hepclassic

Favorite PreCode Women

49 posts in this topic

Of those I've seen, I'd probably have to go with Barbara Stanwyck, particularly in Baby Face. I also like the free range and the depth of Theresa Harris, who got a lot out of the Pre-Codes before the Code came in. Also, Norma Shearer in anything Pre-Code, The Divorcee being my favorite. 

 

Who is your favorite? 

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I don't have the knack for posting pictures but my fav pre code lady is definitely Noel Francis, who was never a big star but did many memorable appearances in films, most notably as "Linda" in the classic I AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG.

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Joan Blondell is always fun to watch--so sassy! Jean Harlow and Una Merkel make a very good team in Red Headed Woman.  I'll watch Ann HArding anytime--she brings a sort of integrity and realness to her roles, especially Animal Kingdom and When Ladies Meet

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Joan Blondell is always fun to watch--so sassy! Jean Harlow and Una Merkel make a very good team in Red Headed Woman. Jean Harlow almost seemed made for pre-codes--her persona lost something after the code was enforced. I still like her, but it's not the same. I'll watch Ann HArding anytime--she brings a sort of integrity and realness to her roles, especially Animal Kingdom and When Ladies Meet

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Joan Blondell is always fun to watch--so sassy! Jean Harlow and Una Merkel make a very good team in Red Headed Woman. Jean Harlow almost seemed made for pre-codes--her persona lost something after the code was enforced. I still like her, but it's not the same. I'll watch Ann HArding anytime--she brings a sort of integrity and realness to her roles, especially Animal Kingdom and When Ladies Meet

 

It was hard to cool the blunt assertiveness that made her so likable. 

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The great James Cagney film BLONDE CRAZY  (his next starring role after doing PUBLIC ENEMY)    has  both Joan Blondell  and my gal Noel Francis.  Noel, has usual, plays the "bad" girl.

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I don't have the knack for posting pictures but my fav pre code lady is definitely Noel Francis, who was never a big star but did many memorable appearances in films, most notably as "Linda" in the classic I AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG.

Here's an image of your favourite, mrroberts:

 

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noelfrancis1.jpg

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Oh, by the way, thank you Tom for putting up the pics  ;)   I have a whole bunch of pictures of Noel Francis  on the  CFU site, it was easy putting pictures on there.

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Just who are those two bums making time with my girl?   I'll moider dem! :angry:

You had to know some day, mrroberts. And I hated ta break da news to ya: she's a two timing dame!

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Getting back to the subject of precode women, TomJH, who are your favorite? 

My favourite pre-code woman appears to be a favourite of a lot of others here, as well.

 

JoanBlondell.jpg

 

And not just because of this shot either. Largely remembered for her snappy patter as a fast talking gold digger in countless Warners musicals or comedies, Joanie also put across with great empathy the "Forgotten Man" number at the conclusion of Gold Diggers of 1933, and gave a touching performance with more than a touch of melancholy in a little remembered Cagney effort, He Was Her Man.

 

She was a large eyed vivacious personality, an actress who, unfortunately, never had much ambition to do anything other than the next cliche script tossed her way by Warners during the pre-code period. While it's always fun to watch her, her films of that period have a tendency to run together in the mind, I feel. I'd say that Gold Diggers of 1933 and her turn playing Cagney's loyal secretary in Footlight Parade are probably my two favourite Blondell films of the period.

 

Of course, in the mid to late '40s, Joan had a pair of memorable character opportunites handed to her, with her Aunt Cissy performance in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, as well as Zeena, the carny fortune teller, in Nightmare Alley. Blondell brought a particularly strong lusty animal quality to the latter role.

 

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Lingerie sales had to receive a boost with shots like this one. Joan was always ready to show off two of the best legs in show biz (not to mention whatever other assets the censors would allow to be seen).

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41d99727-871b-46c0-bd19-26504c45f92b_zps

 

What a way to communicate!

 

Sexy Dorothy Mackaill in Safe in Hell, decidedly one of the more bizarre and seedy pre-coders to get occasional broadcasts on TCM

 

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Believe me, these guys are all very eager for something else, in addition to lighting the lady's cigarette

 

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I'm happy to report, though, that Dorothy was more than capable of lighting her own b u t t. I could watch this lady light her cigarette like this all day.

 

Ah, the ladies of the pre-code period. You just have to love their brazen honesty and sexy style. (Okay, sometimes trashy style).

 

P.S.: Notice how I had to space out the word b u t t? The auto censor on this board reminds me of Will H Hayes.

 

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That's right, people. I'm watching you. And, while I'm at it, get those disgusting images of that woman off this thread! NOW!

 

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Well, until you get your way, Pops, I'm here to have a good time!

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I have yet to see Safe in Hell, but I probably will because Nina Mae McKinney was turning her own heads in that film as well, and I love her work: 

 

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Edited by hepclassic
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I'm just like Mitchum or Lancaster in a film noir;  she can cheat on me but I'll still forgive her and take her back.

When a woman, no matter how bad she may be, gets deep in some men's souls, nothing else seems to matter to those men. I only hope, mrroberts, that you end up better than did either Lancaster or Mitchum in those noirs.

 

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Oh, Noel, please be gentle with this lost soul. His only crime is that he loved too well.   :wub:

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Of course I agree with everyone on Blondell. She made a great pre-code lady.  Ann Dvorak was a representative pre-code woman in my opinion. She is quite underrated.

 

Agree with you on Blondell and Dvorak.   In my book Dvorak is the most underrated actress there is.

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i agree, tomjh, 110%

 

in most instances, i prefer older women, and imo, blondell still had the goods in both of those flicks.

 

Of course, in the mid to late '40s, Joan had a pair of memorable character opportunites handed to her, with her Aunt Cissy performance in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, as well as Zeena, the carny fortune teller, in Nightmare Alley. Blondell brought a particularly strong lusty animal quality to the latter role.
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One of my favorite pre-code women is Joan Blondell.  She was beautiful, talented and had a great personality.  I just loved "I Got Your Number" with Joan as a switchboard operator and a young Pat O'Brien as a Telephone repairman who flirts with Joan.  He gets involved with Glenda Farrell (another phone customer)  and the film has some sexy moments before the punchline.  It has one of the funniest post-wedding scenes I had ever seen!  The couple tried to have a honeymoon at her apartment and every time they tried to go to bed they experienced a teasing set of work friends with loud telephones!  Allen Jenkins and Eugene Pallette were hillarious in their roles too as they barge in and take over the apartment!.

 

Ladylike and beautiful Madge Evans, Sally Eilers, Madge Bellamy, Anita Page, are great pre-code actresses, plus our wonderful superstars; Bette Davis, Irene Dunne, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, Myrna Loy, Ruth Chatterton, Claudette Colbert,  Helen Hayes and many more!  I discovered some more recently that I really like as well;  Ina Claire, Thelma Todd, Alice White, etc.  Frances Dee was wonderful in The Silver Cord and Finishing School.  These 2 were great pre-code films. :)

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Kay Francis, Ann Harding, Katharine Hepburn,  Clara Bow, Noel Francis, Billie Dove and many other fine 30's actresses graced the screen. 

The first Pre-Code I had seen was Condemned  '29 with Ann Harding and Ronald Colman.  I just love this film!  Another great one

is Smling Through '32 with Norma Shearer and Fredric March.  These 2 films are wonderfully romantic and poignant films.   

Marlene Dietrich is great in The Scarlet Empress.  It is a poignant and basic biography of Catherine the Great, who was beautiful but resigned to marrying a titled man (a duke) who did not care for her.  After discovering her husband's mother "sleeping"
with the man she has grown to love,  the Empress meets many young men and travels down a path of indifference and temporary affairs.

 

Some of the very good older actresses appear in some of these films; Jane Darwell, Lucille Watson, Dame Mae Whitty, Laura Hope Crews, Nella Walker, Louise Henry, etc. 

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i agree, tomjh, 110%

 

in most instances, i prefer older women, and imo, blondell still had the goods in both of those flicks.

Joan Blondell was great in both of these 40's films!  I was very intrigued by Nightmare Alley and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  She enhanced both by her wonderful personality and fine acting!

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