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I bet THAT would have never passed The Code!

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Recently, I was watching a tape of Merian Cooper's "Lucky Devils" from 1933. The movie plot revolves around a group of Hollywood stunt aviators. Daredevil flying, good natured 'ribbing' and a bit of romance is thrown into the plot mix.


About half-way through the movie is a scene with one stunt pilot in the air and in big trouble but, does not know it. A buddy aviator sees the problem, flies his plane within signaling distance and attempts to make contact with the 'in trouble pilot' (using hand gestures). The 'about to go down' pilot misunderstands what his buddy is trying to communicate and responds to the hand gestures with one of his own--he flips him off.


He does what?


You know...the bird...the middle finger..."up yours".


I thought, "He flipped him off!"


I re-wound the tape and played 'er again. "He flipped him off...again!"


I called my wife into the living room, re-wound the tape and played the scene.

We both said, "He flipped him off! That never would have made it past the censors!"


To get to a point.


Anyone have any other examples of blatant violation of the censorship code? That is, if filmed after The Code?



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I never saw this in Lucky Devils, but Robert Armstrong flips the bird in The Lost Squadron, under those circumstances. It's a pre--Code film in any case, but it might have passed, given that Armstrong immediately dies for his sin, thereby sending a firm moral message to the youth of America. If you give someone the finger you will die in flames.


There's a very long distance, very soft focus shot of Jane Wyatt's stunt double getting out of a river **** in Lost Horizon. I have no doubt a body stocking is involved, but the concept itself is in violation of the Code and I'm curious as to how they got it past the Breen Office, even if you really can't see anything. Also in the Code era, the pokies provided by Fay Wray and Miriam Hopkins (Richest Girl in the World) and Ann Sheridan (The Man Who Came to Dinner) are quite notable. Strangely, Sheridan is prominent only in one of the two angles from which the scene was shot. Did she misplace her bra between setups?

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In "The Front Page" (1931), I remember something like: a reporter greeting the mayor with a middle finger, slightly obscured by his other hand, and says "Hi Mayor". Plus, Adolphe Menjou delivers the last line in the movie: "That son of a **** stole my watch!"

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How about Joel McCrea's winky popping out of his pajamas in a scene from "The Palm Beach Story" (1942).


It happens in the bedroom when Claudette Colbert is leaving him and she pins a note on his PJs. He wakes up and begins to chase her, and coming back for his robe he jumps on the bed, and for an instant it pops out.

If anyone is interested, run it in slow motion.


It makes you wonder how it got past the censors at that time.

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If it's OK to add more movies that somehow did pass the Code, I'd like to cite The Sky's the Limit (1943). Fred Astaire accompanies Joan Leslie to a USO canteen, and the canteen hostess approaches them:


HOSTESS: Joan, darling, one of the acts can?t get here. Can you fill in?


JOAN: Oh, sure. That?s why I?m here. I?d like you to meet Mr....


HOSTESS (glances at Fred): Can he do anything?


FRED: I can wash dishes.


JOAN (ironic): Oh, Mr. Burton can do anything. Didn?t you say you could, darling?


FRED: In a way.


HOSTESS (indicates Joan, speaks to Fred) Could you--could you do anything with her?


FRED (practically licks his lips): Could I!

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That's okay. Remember that I once told you, in all seriousness, that I thought Trevor Howard was Leslie Howard's son? Now THAT was embarrassing.


And now for one of those pre-code moments...something that ran recently. Oh yeah, it was Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. There was a raucous twenties-style party going on and the camera pans the crowd. At one of the tables sat a couple of women, one was in "man-drag" and was giving disapproving glances at her table mate as she ogled what's-his-name. (You know, him, that tango guy.)




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> How about all the bra-less actresses, like Jean

> Harlow, and Fay Wray in "King Kong" and Greta Garbo

> in "Anna Karenina" blew my perception that women were

> conservative and prude back in the day, hey I'm not

> complaining.


Anybody watch (and remember) the Howard Hughes festival in November 2004? The Film "The Mating Call". Renee Adoree goes swimming, and for a brief moment, there is, um, full frontal nudity. So much for "Blowup" being the first western feature film to um, you know...


Apparently this film had faded from collective memory until 2004. Robert Osbourne said that although it was a hit, this showing was the first since its original release (probably more because of the **** theme rather than the nudity)...and I wonder if the programmer(s) had bothered to watch it before it aired either...because it was aired at 8pm EST!

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In the Howard Hughes 1930 classic HELL'S ANGELS, the 2 brothers/heroes are flying a big 2 engine german bi-plane on a secret mission for the Royal Flying Corps. The german plane was patched up and assigned to fly into german territory and bomb a german ammo dump. They successfully bombed the dump, but during the get-away they were attacked by german fighters. Finally their friends in the R.F.C. appeared and try to fight off the german fighters. One of their good friends flies up close to them and starts waving...they wave back but obviously do not recognize their good friend. Finally in frustration their good friend rips off his flying helmut and says...."IT'S ME G'D DAMMIT, IT'S ME...BALDY." I played this back several times, and he says the same thing everytime.

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I'm confused. You ask if anyone knows of things that got past the Hays office once "The Code" went into effect, but most of the posts write about Pre Code movies. And "Lucky Devils" the film you mention, if it came out in 1933, was actually Pre Code as well.


The Production Code crackdown occurred in June 1934.

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I apologize for any confusion about the topic:

"Anything you have seen in a pre-Production Code movie that, if the movie had been made and released after mid-1934, would have been censored by the Production Code Administration."


No forum requirements that posts must be relevant to the thread's original subject line. It's a free-for-all.


So...go for it. Include movies produced from 1934 to 1967--things you noticed that made it past the censors.



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Ok, I?ve got one... In ?Watch on the Rhine? the hero, who fights Nazis and is hiding out in Washington DC at the time, meets a guy (an American) who finds out who he is and who threatens to report him to the German Embassy if he doesn?t come up with some bribe money, so the hero gets mad and takes the guy out in the garden of the house and shoots him. Everyone in the house covers up the crime. The film plot takes place before Pearl Harbor and before the US enters the war, so there is still a German Embassy in Washington.


This was considered to be a ?cold blooded murder? back in Code days, and it wasn?t supposed to happen, or, the hero was supposed to die or be punished.


However, by the time the film was released, we were at war with the Nazis, and so this cold blooded murder was allowed to slip by without the hero being punished.

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How about Clara Bow in CALL HER SAVAGE? There is a scene where she whips Gilbert Roland! Then she takes off on her horse with her sheer white blouse cut low, and clingy, nipples clearly visible.


Here's another one from FOOTLIGHT PARADE. Joan Blondel is introducing her girl friend Vivian Rich to Cagney, by saying, "This is Miss Vivian B-Rich." Classic!

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