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Great Pre-Codes in October


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It was mentioned in another thread that Murders in the Zoo (1933) is scheduled on TCM in October. I hadn't even looked that far ahead. Browsing through - it looks like there's a nice selection of pre-codes coming.

 

Some titles interesting to me:

 

*Behind the Mask (1932)* - With Constance Cummings and Boris Karloff. Karloff is one of my all time favorites! I don't have this one in my collection. Very exciting. Constance Cummings is nice to. One of those classic beauties that I've only recently discovered.

 

*Black Moon (1934)* - With Fay Wray. The description sounds great: "A woman returning to her island birthplace finds herself drawn to a voodoo cult." Can't wait to see this. Another one missing from my collection.

 

*One Romantic Night (1930)* - With Lillian Gish. One of my favorite actresses. I don't have this title either. Had never even heard of it. Doesn't sound like an "infamous" pre-code plot: "A princess engaged to a prince falls for her brother's tutor." But being an early sound era film with Lillian Gish makes it essential viewing.

 

Wow! If TCM stays the course and sticks to the schedule, October is going to be a great month!

 

What are others excited about?

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Your suspicion about One Romantic Night is correct. There's nothing precodish about it, really. In fact it's rather a dud. But you'll see what I mean when you watch it. It ruined all Lillian's mystique she had from the silent era, and didn't capture her natural beauty, despite the fancy clothes they gave her to wear. Plus her voice wasn't impressive for the early mics.

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"Lillian's mystique" for sure! I have Lillian Gish to thank for inspiring my interest in silent films. While in college, I ran across a book on silent film stars in a used book store in which was a full-page photo of Lillian Gish. In that picture she was so breathtakingly beautiful - other-worldly - a goddess! It literally took my breath away. From that moment I was on the hunt for her films. Of course that led to an interest in D.W. Griffith, Dorothy Gish, silent films in general, other stars (Clara Bow, Mary Pickford, etc.). Thank you Miss Gish!

 

I have seen very few talkies with Lillian Gish so I am really looking forward to October on TCM.

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I think my favorite performance of hers in a talkie was as the nun in *Portrait of Jennie*, with Joe Cotten and Jennifer Jones. TCM runs that a lot. Lillian's part is small but memorable. She has such a beautiful glow and elegant beauty as that nun. She captured the character perfectly. It was quite a different nun performance than years earlier in The White Sister. In the silent it seemed she chose that life as a compromise. In Portrait of Jennie it's obvious her faith is real and solid.

 

She was terrific in Night of the Hunter but the film is too creepy for me to watch more than once. Even with Lillian in the cast.

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I love NIGHT OF THE HUNTER. The whole cast is terrific! I love the way Lillian delivers her line about having "something trapped in my barn". Her character know the evil that is Harry Powell. Laughton even uses some expressionist sets in this film that at times gives it a a kind of '20s "German" look.

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