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jasta

Why so few pre-code films?

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During the past few weeks, there has been a drastic reduction in the number of pre-code films shown. Why?

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3 hours ago, jasta said:

During the past few weeks, there has been a drastic reduction in the number of pre-code films shown. Why?

I love pre-codes but I don't think there has been a 'drastic reduction';   for one thing to have such a reduction TCM would have to show a lot of pre-codes to begin with and that has never been the case.

Anyhow,   with the June jazz theme (which featured 50s and 60s films mostly since jazz was at it peak),  Ann Sheridan as SOTM,  and other theme based programming there was likly a few less pre-codes shown during June.

As Scarlett said; tomorrow is another day.     Hopefully there are more pre-codes in the future.

 

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Plus, silent films aren't shown often except on Silent Sunday night, and "the code" came into practice by 1933...?  '34?

One of my favorite pre-code films is THREE ON A MATCH (1932).  I love that one! 

 

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11 minutes ago, Allhallowsday said:

Plus, silent films aren't shown often except on Silent Sunday night, and "the code" came into practice by 1933...?  '34?

One of my favorite pre-code films is THREE ON A MATCH (1932).  I love that one! 

 

The code started to be enforced in July of 1934,  based on the release date of a film;   This is why some films made in the early 30s have two versions;  e.g. Mari Hari with Greta Garbo.    This was re-released by MGM after July 1934 and thus subject to now-we-are-enforcing-it "code".    Sadly this is the version that is played by TCM and most other stations today.    The pre-code 1931 version is hard to locate.

As for Three on a Match;   Love that film.    I find Ann Dvorak to be one of my favorite 'pre-code' actresses;  While she did many films after the code was enforced her screen persona was much more suited for pre-codes and she lost some of that after 1934.         The entire cast of this film is great with minor roles for two future superstars in Bette Davis and Bogie.      Bette even does cheesecake!

 Three on a Match (1932)

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I've always found the term "pre-code" something of a misnomer. The Production Code was adopted in 1930, so "pre-code" would apply only to those films made before 1930, strictly speaking. A more accurate term might be "lax" or "loose" code, when the Hays Office took a less stringent stance toward enforcement, compared to films made during and after 1934, when Joe Breen took over the newly-formed Production Code Administration. Happily, we can now see the "pre-laundered" version of THE PUBLIC ENEMY (1931), with scenes and dialogue restored that had been edited out on re-release under the Code. And we can't forget BABY FACE (1933). I love the movies of the early 30s, and wish we could see many more of them on TCM.

Edited by skipd55
incorrect date of BABY FACE
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8 minutes ago, skipd55 said:

I've always found the term "pre-code" something of a misnomer. The Production Code was adopted in 1930, so "pre-code" would apply only to those films made before 1930, strictly speaking. A more accurate term might be "lax" or "loose" code, when the Hays Office took a less stringent stance toward enforcement, compared to films made during and after 1934, when Joe Breen took over the newly-formed Production Code Administration. Happily, we can now see the "pre-laundered" version of THE PUBLIC ENEMY (1931), with scenes and dialogue restored that had been edited out on re-release under the Code. And we can't forget BABY FACE (1932). I love the movies of the early 30s, and wish we could see many more of them on TCM.

Well said!     I'm always careful on how I interpret the term "pre-code" since I have found people use it differently;       Your use 'matches'  mine.    

e.g.  is pre-code a genre,  like westerns?   I don't view pre-code as a genre.     To me this is an important distinction since some folks define all films released from 1930 - 1934 as "pre-code".      I only will label a film pre-code if it has what I define as pre-code content;   i.e. content that would have to be removed or altered after the code was enforced.

E.g. most westerns made during the pre-code era are NOT pre-code films since they have no pre-code content,  but there are a few pre-code Westerns - films that fall under the western genre that have pre-code content. 

 

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It's just easier to refer to it that way, I guess, although TCM hosts aren't unaware of the distinctions, and I have seen them refer to films as "early Code" before, for example. I agree pre-Code isn't really a genre, though TCM has essentially marketed them as such.

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