Comedies and dramas kick off the assortment of Alpha Video’s new releases for this month. Several powerful-but-now-forgotten dramas are included in the September 29th batch, starting with Sea Racketeers (1937), a riveting action/drama with Irish character actor J. Carroll Naish. In it, a Coast Guard captain declares war on a group of gangsters operating a gambling boat. The film features an unbilled appearance by Dorothy Appleby, and is also the second credited film of future Three Stooges co-star, Christine McIntyre.
The Academy Award-nominated biopic, Martin Luther (1953) stars Niall MacGinnis, and was one of the last films made by director Dracula’s Daughter actor Irving Pichel, who also has a role in the film. Turning back the clock a few years, we have 1932’s Behind Stone Walls, a story of infidelity and murder among powerful ranks of the city’s most prominent members.
Bridging the gap between comedy and drama is done by one of the greatest Kings of Comedy ever: Jack Benny. But in The Medicine Man (1930), one of Jack’s earliest film appearances, the well-known comedian plays the head of a traveling medicine show — which takes on two new protégés in the form of a brother and sister duo, escaping from their abusive shopkeeper father. Yeah, OK, so it’s more of a drama than a comedy, but it’s still a chance to see Jack Benny when he actually was in his thirties. Plus, the Alpha DVD contains two vintage episodes from Benny’s immortal television show as a bonus.
Meet The Mayor is an alternate title for the seldom-seen 1932 film, A Fool’s Advice. Written, produced by, and starring vaudeville comedian Frank Fay (who at one point was married to Barbara Stanwyck), this political comedy co-stars Nat Pendleton and George Meeker.
Fans of classic animation will no doubt want to pick up Aesop’s Fables, a collection of 21 cartoon shorts from 1929 to 1931 made by the famous Van Beuren Studios. Musical lovers are also in for a treat this month, as Alpha unleashes two musical double features. The first pairing, from the ‘40s, consists of Breakfast In Hollywood (1946) — with ZaSu Pitts, Spike Jones, and Nat “King” Cole — and the Academy Award Nominated Minstrel Men (1944) featuring I Love Lucy’s William Frawley. The second musical double feature is from the ‘30s, pairing two items from Poverty Row: and Sitting On The Moon (1936).