Hell Harbor on DVD – February 1, 2011!

I’m thrilled to announce the imminent release of Hell Harbor on DVD, in not one but TWO versions! The link for pre ordering is below the DVD cover image on this page. I only hope this is the start of more Lupe Velez movies being released on DVD. Most of her films exist in some form via private collectors, however, commercial releases are LONG overdue!

I’ve seen Hell Harbor. It’s a gritty, entertaining pre-code film. Lupe is very good in it. Well done to VCI Entertainment for getting this one out.

Let this be the beginning of a Lupe-thon!


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Filed under Lupe Velez

8 responses to “Hell Harbor on DVD – February 1, 2011!

  1. Hi Michelle,

    Thank you for sharing these delightful Lupe Velez film clips! I got quite a chuckle over a few scenes.

    She is a wonderful comedian, is not as over-the-top as Carmen Miranda, and I see she appropriates a bit of Mae West in her performance style at times.

    Did Lupe have a small recording career? Surely her work in vaudeville and the Broadway musicals led to a few disc recordings?

    But I wonder has anyone ever translated her Spanish diatribes? They seem like moments of resistance and I bet she is breaking the diegetic boundaries in speaking directly to her Spanish speaking audiences. Even in the few clips, there appears to be a discourse of ethnic and class conflict, as Lupe seems to be admonished / snubbed by other women / love rivals for not conforming to prevailing notions of being a “lady”.

    I would also like to report that Hell Harbor, as well as Broken Wing (1932) and
    Hot Pepper (1933) are available at http://www.vintagefilmbuff.com – a small California based company that deals in many rare classics from primarily Paramount, Fox and United Artists.

    The more I watch Lupe, I’m fascinated and look forward to your book.

    Would love to see a clip from Kongo (1932) if you have one. Please keep us posted!


    • mvozus

      Hi Joseph!

      Yes, there are a couple of disc recordings around of Lupe singing.

      As for her Spanish rants…there was a translator on set to listen to everything she said. If a curse word came up – CUT! – she’d have to do it over, without swearing! So, while he Spanish tirades are definitely feisty, they’re clean! LOL!

      Thanks for the link to vintagefilmbugg.com – I’ll definitely check them out!

  2. mvozus

    KONGO is now uploaded IN FULL, Joseph. See my newest post. Enjoy! 🙂

  3. michelle said:

    As for her Spanish rants…there was a translator on set to listen to everything she said.


    Very interesting…But I’m sure she still managed to get something in that probably critiqued what was going on.. you should develop that if you can and perhaps why she had a special rapport with Latin American audiences.


    Thank you again, for posting Kongo on Youtube! An enjoyable piece of Hollywood jungle hokum!

    Enjoyable as Kongo was, I found it highly problematic in its colonialist discourse/representation of the Belgian Congo. It appears to borrow heavily from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, that steamy 20s play White Cargo, and even bits of the Trader Horn soundtrack. Incidentally, Kongo’s scenarist Leon Gordon also penned White Cargo (1926).

    Houston is sort of a ‘Mr. Kurtz” character in his megalomania and walk on the dark side, a primer for his other role as (Cecil) Rhodes, Empire Builder (1935).

    I also found Hollywood’s morbid obsession with Voodoo laughable. It appears Europeans find it something both to be feared and ridiculed.

    Enjoyed Lupe’s performance but found it disappointingly smallish. As Tula, the script doesn’t give much do and she rather disappears from the film, whereas Virginia Bruce garners the dramatic moments and screen time. I’m not quite sure where Lupe disappears, as watching a movie on the computer is a rather choppy experience.

    I’m beginning to see that Lupe was a rather problematic star who didn’t easily fit into the system. It appears Hollywood producers needed her to perform an ideological function in playing out such Native girl – “flower of the jungle” roles. I guess somebody had to do it. Unfortunately, her dark exotic looks /ethnic otherness got her trapped in such outrageous roles. Yet, one wonders what Lupe would have done with White Cargo as “Tondelayo”, had it been a viable film project in 1932.

    I am beginning to see that M-G-M perhaps “wasted” Lupe during her tenure, not quite seeing her as star material able to compete with their rooster of glamourous names like Crawford, Shearer, et al.

    I hope I’m not sounding too critical of Lupe, rather I’m analytical of the studio system, looking at the ways in which it exploited and underdeveloped the talent of many ethnic Latina female players.

    But many thanks for letting see this little gem!

    Cannot reply to email right now…there was a problem accessing my yahoo.mail.



  4. One of Lupe’s early feature films STAND AND DELIVER (1928) is available at


    Runtime: 57 Minutes
    Language: English subtitles – Orchestra music score
    Color: Black and White
    Format: DVD-R
    Price: $14.95

    Directed by Donald Crisp

    Rod La Rocque … Roger Norman
    Lupe Velez … Jania
    Warner Oland … Chika

  5. mvozus

    Yes, I do have “Stand and Deliver” – When I first start to research anyone, my initial job is to find as many of their movies as possible. It’s difficult at times, but Lupe’s films are mostly available via private collectors and small DVD distributors. It helps to be writing about someone that a reader can actually watch on film. For instance, only a handful of Olive Borden films are available and it does impact book sales when this is the case. I only hope more of Lupe’s films are rediscovered in the near future.

  6. It helps to be writing about someone that a reader can actually watch on film.


    I figured you probably had Stand & Deliver, it was meant for your blog readership.

    I strongly agree with your statement about seeking out the films of the subject. And you have provided a good case-study with Olive Borden. Three Bad Men is the only silent I have seen and Chloe is the only Talkie—hardly representative of her work! I know Fig Leaves is extant but hard to find on Home Video.

    I feel it’s important that in exploring a particular Golden Era star that the writer informs the reader what is available for viewing. Otherwise, the reader is left with many meaningless reviews of “lost” or inaccessible film titles located in some Soviet Archive or George Eastman House.

    While liking Michael Ankerich’s research in Dangerous Curves, I felt he could have enhanced each profile chapter by listing what titles were available from each actresses’ filmography. That way we can explore our favourite for ourselves and perhaps even stimulate further research.

    Ultimately, this extra info makes the Silent Era – star studies less arcane / more accessible a field of study.

    I started that process by posting a list of titles available from Grapevine Video on Michael’s Facebook.

    It would be nice to get hold of Lupe’s early Talkies such as East is West, Wolf Song or her Mexican work Nana.

  7. mvozus

    I always list what’s available, and where, if I know. Of course, eventually, as films are “found” or commercially released, my filmography becomes a little outdated in the area of “availability” but I do find it helpful to let people know where the films are. We’ve been frequent customers at Grapevine Video for many years. They have some interesting titles 🙂

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