Night After Night (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - Powerhouse Films
Review written by and copyright: Rick Curzon (5th December 2021).
The Film

When Mae West went to Hollywood in the early 1930s, she was already a major star. Having sensationalised Broadway, it was time for the movies to receive the same. Her fame allowed her control, picking her co-stars (including a young Cary Grant), receiving screenwriter credits, and baiting censors and audiences alike as the pre-Code era gave way to a more sanitised period in American filmmaking.

This six-disc collection brings together all ten of Westís classic Hollywood features, from her supporting turn in 1932ís Night After Night to 1943ís musical extravaganza, The Heatís On.

Video

Mae West, in her first two film roles, hitting the ground running supporting stars George Raft and Constance Cummings (Night After Nigg) and then taking the lead with Cary Grant (She Done Him Wrong).

Both are shot on 35mm film in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio and both pre-code gems are in monochrome. The first was restored in HD (2014), most likely in 2K but the booklet included doesn't specify and the second in 4K (2017). I'd say the sources were close to the negatives, based on the density and detail.

Both films look very clean, virtually flawless presentations with lots of lovely grain. Typical of films of this vintage they're quite soft but black levels and contrast are very satisfying complementing each other nicely with no crush or blowouts, at least not unintended. Detail is variable with more on show in the more recent film but it's best in closeups where fabrics and flesh can seem detailed. That said at times detail like wall paper on walls looks fairly well resolved even in long shots. Grain is generally well resolved and solid with a typically topnotch encode ensuring both transfers look filmic and organic.

Gamma is perfectly balanced with no bias creeping in. These are strong, organic, filmic transfers of problematic material. I suspect that the masters coupled with Fidelity in Motion's encode ensure these look better than the US Kino discs ('B+').

1080/24p / AVC MPEG-4 / BD50 / 1.37:1 / 73:34 (Night After Night), 65:02 (She Done Him Wrong)

Audio

English LPCM 1.0 (48K)
Subtitles: English HoH

Sound is par for the course for films of this vintage. The tracks are strong but of limited range and can be a little hissy when played loud and occasionally tinny and lacking in range. However, dialogue is always clear and undistorted. Solid, vintage tracks. Excellent hard of hearing subtitles are provided ('B').

Extras

Audio commentary on "She Done Him Wrong" by Pamela Hutchinson (2021)

Hutchinson is in her element giving us a detailed track filed with lots of detail about every aspect one could possibly want. It does have a slight academic spin but remains accessible throughout. Presented in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

"Mae West at UCLA: Conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles on 12 May 1971 and chaired by Bob Elias" 1971 audio interview (25:23)

Elias starts this screen-talk with West out of breath having been running late. He's a little gushing but there's plenty of good questions and West is surprisingly diplomatic. A fascinating and worthwhile piece in which West gets to tell it like it is. Presented in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 mono with some signs of the technical limitations under which the recording was made.

Night After Night Theatrical Trailer (2:36)

Vintage promo presented in 1080p24 1.37:1 with uncompressed LPCM 1.0 sound.

Night After Night Image Gallery: Original Promotional Material (18 images)
She Done Him Wrong Image Gallery: Original Promotional Material (23 images)


A couple of excellent HD galleries.

"She Done Him Right" 1933 animated short (7:54)
"The Merry Old Soul" 1933 animated short (8:02)


A couple of vintage monochrome animated shorts upscaled to 1080p24 with mild print damage and uncompressed LPCM 1.0 sound.

120-page liner notes book by Iris Veysey, with extracts from Mae Westís autobiography, archival articles and interviews and film credits

Another excellent mini-tome that offers plenty of contextual added value.

Packaging

Unknown at this time.

Overall

Disc one in Powerhouse Films' "Mae West in Hollywood" set kicks things off nicely presenting the problematic source transfers on their best behaviour with fine image and sound and a gaggle of decent extras with the commentary on She Done Him Wrong getting the big thumbs up from me. Roll on disc two ...

The Film: B Video: B+ Audio: B Extras: A- Overall: B

 


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