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Looking for Documentary on Pre-Code Movies


texGal

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I am looking for the Documentary on Pre-Code movies narrated by Jane Fonda. I was absolutely mesmorized by that film. I always considered my self to be a sort of Feminist but I knew nothing about women being in power in that time. Or was it all just Movie Magic? I saw the film that had the secretary sleeping her way to the top but what other films do you recommend. I'm looking for the documentary because I think it would make a great "book club" suggestion for my womens group. What other 5 films do you suggest?

 

Thanks for your help.

(I hope I only posted this once. Forgive me if I did it 2 times)

TexGal

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It's called Complicated Women 2003 Not available on Home Video However it may show up on TCM or there is Part 1 of 4 on youtube. Or read the Mick LaSalle book - Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood available at Amazon.com

and Welcome to the forums...

 

 

vallo

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I really like this documentary as well. I'd love to have it on DVD. It aired recently, but unfortunately isn't airing again anytime soon. I don't think women were really in power in the early 30's (sadly, women have rarely ever been in power), but many precode movies would like us to think so. And they do it in a very entertaining way.

 

The book is excellent and just came out not too long ago in paperback. As for movies, the documentary suggests a few good choices. For Precode 101 (to quote Mick LaSalle) and films that are available, try Baby Face (the one with the secretary (Barbara Stanwyck) sleeping her way up the building) Female (a fun gender-switch with Ruth Chatterton as a female auto exec sleeping her way through her secretaries--though the final five minutes don;t really fit with the rest of the movie) Red Headed Woman, either She Done Him Wrong or I'm No Angel w/ Mae West and one or more the Busby Berkely musicals, especially Gold Diggers of 1933. Red Dust is another good choice, but not available on DVD, though it may be around on VHS? no idea.

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Not to get political but feminists don't generally use their sexuality to get to the top of the ladder, so some of these movies were not feminists in nature IMO.

 

*Baby Face* is an example of sleeping to the top but I would not say a feminist would enjoy it, or even *Red Headed woman*. In both of those the woman was still reliant on men although she uses them as tools. Both are great movies though and years ahead of their time.

 

*Female* is more of a feminist movie, a female CEO that uses men to her advantage, although the ending in not what a feminist would like. Of all the movies I think this is probably the top one to see.

 

*Cimarron* 1931 could be partly considered a feminist movie because the wife has to carry on without the husband and becomes powerful without him in the second half of the movie. The first part is the standard wife husband act although even this movie is not great in term of feminism. Your book club might not like this one though.

 

*Call Her Savage* may be partly feminist because the lead character does not conform to female ideals of the time, even being compared to her father. There is also an interracial baby which is a spoiler.

 

*The Sin of Madelon Claudet* is a great movie where a woman has a baby she does not want, but uses her life to care for it financially by making money as a hooker and gives in to great sacrifice. Again the ending is not what a feminist would want, of the five movies above only *Cimarron* has the woman in real power at the end, although the other movies women still have financial power.

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