Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

"Only in a pre-code..."


Recommended Posts

> I want to know some of your favorite scenes from

> pre-code films... That is, that could only occur

> before the code was inforced.

 

That's a long list. How about the slave girl scene in "Roman Scandals", with Ruth Etting singing "No More Love". Those girls (including Lucy) were actually naked. The scene was shot at night, when the boss types were not around.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That is a long list.

 

 

Some of my favorites:

 

Every scene with Maureen O'Sullivan from "Tarzan and His Mate."

 

The "Marihuana" musical number from "Murder at the Vanities."

 

Just about all of "A Free Soul" with Norma Shearer.

Link to post
Share on other sites

> I want to know some of your favorite scenes from

> pre-code films... That is, that could only occur

> before the code was inforced.

 

The Claudette Colbert milk bath scene in SIGN OF THE CROSS.

 

Garbo rubbing herself all over the furniture in QUEEN CHRISTINA after her night of passion with John Gilbert.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I just finished watching The Half Naked Truth and the whole movie seems to be propelled by off colour jokes:

 

- Lee Tracy crosses his fingers and says 'I'm like this with Farrell (big shot producer)' and the guy goes 'You mean that dirty?'

- He tells the public he and the dancer are on a hunt for the man who 'decieved' her mother - thus bringing up rape and sex out of marriage

- Tracy tells the hotel clerk that his friend is a eunuch

- The song Lupe Velez sings, 'Hey Mr Carpenter'. It's one long innuendo - like an Ethel Waters song - and a pretty suggestive dance goes along with it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My favorite has got to be Jerry /Ted in "The Divorcee" where she announces that from now on the only man her bedroom was going to be closed for was Ted. Excellent acting all around from a rightly rewarded (with an Oscar) Norma in that flick.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not really a pre-code, but in "The Irish in Us," 1935, there's a scene of quite visible boobage. This is a cute, rather innocent story, so it's shocking to see the lady lean forward to dance with Frank McHugh at the Fireman's Ball and her breast is in full side view as her gown gapes open. The scene lasted longer than the Jean Harlow shot, so well-known, from Red-Headed Woman. I can't believe noone in the editing department caught on. Or maybe they did and got a good laugh.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In the 1933 Edward G Robinson comedy THE LITTLE GIANT, one of his buddies is with him as they check out a swell house in Santa Barbara that he wants to rent. His buddy sits on a bed and begins to bounce up and down on the bed saying "Gee, a fellow could get ideas with this bed!"

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't want to hijack this thread since it seems that most of the posts refer to sexual type things but I do have an observation or two.

 

It seems to me that Pre Code films had more racial integration and blacks were portrayed with a bit more "respect" than they were during code enforcement years. I'll cite a couple of examples. The first one is "Baby Face", in which Chico the black friend of Lily is treated as friend. Even though she ends up being Lily's maid, you get the impression that they are equals as far as being friends. I might be reaching here, but the fact that Lily stands up to her father when he tries to fire Chico and takes her with along when she leaves town, and keeps her around when she climbs up the corporate ladder, shows that Lily was really devoted to Chico and they were close friends. You rarely saw this type of interaction betweents blacks and whites during the code years; it wasn't until the mid to late 50's that friendships between blacks and whites were shown on film. I might be generalizing here, but you get my point.

 

My second example is a very small one but it struck me at the time. In "Gold Diggers of 1933", during the "Remember My Forgotten Man," musical number, a black woman singer (Etta Moten)is featured. And she sings in an beautiful almost operatic voice. She's only on for no more than a minute at the most but she stands there and sings very powerfully, very movingly. She wasn't swinging her hips, smiling stupidly, clutching her chest or doing any of the things black performers often did when they performed in front of white people (shucking and jiving type things). I guess my point was that she was there because she was a great singer and that if she were white she wouldn't have done anything any differently. This might seem very insignificant, but if you're used to seeing people who look like you often potrayed as ignorant, dumb or whatever, just seeing someone doing something as simple as singing a song without all the racial mannerism that were common during that time period was startling. I guess a better example of this would be Paul Robeson in "Show Boat" -- another example of blacks being *not* being portrayed as buffons but the lady singing "the forgotten man" was so unexpected that it really struck me when I saw it.

 

I guess you can tell I'm black.

 

Anyway, even though blacks were portrayed pretty badly in most of the "mainstream" classic films I've seen (even the ones with all black casts they act sterotypically) and interactions between black and white people are extremely limited, Precode films are much better than Code films.

 

Ok, I'm finished. Sorry for the run on sentences.

Link to post
Share on other sites

One of my favorite "pre-code" moments is in WHITE WOMAN, the 1933 Paramount film. Towards the end of the movie, Carole Lombard and Percy Kilbride are having a conversation in a doorway of the plantation house when Charles Laughton saunters by swinging a dead chimp by the heels. He looks at them and then deftly tosses the dead animal at their feet and keeps on strolling, never uttering a word and very nonchalant! The chimp was Kilbride's pet and the little creature exacts his revenge on Laughton from the grave.

Link to post
Share on other sites

TCM had a pretty good black film festival this past summer. I hope they have it again next year.

 

Also, you might want to watch for some British Paul Robeson movies and some French Josephine Baker films that TCM occasionally shows. They are the stars of those films.

 

Also, ?Hallelujah? is a pretty good all-black film that TCM shows. Nina Mae McKinney and Danliel Haynes are outstanding in this film.

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0019959/

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Safe In Hell" is pre-code with Nina Mae. She plays a South American hotel manager and she acts like a normal person.

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0022335/

 

The basic story in this rare film -- about various criminals from around the world hiding out in a South American town -- is used in the 1977 film "Sorcerer". A second theme in "Sorcerer" is based on the French film "The Wages of Fear".

Link to post
Share on other sites

Getting back to something sjack wrote:

 

..."Baby Face", in which Chico the black friend of Lily is treated as friend. Even though she ends up being Lily's maid, you get the impression that they are equals as far as being friends.

 

 

Nineteen thirty-three may have been black actors' best year, before the current era. In addition to Theresa Harris' sympathetic character in "Baby Face" (1933), she also appeared in the Ginger Rogers film "Professional Sweetheart" (same year), and emerged as Rogers' COMPETITION in the movie, with absolutely no racial connotations in the role.

 

Dan N.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Refering to sjacks comments...

I am not black but I too have noticed in many pre code films a more natural interaction between races.

I have to say also that pe code also treated women better. Although they were potrayed in a more sexual way it was on their terms. Mae West is a perfect example of this. She was naughty but it was HER decision. They did not make her look dumb as they did many of the 50's& 60's sex comedies with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Masfield.

Compare Thelma Todd and Jean Harlow to Monroe and Mansfield and see what I mean. The only time a woman could be naughty AND smart after the code seems to be in a Howard Hawks film...

Can you tell that I am a woman...LOL

Link to post
Share on other sites

> Refering to sjacks comments...

> I am not black but I too have noticed in many pre

> code films a more natural interaction between races.

> I have to say also that pe code also treated women

> better.

 

Not always, there are a few disappointing pre-code films that seek to put women "in their place" but on the whole I agree with you. At least pre-code movies take women seriously.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Yeah, I've noticed that relations between races are, if not friendly, then amiable in pre-code films. That Hays Code was so puritanical though . . . part of it stipulated that sexual relations between races could not be shown. For example, a black man and a white woman could not be portrayed as married.

 

I'm glad the Hays Code fell apart.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
© 2020 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...