best actress in 1929. She was at the top of her game in this piece, receiving the nomination again for best actress, but her career abruptly ended after just two more pictures, eerily echoing the theme of "A Star Is Born."
So, I recommend you get this DVD, kids. The price is right. The quality's surprisingly good and the stories are ideal vehicles for the stars and director. A jug of root beer, a tub of popcorn and thee...
Back before cable TV, if you wanted to watch an on-the-air TV station that was located quite far away, you got a very grainy TV picture. That's exactly how this DVD looks.
I guess I can't fault the seller because I ordered a new DVD. I can't expect the seller to open a new DVD and watch it for a few seconds. The actual DVD itself arrived new and in perfect physical condition.
But the manufacturer is very definitely responsible. There's no way that they didn't know about the horrible picture!
One more thing: This DVD doesn't come in a regular DVD jewel case. It comes in a thin cardboard sleeve. That, in itself,
doesn't matter to me.