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Pre-Code Films


Guest TCMhost-Joy

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Drednm, I did a little research on the IMDB, and found out that the following companies are responsible for the films you mentioned:SCARLET EMPRESS -- ParamountTROUBLE IN PARADISE -- ParamountTHE TRESPASSER -- Gloria Productions (United Artists, distributors)IMITATION OF LIFE 1934 -- UniversalI do not know if TCM holds prints of these Universal, Paramount and Gloria (U.A.) films. I do know that every now and then a paramount will creep into the line up (like some of the W.C. Fields pictures) so I'd go ahead and try to request them. You have nothing to lose. I recently purchased a brand new, factory sealed copy of the 1934 version of IMITATION OF LIFE, and was excited to not only see Claudette Colbert & Louise Beavers, but a fine performance by none other than Warren William! BTW...to check the production company on the IMDB, just type in the name of the movie you want (you may have to also type in the year, once the movie comes up) and once you get the right movie up on the screen, click on "Company Credits."

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Guest precodekd

Thanks for the information on Convention City- I've never heard of it and from what you say, it does sound fascinating! Joan Blondell is the best- she is in my opinion a very underappreciated actress- Blondie Johnson gave her the opportunity to show everything she possessed as an actress. I am wondering if you saw her in the great farce, Havana Widows? I admire her ability to be brash and racy yet still have a kind of dignity.

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I too would love to see CONVENTION CITY, simply because it sounds so incredibly outrageous. In the book "Sin in Soft Focus" the plot is outlined, and can hardly be believed. What amazes me is that it was ever released in the first place.Joan Blondell is a treasure. I saw her in HAVANA WIDOWS and thought she was great. She is good in the role of the wisecracking blonde. I also liked her in BLONDE CRAZY with James Cagney. I think this is the one which spoofs Cagney's manhandling reputation with women by having Blondell slap him silly several times. Cagney plays it soooo cool, like only he could do it, and it still if effective today.

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Anyone remember her? She was in lots of pre-Code pictures and was a funny comedienne. I saw her in SO LONG LETTY (a wife-swapping movie from 1929!!) and in one called PARTY GIRL with Loretta Young. I remember Mr. Osborne saying she married one of the directors, but can't remember who it was. Anyone remember?

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Guest precodekd

I understand your feeling about the great Me West. She's so well known that one tends to forget about her wise-cracking sly sophisticated comedies. Has anyone ever noticed that there is no sex in a Me West film- it's all racy and full of great double entendre which is so much more fun and wildly outrageous than the sleaziest scenes of today.. You have to love her for always being in control, and taking the lead in seductions.. nice to see a big gorgeous hunk of woman on screen- why don't we have any modern versions of her? These films are gems- it's merely that there are so many forgotten lesser known women out there. How about if TCM did a series called something like Tough Talking Dames of the 30's? And while were on the subject of mature women in film- does anybody love Ruth Chatterton as much as I do?

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Guest precodekd

Why oh why is this movie so seldom on? Even seventy years later, this is a hallmark of sophisticated sexuality on the screen. That is why these Per-Code movies shine- they are gritty or glamorous and they show how difficult life was for men and women trying to redefine themselves following the free wheeling twenties. I especially like the fact that women are often shown as strong and complicated- and generally far superior to the woman on screen today!

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Guest clore

These are all in the hands of MCA-Universal, or Studios USA as they call themselves now.That's why any homevid releases of these are on the MCA label.I would love to see the early Cooper and Randolph Scott westerns, as well as any that might have been shot at the Astoria Studios in Queens, which is within walking distance of my home, and where now exists the Museum of the Moving Image.

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Guest GrapeJug

It seems like I need to add more to my pre-code repertoire. What I have seen numbers about ten films. Does anyone have any essential pre-code movies I hould look for? Another note, I did catch the documentary on Oscar Micheaux, and both the films that claire mentioned. And I think it was wonderfully out of place for him to have worked when he did. It does show that not everyone shared the same ideals. Thanks also to clore for the IMDb link.

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Guest precodekd

Well there are so many that I think are essential but i'll narrow it down to a few for you, grapejug!Ladies they Talk About- great Barbara Stanwyck filmSkyscraper Souls- really exciting bit of New York- with the superb Warren WilliamThree on a Match- one of the most fast paced and interesting movies of this period. Ann Dvorak is great as are Joan Blondell and a very young Bette Davis.One Way Passage- one of the best romantic films of that or any other time- and who can resist ay Francis in anything?And, after watching it yesterday definitely- Mandalay- a truly remarkable gem.Footlight Parade- Which has one of the gretest numbers in history in it- By a Waterfall.There are many more- i've got to rack my brian but that is a good start! Hope Alix will also give you some great ideas..

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I will certainly try to help. You've probably noticed this is my favorite topic! The list below is in no certain order, and possibly you've seen some of these already on TCM. If not, get on the "request" link and request them! 1) Baby Face (1933) -- Barbara Stanwyck is fantastic!2) Red Headed Woman (1932) -- Ditto Jean Harlow3) Red Dust (1932)--Harlow Gable = fantastic movie4) Dinner at Eight (1932) Top notch cast. 5) Night Nurse (1932)-- More Stanwyck, Joan Blondell and Gable as a menacing chauffeur.6) Three on a Match (1932, I think) -- Grapejug already recommend it, and I second that!7) Employee's Entrance -- Warren William at his slimiest! Skyscraper Souls (mentioned by Grapejug) is also a good one with Warren William.8) Heroes for Sale -- If it's a problem in society, it's probably in this movie. Stars Richard Barthlemess, Loretta Young and the fabulous Aline MacMahon.9) 42nd Street, Gold Diggers of '33 and Footlight Parade -- excellent examples of musicals with Busby Berkley directing the dance numbers. Watch them all! Gold Diggers of 33 has Aline MacMahon in it!10) Jewel Robbery (1932) -- Quite a gem with Wm. Powell and Kay Francis. Request this one today!!11) Dr. Monica or Mary Stevens, MD -- Kay Francis as a doctor! Both are good.12) Beast of the City -- Jean Harlow as a crime moll.13) Five Star Final -- Excellent newspaper story. Edward G. Robinson Boris Karloff (as an unscruplious reporter).14) Hold Your Man -- Harlow + Gable, with Harlow in reform school.15) The Dentist -- Just saw this one, and boy, if it's not qualified as a pre-Code gem, then I don't know what is! W.C. Fields at his finest and funniest.16) Blonde Crazy --Cagney and Blondell with Blondell slapping Cagney silly in this one.17) Beauty for Sale -- Rarely shown (please request this) but very effective story of three beauty shop girls trying to sort out relationships with their men (rich sugar daddy, married man, rich playboy) Absolutely excellent!I'm sure the minute I post this thing, I'll think of another that you simply MUST see! Happy viewing!

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Guest precodekd

How could I neglect to mention the wonderful Babyface? Also there is the riveting crime drama- Safe in Hell- not sure of the year but it's terrific.Also a couple of early Crawford gems-1. Possessed (1931)Crawfor runs away to the big city and gets involved with a man out of wedlock- he just happens to be Gable- their chemistry is electric on screen.2.Our Blushing Brides- Crawford and tow other girls live together and are tired of being wage slaves at a large department store- Crawford is the idealist, Anita Page becomes a kept gal and the thirs actress falls in with a gangster. Great scenes with Crawford modeling first lingeire then an entire season worth of Adrain creations. Female- Ruth Chatterton runs a large automobile factory and lives life by her own rules.I am thirlled to note that you are another big fan of Aline MacMahon- likewise Kay Francis- Dr.Monica is one of my favorites too. Keep missing Heroes for Sale- have you seen Wild Boys of the Road? Really different kind of film- gritty and realistic.Blonde Crazy is also a great choice- you certainly know your genre! By the way, did you catch the incredible Mandalay last night? I can't wait to ehar what you thought of it. Who are the stars of Beauty for Sale?I ought to add House of 56th Street to this list too. Kay Frances outdoes herself in that one as well.

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I told ya I struggled with that list! I knew I'd leave something "vital" off of it. SAFE IN HELL is an excellent film (talk about a naughty one!) and I enjoyed Dorothy MacKaill's performance. Yes, it belongs on the must-see list too.I have not seen POSESSED, HOUSE ON 56TH STREET (although I'm a huge Kay Francis fan), or FEMALE (darned VCR was set wrong, and I missed taping this one). They are all on my "want to see lists," especially POSESSED, as I always enjoy Gable & Crawford. Talk about chemistry! Ruth Chatterton is a wonderful actress and I'd love to see her films revived too. I caught MANDALAY on tape, but haven't had the time to watch it yet. Since it stars Kay Francis, though, I'm sure I'll like it. I almost put OUR BLUSHING BRIDES on the list, but didn't when the list got so long. I love the interplay between the girls, and I think Anita Page is so beautiful in this one. (She was also gorgeous in THE BROADWAY MELODY). I had trouble deciding between WILD BOYS OF THE ROAD and HEROES FOR SALE, and although I ultimately chose HEROES, I have seen WILD BOYS several times, and think it belongs on a must-see list too. The social commentaries of the pre-Code period fascinate me (HEROES, WILD BOYS, GABRIEL OVER THE WHITE HOUSE...).Now for Aline MacMahon. What a wonderful lady. Just knowing she is in a movie is enough to induce me to watch it. Although she's usually a comedienne, catch her in HEROES FOR SALE, as the woman who keeps Richard Barthlemess' home fires buring. She is definately one of my favs.WOW...what a great discussion! It's been fun!

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I decided the other post was getting too long, so I started a new one for this movie. It is an underappreciated, underseen gem of a pre-Code. It dates to 1933 and stars Madge Evans as Letty Lawson, Una Merkel as Carol Merrick, andFlorine McKinney as Jane. These three work in an exclusive beauty parlor for the rich, and dream of getting "out." Letty falls for a married man, Carol finds herself a sugar daddy, and Jane gets a rich, mama's boy. Otto Kruger plays Letty's love interest, and he does it well (I know, hard to see him as a romantic, but it works!). Una Merkel (another fav of mine) is fabulous as the gold digger who wants a man & his money, but then when isn't she fabulous?? The director was Richard Boleslawski, and in case you think I knew all this in my head, I didn't. Thanks to www.imdb.com again for helping me with the cast and crew.The film's rating on the IMDB (registered voters can cast their vote for the "grade" each movie gets) is 7.9 out of 10, so that let's you know right there that it's a goodie. Request this one right now, and maybe it'll be shown again, like it deserves to be.

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Guest drednm

Thankx for the update. The selling our of film libraries has gotten so confusing it's almost impossible to figure out who NOW owns various films. Many studio libraries were parceled out by years. Anyway, I wish TCM would offer a comprehensive list of films (with year of release) in their vaults. Then we'd have an idea as to what still exists, what is probably lost, etc. Even though TCM owns thousands of films, someone must have compiled a list ... why not make it available?

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Guest precodekd

I think that ay Frances and Ruth Chatterton deserve a lot more recognition than they get- and Aline and Ulna go right on that list too. Also the marvelous Veree Teasdale. Always thrilled to find another Frances fan so please let me know some of your favorite films of hers. Maybe if we get enough people together, tcm will put Beauty for Sale on. Crawford is also fantastic in the film, Paid- which is seldom shown. One film that id love to see on some point in the near future would be the silent- Sally, Irene and Mary- have you seen that one? It's pretty evident that I need to see Heroes for Sale- Aline practically steals the show in One Way Passage- a difficult thing to do with Powell and Frances- do you kknow the name of the guy who played Steve in this? Also, have you ever seen a silly hilarious little film called Kanses City Princess? Little seen Joan Blondell gem- I think her pal is played by Una Merkel. I am also a big fan of Glenda Farrell... Every time I think of one movie or star in the pre-code days there seem so many more that come up...Anyhow, great chatting with you!

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I am a big Kay Francis fan. She was sooo lovely, and boy, could she wear the clothes! My favorites of her movies include: ONE WAY PASSAGE, JEWEL ROBBERY, MY BILL (not a pre-code, but a sweet, heartwarming movie from about 1938), DR. MONICA, and MARY STEVENS,MD. I taped MANDALAY the other day, but haven't had a chance to see it.

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Guest precodekd

Good choices- wait till you see the 1937 film Confession. One Way Passage is a charming film- and I love My Bill.In the after the code category, you ought to see Comet Over roadway. I was amazed at the boldness of Mandalay- her clothes are spectacular and she gets to sing as well. Nobody has ever worn an outfit, before or since in quite the way she did! Did you know there will be an entire day of her films on the 18th?Have you seen her in Wonder Bar? I was lucky enough to see this a few years ago at a screening- it's hardly ever on but well worth searching out. Do you know of other movies with similar story lines to Beauty for Sale? Love the gold digger- girls trying to make it in the hard world of depression America tales.

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Guest precodekd

Thanks for the link- wonder if we will ever have a chance to see Sally Eilers in Bad Girl on TCM? The first poster is probably far sexier than anything in the movie though...

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I have seen WONDER BAR and it is a fine example of a pre-Code movie. I saw it on TCM awhile ago. I was sooooooo disappointed when I finally watched my tape of MANDALAY. Apparently, my satellite company was having a hard time receiving the signal, and the all I had was the audio when Tony decides to fake his suicide. The video portion was gone until Tony knocks on her door while she's under confinement. What a disappointment! I gasp as much as Kay did when Tony reappeared, as I thought he was gone.Kay never looked lovlier. That white dress and hat with the large flower were exquisite. I liked her sequined dress as "Spot White" too, but thought her hair very unattractive plastered down against her head.

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Guest crisopera

I just saw THE STRANGE LOVE OF MOLLY LOUVAIN, a rather confused pre-Code melodrama, which featured some great snappy dialogue and chemistry between Ann Dvorak and Lee Tracy (another favorite). It's too bad they didn't retain the original book title - "Tinsel Girl." I always wondered why Dvorak never became the huge star she should have - she reminds me a lot of Bette Davis, who was, I guess, her contemporary, with the same kind of feverish intensity, even the same huge eyes! But she faded out fairly quickly.And, WORD to all the movies already mentioned. It's my favorite movie period.PS - I know why Lee Tracy's career faded - during the filming of Viva Villa, he took a leak on the assembled Mexican soldiers below his balcony. Not smart. He was flown home and replaced (in a hurry) with Stu Erwin.

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Guest Cindy

She is one of my many fave stars.Probably one of the reasons why she never became a big star as Bette was - was because she didn't get the "big roles" that Bette eventually fought for and got. Ann was great though in Three on a Match. Also, I enjoyed her in G-Men, College Coach, Crowd Roars. Just to name a few.

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Guest precodekd

I am so sorry that you missed so much of Mandalay! Yep Kays plastered down hair was one of her least attractive looks- but one can forgive her for an occasional lapse. Someone on imdb thought the film was bad and stated that the music was filler for the lazy plot. I felt that the song she sang gained significance as the film progressed. True Kay's character wasn't sympathetic all the time- but all those months of being Spot White would have made anyone a little hard bolied. I liked her chemistry with costar Lyle Talbot and thought the ending very satisfying. By the way, whatever happened to Talbot? Anyone know?

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