Plot: The journey through Forbidden Hollywood continues with Warner Archive’s fourth volume, this time collecting four feature films from the landmark pre-code era of cinema that has dazzled audiences for decades. In this installment, we have three movies from director William Dieterle and a parade of beloved stars, all in sizzling stories that drove the censors up a wall. The movies also share some talent between them, with William Powell, Loretta Young, Kay Francis, Helen Vinson, and Lyle Talbot as some of the stars appearing in multiple films within this collection. But the star power doesn’t end there, as we also have Joan Blondell, George Brent, Una Merkel, David Manners, and of course the wonderful Andy Devine, as well as numerous other familiar faces. The focus tends to be on romance and relationships, but given the freedom of the pre-code era, that leads us down very different paths in each picture. So we have good stories, good casts, and some great pre-code moments.

As always, you can find full reviews for each movie in the collection below and for me, all four of these films were worthwhile. These seemed lighter in tone perhaps than some pre-code movies, but these are by no mean tame efforts and there’s some pre-code sizzle to be found in them all. They Call It Sin is a brisk, enjoyable movie that might be slight, but still packs an entertainment punch, while William Powell delights in Jewel Robbery and Lawyer Man. Both of those movies weave interesting tales of believable, flawed people, not to mention casts stacked with talent. Man Wanted closes out the set with a fresh spin on office romance, so between the four pictures, there is a great variety of stories and topics explored. I had a lot of fun with the movies in this fourth volume and while a couple of the previous volumes were stronger overall, I am glad to have these four movies as part of my personal collection. I think most fans of pre-code cinema or classic movies will feel the same.

1. Jewel Robbery–

2. Lawyer Man–

3. Man Wanted–

4. They Call It Sin–

Final Thoughts: Another Forbidden Hollywood Collection, another terrific lineup of movies loaded with stars and memorable narratives. This set might only have four movies and minimal extras (theatrical trailers are the lone supplement), but the films chosen are all worth a look and there’s not a dud in the group. The pre-code era is such a fertile creative period and being able to have such a rich library of movies from that time available is a real treat. Not to mention all four movies look fantastic here, with clean and clear visual presentations. Well recommended.

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