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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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Favorite PreCode Women


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#21 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 07:54 PM

Bette Davis wasn't really a pre-code actress, as you were saying.  However, she was just starting out and great in Three on a Match, Of Human Bondage, The Rich are Always With Us, etc.  She even had a small part in the original Waterloo Bridge.  Barb. Stanwyck was teriffic in Baby Face, Shopworn, and Ever in My Heart, etc  She and Bette moved on to become wonderful legends! 

 

I love Ruth Chatterton's films, particularly Dodsworth, Frisco Jenny, THe Rich Are Always With Us, Madame X, etc.  In each of these films she is marvelous!  I just recalled Journal of a Crime which was also a great film with her.  The denouement is quite unique, for her character seems to have escaped punishment for a murder.

 

Loretta Young was wonderful in her pre-code films.  Employee's Entrance, Midnight Mary, Zoo in Budapest, etc.  I think Loretta had a sweet and sensitive magic.  Her acting style changed in the 40's and 50's, but I think she was wonderful in dramas primarily.  Cause for Alarm and The Stranger were splendidly acted; just a couple of her masterpieces.

 

Though I love her dramas more than comedies, Half Angel '51 with Loretta and Joseph Cotten is something special to see and hear!   This story of a hospital nurse and a free spirited girl searching for "Mr. Right" is a joy to behold!  She meets Joseph and they start dating right away; going to a carnival, out to dinner, etc.  He spends much of his time entranced by her beauty and personality.  The color is just beautiful and Loretta shines singing the poignant Castles in the Sand.  She is wearing a gorgeous deep green sequined gown in this role and is sitting at her dressing table -- serenading Joseph Cotten's character,  Of course he is transfixed by her beauty and talent.  This all takes place late at night.  (He is not aware of her other personality; an efficient and caring nurse).

 

Well we love many of the same actress of the era.   I was introduced to studio-era movies by the Bogart, Cagney, E.G. Robinson films of the 30s and 40s while they were under contract at Warner Brothers.     One day I saw Marked Women (a 1937  Davis \ Bogie picture),  and this lead me to more of the WB Davis pictures.      So many movies,  so little time!  



#22 MCannady1

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 07:47 PM

I have yet to see Safe in Hell, but I probably will because Nina Mae McKinney was turning her own heads in that film as well, and I love her work: 

 

13-nina-mae-mckinney.jpg

Safe in Hell is a great film with Dorothy Mackail, a great pre-code actress,  Recently I viewed Love Affair '32 with Dorothy and....

Humphrey Bogart!  I expected the story would be on the lines of the 50's Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr film.  I enjoyed that film, but

was very much enthralled with Love Affair '32.  Bogey was quite a different guy here; an airplane pilot who is gentle and kind.  Dorothy was lovely, athletic, and very rich,  In learning to fly from Bogey, she falls madly in love with this proud man.  Soon the feelings are mutual, but he does not want her help in getting his airplane company back on its feet.

 

I like Nina Mae McKinney too and would like to see her in more films.

and "a girl about town".  The story was poignant and wonderful to see!



#23 MCannady1

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 07:37 PM

Kay Francis and Harding made pre-code films (talking films made before the code was enforced in July 1934)  that had a clear pre-code vibe (sexual content, gritty),  but Kate Hepburn pre-code films were tame dramas,  unlike the films Shearer was in (Free Soul), or the pre-code bad girl Barbara Stanwyck  (Night Nurse,  Baby Face and a few others).      

 

Bette Davis wasn't really a pre-code type of actress either expect in the movie 3 On A Match,  but Davis, as well as Blondell,  were the good girl.  The pre-code dame in this film was Ann Dvorak.    To me she is another of the 'true' pre-code women and after the code was enforced her career wasn't very successful since the code cramped her style.     Stanwyck and Davis of course continued on and became legends.          

 

As for Ruth Chatterton and Loretta Young (read your other post about Frisco Jenny).   Chatterton best films were during the pre-code era.  After the era ended her career lost steam but she is really something in Dodsworth (a very open post-code film that got by the censors). 

 

As for Young;   She was one of the pre-code bad girls.  I wasn't too much of a fan of hers (too sweet and kind without much of an edge in her late 40s \ early 50s films),  but pre-code Young is fantastic.   Such a natural beauty.     

Bette Davis wasn't really a pre-code actress, as you were saying.  However, she was just starting out and great in Three on a Match, Of Human Bondage, The Rich are Always With Us, etc.  She even had a small part in the original Waterloo Bridge.  Barb. Stanwyck was teriffic in Baby Face, Shopworn, and Ever in My Heart, etc  She and Bette moved on to become wonderful legends! 

 

I love Ruth Chatterton's films, particularly Dodsworth, Frisco Jenny, THe Rich Are Always With Us, Madame X, etc.  In each of these films she is marvelous!  I just recalled Journal of a Crime which was also a great film with her.  The denouement is quite unique, for her character seems to have escaped punishment for a murder.

 

Loretta Young was wonderful in her pre-code films.  Employee's Entrance, Midnight Mary, Zoo in Budapest, etc.  I think Loretta had a sweet and sensitive magic.  Her acting style changed in the 40's and 50's, but I think she was wonderful in dramas primarily.  Cause for Alarm and The Stranger were splendidly acted; just a couple of her masterpieces.

 

Though I love her dramas more than comedies, Half Angel '51 with Loretta and Joseph Cotten is something special to see and hear!   This story of a hospital nurse and a free spirited girl searching for "Mr. Right" is a joy to behold!  She meets Joseph and they start dating right away; going to a carnival, out to dinner, etc.  He spends much of his time entranced by her beauty and personality.  The color is just beautiful and Loretta shines singing the poignant Castles in the Sand.  She is wearing a gorgeous deep green sequined gown in this role and is sitting at her dressing table -- serenading Joseph Cotten's character,  Of course he is transfixed by her beauty and talent.  This all takes place late at night.  (He is not aware of her other personality; an efficient and caring nurse).



#24 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 06:20 PM

Kay Francis, Ann Harding, Katharine Hepburn,  Clara Bow, Noel Francis, Billie Dove and many other fine 30's actresses graced the screen. 

The first Pre-Code I had seen was Condemned  '29 with Ann Harding and Ronald Colman.  I just love this film!  Another great one

is Smling Through '32 with Norma Shearer and Fredric March.  These 2 films are wonderfully romantic and poignant films.   

Marlene Dietrich is great in The Scarlet Empress.  It is a poignant and basic biography of Catherine the Great, who was beautiful but resigned to marrying a titled man (a duke) who did not care for her.  After discovering her husband's mother "sleeping"
with the man she has grown to love,  the Empress meets many young men and travels down a path of indifference and temporary affairs.

 

Some of the very good older actresses appear in some of these films; Jane Darwell, Lucille Watson, Dame Mae Whitty, Laura Hope Crews, Nella Walker, Louise Henry, etc. 

 

Kay Francis and Harding made pre-code films (talking films made before the code was enforced in July 1934)  that had a clear pre-code vibe (sexual content, gritty),  but Kate Hepburn pre-code films were tame dramas,  unlike the films Shearer was in (Free Soul), or the pre-code bad girl Barbara Stanwyck  (Night Nurse,  Baby Face and a few others).      

 

Bette Davis wasn't really a pre-code type of actress either expect in the movie 3 On A Match,  but Davis, as well as Blondell,  were the good girl.  The pre-code dame in this film was Ann Dvorak.    To me she is another of the 'true' pre-code women and after the code was enforced her career wasn't very successful since the code cramped her style.     Stanwyck and Davis of course continued on and became legends.          

 

As for Ruth Chatterton and Loretta Young (read your other post about Frisco Jenny).   Chatterton best films were during the pre-code era.  After the era ended her career lost steam but she is really something in Dodsworth (a very open post-code film that got by the censors). 

 

As for Young;   She was one of the pre-code bad girls.  I wasn't too much of a fan of hers (too sweet and kind without much of an edge in her late 40s \ early 50s films),  but pre-code Young is fantastic.   Such a natural beauty.     



#25 MCannady1

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 12:02 AM

i agree, tomjh, 110%

 

in most instances, i prefer older women, and imo, blondell still had the goods in both of those flicks.

Joan Blondell was great in both of these 40's films!  I was very intrigued by Nightmare Alley and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  She enhanced both by her wonderful personality and fine acting!



#26 MCannady1

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 10:59 PM

Kay Francis, Ann Harding, Katharine Hepburn,  Clara Bow, Noel Francis, Billie Dove and many other fine 30's actresses graced the screen. 

The first Pre-Code I had seen was Condemned  '29 with Ann Harding and Ronald Colman.  I just love this film!  Another great one

is Smling Through '32 with Norma Shearer and Fredric March.  These 2 films are wonderfully romantic and poignant films.   

Marlene Dietrich is great in The Scarlet Empress.  It is a poignant and basic biography of Catherine the Great, who was beautiful but resigned to marrying a titled man (a duke) who did not care for her.  After discovering her husband's mother "sleeping"
with the man she has grown to love,  the Empress meets many young men and travels down a path of indifference and temporary affairs.

 

Some of the very good older actresses appear in some of these films; Jane Darwell, Lucille Watson, Dame Mae Whitty, Laura Hope Crews, Nella Walker, Louise Henry, etc. 



#27 MCannady1

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 10:41 PM

One of my favorite pre-code women is Joan Blondell.  She was beautiful, talented and had a great personality.  I just loved "I Got Your Number" with Joan as a switchboard operator and a young Pat O'Brien as a Telephone repairman who flirts with Joan.  He gets involved with Glenda Farrell (another phone customer)  and the film has some sexy moments before the punchline.  It has one of the funniest post-wedding scenes I had ever seen!  The couple tried to have a honeymoon at her apartment and every time they tried to go to bed they experienced a teasing set of work friends with loud telephones!  Allen Jenkins and Eugene Pallette were hillarious in their roles too as they barge in and take over the apartment!.

 

Ladylike and beautiful Madge Evans, Sally Eilers, Madge Bellamy, Anita Page, are great pre-code actresses, plus our wonderful superstars; Bette Davis, Irene Dunne, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, Myrna Loy, Ruth Chatterton, Claudette Colbert,  Helen Hayes and many more!  I discovered some more recently that I really like as well;  Ina Claire, Thelma Todd, Alice White, etc.  Frances Dee was wonderful in The Silver Cord and Finishing School.  These 2 were great pre-code films. :)



#28 mistervegan

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Posted 13 September 2014 - 02:30 AM

i agree, tomjh, 110%

 

in most instances, i prefer older women, and imo, blondell still had the goods in both of those flicks.

 

Of course, in the mid to late '40s, Joan had a pair of memorable character opportunites handed to her, with her Aunt Cissy performance in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, as well as Zeena, the carny fortune teller, in Nightmare Alley. Blondell brought a particularly strong lusty animal quality to the latter role.

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#29 Swithin

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 10:25 PM

I love Blondell, Dvorak, and Francis. But I think my favorite is:

 

80155939_o.jpgRuth Chatterton


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#30 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 08:24 PM

Of course I agree with everyone on Blondell. She made a great pre-code lady.  Ann Dvorak was a representative pre-code woman in my opinion. She is quite underrated.

 

Agree with you on Blondell and Dvorak.   In my book Dvorak is the most underrated actress there is.


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#31 morrell2000

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 08:21 PM

Of course I agree with everyone on Blondell. She made a great pre-code lady.  Ann Dvorak was a representative pre-code woman in my opinion. She is quite underrated.


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#32 TomJH

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 01:41 PM

I'm just like Mitchum or Lancaster in a film noir;  she can cheat on me but I'll still forgive her and take her back.

When a woman, no matter how bad she may be, gets deep in some men's souls, nothing else seems to matter to those men. I only hope, mrroberts, that you end up better than did either Lancaster or Mitchum in those noirs.

 

Noel+Francis+1920s.jpg

 

Oh, Noel, please be gentle with this lost soul. His only crime is that he loved too well.   :wub:



#33 hepclassic

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Posted 29 June 2014 - 11:13 PM

I have yet to see Safe in Hell, but I probably will because Nina Mae McKinney was turning her own heads in that film as well, and I love her work: 

 

13-nina-mae-mckinney.jpg


Edited by hepclassic, 29 June 2014 - 11:14 PM.

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"Sometimes you have to look at a person and see that he's doing the best he can." Katharine Hepburn as Ethel Thayer in 1981's "On Golden Pond."
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


#34 TomJH

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Posted 29 June 2014 - 06:44 AM

41d99727-871b-46c0-bd19-26504c45f92b_zps

 

What a way to communicate!

 

Sexy Dorothy Mackaill in Safe in Hell, decidedly one of the more bizarre and seedy pre-coders to get occasional broadcasts on TCM

 

d6060acc-a99d-4688-96df-5b5707afc9a5_zps

 

Believe me, these guys are all very eager for something else, in addition to lighting the lady's cigarette

 

aab726e6-142f-4623-8111-69ce08b06b0d_zps

 

I'm happy to report, though, that Dorothy was more than capable of lighting her own b u t t. I could watch this lady light her cigarette like this all day.

 

Ah, the ladies of the pre-code period. You just have to love their brazen honesty and sexy style. (Okay, sometimes trashy style).

 

P.S.: Notice how I had to space out the word b u t t? The auto censor on this board reminds me of Will H Hayes.

 

e904bfd4-32ca-40fb-b0ca-bc2ac71a7737_zps

 

That's right, people. I'm watching you. And, while I'm at it, get those disgusting images of that woman off this thread! NOW!

 

tumblr_m27pjcwI7m1r3p5n1o1_500.gif

 

Well, until you get your way, Pops, I'm here to have a good time!


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#35 TomJH

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 06:29 PM

Getting back to the subject of precode women, TomJH, who are your favorite? 

My favourite pre-code woman appears to be a favourite of a lot of others here, as well.

 

JoanBlondell.jpg

 

And not just because of this shot either. Largely remembered for her snappy patter as a fast talking gold digger in countless Warners musicals or comedies, Joanie also put across with great empathy the "Forgotten Man" number at the conclusion of Gold Diggers of 1933, and gave a touching performance with more than a touch of melancholy in a little remembered Cagney effort, He Was Her Man.

 

She was a large eyed vivacious personality, an actress who, unfortunately, never had much ambition to do anything other than the next cliche script tossed her way by Warners during the pre-code period. While it's always fun to watch her, her films of that period have a tendency to run together in the mind, I feel. I'd say that Gold Diggers of 1933 and her turn playing Cagney's loyal secretary in Footlight Parade are probably my two favourite Blondell films of the period.

 

Of course, in the mid to late '40s, Joan had a pair of memorable character opportunites handed to her, with her Aunt Cissy performance in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, as well as Zeena, the carny fortune teller, in Nightmare Alley. Blondell brought a particularly strong lusty animal quality to the latter role.

 

tumblr_l7upwp57Fa1qbrdf3o1_500.jpg

 

Lingerie sales had to receive a boost with shots like this one. Joan was always ready to show off two of the best legs in show biz (not to mention whatever other assets the censors would allow to be seen).


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#36 rosebette

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 05:34 PM

My favorite pre-code women are Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Blondell, and Kay Francis.  I'll watch Kay just for the wardrobe.


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#37 hepclassic

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 01:43 AM

Getting back to the subject of precode women, TomJH, who are your favorite? 


"Sometimes you have to look at a person and see that he's doing the best he can." Katharine Hepburn as Ethel Thayer in 1981's "On Golden Pond."
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


#38 mrroberts

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 04:23 PM

I'm just like Mitchum or Lancaster in a film noir;  she can cheat on me but I'll still forgive her and take her back.



#39 TomJH

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 09:35 AM

Just who are those two bums making time with my girl?   I'll moider dem! :angry:

You had to know some day, mrroberts. And I hated ta break da news to ya: she's a two timing dame!



#40 mrroberts

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 11:41 PM

Oh, by the way, thank you Tom for putting up the pics  ;)   I have a whole bunch of pictures of Noel Francis  on the  CFU site, it was easy putting pictures on there.






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