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Guest Schaefer, William

Convention City/Gold Diggers of 1933

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you make a good point about cheesecake scenes in pre-code movies. the cheesecake magazines of the time often showed stills and scene outtakes of actresses taken during the filming of a movie that were often more risque than what actually made it into the movie itself. if you've seen 'Blonde Crazy' (and you should), there is a fairly sexy scene where joan blondell is in a bathtub, but i've also seen several publicity photos of joan in that bathtub that show a lot more skin than the movie did.

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What about Maureen O'Sullivan in "Tarzan and His Mate", Dolores del R?o in "Bird of Paradise" and Claudette Colbert in "The Sign of the Cross", "Four Frightened People" and "Cleopatra"? And Tallulah in "Faithless"?

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Many thanks, feaito, for providing those film titles. I'll be sure to check them out.

 

The only one I've seen so far is TARZAN AND HIS MATE (1934). The nude swim is cute (don't worry, I know the swimmer isn't really Maureen), but the scene that really blew me away is the one where Jane (Maureen O'Sullivan) receives two male friends from England... and they're bearing gifts.

 

These gifts include a dress, a chic hat, and a pair of sheer silk stockings. Jane is eager to try them on, and she does so... sitting right there, in front of two old bachelors, pulling those stockings on, one leg at a time. The scene is made all the more enticing by the fact that neither she nor the two men seem at all uncomfortable about it.

 

I've had that scene on videotape for about ten (10) years, and next time TCM screens the movie, I'll burn it to DVD.

 

As for the other film titles in your message, rest assured I will hunt them down... IF they exist.

 

Dan N.

 

http://www.silentfilmguide.com

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Welcome Dan, It's a pleasure to chat with you and the folks here at the Boards, especially since in my country I have no one to chat with about this fantastic subject.

 

"Bird of Paradise" has been available on DVD for a while, because it's a PD Film. I recommend the Roan Edition because it has the underwater sequence in which Dolores dives naked; besides the film is shown in Sepia.

 

The other Colbert films are included in the recently released De Mille DVD Collection Set.

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Hi, I've read a lot -- I mean a LOT -- about pre-code films, and how "edgy" and "racy" they supposedly are. But most of the ones I've been able to see, have disappointed me.

 

See, a "movie" is a Motion Picture. Accent on PICTURE.

 

So, when I view a pre-code, I am expected to be blown away by amazing VISUALS. Instead, most precodes are just like most of the earliest silent films, with the exception of dialogue. They are endless set pieces, with people talking to each other, and nobody doing much that can't be done ON RADIO!!

 

Ouch.

 

Here are some of the precodes that I've seen, that have not delivered anything different.

 

Midnight Mary (1933)

Zoo in Budapest (1933)

Young Bride (1932)

Panama Flo (1932)

Kept Husbands (1931)

The Lady Refuses (1931)

Millie (1931)

 

Every single one of these so-called "pre-codes" is, in my humble op, dull in the extreme. They are dull because they are ALL TALK! Where are the exciting visuals?)

 

Now then. Here are some of the pre-codes that do -- again, in my humble op -- "deliver the goods" in the visuals department:

 

Kiki (1931)

42nd Street (1933)

Footlight Parade (1933)

Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)

King Kong (1933)

Tarzan and His Mate (1934)

Night Nurse (1931)

The Office Wife (1930)

 

See the difference? Instead of being pictures of people just talking to each other, these films actually SHOW US something!

 

For gossakes, folks, don't hype precodes that are static and dull. Let us know which ones deliver moving pictures -- again, accent on PICTURES!

 

Cheers,

Dan N.

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A few of other pre code gems would be "The Little Giant" (1933), "Love Me Tonight" (1932), This Is The Night" (1932), "Trouble In Paradise" (1932), 'Women They Talk About" (1933), "Skyscraper Souls" (1932), "Beauty And The Boss"(1932). Some of these can even be seen on TCM. By the way, what makes a pre-code film "racy" is not just the visuals, many times it's the dialogue that sets the tone. The visuals would be the icing on the cheesecake (so to speak!).

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Dan, just now joined the forum(had technical problems in the past) glad to see there are others who are interested in the pre-code films! Sounds like I need to check out Kiki!

I as well have been disappointed with some of the most hyped films of the pre-code era. Leonard Maltin had a series of films that were released under the heading of pre-code(Baby Face for one) and while plot wise they were racy, they weren't, from a visual standpoint. Three on a Match is another film I was hoping for more skin in.

And as mentioned before, the stills from the films, of scenes that were never used in the movies(or racier photos were used to get folks to see it) just set you up for a let-down. I was dying to see Mata Hari to see Garbo wearing a black diaphanous gown(well, the sides are at least) standing in a doorway. Well, when I did see it, she is wearing it while in bed, covered by the bedsheets. Hoped someday they would find a print overseas with the complete scene, but no dice so far.

Professional Sweetheart with Ginger Rodgers was another. There was a clip of the film they showed on a Fred and Ginger PBS special years and years ago, with her dancing around a table in a short teddy. That, plus several stills of her in a black number had me counting the days when the film would be shown on TNT(yep, about 20 years ago) Well, while certainly not bad,(Her seductively dancing around the poor sap , then getting lightly spanked by him makes it worth seeing) nothing quite like the stills had me thinking I was going to see.

Ironically, one film I was quite disappointed in when I first saw it, was the Myrna Loy film The Barbarian(Not a bad film) I had seen stills of her in this bathtub, and the caption always said something to the effect that she was nude in this scene. And in a book of her films as well. Well, first time I saw it(A grainy cable commercial ridden version on TNT)I thought I saw a very quick glimpse of her naked from the side getting out of the water and rapped in a towel, but the scene in water itself was lame, IMO. Many petals covering the top of the water. I have even heard later on that she was in a body stocking, which might explain why I couldn't really tell if she was naked or not when covered in a loose fitting towel. Skip many years later, I see the film on TCM, and I while watching it, I see a scene with Ramon Navarro ogling Myrna putting on stockings while in a short negligee, she even stands up with her back to the camera, and you notice that you can see(Somewhat) thru her outfit! Did I somehow miss that the first time I saw the film, or did they run a longer print???

What I have found though is that if you can TIVO(I have Dish Network which has a similar device) all those early films TCM runs early in the A.M, there are nice surprises to be found in films no one ever talks about. I always record any film Joan Blondell is in, and one film, called Smarty(1934) has a distressing moral(Get your ex-hubby to slap you again, and all will be right) she has never looked better, early on is wearing negligee similar the one she wore in Gold diggers at the beginning of the movie, then near the end of the film, Blondell changes into a dress, and you see her briefly in a thin slip, then you see her in it again when Warren William rips the dress off of her. Yowza!!

 

Other 1934 and earlier films to check out if you haven't already. Sign of the Cross, 1932 Claudette Colbert naked in a pool of **** Milk, you see quite a bit of the top half of her breasts, and even ****, ever so briefly. A nearly nude girl is about to be attacked by a gorilla, but Colbert is the reason to see this film. Cleopatra 1934. Not quite the amount of skin is visible as Sign of the Cross, but she wears quite a few fairly brief outfits, and is quite sexy being rolled out a rug early on. I remember Bob Dorian saying something about Four Frightened People before another Colbert film, saying how she was nude, yes nude in that film. He said they had run the film before, but of course, they never did again. Well, it's on the Cecil B. DeMille box set that came out recently, but I somehow doubt you see much of her in this film(Hats off to old C.B. for getting her to disrobe as much as he did!)

Bolero (1934) starring Carole Lombard, and Sally Rand. In one memorable number, Carole dances around with George Raft in an office, inexplicably in her short teddy! Sally Rand also dances around a restaurant wearing a shirt and long skirt, but the top is low cut, and loose fitting, so you get a good gander at her twins.

Blondie of the Follies (1932) Starring Marion Davies, and Billie Dove. Runs a fair bit on TCM. Believe it or not, it's Billie Dove you want to see this film for! She is clearly braless in most of the scenes(And she's a healthy girl) and in one scene we see her through a doorway (Marion in the forground) and she has just wrapped herself in a thin towel that fits her naked body like a glove. Too brief a shot, but wonderful all the same.

Flying Down to Rio. Of course worth seeing for the first paring of Fred and Ginger, but also has a great number with all these girls strapped to the wings of an airplane, and with the wind machines blowing hard, and no bras under the super thin blowses, more nipples to be viewed than just about any other film of the era. And with the film coming out on DVD on the 24th of October, the images should be clearer than ever!

Myrna Loy in the 1934 film Stamboul Quest . Just one scene of note early on, she's a spy and needs to freshen up in the bosses bathroom, and you can see the outline of her nipples pretty clearly as she pops her head around the corner of the door to say something to him.

Wow, this is way too long a post, I'll add other titles as I remember them.

Oh yeah, forgot to mention, there are some post 1934 films that slip in some nice skinage.

I Dream Too Much (1935) starring a then 37 year old Lilly Pons. What?? Lilly Pons the opera singer? Yes! She is conservatively dressed throughout the film, but she sings the "Bell Song" in an outfit that has to be seen to be believed. Some version of arabian garb I guess, but the bottom half of it fits waaay down low on her hips, (I think her legs are more or less covered though) and you see lots of belly, and belly button of course. Check out the review on allmovie, they mention this fact as well. G-Men from 1935 to a lesser extent shows Ann Dvorak's and other ladies belly buttons in a club scene as well. Would have thought that would have been off limits by then.

Two-Faced Woman (1941) Garbo is wearing a nearly see thru robe over her nearly see thru pj's(really don't know what else to call them) So you kinda, sorta see the outlines of her body, then near the end of the movie, you see her again just in the fancy PJ's and you can very clearly see the end of Garbo....... How that was left in the film is beyond me, but I am grateful!!!!

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I always record any film Joan Blondell is in, and one film, called Smarty(1934) has a distressing moral(Get your ex-hubby to slap you again, and all will be right) she has never looked better, early on is wearing negligee similar the one she wore in Gold diggers at the beginning of the movie, then near the end of the film, Blondell changes into a dress, and you see her briefly in a thin slip, then you see her in it again when Warren William rips the dress off of her. Yowza!!

 

i know, that was such a raunchy scene! not just the visuals, but the whole premise of it, one of the most bizarre endings of any precode film i can think of. but the dress part was very good. i've watched it many times myself. i'd post a video still of my favorite part from that scene, but it'd probably get me banned from this board.

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That's her. It's from "Call her Savage," one of her few talkies.

 

She looks pretty good in the movie. It may be that I'm a crappy screencapper.

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Hiya ziggy... Yes indeed, I think that in you, I have found a kindred spirit.

 

The "flavor" of the precodes is all pretty good... but what I look at them for is to see a discreet display of the feminine form. Some of you will say: "Why bother with precodes, then? There are plenty of NEW films where you get to see the women take off their clothes."

 

Ah yes. I'll admit, Nicole Kidman looks great in the nude, in "Eyes Wide Shut" (1999). So does the erstwhile "America's Sweetheart," Meg Ryan, in "In the Cut" (2003). Lots of today's stars have appeared on screen in the nude -- Susan Sarandon, Sean Young, Gwyneth Paltrow, and of course the critics' darling Jennifer Jason-Leigh, to name a few.

 

But the fact that these are TODAY's actresses, and they are appearing in TODAY's movies, where permissiveness is a given, changes the chemistry. How much more rewarding it is, to look to the past, and "discover" scenes where the actresses were discreetly undraped, if only briefly.

 

I'll give you ONE example, then I'll shut up. The first 60 times I saw the original "King Kong" (1933), I never saw any nudity in it. But nowadays we have DVDs, and our DVD players have a wonderful gadget called a "Pause" button.

 

Aha! Now, it is possible to watch the scene where Fay Wray and Bruce Cabot are struggling to free themselves from the savage Kong, and they are forced to jump from a cliff into a lake below them. They hit the water, then they surface, and as they do so, Fay loses part of her dress that is covering her right ****. In a movie theater, with the film running at 24 frames per second, we would never see that. But on the DVD, we can hit "Pause," then hit "Frame-by-frame" -- in EITHER direction -- and see her nip popping out of her blouse.

 

Somehow, that's more satisfying than watching a modern actress brazenly displaying her nude body as if she's saying: "Feast your eyes, Mister... you're paying for it."

 

Gimme precodes like "Kiki" (1931), "King Kong" (1933), or even "42nd Street" (1933), especially the scene where the girls are all asked to raise their skirts to let the dance director inspect their legs. Oh, and I also love to watch Joan Blondell putting her stockings on... or taking them off. She did that in FOUR movies I can name, and probably in a lot of others that I haven't seen yet. Our Joan, God bless her, loved to show off those gams.

 

These are the REAL "precodes." Long may they live!

 

Dan N.

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Vitaphony, could you PM any of us interested in the still??? You know, for us film historian typesblush2.gif.It is worse(better?) than the Clara Bow shot? Wow! Perhaps your TV shows a larger section of the screen than mine does.

 

Message was edited by:

ziggyelman

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> That's her. It's from "Call her Savage," one of her

> few talkies.

>

> She looks pretty good in the movie. It may be that

> I'm a crappy screencapper.

 

Jon,

that's the Film they ran on Fox movie channel about a year ago, correct? To show how ridiculous I can be with this sort of stuff, I recall a scene in the ballroom, where a fight is (Boy my memory seems fuzzy about the details) there was a very pretty blond extra standing with a group of people who seemed quite busty, and braless. You see her for all of about 10 seconds, but made quite the impression on me! Of course, the Dish Network device had it's hard drive accidentally cleared, before I had a chance to record the scene. The way FOX reruns other films to death, surprised they didn't run this one more....

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Dan, I hear you with the comparisons of Yesterday's films and today's. It takes a really special woman in film today to get my interest. And knowing that an actress is nude in every other film she stars in kind of kills the thrill. "Discreet display" is the key. Gwyneth Paltrow in A Perfect Murder, is a great example. Early on in the film, she is wearing a man's shirt that almost, but not quite covers her hind quarters. Better, IMHO than her walking around in a film completely nude. Now if anyone can find a film with Joan Blondell walking around in a film completely nude(For the European release of course) That would be the greatest find in the history of the world! At least til a complete print of Convention City is found.

 

Ok, I knew I would forget a film or 3. Virginia Bruce has had a few interesting moments with clothing in film. in the 1932 film Congo(Man, is that ever a weird picture!) She has a dramatic scene in front of a leering Walter Huston where she grabs at her loose fitting blouse, and somehow manages to give her breasts a good feel. She also seems to have lost her bra in the jungle, but alas, the top is fairly thick so no see thru moment. Thinking back though, I think you also see her running into a structure, and being grabbed by some guys, and with that unbuttoned top, you see a fair bit of her globes. Think I copied this when I had cable many years ago, hope TCM will run it again. Oh, anyone ever see her in Winner take All, also from 1932? Cagney rings the bell to her Apartment, and she hopes out of bed in her nightgown. A fairly sheer nightgown. There is a lamp on the table next to the bed that helps/hinders the scene. You can see light right between her legs as she gets up and walks very fast to answer the door. I don't think you really can see anything, but still seeing way up her inner thigh ever so briefly...arrrghhh.

 

Oh, and if you really have time to waste, check out the Dean Martin film The Silencers.(1966, I know a wee bit past the pre-Code era, but no nudity in U.S. films then either) Well look for the VHS copy, not the DVD! I remember seeing this film 25 years ago while talking to a friend on the phone, just half watching the movie when I noticed an actress in a mans shirt(Perhaps this is why I like the scene with Gweneth so much), I told my friend to flip to the movie. It really appeared that she(Found out many years later the actress was Nancy Kovack) wasn't wearing any underwear! How could that be??? My friend thought the same thing. It made a big impression on a couple of teenagers.

 

I few years later I taped the scene on an old betamax. Kinda sorta looked like you were seeing something. Tape didn't hold up to repeated pausing, fastforwarding, rewinding. So, I was sure to tape the film the next time it ran. But, when it did....the scene was edited!!!! GRRRR! Happened every time I tried to catch it thru the years. So, when I heard it was coming out on DVD a few years back, I was overjoyed! Bought it the second it came out, but the same thing it seemed. Sold the dvd right away. Drat! Then I see the film was running on ActionMax, or some such channel. Having thought that I must have dreamed up the scene, or that the film was forever censored, didn't bother to tape it. Well, sure enough, the scene seemed just a bit less chopped at the bottom of the screen, and when Daliah Lavi tossed a knife into poor Nancy's back, she hops up and you get a good look at her very lovely behind, sans panties! Oh, why didn't I have the recorder on?? And why was I seeing her butt on Cable, when I didn't see it on DVD?? Long boring story ever so slightly shorter, the whole Matt Helm Series came out in a cheap box set last year, and bought it again, hoping against hope. Nope, still no front or rear nudity. What was the story??? Well, reading some of the reviews on amazon, I saw people talking about the VHS version, and comparing it to the Widescreen version. Apparently when you pan and scan a film, you lose the left and right of the frame of course, but gain some frame at the top and bottom. Oh..... And being a bright bulb, after wasting money on the same film twice on DVD I went to see if it was ever on VHS. It was!!! How had I missed that? Well, the jury is still out on whether you see her nether regions or not, but there is no missing the accidental Butt shots. Now, to petition Columbia to re-release the film in a full screen edition.

 

Man, If I read this post from someone else, I'd say they needed to seek professional help, immediately! Then again, perhaps a psychiatrist would say there was nothing wrong with me at all, and ask if I could help him find some of these films!

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ziggy wrote:

 

"She [Virginia Bruce] has a dramatic scene in front of a leering Walter Huston where he grabs at her loose fitting blouse, and somehow manages to give her breasts a good feel."

 

For a good scene featuring a feel-up, see UN CHIEN ANDALOU (1929). It's a surreal film, silent but with music added. Pierre Batcheff grabs the blouse of Simone Mareuil and goes to town. Scene lasts longer than I expected.

 

Dan N.

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ziggy wrote:

 

"Oh, and if you really have time to waste, check out the Dean Martin film The Silencers.(1966, I know a wee bit past the pre-Code era, but no nudity in U.S. films then either)"

 

If I'm not mistaken, THE SILENCERS (1966) also features a knockout comedy performance by the young and gorgeous Stella Stevens.

 

In one scene, Dean Martin rips her dress off, and we see the svelte Stella in only bra and panties. Later, the two are driving somewhere -- I forget where, and it doesn't matter -- and it begins to rain, HARD. So Martin pulls over to partial shelter under a tree, tilts back his seat, and suggests that Stella do the same. They're going to sleep until the storm lets up.

 

Ah, but you see, Stella has different ideas. She waits until Martin appears to be asleep, then she opens her door and tries to escape. But once outside, she finds she is surrounded by a swamp of mud. She slips and falls, head first, into the mud. She rises and tries again to get away, but falls into the mud again.

 

Finally Stella returns to the relative safety of the car, where Dean Martin is apparently wide awake. He tells her she's all wet and muddy, so he removes one of her stockings -- SLOWLY. He tries to remove the other, but she slaps him and makes him stop. Of course she is covered with mud, from head to beautiful toe.

 

Now, THAT's the kind of scene I would like to see in a pre-code film. I am fairly certain that if anyone tried to film a scene like that today, the feminazis would prevent it from happening. After all, it makes a woman seem like a fool. And we can't have that now, can we?

 

I wonder why the Hollywood establishment has decided that it's okay to film a man falling into a bucket of tar, or getting shot in the rear end, or getting kicked by a mule, but not a woman? In the good old days, BOTH sexes were fair game for stunts like that.

 

But not today.

 

Dan N.

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