classyteen16

The Case of the Howling Dog (1934)

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The reason I put this in "Pre-Code" is because the film came out in 1934. But on Wiki, it doesn't say it's a pre-Code film. But I decided to put it here anyway because no other categories seemed to fit at first glance; if it needs to be moved to another genre, that's fine.

 

So this black & white 1934 film stars Warren William and Mary Astor, and was directed by Alan Crosland. I won't completely spoil it, but basically it's one of the early "Perry Mason films" (actually, the earliest, according to Wiki.) It's given 3 1/2 stars on IMdb. Although on the film description on my TV, it showed 2 stars. Either way, I agree it's not a spectacular movie. My mom and I were confused from just about beginning to end; we learned in the end that Perry Mason apparently knew that his client, Besse, had killed her husband and dog - but in self defense. That's all the spoilers I'm giving.

 

Yeah, this was much different than the T.V. series most know about. Personally, I liked the Perry Mason in this film - played by Warren William - better than the Raymond Burr-played Perry Mason. Probably due to the fact that while this man was more strict and formal (film is from 1934), he also seemed more relatable and not so much like a superhero as in the TV series who can never lose a case and seem cocky all the time.

 

Some of the acting was meh and one inconsistency I noticed: the maid who works for the man Mason was originally supposed to work with on a will was supposedly almost deaf. Yet when Perry Mason rang the doorbell, she answered pretty quickly. Later, when another man banged on the door, she never answered, if she was even there. So was she in kahoot with the guilty party? The whole film was a bit confusing. I've yet to see the other Perry Mason films, but I'll go ahead and rate this film a 6/10.

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The reason I put this in "Pre-Code" is because the film came out in 1934. But on Wiki, it doesn't say it's a pre-Code film. But I decided to put it here anyway because no other categories seemed to fit at first glance; if it needs to be moved to another genre, that's fine.

 

So this black & white 1934 film stars Warren William and Mary Astor, and was directed by Alan Crosland. I won't completely spoil it, but basically it's one of the early "Perry Mason films" (actually, the earliest, according to Wiki.) It's given 3 1/2 stars on IMdb. Although on the film description on my TV, it showed 2 stars. Either way, I agree it's not a spectacular movie. My mom and I were confused from just about beginning to end; we learned in the end that Perry Mason apparently knew that his client, Besse, had killed her husband and dog - but in self defense. That's all the spoilers I'm giving.

 

Yeah, this was much different than the T.V. series most know about. Personally, I liked the Perry Mason in this film - played by Warren William - better than the Raymond Burr-played Perry Mason. Probably due to the fact that while this man was more strict and formal (film is from 1934), he also seemed more relatable and not so much like a superhero as in the TV series who can never lose a case and seem cocky all the time.

 

Some of the acting was meh and one inconsistency I noticed: the maid who works for the man Mason was originally supposed to work with on a will was supposedly almost deaf. Yet when Perry Mason rang the doorbell, she answered pretty quickly. Later, when another man banged on the door, she never answered, if she was even there. So was she in kahoot with the guilty party? The whole film was a bit confusing. I've yet to see the other Perry Mason films, but I'll go ahead and rate this film a 6/10.

 

Welcome to this forum.     There really isn't any agreed upon definition of a pre-code.   Ok,  it has to be a talking picture released prior to July 1934 (when the Production Code started being strictly enforced) but does the content matter?    I say YES;  content is key and with a pre-code it means open sexuality.

 

E.g. I don't view most westerns released during the pre-code period as pre-code films because they don't have pre-code content.  

 

Note that many 30s films (pre-code or not) can be confusing because often the dialog and action are all done at a very fast pace.   This can be hard to follow especially if there are plot twists (like in a detective \ crime type story).    

 

Hey, that just means I can watch the film again and often the second viewing is a better overall experience.

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Welcome to this forum.     There really isn't any agreed upon definition of a pre-code.   Ok,  it has to be a talking picture released prior to July 1934 (when the Production Code started being strictly enforced) but does the content matter?    I say YES;  content is key and with a pre-code it means open sexuality.

 

E.g. I don't view most westerns released during the pre-code period as pre-code films because they don't have pre-code content.  

 

Note that many 30s films (pre-code or not) can be confusing because often the dialog and action are all done at a very fast pace.   This can be hard to follow especially if there are plot twists (like in a detective \ crime type story).    

 

Hey, that just means I can watch the film again and often the second viewing is a better overall experience.

 

First-- welcome to classyteen.

 

Second-- I don't think it's fair to automatically discredit westerns. Some of them did have adult content, at least adult for the time. Otherwise, the implication is that pre-codes are largely women's films or gangster films and I don't think that's entirely correct.

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First-- welcome to classyteen.

 

Second-- I don't think it's fair to automatically discredit westerns. Some of them did have adult content, at least adult for the time. Otherwise, the implication is that pre-codes are largely women's films or gangster films and I don't think that's entirely correct.

 

You're reading way too much into my comment.   First how did I discredit westerns?????

 

I just said  that I don't view most westerns (see MOST) released during the pre-code time period as pre-code films due to their lack of overt sexual content. 

 

Second,  your last sentence implies things I did NOT imply.      Again,  I stated that pre-code films are pre-code due to their overt sexual content.    That type of content can occur in any type of film but typically NOT a western or a war film.  

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You're reading way too much into my comment.   First how did I discredit westerns?????

 

I just said  that I don't view most westerns (see MOST) released during the pre-code time period as pre-code films due to their lack of overt sexual content. 

 

Second,  your last sentence implies things I did NOT imply.      Again,  I stated that pre-code films are pre-code due to their overt sexual content.    That type of content can occur in any type of film but typically NOT a western or a war film.  

 

Many westerns have sex in them. So yes, it does seem like you are discrediting (or at least, dismissing) westerns when it comes to discussing pre-codes, because you think they do not typically have sex in them and that is how you are defining pre-code.

 

Maybe the bigger issue is you think westerns and pre-codes are two distinctly different genres, but I see them as overlapping. Pre-code is not about sex necessarily-- there are many things the code didn't allow in addition to open sexuality. Casual views of murder, or murder that did not lead to justice-- that was just as important to enforcers of the code as sexual content. Pre-code is really not so much content as it is era and artistic freedom to explore taboo topics. 

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Many westerns have sex in them. So yes, it does seem like you are discrediting (or at least, dismissing) westerns when it comes to discussing pre-codes, because you think they do not typically have sex in them and that is how you are defining pre-code.

 

Maybe the bigger issue is you think westerns and pre-codes are two distinctly different genres, but I see them as overlapping. Pre-code is not about sex necessarily-- there are many things the code didn't allow in addition to open sexuality. Casual views of murder, or murder that did not lead to justice-- that was just as important to enforcers of the code as sexual content. Pre-code is really not so much content as it is era and artistic freedom to explore taboo topics. 

 

If having 'sex in them' is what defines a pre-code then 95% of movies from ALL eras are pre-codes,  but yes,  pre-code is more than just overt sexual content but also graphic violence and other code violations.

 

As for what is a genre or not:  I don't define pre-codes as a genre but instead just a label applied to talking films with production code violations (or very close to them) made prior to the code being enforced.    It is a fairly loose label which is why the first thing I posted here was "There really isn't any agreed upon definition of a pre-code".

 

Therefore a drama can be a pre-code,  a western can be a pre-code,  a comedy can be a pre-code etc.....  But I stick to what I said about westerns;   Most westerns didn't have overt sexual content (e.g. scenes showing ladies undressing just to show ladies undressing) and violence wasn't as graphic as gangster pictures (one reason being they didn't have Tommy Guns in the old west).

 

What films would you define as pre-code westerns?   Maybe there are more pre-code westerns than I'm aware of.  

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What films would you define as pre-code westerns?   Maybe there are more pre-code westerns than I'm aware of.  

 

I'm not an expert on westerns from the late 20s, early 30s-- but the first one that came to mind was:

 

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-4-22-34-pm.png

 

On the wiki page for this title, it is identified as a pre-code and a western, among other things!

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montana_Moon

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Getting back to Warren Williams' performance as Perry Mason -I see Raymond Burr's performance in the Perry Masons that are broadcast on MeTV in the mornings as - something horribly mumified - he's scary, and, if he cracks a smile, it seems like an involuntary gesture.

 

He's a walking, talking, thinking BRAIN - and he is almost always dressed in black.

 

He really needed William Hopper as Paul Drake - to humanize him.

 

Barbara Hale as Della Street merely sits at the great man's throne.

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I absolutely love this film. I've seen it many times. The storyline is a bit tricky, but I didn't find it hard to follow. The film is well paced, the acting good, and they didn't spoil the film with annoying humor like some other mysteries from that time period (including a couple of the later Perry Mason films).

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I agree that the plot of this film is easier to follow than others of this period.  Sometimes the storyline becomes so convoluted that it's practically impossible to follow.  Not this one.  It really is quite good.

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I agree that the plot of this film is easier to follow than others of this period.  Sometimes the storyline becomes so convoluted that it's practically impossible to follow.  Not this one.  It really is quite good.

 

Oh, I think that most mysteries from that time period were easy to follow, but at least this film wasn't spoiled by annoying humor.

 

Have you seen the next two in the series: Lucky Legs and Curious Bride? Yikes! In one of them, Perry Mason is turned into a drunk. I simply can't watch those two movies anymore.

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I'm watching it again now. What an amazing and complicated story! It's definitely one of the best mysteries out there.

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Welcome classyteen.  Interesting thread and you will see that any posting generates a variety of opinions and comments.  They also wander off into strange places.

 

If in doubt as to where to post, just put it in General Discussions as long as it is about movies, actors, etc. Even TV is appropriate most of the time. The moderators will move it if not appropriate.

 

I've seen most of the Warren William Perry Mason's and enjoy them.  But I still prefer Raymod Burr in the TV series.  Or maybe I just prefer the TV series itself.  William Hopper is one of the best characters, but don't  discount Barbara Hale's Della Street.  

Warren William had more humor in his roles and sometimes appears to treat the whole process as a lark rather than solving a crime or representing a client.

 

As for Pre-Code debate.  My view is that "Pre-Code" was dreamed up as a marketing tool to try and sell pre-1934 movies as somehow being filled with sex and violence.  When actually they are pretty tame by even 1960's standards and especially by anything after 1970 or so.

I have seen lots of the Pre-Code films and there is no there, there.

When I have seen references to Pre-Code, especially for DVD's or even TCM features, I don't recall ever seeing any westerns or war films.  There may have been some more risque ones, but they were not Pre-Code in the sense that phrase is now used.

 

This thread might better be placed under the Film Noir-Gangster one, although it does not fit there either.  TCM does not have a forum for Mystery-Detective-Crime.

 

If you really want to see a contrast, get one of Erle Stanley Gardner's books.  I think the American Bar Assoc. is currently publishing them and they are available in a lot of places.  Perry and Paul are nothing like the characters in the movies or the TV series.

Edited by TheCid

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I believe the distinction between pre- 01 July 1934 and after is more than academic. It's like driving toward a 200' high cliff - it matters what side you're on. Breen's megalomania had been bruised by producers and directors mocking his impotence and overreached when he got real authority. Also, the "pre-code" content was mostly suggested but it was real. I understand that this genre is not for everyone, but, for the most part, those of us who enjoy it do not do so because of marketing.

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Welcome classyteen.  Interesting thread and you will see that any posting generates a variety of opinions and comments.  They also wander off into strange places.

 

If in doubt as to where to post, just put it in General Discussions as long as it is about movies, actors, etc. Even TV is appropriate most of the time. The moderators will move it if not appropriate.

 

I've seen most of the Warren William Perry Mason's and enjoy them.  But I still prefer Raymod Burr in the TV series.  Or maybe I just prefer the TV series itself.  William Hopper is one of the best characters, but don't  discount Barbara Hale's Della Street.  

Warren William had more humor in his roles and sometimes appears to treat the whole process as a lark rather than solving a crime or representing a client.

 

As for Pre-Code debate.  My view is that "Pre-Code" was dreamed up as a marketing tool to try and sell pre-1934 movies as somehow being filled with sex and violence.  When actually they are pretty tame by even 1960's standards and especially by anything after 1970 or so.

I have seen lots of the Pre-Code films and there is no there, there.

When I have seen references to Pre-Code, especially for DVD's or even TCM features, I don't recall ever seeing any westerns or war films.  There may have been some more risque ones, but they were not Pre-Code in the sense that phrase is now used.

 

This thread might better be placed under the Film Noir-Gangster one, although it does not fit there either.  TCM does not have a forum for Mystery-Detective-Crime.

 

If you really want to see a contrast, get one of Erle Stanley Gardner's books.  I think the American Bar Assoc. is currently publishing them and they are available in a lot of places.  Perry and Paul are nothing like the characters in the movies or the TV series.

 

If one compares Pre-code films (released prior to July 1934) to the films released up to the end of the studio-era (1968),  there is a lot 'there' in many of these films that is NOT 'there' in the Production code enforcement era films.

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