Re: Pre-Code violence in films. I was watching one recently with Helen Twelvetrees getting married. She had no idea that
her husband's best friend, Goldy, is a man of violence and belongs to a gang. Though her husband is not that way, she is soon
very fearful as Goldy is violent towards her when she rejects a pass he made toward her just after the wedding. They are on a yacht (which he helped pay for). The moment her husband is out of town on business, the friend pays the bride a visit. He seemed to think that his wedding gifts and paying for the reception entitled him to the bride as well. I shuddered at the part where he shot out department store windows and apartment buildings in his frustration! Some people think pre-codes are tame by today's standards, but I think they are more indicative of violence in some ways that are more subtle!
I found The Sign of the Cross and Scarface very scary that way as well. I wasn't expecting these scenes to be that extreme, but they were and were very effective. Still, I would rather have those than some of the current violence in films. Sometimes a good actor (like Robert De Niro) is stuck with a violent part and accepts the role (understandably). THey probably think there is no limit to this simulated violence which often turns out to be almost the real thing in many cases! I found Cape Fear to be too much in that respect as well! I did not last through the film, to be honest. I went ahead and watched the one I had seen on TV as a kid again; Cape Fear '64 with Robert Mitchum. (My grown children wanted me to see the newer one, but could not take it. The same with The Vampire movie with Brad Pitt). Thanks but no thanks!
I am finding myself more shocked at Pre-Code violence than the violence in modern movies. I feel more shocked maybe because thinking classic movies are only from 1934 to 1965, the Hays Code period you aren't used to seeing something sold as innocent not be. Yet, its exhilarating.