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Guest TCMhost-Joy

Pre-Code Films

458 posts in this topic

Guest bltapley

Apparently the racism you mention were indeed part of the films of the pre-code era--and for many years to come. I still squirm when I see the actor known as Snowflake put to the demeaning test in the otherwise great "Sullivan's Travels." And how demeaning was just about every use of Franklin Pangborn's exasperated mincing just to get a cheap laugh, deducted from the "account" of public perception of homosexuality? (This particular kind of device hasn't really left us yet.) I figure we need the sense to count these things as part of the unvarnished history of our nation's sensibility, or lack thereof. But! regardless, I don't really care to see Griffith's "Birth of a Nation." As ground-breaking as it's supposed to be, from what I read, it's still early 20th century rasist propaganda posing as art.-Byron

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Guest Alix

Applause to EJBernson and Cindy! I too would love to see movies from the late 1920's and 1930's shown during prime time. I get tired of having to set my VCR to catch a movie that's shown in the middle of the night.And if you haven't read COMPLICATED WOMEN by Mick Lasalle, you need to. It is a fabulous book that is full of information about not only Norma Shearer, but other wonderful pre-Code actresses as well: Joan Crawford, Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis....Please TCM, bring out some pre-Codes that haven't been shown in awhile, dust them off, play them in prime time, and put a smile on my face!

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Guest Alix

Yes, Yes, Yes! I'd love to see some more Paramount "goodies" on TCM. These are not often seen, and I love the chance to see something obscure. Let's see some more Paramounts from the 1930's.Now, if we could just do something about Fox...

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Guest Cindy

I know how you feel Alix! I have gone through so many vcr's taping because all the good stuff is on so late at nite!

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Guest Alix

Yes, Cindy, and this message board ought to prove to TCM that fans of movies from the 1930's are out there. One of the busiest folders/discussions here is the "Pre-Code" discussion. There definately is an audience and I'm sure we'd all like to see movies from this era shown in prime time for a change. It was nice to see INTERNATIONAL HOUSE and W.C. Field's MILLIONAIRE movie shown during the prime time hours. Of course, the only reason they were shown during this time slot was because he's one of the stars of the month! But I guess we should be grateful for whatever we get!

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Guest Cindy

Alix, as always, you are right! But that shouldn't alway's be the case due to a certain star being the "star of the month" though!

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Guest Alix

Yep, we shouldn't have to wait until one of "our" stars is Star of the Month. Or maybe TCM could designate a star from the 1930's EACH MONTH as the Star of the Month: Clara Bow, Greta Garbo, Kay Francis, Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow, William Powell, Gary Cooper, et. al. Then we'd be assured of a few movies each month in "prime time."

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Guest drednm

Great idea. The "lesser" stars of the late 20s and early 30s don't get their due even on TCM. How about a silent star of the month as well (William Haines, Gloria Swanson, Norma Talmadge, etc.), those whose "talkies" don't add up to enough films to cover a month of showings. Even the Fields month is being fleshed out with 2-reelers. It's no wonder there are generations of filmgoers who have never even heard of Kay Francis or Richard Barthelmess or Marion Davies when even TCM does precious little with them. TCM might even be better having "Star of the Week" series to incorporate and highlight the careers of a lot of half-forgotten stars.

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Guest TCMhost-Claire

Turner Classic Movies shows movies from all eras of film history. If you're a '30s film fan, that might mean you feel short-changed because the percentage of primetime films that are from that era might not be less than you'd like. Every month, though, we try to strike a balance. This month, for example, of the 60 "primetime films" (8 or 10 PM Eastern), 13 are from the '30s (22%). That compares to 18 films from the '40s (30%), 11 films from the '50s (18%), 9 films from the '60s (15%), and 7 films from the '70s (12%). Last month an even higher percentage (26%) of the primetime films were from the '30s. I appreciate the comments, however, we love Norma Shearer and the other great silent stars here as much as you do.

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Guest TCMhost-Joy

To substantiate the "balance" trend even more, I went back through April's prime time schedule and out of 58 films (airing 8 or 10 pm Eastern) here's the breakdown:14 films from the 30s (24%); 13 films from the 40s (22%); 12 films from the 50s (20%); 15 films from the 60s (26%); 3 films from the 70s (5%); and 1 film from the 80s.To further appreciate the number of 30s films TCM shows, out of 382 films shown during this same month (April), 125 were from the 30s (that's 33%); 91 films from the 40s (24%); 74 films from the 50s (19%); 56 from the 60s (14%); 13 from the 70s (3%), 6 from the 80s (1%) and 6 from the 90s (1%). Note: 10 films from pre-30s were shown, and one from 2001.So, looking at these figures, yes ... more films from the 30s are shown during the wee hours of the mornings, but that's because more films from the 30s are shown in general -- or at least for the month of April. :)

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Guest elcage

Quoting from Kevin Brownlow's "Hollywood, The Pioneers":"Von Stroheim's fascination with the outer limits of sexual experience marked him as a man out of his time. The Hays formula lacked teeth, otherwise none of the Stroheim **** scenes would ever have reached the screen. . . . (In) a scene from 'The Wedding March'((1928)) with George Fawcett and George Nichols, set in Madame Rosa's bordello--Von Stroheim locked the doors, provided champagne and girls, and let the scene take its course."('Nuff said, I guess.)

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Guest elcage

Scene depicted in Kevin Brownlow's HOLLYWOOD, THE PIONEERS (Bessie Love exposing breast with one hand, and preparing to plunge a hypodermic needle into her flesh with the other):"Bessie Love prepares a dose of morphine--a scene from 'Human Wreckage'((1923)), a film which reflected the industry's grave anxiety about the drug problem. It was inspired by Wallace Reid's losing battle against drugs. (Wallace Reid was prescribed morphine by a doctor to cope with a war injury.) After his death, his wife, Dorothy Davenport, made 'Human Wreckage' for the Thomas Ince Studios."

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Guest ges

Definately my favorite film era. Recently watched the utterly over-the-top CALL HER SAVAGE. Inspite of the racism (as others have mentioned - often unavoidable in films of this period), Bow was amazing and some of the scenes pretty unbelievable (starting out with the whipping...).Other favorites: HEROES FOR SALE - Barthelmess was terrific, great depression-era filmI AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG - Fine work by Muni, as usual. Loved the last line: "I steal!"FIVE STAR FINAL - I'm not sure newspapers have changed all that much...very hard-hitting exposeMADAM SATAN - DeMille can throw quite a party!STREET SCENE - Not sure if this has been on TCM (I have a video of it). Great Vidor film. Fine study of NYC tenements of the period. Was also made into an amazing opera, with music by Kurt Weill.

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Guest drednm

Well, TCM did it again--pre-empted all its scheduled films for a last-minute Anthony Quinn fest. Quinn was a swell actor, but TCM once again dumped some rarely seen 30s films to show Lust for Life, Barrabas, etc--films you can get in any video store. The Kay Francis film, Keyhole, was once again pre-empted, as was the Frank Fay film, God's Gift to Women. Based on this kind of pre-emption policy plus the aforementioned policy of relegating early 30s films to the wee hours and showing them rarely, one wonders who is setting priorities at TCM. While the films of Garland and Rooney and Gable, etc. are shown several times a year, others like The Love Parade or Keyhole are lucky to be shown once in several years. Star recognition is once thing, but how do they expect anyone to become familiar with Alice White or Kay Francis or Warren William when their films rarely if ever get prime viewing time airings? The TCM vaults are filled with films that are hardly ever shown. TCM's concentration of major stars and films of the 40s and 50s is NOT a good policy. Show us films that we can't see anywhere else and stop competing with video stores.

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Guest Alix

WOW! I thought I was the only one who enjoyed STREET SCENE. When I first saw it, I remember thinking "Does the whole movie tape place out on the stoop of this apartment building?" As the movie progresses, I realized how utterly effective this was!I too own this movie on video, and regard it as an "unknown gem." It was produced by Goldwyn, so I don't know if it'd be in TCM's extensive library. If it is, it'd be wonderful to see it aired sometime.

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Guest Alix

I realize that TCM wants to recognize the accomplishments of recently deceased stars, but I know I would prefer instead of pre-empting currently programmed shows (some of which viewers have been long waiting for) that TCM put together a "trailer" or "one reeler" of sorts that could be shown many times during a day before the scheduled movie is seen. In this way, people who tune in at different times could see the tribute being paid to the star being honored and not have to have regularly scheduled programming interrupted. Then maybe in the next month or so, a special festival of movies could be planned and publicized and the star given the recognition that he/she deserves.Please TCM, reschedule the movies that were bumped.

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Guest Alix

A while back a question was asked if any silents could be construed as "pre-Codes." After some thought, I definately think QUEEN KELLY starring Gloria Swanson would qualify as a pre-Code silent. Oh my...what a plot! A young girl inherits a bordello, hence the title of "queen." Of course, at the helm of this movie was Von Stroheim, so nuff said on that score! Even financier J.P. Kennedy was put off by this one--and agreed with Gloria that Von Stroheim must be fired due to his excesses and the things he tried to slip into the movie. This film wasn't seen in the USA until a clip of it appeared in SUNSET BOULEVARD. By the way...Swanson appears sooooo lovely in this one!I appreciated seeing this film on TCM even in it's incomplete form, as a definate curio.

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Guest ges

Nice to see there's another fan of this great film out there. I particularly enjoyed the young Sylvia Sidney. Pleased to meet you, btw -- I'm new to the TCM boards.Wonder if you ever heard the musical version of Street Scene? That was actually the first place I came in contact with the play. I really like Kurt Weill and was looking around to find what else he had written, besides Threepenny Opera, when I discovered Street Scene. Fortunately, it was available on CD. Absolutely wonderful opera, in english, I'm happy to say .

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Guest elcage

Alix, this sounds like a very good format!For those of us who practically schedule our lives around the airing of a particular film or short, and then become most vexed when it is bumped, . . . your plan may very well be the solution! It is certainly important to pay tribute to, especially, the notable names in film history - such as Mr. Anthony Quinn, presently being so honored - but not at the expense of a "counted-on" line up of programming, already publicized. It's not as though war had been declared, or some other such emergency, ("We interrupt this program, etc . . .") which would be just cause for pre-empting the listing. (I'm chuckling to myself as I jot, here.)I suppose I'm being a bit facetious, and I apologize for what may sound like a "snippy" tone. (I can share drednm's agitation.) I just need to be reassured that any particular film that I had planned to "curl up" with (such as KEYHOLE) will be slated for a near-future slot, should it get shelved due to a spur-of-the-moment tribute.

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Guest Alix

It's nice to meet you too. You'll find lots of fans here that love the movies you do!I am unfamiliar with the opera version of this movie, but I imagine if it's anywhere as good as the movie, then it's entertaining.

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Guest Retro

www.retrogroove.comOnline MagazineNostalgic Entertainment News, Reviews & Feature Articles

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Guest Eve

I like Jean Harlow a great deal and was very pleased when she was the star of the month. I found out that the film Red Headed Woman would be on late one night, so I decided to record it, and did. I sat down to watch it and a half hour into it, the picture became blank. It seems as though there was a storm that night and my damn satellite signal failed and half of the movie is the screen that comes up that's terribly annoying that says, "Searching for satellite signal." I just want to say to it, "I'm sure you'd find it if you just tried a little harder, but you don't want to find it! You always go out when there are good things on TV, but always have a wonderful, sharp picture when there is nothing but crappy 80's movies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" And I still haven't seen the rest of it!!!!!!!!!!Now that I've got that out of my system, I guess I can stop griping.

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Guest Alix

I agree, that's not too funny of a thing to happen! I got so mad one time during a storm that I just gave up and turned the thing off!Technology! Sometimes we need reminders of how it's improved our lives!

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Guest Eve

Ii wasn't gonna sit there and just watch half of it and be lost. argh! the only technological thing that's ever nice to me is the radio!

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Guest drednm

Does TCM have this film? I thought it was cleared for video release like a year ago? And what of 30s classics like Scarlet Empress (Dietrich), Trouble in Paradise (Hopkins, Francis, Marshall), The Trespasser (Swanson), and Imitation of Life (Colbert)? It seems as if there are dozens of classics that never get shown. How do we even know if TCM has these and others in its vault? Why ask for them if they no longer exist?

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