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Karloff: Criminal Kind DVD

SKU ID #441427

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  • Technical Specs
  • Format: DVD - Boxed Set
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Run Time: 247 Minutes
  • Region: 1 Region?
  • Aspect Ratio: Widescreen
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: April 15, 2013
  • Audio: ENGLISH: Stereo
  • Color: Black & White
  • Includes:

    Digital Bonus Features on the DVD Include:
    • Introduction by Robert Osborne
    • Digital Image Gallery
      - Lobby Cards
      - Publicity Still(s)
      - Movie Poster(s)
      - Scene Still(s)
      - TCMDb Article
Turner Classic Movies and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment proudly present Karloff Criminal Kind, a new collection of three atmospheric crime thrillers that showcase Boris Karloff’s intensity and depth as a dramatic actor. Presented for the first time on DVD, these three films have been fully restored and re-mastered.

After playing bit parts and extras in over 60 films, Karloff finally got his big break by reprising his theatrical role as a prison trustee with an unforgiving sense of justice in this early example of the “prison film.” Director Howard Hawks (1932’s Scarface, 1946’s The Big Sleep) consulted actual Death Row inmates on how the picture should end—with a chilling climax that would etch Karloff in the minds of moviegoers as a doer of evil deeds. This was the first feature film of 1931 for Karloff, a year in which he would appear in sixteen movies including the picture that launched him to stardom, Frankenstein.

Karloff is Tony Ricca, a notorious bootlegger locked in a mortal struggle with former ally Mike Palermo (Leo Carillo)—even as their children fall in love. This Prohibition-era twist on “Romeo and Juliet,” featuring up-and-comer Robert Young as Karloff’s son Marco and Constance Cummings as the young Maria Palermo, reflected a turn in the tide of public opinion against mobsters, who had long been glamorized in the movies. With photography by four-time Academy Award® nominated special effects designer, director and cinematographer Byron Haskin (1939’s The Roaring Twenties, 1953’s The War of the Worlds), the film paints a tense portrait of crime during the Great Depression.

In production as Frankenstein (1931) was being shipped to cinemas, and released in February of 1932, BEHIND THE MASK would try to take advantage of the former film’s success by promoting itself as a quasi-horror film, with Karloff’s mug plastered on posters that asked “Who is the murdering monster?” In reality, it is a pure pulp fiction romp by veteran pre-Code drama director John Frances Dillon (1929’s Fast Life, 1931’s Millie)—a complicated but addictive tale of a secret service agent (Jack Holt) who infiltrates a gang of drug smugglers to bring down its ringleader, the elusive Dr. X, and his henchman Henderson (Karloff).