Michael Schlesinger on

Safe in Hell

Released 1931
Distributor Warner Bros.

Look up “sordid” in the dictionary and you’ll see a picture from William Wellman’s Safe in Hell next to it. A New Orleans prostitute accused of murdering her pimp escapes to a Caribbean island where she encounters something far worse than a Louisiana jail. Dorothy Mackaill is the unlucky hooker and Morgan Wallace plays her chief tormentor, “Mr. Bruno”, the self-described jailer and executioner of the island.

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About Michael Schlesinger

Michael Schlesinger is widely acknowledged as the dean of classic film distributors, having worked for more than 25 years at MGM, Paramount and Sony, keeping hundreds of vintage movies in theatrical release (and later DVD), and instigating the restoration of many more, including the completion of Orson Welles' 1942 documentary It's All True some 50 years later. Behind the camera, he wrote and produced the American version of Godzilla 2000, co-produced such Larry Blamire parodies as The Lost Skeleton Returns Again and Dark and Stormy Night, and has written, produced and directed several short films featuring the faux-1930s comedy team of Biffle and Shooster. No power on Earth will ever convince him that It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World is not the Greatest. Movie. Ever.

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Dave Kirwan

Love, love, LOVE that you spotlighted this gem. Even the best of pre-codes often went soft right before the end credit, but this one… Wow, what a finish!

david smith

One of the outstanding pre-code dramas. Well worth seeking out