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Pre-Code Films


Guest TCMhost-Joy

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ONE WAY PASSAGE...what a weepie! The ending is so sad, I always have tears in my eyes when I see it. Ah...the "paradise cocktail." Anyone know what's in one, or was it just named that for the movie.

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Guest Lorusso, Ed

Hey Alix--I finally saw Jewel Robbery again and loved it. I must have slept thru it before. It was quite lively and funny. And Kay of course looked great. She had quite a flair for comedy, and you're right--given the crap they gave her, she still managed to be wonderful in almost film I've seen. Even the lousy Women in the Wind had some unintentionally funny moments and Kay was good. One Way Passage may be the most underrated romance film of all time. Absolutely perfect! Aside from Francis and William Powell, Pat O'Brien, Frank McHugh, and Aline McMahon are also good. Hell, I even like the fat woman who sings in the trio at the beginning!!!!

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Guest Lorusso, Ed

One Way Passage was such a big hit, it was remade as Til We Meet Again in the 40s with Merle Oberon and George Brent (I think)... It wasn't so good............

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Aline MacMahon is a big favorite of mine. I requested a passel of her movies and believe it or not, some are going to be shown in May! I think she's very underrated, and is usually fabulous in any movie she appears in. Can't wait to see her movies. Glad you like JEWEL ROBBERY. I love the ending. "Nice, yes I'll go to Nice, on the first available train...." How utterly pre-Code!

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Thanks! I will certainly try and get it on tape. Regarding Charles Starrett: get a copy of JUNGLE BRIDE! Tell me what you think! I've missed taping MAST OF FU MANCHU more than once, and it's always been on my "want to see" list. Maybe it will replay soon. TCM seems to play a lot of Myrna Loy movies.

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Guest son, jery

Alix, you would have loved an interview Aline MacMahon gave a few years ago to the Sunday NYTimes and she told all about the juicy nitty gritty in the making of ONE WAY PASSAGE.' She remembered the cast and crew shot the outdoor, or boat shots, on this horrible, rickety old back-lot. The water was so black and fiflthy, that everyone had to get tetanus shots before the filming began. For lunch, they got these stale old box lunches. She said she was always given a stale baloony sandwich and a bottle of lukewarm milk that she couldnt drink. They had to wear the same wardrobe for days in that blazing hot sun. Warner Brothers was too cheap to have the clothes cleaned at the end of each day like MGM. She remembered that by the end of that location shooting, even Kay Francis threw that one particular gown she wears in several scenes into the water because it was so soiled and drenched in sweat. But--you'd never know it by looking at the gorgeous Kay. by the way, in my copy of Picture Play for NOvember 1929, they've got a great one-page spread of Kay Francis modeling all types of great outfits. The caption read: "Hollywood is predicting a bright future for our latest arrival from Broadway!"

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OH! I'd have loved to have read that interview! I think everyone's read how "primative" some of the conditions were in early films, and this legend just proves it! Can you imagine being asked to wear the same sweaty, smelly dress day after day? Kay always looks cool, calm, collected and sexy!

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest K, Sandy

Hey, everyone, don't forget to tune in to TCM tonight! They're showing a few pre-codes starring Barbara Stanwyck starting with the infamous BABY FACE at 8PM EST.

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Did anyone see ILLICIT, PURCHASE PRICE, or LADIES THEY TALK ABOUT? I thought they were all mediocre, but worth the time to see Barbara Stanwyck. Who was the mail order husband in PURCHASE PRICE? Was that George Brent?

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Guest son, jery

Alix, I'm watching "Illicit" and the others you mentioned this weekend. From what I've seen of "Illicit", it was too much talk, talk, talk. Especially after that killer-diller of a goodie, "Night Nurse." I just love those pre-code titles. They suggest so much. "Ladies They Talk About," "Illicit." You've gotta see "Female", another pre-coder with a terrific Ruth Chatterton and a gorgeous George Brent, who she married right after filming. She goes through all her stable of,eh, men, at the company she heads.

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I've always wanted to catch FEMALE, but haven't seen it. Has TCM played it? I like Ruth Chatterton a lot, but George Brent--yawn! Sorry, he'll not make it into the Babe-a-licious Hall of Fame!

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Guest son, jery

You're right about almost-**** George Brent. I think we should invent a new category for those guys who come close to being in that legendary Babe-A-Licious category. Why not something like "Um-Um-Good." Or do you have another name for these would-be's?

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Guest son, jery

Or, we could cut it down even more with "Border Babes!" Because there were so many male hotties back in the 20s and 30s who just never had a chance to strut their stuff.

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No, just being realistic. Other "second stringers" in my book would include Chester Morris and Gene Raymond. Not bad guys, just not up to the Babe-a-licious Hall of Fame.

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Guest K, Sandy

TCM will be showing some pre-codes the next couple of weeks. COLLEGE COACH 1933 Thu. April 18 5:30AM EST starring Dick Powell, Ann Dvorak LORD BYRON OF BROADWAY 1930 Thu. April 18 9AM EST starring Charles Kaley, Ethelind Terry SADIE MCKEE 1934 Thu. April 18 12PM EST starring Joan Crawford. I realize that this may be post-code, but 1930's Crawford is always good. THE FRONT PAGE 1931 Fri. April 19 6AM EST starring Pat O'Brien, Adolphe Menjou THE THIN MAN 1934 Sat. April 20 6PM EST starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. MATA HARI 1931 Tue. April 23 10:15PM EST starring Greta Garbo, Ramon Navarro A WOMAN OF EXPERIENCE 1932 Wed. April 24 3AM EST starring Helen Twelvetrees, ZaSu Pitts BOMBSHELL 1933 Sun. April 28 8AM EST starring Jean Harlow, Lee Tracy THE MAYOR OF HELL 1933 Mon. April 29 9AM EST starring James Cagney, Madge Evans SMILIN' THROUGH 1932 Tue. April 30 6AM EST starring Norma Shearer, Leslie Howard. Enjoy!

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Guest son, jery

Sandy, I'll have my blank tapes ready to burn on my VCR! Thanks for the tip! We really should hand it to TCM for showing all these incredibly hard to find goodies. I'm building up a wonderful pre-code library. And the majority of these wonderful gems is that they aren't even available on video and God knows, on DVD.

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Guest K, Sandy

You're right, jeryson, a big thank you is in order for TCM for showing these films! It does seem as though they are scheduling more 1930's films lately.

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Johnny Mack Brown Alert! I just saw that THE SINGLE STANDARD starring our own Johnny Mack Brown, Greta Garbo and Nils Asther will be shown on June 5. Ud pert...don't miss this one!

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Guest son, jery

Alix, I'm still fanning myself wildly after I fainted! Oh, boy, will I be there with my blank tapes in hand, my Johnny Mack Brown scrapbook opened! I think John B. had a wonderful chemistry with those MGM gals! I always thought he should have married Anita Page in real life, as he did in "Our Dancing Daughters." Eh, Ud Pert, you might want to skip this movie (>wink, wink<).

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  • 2 months later...

I did a search of the TCM library today, under Anita Page's name, and I uncovered a wealth of pre-Code movies! Has anyone seen the following? WAR NURSE (1930), THE EASIEST WAY (1931), FREE AND EASY (1930), and NIGHT COURT (1932)? Some of these sound positively juicy, and I've not noticed them being shown lately. Also, lovely Anita's birthday will be August 4. I think she'll be 92. I wish I'd seen that sooner, so I could have requested an Anita birthday extravaganza. Please, request these four Anita Page movies for me.

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