Polly of the Precodes

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About Polly of the Precodes

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    Washington, DC

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  1. Polly of the Precodes

    I Just Watched...

    And Lugosi and Thelma Todd (as his lady friend) are the best things about that movie. Lugosi is also excellent, although seen too briefly, in International House.
  2. Polly of the Precodes

    Noir Alley

    Karloff's role in Lured is a direct translation (too direct, if you ask me) of Erich von Stroheim's performance in Pièges (1939, the inspiration for Lured). Both performances are exceptionally prominent and pungent red herrings.
  3. Polly of the Precodes

    NOW I'M REALLY MAD ! ! !

    This documentary probably contains excerpts from one or more movies that are tied up in this rights hell. If this is the case, the documentary maker had to make the necessary effort to license the clips to show them in the United States, and didn't do the additional work to also clear the Canadian rights. Having said that, I stand (and SCREAM) with you.
  4. Polly of the Precodes

    I Just Watched...

    Capra made movie magic with Stanwyck (especially The Miracle Woman). But from the screwball period on I have no use for him.
  5. Polly of the Precodes

    I Just Watched...

    Have you seen Mamoulian's Applause (1929)? Sound film was barely standing upright, but he and his cinematographer made the camera (and the soundtrack) do all sorts of innovative things.
  6. Polly of the Precodes

    Holiday wishes: films you'd like to see on TCM in the new year

    THIS. The Museum of Modern Art in the last 2 or 3 years has restored and screened some tantalizingly rare pre-1935 Fox and Universal films. There may be rights restrictions or economic reasons keeping them from being released on DVD/Blu-Ray. But it hurts to think of these movies only being available to the few people who can get to the MoMA screenings.
  7. Polly of the Precodes

    Cigarjoe's 3% rule

    Aficionados generally consider "precodes" to start with the coming of sound (some silent movies include themes or content that offended the censors and made Will Hays fret, but if there was no outright nudity or explicit sexuality and the intertitles were sufficiently vague, the filmmakers had plausible deniability). So that sets the period as 1927-June 1934, when the Motion Picture Production Code developed an enforcement mechanism. I would thus define Precode films as 1) films made by American producers for American audiences 2) dating from this period, and 3) featuring content that the MPCC found offensive. To paraphrase Justice Stewart on pornography, you know it when you see it, if you are looking for that sort of thing. I wouldn't know where to begin to define or count "top notch" Precode films. Part of that is that I will watch just about ANYTHING from 1934 or earlier, and I have seen some stinkers that way. Probably there is a top 3-10 percent of films that are truly great, and a bottom 80-85 percent that are only of interest to fanatics like myself or completists who want to see everything their favorite star made.
  8. Polly of the Precodes

    TCM Members Underground

    Public statement: Some of these titles are tied up in rights hell. In other cases, the archive holding the surviving materials is bound by donor restrictions. But in most of these cases the rights-holders assume that the title is in insufficient demand that, economically, it's not worth the effort on their part to make the title available.
  9. Polly of the Precodes

    Cigarjoe's 3% rule

    My corollary to Sturgeon's Law: Some (if not all) of the top 10-15% may also be crap. And in the case of large bodies of work, that may mean staggering amounts of excrement.
  10. Polly of the Precodes

    Most Unusual Lovers

    Isabelle Adjani and...something...in Possession (1981).
  11. Polly of the Precodes


    I saw a selection of these movies at the National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC) My memories: SEVEN DAYS TO NOON: Not film noir (it has a moral clarity which to my mind sets it apart from the noir genre). I would say Geopolitical Thriller, subtype Domestic. THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT: Has much in common with French poetic realism and the movies Fritz Lang was making in Hollywood at this time. Deserves to be better known. ON THE NIGHT OF THE FIRE: Definitely explores the theme of an everyday, otherwise decent man driven to do wrong. NIGHT AND THE CITY: A noir icon. I MET A MURDERER: I would say rural melodrama, although complicated guilt (or innocence) is a common noir theme. THE OCTOBER MAN: A solid second-string exploration of noir tropes. HELL DRIVERS: Not sure about noir, but definitely a solid drama (if the sped-up driving sequences don't suspend your disbelief). THE UPTURNED GLASS: At the intersection of noir and horror (specifically, Mason's quest for revenge). BRIGHTON ROCK: Another noir icon. THE CRIMINAL: Less noir; more heist picture, but worth seeing. Courtesy of TCM, I have also seen GASLIGHT (1940, and I prefer it to the 1944 version), NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH (agree with everyone who has called it an American-style gangster film made in the UK; it's not particularly good but I don't think it's very bad); and VICTIM (surely more of a socially conscious "problem" picture).
  12. Polly of the Precodes

    February 2019 schedule is up

    I really ought to spend the month looking at whether it's still worth paying for cable to get TCM. Seriously, TCM programmers? No silent or precode films that you haven't already shown multiple times?
  13. Polly of the Precodes

    That's ONE way to put it I've not heard before...

    Which reminds me, may I propose Phantom Thread as an example of "moiré noir"?
  14. Polly of the Precodes

    That's ONE way to put it I've not heard before...

    What a charming invitation! I haven't posted in this or the other noir threads, because my knowledge of the genre is limited and I'm more interested in proto-noir anyways. (Could someone watch 1934's Woman in the Dark and confirm that my subconscious and wishful thinking didn't make it up?) Nonetheless, I love few things as much as a good nerd fight, and all of you are BRINGING IT.
  15. Polly of the Precodes

    FilmStruck/Criterion Channel is being shut down!

    1) Sony is interested in the old Columbia back catalog only if the names Frank Capra, Barbara Stanwyck, and/or Carole Lombard are attached. 2) GetTV, a free digital subchannel, used to show some of the old Columbia films. But their advertisers apparently weren't happy with old movie devotees.

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