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bobhopefan1940

::Forgive Me, I'm a [i]Pre-Code[/i] Newbie::

84 posts in this topic

The key term in the adultery rule was "must not be explicitly treated". In other words, they could do it, but they shouldn't be too obvious about it. The idea was to keep the kids from finding out about and thinking such relationships were normal.

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"White Slavery" was the polite media term for white prostitution back in the '30s and '40s.

 

Oh, I feel stupid! I get it now... The terminology threw me off!

 

Thanks Chris... For the info on ratings. Yes, I saw that cocoanuts was rated PG the other night, so TV-14 for some of these being mentioned here doesn't seem too out of the question.

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Could some of the Busby Berkeley musicals - the Warner ones in the early 30's be considered pre-code material? I seem to remember women disrobing behind sheer curtains. . And all those water scenes!

 

Julie

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> (Under "Sex") 5. White slavery shall not be

> treated.

>

> What does this mean? White people could not be

> portrayed as slaves on film, like in Uncle Tom's

> Cabin?

 

White slavery is forced prostitution, especially of adolescent women.

>

> (Under "Sex") 1. Adultery, sometimes necessary

> plot material, must not be explicitly treated, or

> justified, or presented attractively.

>

> How about this in respect to In Name Only? Was

> this a controvercial film or does anyone know?

 

I haven't seen that one. But looking at some reviews of it on imdb, it certainly sounds like it was pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable in 1939.

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> Could some of the Busby Berkeley musicals - the

> Warner ones in the early 30's be considered pre-code

> material? I seem to remember women disrobing behind

> sheer curtains. . And all those water scenes!

>

> Julie

 

Those are definitely pre-code, and great films besides.

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Mr Parker - I thoroughly enjoy those films - I get chills when Joan Blondell does that Forgotten Man number -- glancing at the January Schedule - looks like a lot are playing again - some that haven't been on for ages.

 

But my fave Busby movie - for the story - is For Me and My Gal - definitely not precode, though!

 

Julie

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I totally agree about the Forgotten Man number -- it's just chilling.

 

The movies were released last year as a box set containing 42nd Street, Golddiggers of 1933 and 1935, Dames, Footlight Parade and a bonus disc of just the musical numbers from a lot of Busby films. It's well worth picking up -- I think I paid like $40 for it at a warehouse club.

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Does Turner only play the pre-codes with scenes edited back in them (subject to availability, of course) or do they mainly play the post-code versions? I was wondering if they made it a habit of only playing the un-edited versions or vice-versa.

 

In Name Only starred Grant, Lombard, and Kay Francis. Francis (or more specifically, her character) was put in a very negative light as Grant's wife. She denied him a divorce even after admitting marrying him for his money. Then he meets Lombard and she is really loveable... And they continue to romance eachother though no divorce has taken place.

Though I saw it as a nice story, I could see it being very controvercial during that time. Since Francis' character was not very likeable, we root for him to be with Lombard... Back when it was made, that would seem to have supported the idea that you could have an affair.

 

I thought One Way Passage was a steamy little movie with Powell and Francis. Would this be considered pre-code? Certainly it was within the years that were mentioned (1932).

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TCM plays the unedited films as often as possible. Of course, sometimes the pre-code elements are lost.

 

One Way Passage was definitely a pre-code movie.

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> "White Slavery" was the polite media term for white

> prostitution back in the '30s and '40s.

 

I'm pretty sure that the term goes back at least as far as the 19th century. in Kevin Brownlow's "Behind the Mask of Innocence" he cites movies using the term from the first decade of the 20th Century, so I'm sure it was around before then.

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> I don't recall ever seeing anything with a TV-MA

> rating. Others will correct me if I'm wrong.

 

i've seen a few movies on TCM with this rating. "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid" is one, but I've seen it on a few others.

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> > I don't recall ever seeing anything with a TV-MA

> > rating. Others will correct me if I'm wrong.

>

> i've seen a few movies on TCM with this rating. "Pat

> Garrett and Billy the Kid" is one, but I've seen it

> on a few others.

 

The Pawnbroker and The Godfather both were rated MA, I'm sure there are others but those are the ones I've seen.

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Another interesting example of pre-code stuff is The Barbarian (1933) with Ramon Novarro and Myrna Loy.

 

Loy has a cute nude-bathing scene, though it's not explicit. I read in imdb.com that Myrna claimed in her autobiography she was actually wearing a flesh-colored bodysuit... but, at any rate, it's kind of cute in an "innocent-naughty" kind of way.

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I heard about that! Yeah, and it raised eye brows for me because I didn't know about pre-code movies yet... I know a while back they played We're Not Dressing for the first time on Turner. I remember Carole Lombard's dress when she is on the boat for the first time was quite riske. I think there was also a scene where she undressed down to her slip on the beach after being wet in the water.

 

Certainly nothing obscene, but looking it up I found out that even though it was 1934, it was made before the code was ultimately inforced. Interesting stuff... I think I like the pre-codes the best because I know they were what the film maker basically wanted to show in the picture. Wasn't like someone was telling them what to put and exactly what not.

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> It might have grown to mean that late in the 19th

> Century, but before the War it mean the slavery of

> white people, either orphans bought from orphanages

> or indentured servants.

 

I don't dispute that, if by The War you mean the American civil war. The Mann Act of 1910 was known as the White Slave Traffic Act originally. Brownlow lists "Traffic in Souls," made in 1913 as using the term.

 

Incidentally, Brownlow's book is a really excellent read, if you can stand a book on film where 90% of the movies discussed are lost.

 

Oh, and thanks for that link. There's some great stuff there. Added to my bookmarks.

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In the same vein, anyone interested in seeing gratuitous nudity, pre-code style, should be sure catch Night Nurse, playing on 12/4, if you haven't seen it yet. There is perhaps no better opportunity to witness for oneself just exactly what a brassiere looked like in 1931; B. Stanwyck and Joan Blondell repeatedly yank off their blouses for any reason or no reason.

In fact, the first several minutes of this movie seems to have no purpose whatsoever other than the sleazy titillation suggested by the dime-novel title. It is, in other words, highly amusing. No wonder my grandfather thinks of Stanwyck as a floozy.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

scene from Night Nurse (1931)

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Just want to add that I think the thing that makes "Remember My Forgotten Man" one of those hair-stands-up-on-the-back-of-your-neck numbers is the way the song is sung by Etta Moten and the studio chorus. Joan Blondell does a dramatic reading of the verse:

 

I don't know if he deserves a bit of sympathy,

Forget your sympathy, that's all right with me.

I was satisfied to drift along from day to day,

Till they came and took my man away.

 

Then Etta launches into

 

Remember my forgotten man,

You put a rifle in his hand;

You sent him far away,

You shouted, "Hip, hooray!"

But look at him today...

 

Remember my forgotten man,

You had him cultivate the land;

He walked behind the plow,

The sweat fell from his brow,

But look at him right now.

 

And once, he used to love me,

I was happy then;

He used to take care of me,

Won't you bring him back again?

 

'Cause ever since the world began,

A woman's got to have a man;

Forgetting him, you see,

Means you're forgetting me...

Like my forgotten man!

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That scene in The Barbarian would be alot more believable, however, if Ramon Novarro was even halfway credible in that role.

 

Put it this way: Valentino, he wasn't. :P

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Ayres - thanks for posting the lyric to "Remember My Forgotten Man" - it brings it right back - along with the sequential visual of the soldiers all spiffed up going off, and the returning men. . . Anyone who hasn't seen it yet -- you're in for a treat.

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pintorini said:

 

In the same vein, anyone interested in seeing gratuitous nudity, pre-code style, should be sure catch Night Nurse, playing on 12/4, if you haven't seen it yet.

 

Ok, so this would really give an idea of what a pre-code entails? I'll check it out... :)

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Hey, BHF, how's it going? I just read part of the Hays Code ~ mind boggling, isn't it? Another aspect that Robert Osborne brought up one night which you may want to look into ~ after the code was enforced, if a woman appeared dressed in any type of fur or animal skin, that was a clue to her personality ~ and marked her as a predatory female. The code also was responsible for the standard that anyone involved in a murder was usually killed by the end of the film. I'm sure there are lots of other nuances in this vein that you could pick up on. It would really make your college paper very interesting. I, for one, would love to read it.

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