I expected more from this precode Fox release,
but maybe it's unfair saying so for a shaggy-boot DVD that was last resort
after years wait to view. The situation promises much, a Grand Hotel aboard
ship that predated Grand Hotel, but where's the iceberg I kept expecting? To
sink was surely de rigueur for melodramas afloat over an entire length, though
William K. Howard's flashy direction makes up formuch; he was a dynamo for Fox
who'd slow down when later transplanted elsewhere, having come from film
selling in the Northeast for Paramount. Howard got initial jobs megging after
brag to Para brass that he could make better
movies than what he was peddling to hinterland Bijous. "Just give me a
chance," he said, "and I'll show you how pictures should be
made." And so he did, from the silent era to immediate postwar retirement.
Film historian William K. Everson was enough of a Howard admirer to adopt the
director's middle initial for his own. The best of WKH, at least talkie-wise,
was probably done at Fox, output there includingSherlock Holmes, The Power and
The Glory, and zippy-as-all-get out The Trail Of Vivienne Ware, one that
deserves to be widely seen, but isn't.
Edmund Lowe is a shady, but do-gooding passenger
who rescues distressed femmes Lois Moran and Myrna Loy from respective threats,
a part I could see John Gilbert playing had Transatlantic been done at Metro.
Thereis precode content, but keyed below pitch fans look for today. Does 20th
Fox or archives have elements for Transatlantic? My disc credits were French
and there was dialogue missing. A shame to think it can't be seen decently,
considering a rich production, eye-appeal art direction, and what's said to be
groundbreak lensing by James Wong Howe, all these gone wasted on latter-day
presentation we can barely see/hear. Have precode festivals run Transatlantic?
Guess not, as I haven't heard of a print source, Transatlantic not among
oldies Fox packaged in 1971 for their "Golden Century" syndication