It’s immensely gratifying to see Universal Studios Home Entertainment stepping up to the plate with their new “Pre-Code Hollywood Collection.” Finally, the studio seems to be digging below the surface of one of the richest libraries in the industry, going beyond star-driven (or even director-driven) anthologies to gather some lesser-known work that has not been available (over the counter, at least) since MCA-TV shut down their television and non-theatrical divisions decades ago. This new collection includes superbly mastered editions of six pre-code films, only one of which, Mitchell Leisen’s “Murder at the Vanities” (1934) has much of a reputation. William A. Seiter’s “Hot Saturday” (1932) is a particularly rich and iconoclastic work by an underrated filmmaker whose career offers many points of comparison to Leo McCarey; Erle C. Kenton’s “Search for Beauty” (1934) is a fascinatingly idiosyncratic work that features an extensive and seemingly anachronistic use of zooms and extreme wide-angle lenses, as well as a wavering tone that manages to be both bitterly cynical and cheerfully proto-fascist. Also included are “The Cheat,” George Abbott’s theatrical 1931 remake of the scandalous Cecil B. De Mille hit of 1915; Dorothy Arzner’s oppressive tale of alcoholic devastation “Merrily We Go to Hell” (1932) and “Torch Singer” (1933), a story of show business, booze and unwed motherhood (waveringly directed by Alexander Hall and George Somnes) that seems to anticipate Susan Hayward’s entire career. More details in the New York Times.