Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

In DC: I’m Co-Hosting a Series of Pre-Code Films at the Hill Center

posted by Nell Minow

I’m thrilled to announce that Margaret Talbot and I are co-hosting a steamy series of four films from the early 1930’s at Washington DC’s Hill Center, starting this Friday with Barbara Stanwyck’s “Baby Face.”

In a film and discussion series that will explore the history of sex and violence in the movies, censorship and the ratings system, we will present four gems of pre-Code cinema. For several years in the early 30s, producers, directors and screenwriters routinely flouted the moral guidelines known as the Hays Code. It wasn’t until July, 1934, when they were threatened with a nationwide boycott of the movies organized by the Catholic Church and its Legion of Decency, that the studios agreed to a stricter enforcement regime that would ensure they followed the rules. The movies that emerged from Hollywood in those first, “pre-Code” years of the 1930s are often racier, more cynical, darker and franker than movies would be for many years afterward.

Advertisement

In Baby Face (1933), Barbara Stanwyck literally sleeps her way to the top in the film that critic Mick LaSalle calls “lurid and black comic” and “the ultimate pre-code for pure outrageousness.” Stanwyck plays a small-town girl whose father sells her sexual services until she decides to deploy them for her own benefit. In a stunning scene, we see her take the elevator higher and higher in a big office building, seducing a man on each floor with more money and power than the one below. Look quickly — one of those men is a very, very young John Wayne. We will be showing the rare uncensored version of the film, with a steamy extra five minutes and without a tacked-on final scene — more men and less redemption.

Previous Posts

Rogerebert.com Critics Pay Tribute to Monkey Movies and Argue About Spoilers
My friends at Rogerebert.com saluted the Chinese New Year and the Year of the Monkey with our favorite monkey movies, and ended up arguing about spoilers! ...

posted 11:31:02am Feb. 12, 2016 | read full post »

Trailer: "Criminal" with Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, and Ryan Reynolds
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNfRQ4NBjUU[/youtube] ...

posted 8:01:22am Feb. 12, 2016 | read full post »

How to be Single
Drew Barrymore -- you know I love you but how does your Flower Films production company produce a film about female friendship and empowerment that barely passes the Bechdel test? And did we really need a thinly disguised remake of "He's ...

posted 5:40:06pm Feb. 11, 2016 | read full post »

Zoolander 2
Kind of like fashion itself, we don't really care whether "Zoolander 2" is any good. We go because it is silly fun. The original Zoolander, ...

posted 5:22:04pm Feb. 11, 2016 | read full post »

Touched With Fire
Movies are fascinated with mentally ill people but they usually do not do a very good job of portraying them accurately or compassionately. Too often they are serial killers ("Silence of the Lambs"). Even worse, many times they are adorable wise ...

posted 5:12:04pm Feb. 11, 2016 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.