Tag Archives: Pre-Code

In Honor of Fredric March

… whose birthday it is today, here is a review I wrote of the pre-Code film Merrily We Go to Hell where I discuss one of his moments in great detail. While Fredric March is probably most famous for The … Continue reading

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Red-Headed Woman (1932); Dir. Jack Conway

Jean Harlow is unforgettable as the amoral ruthless “Lil” in this Pre-Code film, unclassifiable as drama, comedy or romance. There is a lightness to the tone, an insouciant devil-may-care quality, that makes one think one is watching a comedy, but … Continue reading

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Other Men’s Women (1931); Dir. William Wellman

The romantic-triangle set against an environment of machines and technology was territory William Wellman had covered before (in Wings, most notably), and here, in Other Men’s Women, instead of planes, like in Wings, we’ve got trains. Male friendship and work … Continue reading

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Female (1933); Dir. Michael Curtiz

Alice Drake (Ruth Chatterton) inherited her father’s automobile manufacturing business, a behemoth if you judge from the panorama outside her office window of a factory as far as the eye can see. She is just a “female”, but she has … Continue reading

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Heroes For Sale (1933); Dir. William Wellman

“It takes more than one sock in the jaw to lick 120 million people.” So says Tom Holmes, played by Richard Barthelmess, in William Wellmann’s pre-Code drama Heroes for Sale, a terrific film, and included in TCM’s Forbidden Hollywood Collection, … Continue reading

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Merrily We Go To Hell (1932); Dir. Dorothy Arzner

On Facebook recently, a friend mentioned the wonderful Fredric March, in passing, and while he is probably most famous for The Best Years of Our Lives, I think some of the best acting he has ever done is in the … Continue reading

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The Cheat (1931); Dir. George Abbott

Blue Velvet has nothing on the perversity shown in 1933’s The Cheat, starring Tallulah Bankhead. There will be spoilers in this review. Elsa Carlyle (played by a throaty-voiced Tallulah Bankhead) is married to Jeffrey Carlyle (played by Harvey Stephens). We … Continue reading

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Torch Singer (1933); Dir. Alexander Hall/George Soames

One of the things that strikes me about the pre-Code movies I’ve seen is that the endings leave you, at times, with an unfinished feeling. You think, Huh. Yeah, everyone’s smiling, and ‘things worked out’, but how the hell is … Continue reading

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Hot Saturday (1932); Dir. William A. Seiter

Hot Saturday, starring Cary Grant (with Randolph Scott in a smaller part), is one of the films included in my absolutely yummy Pre-Code collection that I just bought. Pre-Code films can shock even today, and you realize what the crackdown … Continue reading

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Hot Saturday Here I Come

Receiving this in the mail today, even though I bought it myself, makes it feel like Christmas morning. I haven’t even watched any of it yet – but the prospect of seeing Cary Grant in Hot Saturday – a movie … Continue reading

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