Ex-Lady Bette Davis and The Problem with Marriage

O.K. So I have to admit it took me like 2 months to finally wrap my head around this film enough to write this post. While I’m always up for a challenge to defend the noble institution of marriage, this pre-code film just brought up lots and lots of questions. Advertisements

Under Eighteen Forbidden Hollywood Review

Okay, so I have to admit I am in a massive Warren William phase. It started when I finally got the chance to watch The Gold Diggers of 1933 and was absolutely smitten with the relationship between his and Joan Blondell’s characters. Mind you, had my first run in with Warren been in the depression tragedy…

Actors of Forbidden Hollywood

Forbidden Hollywood is one of those Risqué topics only whispered about after everyone else has gone home. Why? Well before the “Hays Code” set up the rules, films were on the verge of going to the dark side. Clothes got skimpier, decision making got more lax, and divorce was running rampant as was sex, drugs,…

Actresses of Forbidden Hollywood

I’ve been in a Kay Francis and George Brent phase lately. This usually warrants long periods of Forbidden Hollywood film watching. So I realized it was about time to make this list. AnnStj and I watch these films a lot, mainly because it’s terribly intriguing to see what people put in films before censorship. Lots…

Kept Husbands in Forbidden Hollywood

If you want to see Joel McCrea at the beginning of his acting career get taken in by a sassy, well-trained Dorothy Mackaill be sure to watch Kept Husbands (1931). 4 Weeks. After meeting the steel boss and former football star Dick ( McCrea), spoiled rich girl Dorothy (Mackaill) lets her father know that she’s only…

Let Us Be Gay

It took me almost 10 minutes to realize that the frumpy wife that looked like Ann B. Davis in this movie was actually Norma Shearer. Of all the Shearer films I’ve watched I am most impressed by Norma’s acting in this film. Norma was pregnant during the filming it’s fun to see the creativity the…

Pandora’s Box

OMGoodness…the German Cinema Weimar Era was pretty eye opening especially this G.W. Pabst version of Pandora’s Box, Sex, innuendo, manslaughter and murder are the bottom line in this 1929 German made silent movie featuring American born actress Louise Brooks. Again relying on DVD I am enjoying the Criterion Collection version of Pandora’s Box. Louise Brooks,…

ANNA CHRISTIE

‘Gimme a whiskey, ginger ale on the side, and don’t be stingy baby’ These were the first words spoken in the English version of the 1930 film Anna Christie by Swedish born Greta Garbo in a talking film. For TCM’s German Cinema in the Weimar Era theme I decided to borrow the DVD from my…

Happy Un-Valentines Day or…Divorce in Classic Hollywood

Fresh from the tails of the 1930’s Hays code which regulated just about everything in Classic Hollywood, came movies with spunk, wit and lots and lots of humorous divorces. These films were nothing like the divorce films prior to the Hays code regulations. The Divorcee with Norma Shearer is a prime example of how divorces were…

Female

  If you’re not familiar with Ruth Chatterton, now’s the time to get familiar. While there may be good reason to not know Ruth, her work in some fantastic pre-code films in the 20’s and 30’s warrant attention. Those that paired her with husband George Brent were always particularly steamy. One film most memorable is FEMALE,…

A Life of Barbara Stanwyck Steel-True 1907-1940

There is nothing more shocking pre-code, than an early Barbara Stanwyck movie. Some of her most infamous, really stretched any semblance of a code before Breen took over as the strict enforcer of the code. Ladies of Leisure (1930), Illicit (1931), The Miracle Woman (1931), Ten Cents a Dance (1931), Night Nurse (1931), The Purchase…

Three on a Match

  Three on a Match 1932 (First National): Joan Blondell, Bette Davis, Ann Dvorak, Warren William Coming off an extremely delicious Warren William in the Gold Diggers of 1933, I decided to revisit Three on a Match, also pairing Joan Blondell and Warren William. Rather shocked by the Pre-Hays Code ending, it had been one…

Smarty

Smarty (1934 Warner Brothers) Warren William and Joan Blondell play the magically in-love married couple Tony and Vicky. Then one day Vicky goes a little too far mentioning impotence and baby carrots in the same sentence, and Tony slaps her in the face, in front of friends. This of course is just a little marital…

Week-End Marriage

Week-End Marriage 1932 (First National) “I like being independent.” “Because you’re not in love, that’s why.” This is the story of the Independent Woman in the 1930’s. If you were a working woman it was usually because you were single and needed to support yourself, or because you were stupid. See if you weren’t single,…

Road to Paradise

Road to Paradise 1930 (First National) Loretta Young Times Two A 17 year old Loretta Young plays double roles as Mary- the girl mixed up with jewel robbers, and Margaret- the high society lady they plan to rob. Both can read minds. This is a fast-paced cat vs. mouse story laced with twists and turns…

Girl Missing

Girl Missing(1933 Warner Brothers): Lyle Talbot and Glenda Farrell “I brought you to Palm Beach, I had no intention of being a gentleman.” Gold digger Daisy gets a headache when she realizes her playboy husband only married her to satisfy the stipulations of his father’s will, and subsequently goes missing. But when the cops arrive…

Naughty Flirt

Naughty Flirt(1931 First National): Alice White and Myrna Loy. Kewpie Doll cutie Alice White plays Katherine or K as her friends call her. The spoiled little rich girl of a wealthy lawyer she has managed to get herself expelled from every proper school there is. She likes games, tricks, and using what she can to…

Blonde Crazy

Blonde Crazy (1931 ~ Warner Brothers): James Cagney and Joan Blondell “If I can’t get it from you, I’ll get it from someone else” As most of what we find in Forbidden Hollywood, Blonde Crazy is a movie about sex, not romance. How to use it, how to get it, and when to withhold it….

A Story of Illicit Sex

Part of Warner Bros. new Archive Collection, The Voice of The Turtle was deemed, just that by the Breen Office in 1947, “a story of illicit sex without sufficient compensating moral values.” And they were right! Absolutely no compensating moral values whatsoever! Apart from the few tears, and weak self-imposed regulation, Sally Middleton ( Eleanor…

George Brent

March 15, 1904 George Brent Female, Baby Face I never liked George Brent more than I did in the pre-code film Female. Playing opposite Ruth Chatterton, who I had only known prior in the Simone Simon vehicle, Girls Dormitory, Brent plays the Alpha Male. Brent’s status as a man matters of course, because until now,…

Pre-Code Lyle Talbot

February 8, 1902 ~ March 2, 1996                                   Lyle Talbot   Lyle, up until recently for me used to be that “cute guy” that would show up on many a great old film. He was never really the headliner, didn’t have any scandals to contribute and no Oscar to gain him instant merit, and was the quintessential “B”…

Forbidden Hollywood Volume 5

Like most true Classic Hollywood Fans, we’ve been loving Forbidden Hollywood. Volume 5, however, it is not the comedic jewel we find in Volume 4. Forbidden Hollywood Volume 5 contains the darker side of humanity. The mysteries, murders, and set ups we’ve come to associate with films like Manhattan Melodrama, and Double Indemnity. In Ladies They…

breakfast at Tiffany’s or breakfast in bed?

So here I am knee deep in 5th Avenue, 5 AM, and the Dawn of the Modern Women by Sam Wasson , when low and behold the same issue- women in the 50’s and 60’s- starts glaring at me from the tv screen in the form of The Tender Trap (1955). Frank Sinatra plays the…

The good, the bad, but mostly just the ugly!

I must start by reaffirming our general love and adoration for the wonderful Ginger Rogers, because that which is to follow will not reveal very much love or adoration. As many of you know, in the spirit of preservation of our film heritage, a few reknowned production companies have taken to FINALLY offering those little…

AN UN-VALENTINE, BUT WHAT A PRIZE!

‘The Divorcée’…Wow! Who knew? I’ve never been a Norma Shearer fan however her powerful performance in this movie has changed my opinion of her acting capabilities. This movie has everything that gave pre-code America a reason to be up in arms at Hollywood to incorporate a code of decency in its product.  This movie has…

Happy Un-Valentines Day or…. divorce in classichollywood

Fresh from the tails of the 1930’s Hays code which regulated just about everything in Classic Hollywood, came movies with spunk, wit and lots and lots of humorous divorces. These films were nothing like the divorce films prior the Hays code regulations. The Divorcee with Norma Shearer is a prime example of how divorces were…