April 12th, 2012

carole lombard 04
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Carole's 'Virtue' to be boxed this July

Another Carole Lombard film is finally making its way to DVD, as part of a set with four of its pre-Code brethren. "Virtue" will be in "Columbia Pictures Pre-Code Collection," issued in conjunction with Turner Classic Movies and scheduled for a July 2 release. It's arguably Carole's best performance before her breakthrough in "Twentieth Century" (made at Columbia nearly two years later), as she plays an ex-streetwalker who falls for and marries a cabbie (Pat O'Brien) who's unaware of her past. He eventually finds out and complications ensue, especially after she's implicated in a murder.

That's the tentative cover art for the collection, and if that leg looks suspiciously like Barbara Stanwyck's, it's justified -- she has two of the other four films, "Ten Cents A Dance" (1931) and "Shopworn" (1932), a pair of wonderful examples of Stanwyck's pre-Code artistry.

Jean Harlow fans have something to look forward to as well with the inclusion of "Three Wise Girls," where Jean joins Mae Clarke (shown with her) and Marie Prevost as young New Yorkers with romantic troubles. It was Harlow's first lead role, and while she's nowhere as polished as in her later MGM films, she holds her own with her more experienced mates.

To fill out the set is a rarity, a 1931 film called "Arizona," not to be confused with a 1940 western of the same name. This one's not a western, but it stars a young John Wayne in his third film after "The Big Trail" was supposed to propel him to stardom. Here, he plays a West Point cadet who gives the brush-off to Laura La Plante, only to be reunited with her in Arizona after she marries his superior. Wayne, who still had a lot to learn as an actor, was soon fired by Columbia mogul Harry Cohn and struggled in supporting parts (e.g. Stanwyck's "Baby Face") before settling in western programmers where he honed his craft in relative obscurity for several years until "Stagecoach" revived his career.

All five films have been restored and re-mastered; extras include introductions by Robert Osborne plus galleries featuring publicity and scene stills, reproduced lobby cards and movie posters, and even documents from censor boards, explaining why a movie you saw in Brooklyn might look a bit different than the same one seen in Jersey City.

You can pre-order this from TCM and save $5 off the $59.99 retail price. To learn more, visit http://shop.tcm.com/detail.php?p=371865.

Yesterday, we brought you some pictorial Lombard cheesecake; how about a second helping, one tied into "Virtue"? Carole did some promotional portraits for Columbia including this, where she's in lingerie and high heels, showing off her sleek figure and superlative legs:

It's an 8" x 10" original, a bit worn but otherwise in good condition; buy it straight up for $139.95 or place a bid, beginning at $119.95. Bidding closes at 10:39 p.m. (Eastern) next Wednesday. Check it out at http://www.ebay.com/itm/VERY-SEXY-CAROLE-LOMBARD-IN-LINGERIE-HIGH-HEELS-CHEESECAKE-CHSK-/320886857403?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4ab658debb.
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