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bobhopefan1940

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

84 posts in this topic

Hey Peggy! :)

 

I'm doing well, I suppose... These decorations are driving me mad! :P What about you?

 

Thanks for the facts you gave... About the animal skin - Isn't that something? I'll have to watch for that! In fact, lately I've been going back over some of my earlier films on dvd to watch them again. It's nice to be an informed viewer! I've always gravitated towards the early 30's films without realizing what differentiated them from other titles.

 

The code also was responsible for the standard that anyone involved in a murder was usually killed by the end of the film.

 

I bet that cut out alot of suspense for the viewer! Audiences were probably really tired of seeing alot of the same endings in these movies... I've never really thought about it, since I enjoy the change of pace from the films that are out today.

 

I'm going to the library to check out alot of the titles these nice folks here told me about... I want to get all the facts I can get before I start even thinking about writing! But seems there are alot of different points to this one subject, so I might have to narrow it down...

 

Thanks,

 

bhf1940 :)

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Hey BHF ~ Hope you had a very fine Thanksgiving. I'm not doing much decorating this year ~ widowed, no kids around, only my doggie and she really doesn't do Christmas. I put up a couple of things just to keep in the spirit, but I just can't seem to get into it this year.

 

A couple of weeks ago, we had a discussion on the boards about a Robert Mitchum movie (Out of the Past). Some of us were really upset that he was killed at the end, because he really wasn't a good guy, but he wasn't a bad guy either. You just knew his "girlfriend" was going to get it, because she killed at least 3 people, but a lot of us were upset that Mitchum got it in the end, because he didn't do anything really bad. So you can't always tell how the ending will go.

 

Lots of luck with your decorating and if I hear any more tidbits, I will pass them along. I'm really a novice at this stuff, myself. I used to just watch movies for the story or the actors or whatever, and never really paid too much attention to the underpinnings of it all. Interesting, eh?

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BHF - there is another thread under the genre forum about Pre-Codes. I, like you, didn't know the name of what I liked! I have appreciated the info and links in this thread.

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Thanks for the tip, BIRDY. I'll go right over there and check it out! I hoped people who searched the forums (like me) would find this thread very helpful. Sort of a "tutorial."

 

Peggy:

 

I went through a very trying move early this year and had to move alot of my stuff out of a storage bulding today. I was literally pulling my hair out... So much junk.

 

None the less, I know your situation is difficult. (You still come to mind when I hear someone mention Tomorrow Is Forever) You are certainly in my thoughts this year.

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Hi, thanks for the info about the "White Slave Act". That would have made the term a significant one in the US vocabulary.

 

I looked up some early references in the early 19th Century and that's when the term meant white slaves. There was some use of the word prostitution in some early writings, but I think the term was changed in the media and government documents late in the 19th Century. It's easier to dismiss little kids when they ask "what are white slaves" than it is when they ask "what are prostitutes".

 

By the way, I have a 1946 book about the Hays Code, and it says that Will Hays was selected as the spokesman for the MPPDA Code because he was a rather famous national political figure, although not in an elected office, and I think it said he was hired away from being the US Postmaster General to take the MPPDA job. That purpose was to give the (false) impression to the public that Hays and the Code had something to do with "the government", which it did not.

 

The very same trick was used when Jack Valente (a low-level national political figure) was hired as the spokesman for the MPAA when the ratings code went into effect in the 1960s.

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There is a good 1945 book about the Code, which can be found here:

 

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=MOLEY&ph=2&tn=thehaysoffice

 

or look here and use the title "The Hays Office" and the author "Moley". Then search AbeBooks.

 

http://www.trussel.com/f_books.htm

 

This book tells the true story about why so many Americans began to protest certain movies back as early as the 19-teens, not long after the movie industry moved to Hollywood. And the book goes through the history of earlier codes. But it ends around 1945 so it doesn't tell about the gradual abolishment of the Code in the 1950s and '60s.

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Well, I don't know what would make the starring role in The Barbarian more credible. There were many actors playing different ethnicities than their own, to varying degrees of success, I suppose, but suspension of disbelief was somewhat necessary.

 

And even then, a Mexican actor playing an Arab isn't much of a stretch. Anthony Quinn also pulled it off, even if his nose was funny-looking, a few decades later.

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bhf1940,

 

I don't want to start a cultural war (nor hijack this thread) but I did think it worth noting in our conversations about pre-codes, Hugh Hefner has donated thousands and thousands of dollars for the preservation and restoration of pre-code films.

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Hmmm... I've not heard the name Hugh Hefner before, nor do I know anything about his donations. From your statement, I gather your mentioning him would cause some sort of riffle from others (?). Or am I misunderstanding... I've been known to do that! ;)

 

Message was edited by:

bobhopefan1940

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Wow ... I may be forced to become a fan of Hugh Hefner, never having been one before.

 

Thank you so much Jon, and whoever else recommended Red Dust, which I just finished watching!!! What a great movie! This movie, more than many others I've seen, exemplifies what comes to my mind when I think of pre-code movies. All the main characters (Gable, Harlow, and Mary Astor) are basically nice people who, although they dabble in immorality, come out okay and more or less happy at the end.

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But ... I see your point. It wasn't intended.

 

?

 

pintorini

 

By all means, I take no offense... Come to think of it I remember hearing the name Hugh Hefner before, but extremely unfamiliar with his career choice. It makes very good sense he would offer support to pre-codes... Good sense indeed. :)

 

I found nothing distasteful about your post.

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lol, just between you and me... I edited my post, too ;)

 

If you don't get that, forget I said it!

 

And I'm sure he's got a few million to throw around where he pleases! ;)

 

*laughing* I feel so stupid!

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Oh! You misunderstand! I don't think it was Ramon Novarro's ethnic background that made him unbelieveable in that role. As my post implies, I LOVE Valentino as a sheik, and he was Italian! So ethnicity is not the issue in the slightest.

 

I just don't think Ramon Novarro was very good in that role.

 

In Valentino's sheik movies, he comes off as powerful, hot-blooded, slightly menacing, and extremely passionate. The kind of powerful man who takes what he wants.....the kind of guy that a girl wouldn't MIND being dragged off to his tent by, if you know what I mean. *lol*

 

But IMO, Ramon Novarro comes off, in The Barbarian, as kinda a spoiled whiny-boy weenie who could be batted away like a bug without difficulty. Not as a powerful man who takes what he wants.

 

In short, try as I might, I couldn't take him seriously. He was more annoying and pesty than powerful and hungry.

 

Have you ever watched "The Sheik"? If you compare the way Valentino comports himself with the way Novarro does, it is like night and day.

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It's like if you had Rupert Everett playing the barbarian vs. Russell Crowe. Lol!

 

I love the movie but I agree that Navarro didn't make much of an impression.

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I like the *idea* of "The Barbarian". It's a good enough storyline...and Myrna Loy was very good in her role, I thought.

 

However, if ever there was a film that had "Valentino-if-he-had-lived" written all over it, it is this one.

 

I've seen Ramon Novarro in other things and he was fine (wasn't he in "The Red Lily"???). But I think it takes a certain kind of actor to pull off these drag-a-woman-off-to-his-tent roles with any sort of credibility.

 

Valentino could pull it off. This, in fact, was why women fell all over themselves over Valentino. Woman in the 1920's couldn't have a guy like that unless he DID take her by force. And the Valentino take-her-by-force fantasy allowed women to 'have' a man like that, if only in their dreams.

 

But Novarro could not pull off that sort of role convincingly. At least not IMO.

 

It's like what we were talking about in the Gary Cooper thread. "Peter Ibbetson" with just about any other actor, might easily have come off as being a ridiculous and utterly cheesy film. In another example, "Captain Blood" could easily have looked ridiculous as well, if it hadn't been for Errol Flynn's persona. I mean, have you read any of the LINES he has in that film?? - lines he has to yell out with a straight face???

 

Not everyone can do that and sound credible. It takes just the right stage presence to pull off certain roles effectively.

 

If Valentino had lived, he no doubt would have been offered "The Barbarian"...or at least films like it. And assuming he could have curbed his Italian accent (which, if you believe Gloria Swanson, he would have been able to do), he could have pulled them off because he had the presence to do so.

 

But Ramon Novarro just seemed like someone Myrna Loy could have swatted away like a bothersome child.

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Very well put! Valentino would have been superb. The "larger than life" parts require just the right fit. That's how I feel about 007 (not that I want to start anything on Daniel Craig here!), Robin Hood, Scarlett, etc. Some actors just seemed born for certain roles because the basic makeup of their personalities/ personas.

 

Miss G

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I'm sure he was a fine actor---I never saw all of Ben-Hur but Navarro certainly DID make an impression in that classic! He and Valentino left a lot of mourning fans when they passed away tragically.

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Valentino died never having made a talkie so it would be interesting to hear how his voice recorded. I think Novarro is fine in the silents, but doesn't have the "macho" persona to pull off "The Barbarian."

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Didn't Ramon die much later in life though? I know he was murdered, which was just ghastly...but I thought he was quite a bit older when that happened....like maybe he didn't die young like Valentino did. I thought he died tragically...but not particularly young.

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Yes! I agree. I've only seen Ramon in 3 films - 2 silents, which I loved...and "The Barbarian", which I thought he was a poor fit for as an actor.

 

You hit the nail right on the head - he didn't have the 'macho' presence like Valentino had.

 

Very talented individual...but 'drag-'em-off-to-his-tent' was a plotline much better left to the Valentinos of the world.

 

Oh...and by the way, there are two recordings of Valentino's voice still in existance. But both of them are singing, unfortunately, so you can't really be sure of his speaking voice. But he was definitely in the baritone range. And Gloria Swanson, who worked with him, is on record as saying that his Italian accent was barely noticable.

 

So I think he might have done well in talkies, if he'd lived.

 

But who knows?

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