Tag Archives: pre code drama

Her First Affaire (1932)


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Her First Affaire (1932)

 

Her First Affaire 3

Director: Allan Dwan

Cast: Ida Lupino, George Curzon, Diana Napier, Harry Tate, Muriel Aked, Arnold Riches, Kenneth Kove, Helen Haye, Roland Culver

71 min  

Her First Affaire is a 1932 British drama film directed by Allan Dwan and starring Ida LupinoGeorge Curzon and Diana Napier.[1] It was based on a play by Merrill Rogers and Frederick J. Jackson.

Plot

A headstrong young girl falls completely for a writer of trashy novels, and insinuates herself into his household, all to the chagrin of her erstwhile fiancé.He conspires with the author’s wife to show the girl how foolish she’s been.

Her First Affaire 1

Cast

References

  1. Jump up^ “Her First Affaire (1932)”BFI. Retrieved 3 May 2016.

Her First Affaire 2

 

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Virtue (1932)


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Virtue (1932)

Virtue 12

Actresses Carole Lombard and Shirley Grey in Virtue

Director: Edward Buzzell

Cast: Carle Lombard, Pat O’Brien, Ward Bond, Shirley Grey, Mayo Methot, Jack LaRue, Williard Robertson, Jessie Arnold

68 min

Virtue is a 1932 Pre-Code American romance film starring Carole Lombard and Pat O’Brien.

Plot

New York City streetwalker Mae (Carole Lombard) is placed on a train by a policeman and told not to come back. However, she gets off, taking the cab of Jimmy Doyle (Pat O’Brien), who doesn’t think much of women. She slips away without paying the fare. Her friend and fellow prostitute, Lil (Mayo Methot), advises her to find honest work.

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The next day, Mae goes to the cab company to pay Jimmy. They start arguing, but they are attracted to each other. He gets her a job as a waitress. By coincidence, Gert (Shirley Grey), another former prostitute who knows her, also works at the restaurant.

Jimmy and Mae soon marry, but Mae doesn’t tell her new husband about her past. After a honeymoon at Coney Island, the happy couple are met at Mae’s apartment by a policeman who mistakes Jimmy for Mae’s latest “client”. Jimmy shows him their marriage license to clear up the trouble, then leaves to think things over. He returns the next day, ready to try to make the marriage work.

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Jimmy has saved $420 of the $500 he needs to become a partner in Flannagan’s gas station. However, Gert begs Mae to lend her $200 for a doctor. Despite her misgivings, Mae gives it to her. The next day, she learns that Gert has lied to her. When Jimmy tells her that the gas station owner needs money and is willing to settle for what he already has, Mae begins searching desperately for Gert.

Mae finally finds her and slaps her around until she promises to get her the money the next night. However, Gert has given the money to her boyfriend Toots (Jack La Rue), who is also Lil’s pimp. When Gert tries to steal the $200 from his wallet, Toots catches her and accidentally kills her. He hides the body, then watches from hiding as Mae shows up, finds the money and leaves.

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The police arrest Mae for the crime because she left her bag behind in Gert’s apartment. However, a distrusting Jimmy had been following Mae and knows a man was with Gert. He learns that it was Toots, but when he confronts him, Lil gives Toots an alibi. Jimmy goes to the district attorney to report what he knows. Lil convinces Toots to go to the district attorney to lodge a complaint against Jimmy. Lil reveals herself to be Mae’s true friend, admitting that Toots lied and exonerating Mae.

Jimmy goes to the gas station to tell Flannagan he no longer wants to buy into the partnership. He sees Mae pumping gas under a Doyle & Flannagan sign. They argue and reconcile.

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Cast (in credits order)

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Broadway (1929)


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Broadway (1929)

Broadway 4

Director: Paul Fejos

Cast: Glenn Tryon, Evelyn Brent, Merna Kennedy, Thomas E Jackson, Robert Ellis, Otis Harlan, Paul Porcasi, Marion Lord, Fritz Field, Leslie Fenton, Arthur Housman

104 min

 

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Broadway is a 1929 film directed by Paul Fejos from the play of the same name by George Abbott and Philip Dunning. It stars Glenn TryonEvelyn BrentPaul PorcasiRobert EllisMerna Kennedy and Thomas E. Jackson.[1]

This was Universal’s first talking picture with Technicolor sequences. The film was released by the Criterion Collection on Blu-ray and DVD with Paul Fejo’s Lonesome on August 2012.

Plot

Roy Lane and Billie Moore, entertainers at the Paradise Nightclub, are in love and are rehearsing an act together. Late to work one evening, Billie is saved from dismissal by Nick Verdis, the club proprietor, through the intervention of Steve Crandall, a bootlegger, who desires a liaison with the girl.

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“Scar” Edwards, robbed of a truckload of contraband liquor by Steve’s gang, arrives at the club for a showdown with Steve and is shot in the back. Steve gives Billie a bracelet to forget that she has seen him helping a “drunk” from the club. Though Roy is arrested by Dan McCorn, he is later released on Billie’s testimony.

Nick is murdered by Steve. Billie witnesses the killing, but keeps quiet about the dirty business until she finds out Steve’s next target is Roy. Billie is determined to tell her story to the police before Roy winds up dead, but Steve isn’t about to let that happen and kidnaps her. Steve, in his car, is fired at from a taxi, and overheard by Pearl, he confesses to killing Edwards. Pearl confronts Steve in Nick’s office and kills him; and McCorn, finding Steve’s body, insists that he committed suicide, exonerating Pearl and leaving Roy and Billie to the success of their act.

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Cast

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Production

Director Fejos designed the camera crane specifically for use on this movie, allowing unusually fluid movement and access to nearly every conceivable angle. It could travel at 600 feet per minute and enlivened the visual style of this film and others that followed.

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Preservation status

Both the silent version and the talking version of Broadway are extant, but the surviving talking version is incomplete. The color sequence at the end survives in color and in sound. In 2013, Broadway was restored by The Criterion Collection and released on DVD and Blu-ray.

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See also

References[edit]

  1. Jump up to:a b BroadwayCatalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-11-24.

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Road To Ruin, The (1934)


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The Road To Ruin (1934)

Road To Ruin The 1

Director: Dorothy Davenport AKA Mrs Wallace Reid and Melville Shyer

Cast: Helen Foster, Nell O’Day, Glen Boles, Robert Quirk, Paul Page, Richard Hemingway, Virginia True Boardman, Richard Tucker, Donald Kerr

 62 min

Road to Ruin is a 1934 Pre-Codeexploitation film directed by Dorothy Davenport, under the name “Mrs. Wallace Reid”, and Melville Shyer, and written by Davenport with the uncredited contribution of the film’s producer, Willis Kent. The film, which is in the public domain, is about a young girl whose life is ruined by sex and drugs.

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Cast

Director/writer Dorothy Davenport appears in the film in the role of “Mrs. Merrill.” Mae Busch and Fern Emmett appear in uncredited roles.

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Production

The Road to Ruin is a sound re-make of a 1928 silent film of the same name, written and produced by Willis Kent and also starring Helen Foster.[1] Foster, reprising her role as a high school girl, was 27 years old at the time, and six years older than her on-screen boyfriend, Glen Boles.

The titles and composers of the three songs performed in the film are not recorded.[1]

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To promote the film, the producers advertised that it was not to be shown to anyone under eighteen, implying that it contained salacious material. Film censors in Virginia required a “record number” of cuts in the film before clearing it for release, according to Film Daily, while in Detroit, the film was boycotted by the Catholic Church, but was cleared by the local censors after some cuts.[1]

A novelization of the film was put out by the producers, apparently intended for use by school and civic groups as an aid to discussion of the social problems presented in the film: teenage drinking, promiscuity, pregnancy and abortion.[1]

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Reception

The reviewer for Variety found the film “restrained” in comparison to the more “hotly sexed” silent version, while other reviewers found it to be an improvement over the earlier film, and “sensational”.[1] A modern critic called the film “[A] sordid drive down the path of moral and physical degradation, capped off with just enough of a moral lesson to alleviate any guilt the viewer might feel for watching such a decadent display.”[2]

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World Accuses, The (1934)


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World Accuses, The (1934)

World Accuses The 1

Director: Charles Lamont

Cast: Vivian Tobin, Dickie Moore, Cora Sue Collins, Russel Hopton, Harold Huber, Mary Carr, Paul Fix, Sarah Edwards, Robert Eliott

62 min

 

The World Accuses is a 1934 American drama film directed by Charles Lamont and starring Vivian TobinDickie Mooreand Cora Sue Collins.[1]

Cast

World Accuses The 3

References

  1. Jump up^ Pitts p.86

Bibliography

  • Michael R. Pitts. Poverty Row Studios, 1929–1940: An Illustrated History of 55 Independent Film Companies, with a Filmography for Each. McFarland & Company, 2005.

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Behold My Wife (1934)


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Behold My Wife (1934)

Behold My Wife 3

Behold My Wife! is a 1934 drama film directed by Mitchell Leisen. It stars Sylvia Sidney and Gene Raymond.[1] Based on a novel by Sir Gilbert Parker, The Translation of a Savage,[2] the story had been filmed before in the silent era in 1920 as Behold My Wife! starring Mabel Julienne Scott and Milton Sills.

Behold My Wife 1

Director: Mitchell Leisen

Cast: Sylvia Sidney, Gene Raymond, Laura Hope Crews, H B Warner, Juliette Compton, Monroe Owsley, Ann Sheridan, Charlotte Granville, Kenneth Thomson

79 min

 

Contents

Behold My Wife 2

Cast

Rest of cast listed alphabetically:

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Plot

Michael Carter (Gene Raymond) a young socialite returns drunk home telling the butler, that he will marry the next day. The butler talks to his parents and the next morning his sister Diana (Juliette Compton) pays a visit to see the young lady Mary White (Ann Sheridan) and to tell he a story about the brother having left for France, he always falls in love promises to marry and than leaves. Mary White can’t believe it, but at his home nobody lets her talk to him.Diana offers her a cheque and a ticket to California.

But when she walks out, triumphant about her victory, she hears a scream and the body of Mary White has landed under the window on the hard street. When returning home she tries to make up a strategy for Michael, this one notices that they have strange behavior, unless they tell him what happened. In his despair about the loss of Mary White and his own family thinking about being disgraced by him, he takes the car and drives from one state to another drinking at every station he stops.

At one bar he meets an Apache Man, very tall and very drunk and he invites him to drink from his bottle as the barman knowing him, don’t want to give him any. A little Woman comes into the bar and tries to tear away the Indian. But Mr. Carter still wants to have him on his side drinking. The indian girl Tonita (Sylvia Sidney), tells Carter he is no good and other things, meantime the drunken indian pulls out his pistol and starts shooting at bottles and things. Carter wants to shoot as well and tries to take away the pistol from the indian. In the fight he is shot in the shoulder. Tonita operates him from the bullet, to save her indian friend, and Carter asks her to marry him, as he thinks to disgrace his family. At the station the family is awaiting him with a lot of reporters and newspaper men. All the town knows about Michael and Tonita.

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The family at first desperate is again guided by Carter’s sister Diana. She proposes her parents to give a big reception ball for the newly weds and invite every important person in town. The evening of the ball she sneaks in Tonita’s room and convinces her to wear a beautiful night dress, whereas Michael wanted to dress her in her indian clothes to make a scandal. Tonita descends the stairs, beautiful and everybody is allured by her presence. She even answers to impertinent people, and finally wins them all. Michael is furious because he feels his family triumphs always over him. She is introduced to Mr. Prentice, the secret lover of Diana. When Tonita finds Michael, he tells her about his rage against his family. She realizes that he married her only because of his fight against his family and leaves him going away with Prentice. Diana follows them in his apartment and tells Prentice she left her husband to stay with him. He doesn’t want her back, as he says she is no good. Diana finds a revolver and shoots him.

Tonita proposes to take the blame as she hasn’t any reason to live any more. And while she goes to the police station to give herself up, Michael comes to Prentice’s apartment to search for her. He finds the body of Prentice, and while the police officers arrive to see if the girl told the truth, Michael hides in a closet. Through a noise he makes, they find him and he confesses that he did it. At the police station, the inspector tells him that his wife said that she did it. When left alone, he tells her that she has to shut her mouth and let them think he did it, as she was said to claim guilt to save him. The scene ends up being the one love scene between Michael and Tonita, while the police officers are enthusiastic about their new bugging device through which they can hear even their kisses.

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References

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Indiscreet (1931)


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Indiscreet (1931)

Indiscreet 11

Director: Leo McCarey

Cast: Gloria Swanson, Ben Lyon, Monroe Owsley, Barbara Kent, Arthur Lake, Maude Eburne, Henry Kolker, Nella Walker

92 min

Indiscreet is a 1931 American pre-Code comedy film directed by Leo McCarey and starring Gloria Swanson and Ben Lyon. The screenplay by Buddy G. DeSylvaLew Brown, and Ray Henderson, based on their story Obey That Impulse, originally was written as a full-fledged musical, but only two songs – “If You Haven’t Got Love” and “Come to Me” – remained when the film was released.[1] The film is available on DVD.

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Indiscreet 3

Plot

The plot of the United Artists release centers on fashion designer Geraldine Trent (Swanson), who takes up with novelistTony Blake (Lyon) after leaving her former beau Jim Woodward because of his many indiscretions with other women.

Tony has indicated he has no interest in dating a woman with a past, so Geraldine remains mum about her affair with Jim, until her younger sister Joan arrives and announces she’s engaged—to Jim. Madcap complications ensue as Geraldine tries to keep her secret from Tony while convincing her sister to rid herself of her womanizing fiancé in favor of simple country boy Buster Collins.[2]

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Cast (in credits order)

Indiscreet 5

Principal production credits

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Critical reception

In May 1931 in The New York Times, film critic Mordaunt Hall gave Indiscreet a mixed review:

It may have its off moments so far as the few serious incidents are concerned, but when it stoops to farce, there is no denying its jollity . . . on the whole, it is a well-worked out entertainment, wherein gusts of merriment cause one to overlook its occasional flaws . . . Now and again the film sobers up, but the director and the authors have solved a way of inoculating it with further mirth, and even at the end there is a streak of fun that is almost Chaplinesque.[3]

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References

  1. Jump up^ Indiscreet at the New York Film Annex
  2. Jump up^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:Indiscreet
  3. Jump up^ Hall, Mordaunt (1931). “THE SCREEN; A Merry Miss Swanson”, film review, The New York Times, May 7, 1931; retrieved October 6, 2017.

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Thirteenth Guest, The (1932)


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The Thirteenth Guest (1932) AKA Lady Beware

Thirteenth Guest The 1

Director: Albert Ray 

Cast: Ginger Rogers, Lyle Talbot, J Farrell MacDonald, Paul Hurst, Erville Anderson, Ethel Wales, James Eagles, Eddie Phillips

69 min

The Thirteenth Guest is a 1932 American pre-Code mystery comedy thriller film, released on August 9, 1932. The film is also known as Lady Beware in the United Kingdom.

It is based on the 1929 novel by crime fiction writer Armitage Trail[1] best known for writing the novel Scarface,[2] on which the 1932 movie was based. The novel was again brought to the silver in screen in 1943 as Mystery of the 13th Guest.[3]

Thirteenth Guest The 2

Plot summary

Marie Morgan (Ginger Rogers) has been lured to an old abandoned house by a false note from a friend, and is in jeopardy although she doesn’t yet realize it. As she sits at the table inside, she thinks back to the banquet held there 13 years earlier, when she was a little girl.

Only 12 of 13 guests had attended, and the manor’s owner, the Morgan family patriarch, who was then dying, has since passed on. The chance to claim the bulk of the estate fortune has resulted in an ongoing campaign of murder by someone targeting the original 12 guests, whose dead bodies are being left at the table in the same seats they had occupied originally.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ginger Rogers Ginger Rogers
Lela / Marie Morgan
Lyle Talbot Lyle Talbot
Phil Winston
J. Farrell MacDonald J. Farrell MacDonald
Police Capt. Ryan
Paul Hurst Paul Hurst
Detective Grump
Erville Alderson Erville Alderson
Uncle John Adams
Ethel Wales Ethel Wales
Aunt Jane Thornton
James Eagles James Eagles
Harold ‘Bud’ Morgan
Crauford Kent Crauford Kent
Dr. Sherwood (as Craufurd Kent)
Eddie Phillips Eddie Phillips
Thor Jensen
Frances Rich Frances Rich
Marjorie Thornton
Phillips Smalley Phillips Smalley
Uncle Dick Thornton

See also

References

  1.  Trail, Armitage (1929). The Thirteenth Guest (First ed.). Whitman. ASIN B000KD7C8U.
  2. Jump up^ Trail, Armitage (1930). Scarface (1ST ed.). D.J. Clode. ASIN B00085TELI.
  3. Jump up^ The Thirteenth Guest, msnbc.com; accessed August 3, 2015.

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Klondike (1932)


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Klondike (1932) AKA The Doctor’s Sacrifice 

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Klondike is a 1932 American Pre-Code film directed by Phil Rosen. The film is also known as The Doctor’s Sacrifice in the United Kingdom. It was silent film star Priscilla Dean‘s final film.

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Plot summary

A doctor, Lyle Talbot as Dr. Robert Cromwell, is charged with murder, when a patient dies, after an experimental operation to remove a brain tumor.

His pilot friend, Frank Hawks as Donald Evans, convinces him to start a new life; and, they plot their course, across the Bering Strait. The weather blows them off course; and, they end up in Alaska.

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There the doctor is faced with a new dilemma. Mark, Henry B. Walthall as Mark Armstrong, the Father of Jim, Jason Robards Sr. as Jim Armstrong, a man crippled by a similar brain tumor, begs the doctor to attempt the operation. When the doctor refuses, he accuses him of wanting his son to die, because he’s in love with Jim’s fiancée, Thelma Todd as Klondike.

“Doc” acquiesces, at Klondike’s insistence. Although, having none of the facilities of a hospital. He believes that the operation is less likely to succeed, the longer it is delayed.

The operation seems to be a partial success. But, now, Jim will do anything to keep “Doc” from taking Klondike back to the States with him, even using his genius, with electricity, to electrocute him.[1]

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Cast

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Production

The film was remade as Klondike Fury (1942).[2]

References

  1. Jump up^ “The Doctor’s Sacrifice (1932) : Plot Summary”. IMDb.com. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
  2. Jump up^ “Klondike Fury (1942)”. IMDb.com. Retrieved 2015-11-05.

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Probation (1932)


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Probation (1930) AKA Second Chances

Probation 2

Director: Richard Thorpe

Cast: Clara Kimball Young, Betty Grable, John Darrow, Sally Blane, J Farrell MacDonald, Eddie Phillips, David Rollins

67 min

Probation (also known as Second Chances) is an American Pre-Code 1932 film directed by Richard Thorpe and starring Clara Kimball Young and Betty Grable.[1] The film was distributed by the Chesterfield Motion Pictures Corporation.

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Synopsis

Ruth (Betty Grable) is a minor who is running with an uptown, older man; Ruth’s brother Nick, (John Darrow), is unaware of kid sisters activities.

Ruth is turned into the Juvenile authorities by the well meaning Mrs. Humphries, (Clara Kimball Young). Nick finds the man in their apartment and proceeds to be arrested for beating up the man, who runs away before Nick is arrested.

Nick is taken to Night Court and remanded to the custody of the judges, (J. Farrell MacDonald), niece, Janet, for six months as her chauffeur. Janet, (Sally Blane), is the fiancé of Allen, (Eddie Phillips), who is coincidentally the man who was beaten up by Nick.

Betty Grable is on the verge of becoming a superstar, in the 1940s.[2][3]

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Cast

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References

Jump up^ “Probation”. IMDB.Jump up^ “Probation”. American Film Institute. Retrieved 30 July 2013.Jump up
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Danger Lights (1930)


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Danger Lights (1930)

Danger Lights 1

Director: George B Seitz

Cast: Louis Wolheim, Robert Armstrong, Jean Arthur, Hugh Herbert, Frank Sheridan, Robert Edeson, Alan Roscoe, Willam P Barley

74 min

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Danger Lights is a 1930 American Pre-Code drama film, directed by George B. Seitz, from a screenplay by James Ashmore Creelman. It stars Louis WolheimRobert Armstrong, and Jean Arthur.

The plot concerns railroading on the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, and the movie was largely filmed along that railroad’s lines in Montana. The railway yard in Miles City, Montana was a primary setting, while rural scenes were shot along the railway line through Sixteen Mile Canyon, Montana. Additional footage was shot in Chicago, Illinois. The film was the first ever shot in the new Spoor-Berggren Natural Vision Process.

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Synopsis

Louis Wolheim plays the boss of the railroad yard in Miles City, Montana. The film opens with a landslide across the tracks in Montana, and a repair crew is dispatched to clear the tracks. Several hobos are lounging nearby and are put to work helping the repair crew. One of the hobos, played by Robert Armstrong, is discovered to have been a former railroad engineer who lost his job due to insubordination. He is given a new job for the railroad by the yard boss, but quickly falls in love with the boss’s fiancée, played by Jean Arthur.

Jealousy grows between the two over the affections of Arthur with both of them attempting to win her in marriage. Things come to a head during a fight in the railroad yard between the two, during which Wolheim is hit by a train and injured. To save his life, Armstrong must transport him in record time to Chicago for surgery.

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Cast

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Notes

Danger Lights was filmed during a period when some movie studios were experimenting with various widescreen film formats. As part of this trend, two versions of the film were created. One used standard 35mm film and Academy ratio, the other used an experimental 65mm widescreen format at a 2:1 aspect ratio. This latter process was called “Natural Vision” and was invented by film pioneers George Kirke Spoor and P. John Berggren. The Natural Vision print of the film was reportedly screened at only two theaters (the only two with the equipment necessary to show the film), the State Lake Theater in Chicago and the Mayfair Theater in New York, and no copies of it are known to exist today. Danger Lights would be the only film created using this process, and the entire effort to move to wide screen would be shelved for several decades due to the increased costs of both production and presentation.[1][2][3]

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Historically significant footage

Danger Lights features rare footage of a tug of war between two steam locomotives, actual documentary footage of the activities in the Miles City yard, and what is believed to be the only motion picture footage of a dynamometer car from the steam railroad era in the USA. Similar footage may have existed in MGM’s Thunder(1929), with Lon Chaney but that film is now lost.

The portion of the film that was filmed in Montana was part of the electrified Rocky Mountain Division of the railroad, with the 3000 volt direct current trolley and the 100,000 volt alternating current “highline” plainly visible in several shots. Despite the fact that the railroad often touted the power and reliability of its straight electric locomotives, none are seen in the film.

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In 1958, the film entered the public domain in the USA due to the copyright claimants failure to renew the copyright registration in the 28th year after publication.[4]

Danger Lights was edited down to 55 minutes for television broadcast; this version is freely available for download. In 2009 Alpha Video released the original 74 minute version[1] on DVD.

References

  1. Jump up to:a b c d e “Danger Lights: Detail View”. American Film Institute. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  2. Jump up^ Coles, David (March 2001). “Magnified Grandeur”. The 70mm Newsletter. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  3. Jump up^ Jewell, Richard B.; Harbin, Vernon (1982). The RKO Story. New York: Arlington House. p. 30. ISBN 0-517-546566.
  4. Jump up^ Pierce, David (June 2007). “Forgotten Faces: Why Some of Our Cinema Heritage Is Part of the Public Domain”. Film History: an International Journal19 (2): 125–43. doi:10.2979/FIL.2007.19.2.125ISSN 0892-2160JSTOR 25165419OCLC 15122313. See Note #60, pg. 143

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Back Street (1932)


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Back Street (1932)

Back Street 2

Director: John M Stahl

Cast: Irene Dunne, John Boles, June Clyde, George Meeker, Zasu Pitts, Shirley Grey, Doris Lloyd, William Bakewell, Arletta Duncan, Maude Turner Gordon, Walter Catlett, James Donlan, Jane Darwell, Betty Blyth, Russell Hopton, Gloria Stuart

93 min

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Back Street is a 1932 American Pre-Code drama film directed by John M. Stahl and starring Irene Dunne and John Boles.

Based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Fannie Hurst, it tells the story of a woman who spends her life as the secret mistress of a wealthy married man.

This was the first of three film versions of Hurst’s novel; remakes were released in 1941 and 1961.

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Plot

In early 1900s Cincinnati, young and beautiful Ray Schmidt (Irene Dunne) works in her father’s shop by day and stays out late drinking beer and dancing with various men by night, although her stepmother disapproves. Ray dates for fun, mostly going out with traveling salesmen passing through town, and neither she nor her dates are interested in any permanent attachment. An exception is Kurt Shendler, who owns a bicycle shop near Mr. Schmidt’s shop and aspires to get into the automobile business. Kurt is in love with Ray and asks her to marry him, but she refuses because while she likes Kurt, she doesn’t return his romantic feelings.

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While visiting the train station with Kurt, Ray meets Walter Saxel (John Boles) and the two fall for each other at first sight. Walter soon confesses to Ray that he is actually engaged to another woman in town, Corinne, who comes from a wealthy background and whose mother is friends with his own mother. Nevertheless he has fallen in love with Ray, and asks her to meet him at a local band concert that he will be attending with his mother.

Walter hopes to introduce Ray to his mother and perhaps get her approval of the relationship. On the day of the concert, Ray is late arriving because her younger half-sister Freda is suicidal over her boyfriend, Hugo, leaving town. Freda begs Ray to go after Hugo and stop him, threatening to throw herself out a window if Ray does not help.

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By the time Ray has dealt with Freda’s situation and gotten to the concert, it is over, and Ray cannot find Walter or his mother in the departing crowds. Walter, thinking she stood him up, writes her an angry letter and marries Corinne.

Several years later, Walter, now a rising young financier on Wall Street, runs into Ray who is single and working in New York City. The two renew their acquaintance and realize they still love each other, although Walter is still married and has two children. Walter sets Ray up in an inexpensive apartment and gets her to give up her job so she will be free to see him when he has time.

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However, his work, family and social commitments sometimes keep him away for long periods of time, causing Ray to feel lonely and isolated. After Walter takes an extended trip to Europe with his wife, leaving Ray alone with insufficient money to live on, she breaks up with him and accepts a proposal from Kurt, who has become a rich automobile manufacturer. Walter goes to Cincinnati to convince her not to marry Kurt and they resume their previous relationship.

Years pass, and Walter has become a wealthy and prominent financier. When he travels he now brings Ray along, although they must keep their relationship hidden and avoid being seen in public together, meaning Ray spends much of her time alone. Ray is the target of gossip and is hated by Walter’s adult children, who regard Ray as a gold digger.

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Walter’s son Dick tells Ray to get out of his family’s life, but his father Walter walks in on the conversation and tells his son to be more understanding or at least to mind his own business. That night, Walter suffers a massive stroke and dies shortly thereafter. Just before Walter dies, he asks Dick to telephone Ray’s number and hears her voice over the phone one last time.

Dick, who now understands his father’s feelings for Ray, goes to see her and offers to continue to support her. He finds her distraught over Walter’s death and also learns that his father had been paying her only a very small amount per month, thus proving that she stayed in the relationship for love, not money. After Dick leaves, Ray dies looking at Walter’s picture.

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Cast

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Discarded Lovers (1933)


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Discarded Lovers (1932)

Discarded Lovers 1

Discarded Lovers is a 1932 American Pre-Code mystery film directed by Fred C. Newmeyer.

Plot summary

Discarded Lovers is a murder mystery. Early in the film a blonde bombshell movie star is murdered and her body is found in a car.

She had just finished doing the last and final scenes in a film. Irma Gladden was a sexy blonde bombshell who was having many tangled romantic affairs. She was loose and easy. In solving the murder there are the usual friends, police, reporters and employees who administer their help to the police captain and the police sergeant.

In this whodunit suspects abound and include Irma’s husband, a jealous wife, a boy friend and an ex-husband.

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Cast

Discarded Lovers 3

Discarded Lovers 5

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High Voltage (1929)


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High Voltage (1929)

High Voltage 6

Director: Howard Higgin

Cast: Carole Lombard, William Boyd, Diane Ellis, Owen Moore, Phillips Smalley, Billy Bevan

63 min

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High Voltage (1929) is an American pre-Code film produced by Pathé Exchange and directed by Howard Higgin.[1][2]The film stars William BoydDiane EllisOwen MoorePhillips SmalleyBilly Bevan, and Carole Lombard in her feature-length “talkie” debut, billed as “Carol Lombard.”

This film is in the public domain.[3]

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Plot

The film begins with a bus driving along a snow-covered roadway in the Sierra Nevada between Nevada City, California, and Reno, Nevada.[4][5] Soon the vehicle gets hopelessly stuck in deep snow forty miles from the nearest town.

Needing shelter, the driver “Gus” (Billy Bevan) and his four passengers find refuge in an isolated one-room log church. The passengers include “Billie” (Carole Lombard), who is an escaped criminal being escorted back to jail in New York by a deputy sheriff, “Dan Egan” (Owen Moore); a young woman, “The Kid,” (Diane Ellis) on her way to Chicago to meet her boyfriend; and “Hickerson,” a pompous, ill-tempered banker. In the church the group finds “Bill” (William Boyd), a self-described “hobo,” who had found shelter there earlier. Tensions quickly arise in the group over their general plight, petty jealousies, and concerns about how six people are going to share the small supply of food that Bill had brought with him.

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Tensions quickly arise in the group over their general plight, petty jealousies, and concerns about how six people are going to share the small supply of food that Bill had brought with him.

After a few days being stranded, the group sees a passing mail plane high in the sky. They try to attract the pilot’s attention, but he is too far away to see them. More days pass, and the group continues to ration their dwindling supplies and battle the subfreezing temperatures. To keep warm they begin to break up the church’s pews and other furnishings to use as firewood in the room’s potbelly stove.

The group’s desperation intensifies, as does a romance between Bill and Billie. Soon Bill confides to her that he too is a wanted criminal, a fugitive from Saint Paul, Minnesota. As conditions worsen, The Kid collapses from hunger and become delirious; and the church’s interior becomes almost bare as more furnishings–even the church’s pulpit and pump organ–are consigned to the stove. Bill and Billie finally commit to leaving to avoid being imprisoned if the group is somehow rescued. They quietly depart during the night, hoping to reach a ranger station ten miles away.

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Everyone else is sleeping except Dan, the deputy sheriff, who sees the two leaving; but he does nothing to stop them. After walking a short distance through snowdrifts, Bill and Billie hear and then see a search plane slowly circling overhead at low altitude. Realizing that the others inside the church will not hear the plane’s engine, they rush back and awaken them. The group hurriedly builds a signal fire, which the plane’s pilot sees. He parachutes a box of provisions to them with a note saying that help will be sent immediately.

The next day the group sees a rescue party heading toward the church. While awaiting their rescuers, Dan observes Bill and Billie sitting together on the floor. From his coat pocket Dan pulls out Billie’s extradition papers and a “wanted” notice that includes a photograph of Bill and information about his being a fugitive from Saint Paul. Dan walks over to the stove, now cold from no fires, and tosses both papers into it. Bill and Billie see him discard the papers, and they look at one another. Bill then gets up, retrieves the papers from the stove, gives them back to Dan, and asks him to drop him off in Saint Paul on his way back to New York with Billie.

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Cast

William Boyd as “The Boy” (Bill)

“Carol” Lombard as “The Girl” (Billie Davis)

Owen Moore as “The Detective” (Dan Egan)

Phillips Smalley as “The Banker” (J. Milton Hendrickson)

Billy Bevan as “The Driver” (Gus)

Diane Ellis as “The Kid”

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Cast notes

  • The opening credits of High Voltage give Carole Lombard’s first name as “Carol,” her preferred spelling for her name up until that time. However, the year after the release of High Voltage she performed in Paramount Pictures‘ production Fast and Loose. In her credits for that film, the studio mistakenly added an “e” to Carol. Lombard liked the spelling, so she decided to keep “Carole” permanently as her screen name.[6]
  • In the screen credits of High Voltage, Owen Moore’s character “Dan Egan” is identified as “The Detective”; but early in the film Dan shows Bill his badge, which actually identifies him as a New York deputy sheriff.[8]
  • Diane Ellis, who portrays “The Kid” in High Voltage, would die tragically the year after her performance in this film. In October 1930, she married Stephen C. Millett, a fellow American, in Paris, France. While on their extended honeymoon in India, she contracted an infection and died a week later in Chennai (then Madras) on December 15, 1930, just five days before her twenty-first birthday.[9][10]

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References

  1. Jump up^ “High Voltage”The New York Times.
  2. Jump up^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films: High Voltage
  3. Jump up^ High Voltage, “Free Public Domain Movies” listing; May 23, 2008. iMovies. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  4. Jump up^ Several full 63-minute copies of High Voltage are available for viewing on YouTube.
  5. Jump up^ In the opening minutes of the film, the exterior signage and route destinations displayed on the bus identify the storyline’s setting as the Sierra Nevada.
  6. Jump up^ Gehring, Wes D. (2003). Carole Lombard: The Hoosier Tornado. Indianapolis, Indiana Historical Society Press, 78-79. ISBN 978-0-87195-167-0.
  7. Jump up^ “William Boyd,”, Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  8. Jump up^ The full 63-minute film High Voltage is available for viewing on YouTube.
  9. Jump up^ “Diane Ellis,” IMDb. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  10. Jump up^ “Diane Ellis,” Redirectify. Retrieved March 10, 2017.

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Racketeer, The (1929)


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The Racketeer AKA Love’s Conquest (1929)

Racketeer The 1

Director: Howard Higgin

Cast: Carole Lombard, Robert Armstrong, Roland Drew, Paul Hurst, Kit Guard, Al Hill, Robby Dunn, Budd Fine, Hedda Hopper, Jeanette Loff, John Loder, Winter Hall, Robert Parrish

68 min

Racketeer The 2

The Racketeer is a 1929 American Pre-Code drama film. Directed by Howard Higgin, the film is also known as Love’s Conquest in the United Kingdom. It tells the tale of some members of the criminal class in 1920s America, and in particular one man and one woman’s attempts to help him. Gossip columnist Hedda Hopper appears in a minor role. The film is one of the early talkies, and as a result, dialogue is very sparse.

Plot

Mahlon Keene, a suave racketeer, notices Mehaffy, a policeman, arrest a shabby, drunken violinist for vagrancy and bribes him to forget the charge; after Keene and his henchman depart, Rhoda Philbrook appears in a taxi, addresses the musician as “Tony,” and has him driven away. Meanwhile, Keene arranges for a planned robbery to be delayed.

At a charity function, Keene takes an interest in Rhoda when he detects her cheating at cards; she reveals that she has left her husband for the violinist, whom she hopes to regenerate; and for Rhoda’s sake Keene arranges for Tony’s appearance at a concert. When threatened by Weber, a rival, Keene shoots him and, after the concert, bids farewell to Rhoda. The rival gang take revenge on Keene, leaving Tony and Rhoda to a new life together.

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Cast

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Racketeer The 6

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Behind Office Doors (1931)


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Behind Office Doors (1931)

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Director:  Melville W Brown

Cast: Mary Astor, Robert Ames, Ricardo Cortez, Catherine Dale Owen, Kitty Kelly, Edna Murphy, Charles Sellon, William Morris, George McFarlane, Mary Foy

82 min

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Behind Office Doors is a 1931 Pre-Code American drama film directed by Melville W. Brown, from a screenplay by Carey Wilson and J. Walter Ruben, based on Alan Schultz’s novel, Private Secretary. It starred Mary AstorRobert Ames and Ricardo Cortez, and revolved around the premise of “the woman behind the man”. While not well-received by critics, it did well at the box office.

Plot

Mary Linden (Mary Astor) is a receptionist at a paper milling company, who is secretly in love with one of the salesmen, James Duneen (Robert Ames).

Her extensive knowledge of the paper industry, the mill and its clients allows her to have input in company operations far outweighing her level as a receptionist. As the current president of the company, Ritter (Charles Sellon), approaches retirement, Mary uses her knowledge and skill of company politics to enable James to make some important sales coups, after which she begins a fifth-column attempt to get him named as the next president. James, for his part, is grateful to her for her help, but is completely oblivious to her romantic interest in him, preferring more of the party girl type.

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When Ritter does retire, James wins the position, and Mary is promoted to be his personal secretary. Still unaware of her feelings, he hires his latest party girl, Daisy (Edna Murphy), to work in the office, and report to Mary. Mary is upset by this turn of events, but remains faithful to James, assisting him with running the company. In fact, it is her knowledge and acumen which makes the company successful. Mary even spurns the advances of several men, including the wealthy Ronnie Wales (Ricardo Cortez), who, although married, is estranged from his wife and wishes to pursue an affair with Mary.

However, when James becomes engaged to the daughter of a wealthy banker, Ellen May Robinson (Catherine Dale Owen), that is the straw which breaks Mary’s resolve. She resigns from the company, and eventually agrees to go away with Ronnie for an assignation in Atlantic City. Between the time of her resignation, and her agreeing to go away with Ronnie, the paper mill is already suffering terribly from a lack of good

Between the time of her resignation, and her agreeing to go away with Ronnie, the paper mill is already suffering terribly from a lack of good management, since most of James’ success was due to Mary’s guidance. James tracks her down before she can give in to the libidinous advances of Ronnie, and begs Mary to return. She is reluctant, until she discovers that James has broken off the engagement with Ellen, and upon her return to the company she is not only met with a job offer, but also a marriage proposal from James.

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Cast

(Cast list as per AFI database)[3]

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Soundtrack

  • “Three Little Words”, music by Harry Ruby, lyrics by Bert Kalmar – played as dance music in the nightclub

Reception

While the public seemed to like the film,[4] critics like Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times were less kind, stating that the film “is a witless and interminably dull exhibition on which three capable players, Mary Astor, Robert Ames and Ricardo Cortez, have been sacrifi[c]ed to very little purpose.[5]

Notes

In 1959, the film entered the public domain in the USA due to the copyright claimants failure to renew the copyright registration in the 28th year after production.[6]

The working title for this film was the title of the novel on which it was based, Private Secretary.[3]

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References[edit]

  1. Jump up^ “Behind Office Doors, Credits”. Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on August 18, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  2. Jump up to:a b “Behind Office Doors: Technical Details”. theiapolis.com. Retrieved August 17, 2014.[permanent dead link]
  3. Jump up to:a b c d e f “Behind Office Doors: Detail View”. American Film Institute. Archived from the original on April 2, 2014. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  4. Jump up^ Jewell, Richard B.; Harbin, Vernon (1982). The RKO Story. New York: Arlington House. p. 34. ISBN 0-517-546566.
  5. Jump up^ Hall, Mordaunt (March 21, 1931). “Behind Office Doors: A Noble Stenographer”New York TimesArchived from the original on March 21, 2014. Retrieved September 2,2016.
  6. Jump up^ Pierce, David (June 2007). “Forgotten Faces: Why Some of Our Cinema Heritage Is Part of the Public Domain”. Film History: an International Journal19 (2): 125–43. ISSN 0892-2160JSTOR 25165419OCLC 15122313doi:10.2979/FIL.2007.19.2.125. See Note #60, pg. 143.

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Lady To Love, A (1930)


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A Lady To Love (1930)

Lady to Love A 2

A Lady to Love is a 1930 American drama film directed by Victor Sjöström and written by Sidney Howard. The film stars Vilma BánkyEdward G. RobinsonRobert AmesRichard Carle and Lloyd Ingraham. The film was released on February 28, 1930, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.[1][2]

Plot

Tony, a prosperous Italian vineyardist in California, advertises for a young wife, passing off a photograph of his handsome hired man, Buck, as himself. Lena, a San Francisco waitress, takes up the offer, and though she is disillusioned upon discovering the truth, she goes through with the marriage because of her desire to have a home and partially because of her weakness for Buck, whose efforts to take her away from Tony confirm her love for her husband.

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Cast

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References[edit]

  1. Jump up^ “A Lady to Love (1930) – Overview – TCM.com”Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  2. Jump up^ “A Lady To Love”TV Guide. Retrieved 11 November 2014.

Lady to Love A 1

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Locked Door, The (1929)


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The Locked Door (1929)

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Barbara Stanwyck 57

Director: George Fitzmaurice

Cast: Rod LaRocque, Barbara Stanwyck, William Stage Boyd, Betty Bronson, Harry Subbs, Mack Swain, ZaSu Pitts, George Bunny

74 min

The Locked Door is a 1929 American pre-Code drama film directed by George Fitzmaurice and starring Rod LaRocqueBarbara StanwyckWilliam “Stage” Boyd, and Betty Bronson.

The film is based on the play The Sign on the Door by Channing Pollock.[1] The play was first adapted for the screen in 1921 as The Sign on the Door, starring Norma Talmadge.[2] The Locked Door was Barbara Stanwyck’s second film appearance, first starring role, and first talking picture.

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Plot

Ann Carter (Barbara Stanwyck), an inexperienced young woman, accepts an invitation to dinner from Frank Devereaux (Rod LaRocque), the son of her employer. The date turns out to be far from what she expects. It is aboard a “rum boat”, a ship that sails beyond the 12 mile limit to get around the restrictions of Prohibition. Worse, Frank turns out to be a cad.

When she tries to leave, he locks the door and tries to force himself on her, tearing her dress. Fortunately, the ship drifts back into U.S. waters and a police raid stops him from going any further. When a photographer takes a picture of the two under arrest, Frank buys it from him.

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Eighteen months later, Ann is happily married to wealthy Lawrence Reagan (William “Stage” Boyd). They are about to celebrate their first wedding anniversary when Frank resurfaces in Ann’s life, this time as the boyfriend of her naive young sister-in-law, Helen (Betty Bronson). Though both Ann and her husband tell Helen that Frank is no good (Lawrence knows that Frank is having an affair with the wife of one of his friends), it is clear to Ann that Helen does not believe them.

Ann goes to Frank’s apartment to stop him from taking advantage of Helen. She hides when Lawrence shows up unexpectedly. He warns Frank to leave town before Lawrence’s friend catches up with him and shoots him. Frank had already planned to go, but when Lawrence declares that he intends to administer a beating first, Frank draws a gun. He is shot in the ensuing struggle. Lawrence leaves without being seen, unaware that his wife has heard the whole thing.

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To protect her husband, Ann phones the switchboard operator and reenacts her earlier assault, ending with her firing two shots. When the police arrive, the district attorney (Harry Mestayer) soon pokes holes in her story. Also, the photograph is found, providing a motive for murder. However, Frank is not yet dead; in his last few minutes of life, he explains what really happened, exonerating both Ann and Lawrence.

Cast

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References

  1. Jump up^ White Munden, Kenneth, ed. (1997). The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States: Feature Films, 1921-1930. University of California Press. p. 445. ISBN 0-520-20969-9.
  2. Jump up^ White Munden 1997 pp.715-716

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Mexicali Rose (1929)


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Mexicali Rose AKA The Girl From Mexico (1929)

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Mexicali Rose 2

Director: Erle C Kenton

Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Sam Hardy, William Janney, Louis Nathaneux, Arthur Rankin, Harry J Vejar, Louis King, Julia Bejerano, Frankie Genardi, Greta Granstedt, Dorothy Gulliver, Jerry Miley

60 min

 

Mexicali Rose is a 1929 American pre-Code romantic drama film directed by Erle C. Kenton and starring Barbara Stanwyck and Sam Hardy.[1]

A silent and sound version are preserved at the Library of Congress.[2]

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Plot

“Happy” Manning returns early from a trip to his Mexican casino, the Mina de Oro (Gold Mine), and to his wife Rose, unaware that she has been unfaithful to him with Joe, the croupier. Happy soon finds out and divorces Rose, but he keeps Joe, as Joe is too valuable an employee to lose.

Afterward, he goes to visit his younger brother and ward, Bob, who is the quarterback of his college football team in California. Bob introduces him to his fiancee Marie (an uncredited Dorothy Gulliver). Bob, believing Happy owns a gold mine, promises to spend his honeymoon there.

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When Bob does get married, he sends Happy a telegram that he is coming. Happy’s friend Ortiz offers to exchange his real gold mine for Happy’s casino temporarily. Happy is shocked when Bob introduces his wife: Rose. Happy later tries to buy Rose off, but she turns him down, claiming she genuinely loves Bob. Happy is uncertain if she is lying or not and decides to not tell Bob the truth.

However, it soon becomes clear that she has not changed. Happy blocks her secret late-night rendezvous with an admirer and confronts her. She claims that she loves Happy and that she married Bob to get back at him. She then tells him she is going home. The next day, her body is found at the bottom of a cliff.

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Cast

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References

  1. Jump up^ Brennan, Sandra. “Mexicali Rose”AllMovie. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  2. Jump up^ Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress page 115 c.1978 published by The American Film Institute

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Love Affair (1932)


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Love Affair (1932)

Love Affair 4

Love Affair 1

Director: Thornton Freeland

Cast: Dorothy Mackaill, Humphrey Bogart, Hale Hamilton, Halliwell Hobbes, Astrid Allwyn, Jack Kennedy, Bradley Page, Barbara Leonard

68 min

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Love Affair is a 1932 American Pre-Code romantic drama film starring Dorothy Mackaill as an adventurous socialite and Humphrey Bogart as the airplane designer she falls for. It is based on the short story of the same name by Ursula Parrott.

Plot

Wealthy socialite Carol Owen (Dorothy Mackaill) decides to take up flying. Gilligan (Jack Kennedy) sets her up with a homely instructor, but she requests dashing Jim Leonard (Humphrey Bogart) instead. Jim has some fun, taking her through some aerobatic maneuvers that leave her queasy, but still game. For revenge, she gives him a lift into town in her sports car, driving at breakneck speeds. They begin seeing each other.

Carol learns that Jim is designing a revolutionary airplane engine, but cannot get any financial backing. She decides to give him a secret helping hand, persuading her skeptical financial manager, Bruce Hardy (Hale Hamilton), to invest in the project. Hardy is only too pleased to oblige, as he has asked Carol numerous times to marry him.

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Hardy keeps a mistress on the side, aspiring stage actress Linda Lee (Astrid Allwyn). Unbeknownst to him, she is Jim’s sister and in love with Georgie Keeler (Bradley Page), a Broadway producer. Things become serious between Carol and Jim. He begins neglecting his work and eventually spends the night with her. The next day, he asks her to marry him. She realizes that she is distracting him from making a success of his engine and turns him down.

When Hardy asks Carol once again to marry him, she jokingly tells him she would only consider his offer if she were broke. He then informs her that she is. He has been paying all her bills for the past year. Hoping to help Jim, she agrees to wed Hardy.

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Hardy tries to break off his relationship with Linda. This is what Georgie has been waiting for. He has coached Linda to extort $50,000 from Hardy to finance a new play in which Linda will star, but the businessman will only write her a check for $10,000. To try to pressure Hardy, Georgie has Linda lie to Jim about the relationship.

Meanwhile, Carol has second thoughts and goes to break the news to Hardy. Before she can however, Jim shows up and insists that Hardy marry his sister. However, when Hardy shows him the canceled $10,000 check endorsed to Georgie, Jim realizes Linda has deceived him. He apologizes and leaves.

Carol decides to kill herself by crashing an airplane. As she starts to take off, Jim reads the suicide note she left with Gilligan. He manages to cling to the fuselage, work his way gingerly to the cockpit (while the plane is in flight), and reconcile with Carol.

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Cast

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Midnight AKA Call It Murder (1934)


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Midnight 1

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Director: Chester Erskine

Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Sidney Fox, OP Heggie, Henry Hull, Margaret Wycherly, Lynne Overman, Katherine Wilson, Richard Whorf

76 min

Midnight is a 1934 American drama film directed by Chester Erskine and starring Sidney FoxO.P. HeggieHenry Hulland Margaret Wycherly. The film was produced for Universal and was shot on a modest budget of $50,000 at Thomas Edison Studios, which producer/director Chester Erskine had re-opened specifically for the shoot.[1]

Humphrey Bogart had a small supporting role. The film was re-released as Call It Murder by Screen Guild Productions in 1949 after Bogart became a star; he was given top billing, although he was credited eighth in the original release.

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Plot

The movie begins at the murder trial of Ethel Saxon, a woman who shot her lover in a crime of passion. During the trial, Edward Weldon, the jury foreman, asks the defendant a question, which essentially leads to a guilty verdict and a death sentence for her.

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The rest of film takes place on the evening of the execution, mostly in the Weldon home. Edward is dealing with the consequences of his role as foreman, and his daughter Stella is upset by the departure of her gangster boyfriend, Gar Boni, whom she met during the trial.

The evening culminates at midnight as the switch is pulled at the death house and a gun is fired in a parked car. Moments later, Stella returns home, admitting that she has shot Gar Boni.

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Cast

References

 Allen Eyles, Bogart, Macmillan, 1975 p 32
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Bad Sister, The (1931)


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Bad Sister is a 1931 American Pre-Code drama film directed by Hobart Henley. The screenplay by Edwin H. Knopf, Tom Reed, and Raymond L. Schrock is based on the 1913 novel The Flirt by Booth Tarkington, which had been filmed in 1916 and 1922.

The film marks the screen debut of Bette Davis and Sidney Fox, who was billed over Davis. It also features Humphrey Bogart and ZaSu Pitts in supporting roles. This film has been preserved in the Library of Congress collection.[1] [2]

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Plot

Naive Marianne Madison, bored with her routine life, falls for dashing con artist Valentine Corliss, who has come to her small town looking for fresh marks to swindle.

He soon charms her into faking her wealthy and prominent father’s name on a letter of endorsement, which he presents to the other local merchants, who willingly give him merchandise. He prepares his escape, but not before conning Marianne into becoming his wife.

Following their wedding night in a sleazy hotel, Valentine abandons Marianne. She returns home and begs forgiveness from her jilted fiancé Dick Lindley, but having seen Marianne for who she really is, he turns his attention to her shy younger sister Laura.

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Production

The film originally was called What a Flirt and then Gambling Daughters before being changed to Bad Sister just prior to its theatrical release.[3]
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Bette Davis, nervous about her appearance in her first film, consulted with studio makeup chief Jack Pierce, who “surveyed me critically, almost resentfully,” she recalled for an interview in the April 1938 issue of Good Housekeeping. “Your eyelashes are too short, hair’s a nondescript color, and mouth’s too small.

A fat little Dutch girl’s face, and a neck that’s too long,” he told her. He suggested a different shade of lipstick and advised her to use eye shadow, but their meeting left Davis feeling anxious and lacking self-confidence.

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After seeing the completed film, producer Carl Laemmle, Jr. commented, “Can you imagine some poor guy going through hell and high water and ending up with her at the fade-out?” [3]

Davis was required to change a baby in one scene, and the fact the infant was a boy was kept secret from her. When she undid the diaper and saw male genitals for the first time in her life, she was so embarrassed her face reddened enough to look deep gray on screen.[3]

Davis and her mother attended a preview of the film in San Bernardino. The actress was reportedly so distressed by her performance that they left before the final credits. Certain her Hollywood career was over, she cried all the way home.[3]

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Cast

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References

  1. Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress p.11 c.1978 by The American Film Institute
  2. Jump up^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:Bad Sister, afi.com; accessed September 23, 2015.
  3. Jump up to:a b c d Stine, Whitney, and Davis, Bette, Mother Goddam: The Story of the Career of Bette Davis. New York: Hawthorn Books 1974. ISBN 0-8015-5184-6, pp. 8-11

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I Cover the Waterfront (1933)


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I Cover the Waterfront (1933)

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Director: James Cruze

Cast: Ben Lyon, Claudette Colbert, Ernest Torrence, Hobart Cavanaugh, Maurice Black, Purnell Platt, Harry Beresford, Wilfred Lucas,  Rosita Marstini

75 min

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I Cover the Waterfront is a 1933 American Pre-Code romantic drama film directed by James Cruze and starring Ben LyonClaudette ColbertErnest Torrence, and Hobart Cavanaugh.

Based on the book of the same name by Max Miller, the film is about a reporter who investigates a waterfront smuggling operation, and becomes romantically involved with the daughter of the man he is investigating.

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Plot

San Diego Standard reporter H. Joseph Miller (Ben Lyon) has been covering the city’s waterfront for the past five years and is fed up with the work. He longs to escape the waterfront life and land a newspaper job back East so he can marry his Vermont sweetheart. Miller is frustrated by the lack of progress of his current assignment investigating the smuggling of Chinese people into the country by a fisherman named Eli Kirk (Ernest Torrence). One morning after wasting a night tracking down bad leads, his editor at the Standard orders him to investigate a report of a girl swimming naked at the beach. There he meets Julie Kirk (Claudette Colbert), the daughter of the man he’s been investigating.

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Meanwhile, Eli Kirk and his crew are returning to San Diego with a Chinese passenger when the Coast Guard approaches. Not wanting to be caught with evidence of his smuggling operation, Kirk orders his men to weigh down the Chinaman and lower him overboard to his death. The Coast Guard, accompanied by Miller, board the boat but find nothing. The next day, Miller discovers the Chinaman’s body which was carried in with the tide, and takes it as evidence to his editor, who still remains skeptical of Kirk’s guilt. To get conclusive evidence, Miller tells him he plans to romance Kirk’s daughter Julie in order to break the smuggling operation.

When Kirk returns, he informs Julie that they will need to move on soon—maybe to Singapore—as soon as he can put together enough money for the voyage. One night, Julie discovers her father drunk at a boarding house. Miller, who was there investigating Kirk, helps Julie take her father home. Julie does not discourage Miller’s flirtations, and during the next few weeks they fall in love. She is able to help Miller see the beauty of the waterfront, and inspires him to improve the novel he’s been working for the past five years. While visiting an old Spanish galleon on a date, he playfully restrains her in a torture rack and kisses her passionately—and she returns his passion.

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Julie and Miller spend a romantic evening together on the beach, where she reveals that she and her father will be sailing away in the next few days. After spending the night in Miller’s apartment, Julie announces the next morning that she’s decided to stay, hoping that he will stay with her. When Miller learns from her that her father is due to dock at the Chinese settlement that night, he notifies the Coast Guard. At the dock, while the Coast Guard searches the vessel, Miller discovers a Chinaman hidden inside a large shark. When the Coast Guard attempt to arrest Kirk, he flees the scene but is wounded during his escape.

The next morning, Miller’s breaking story is published on the Standard’s front page. When a wounded Kirk makes his way back home, Julie learns that it was Miller who helped the Coast Guard uncover her father’s smuggling operation (of which she was unaware), and that she unknowingly revealed to him his landing location. Soon after, Miller, feeling guilty over the story’s impact to Julie’s life, arrives at her home and apologizes for the hurt he’s caused her, and announces that he loves her. Feeling used by his actions, an angry Julie sends him away.

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Later that night, Miller locates Kirk, who shoots him in the arm. Julie arrives to help her father escape, and seeing Miller wounded, she tells her father she cannot leave Miller to die. Seeing that she loves him, Kirk helps her take Miller to safety, after which Kirk dies. Later from his hospital bed, Miller acknowledges in his newspaper column that Kirk saved his life before he died. Sometime later, Miller returns to his apartment, where Julie is waiting to greet him. Noticing that she cleaned and transformed his place into a cozy home, he tells her he finally wrote the ending to his novel, “He marries the girl”. Julie acknowledges, “That’s a swell finish”, and the two embrace.

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Cast

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Production

Screenplay

Rights to the novel were bought by Edward Small and his partner Harry Goets in 1932. They made it through the Reliance Picture Corporation as the first of a six-film deal with United Artists.[2] Reliance co-produced the film with Joseph Schenck’s Art Cinema Corporation.[1]

Filming

I Cover the Waterfront was filmed from mid-February to early March 1933.[1]

Soundtrack

The film’s title song, “I Cover the Waterfront“, appears in the film only as an instrumental.[3] Written by Johnny Green and Edward Heyman, the song went on to become a jazz standard recorded by many artists, including Billie HolidayLouis ArmstrongFrank SinatraThe Ink Spots, and Ella Fitzgerald, among others.[4]

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Critical response

In his review for The New York Times, film critic Mordaunt Hall called the film “a stolid and often grim picture”.[5] While Hall felt the drama was not as good as some of director James Cruze’s previous work, the “clever acting of the principals”—especially that of Ernest Torrence—offset some of the film’s shortcomings.[5]

Hall found some of the scenes “more shocking than suspenseful” and felt a broader adaptation of Max Miller’s book may have been more interesting than the focus on the melodramatic series of incidents related to a sinister fisherman.[5]

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While acknowledging that “Colbert does well as Julie”, Hall did not find her convincing as a fisherman’s daughter because she does not look the type.[5] Hall reserved his highest praise for Ernest Torrence in his final screen performance.[5] Torrence died on May 15, 1933, shortly after the film was completed.

John Mosher of The New Yorker described the adaptation as a “commonplace screen romance,” but also praised the performance of the late Torrence, writing that he “was at the height of his power … One can foresee that many pictures will be empty things for lack of him.”[6] Variety called it “a moderately entertaining picture … The late Ernest Torrence has the meat part and his performance is in keeping with the standard he had set for himself. A pretty tough assignment they gave him, one in which it was necessary to capture sympathy in face of the worst sort of opposition from the script. He’ll be sorely missed on the screen.”[7]

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Remakes

I Cover the Waterfront was remade in 1961 by Edward Small as Secret of Deep Harbor.[3]

See also

References[edit]

  1. Jump up to:a b c “I Cover the Waterfront”American Film Institute. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  2. Jump up^ Babcock, Muriel (September 24, 1932). “Notable Novel to be Filmed”. The New York Times. p. A7.
  3. Jump up to:a b “I Cover the Waterfront: Notes”. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  4. Jump up^ “I Cover the Waterfront”. Discogs. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  5. Jump up to:a b c d e Hall, Mordaunt (May 18, 1933). “The Late Ernest Torrence in His Last Picture…”The New York Times. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  6. Jump up^ Mosher, John (May 27, 1933). “The Current Cinema”. The New Yorker. New York: F-R Publishing Corp. p. 49.
  7. Jump up^ “I Cover the Waterfront”. Variety. New York: Variety, Inc. May 23, 1933. p. 15.

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White Woman (1933)


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White Woman (1933)

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Director: Stuart Walker

Cast: Carole Lombard, Charles Laughton, Charles Bickford, Kent Taylor,  Percy Kilbride, James Bell, Charles Middleton, Claude King, Ethel Griffies

68 min

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White Woman is a 1933 American pre-Code drama film directed by Stuart Walker and starring Carole LombardCharles Laughton, and Charles Bickford.[1] A young widow remarries and accompanies her husband to his remote jungle rubber plantation. The film was based on the Broadway play Hangman’s Whip by Norman Reilly Raine and Frank Butler.[2]

One of hundreds of Paramount films held in limbo by Universal Studios. Universal gained ownership of Paramount features produced between 1929 and 1949. Paramount remade the film in 1939 as Island of Lost Men, with Anna May WongJ. Carrol Naish and Broderick Crawford in the roles originated by Lombard, Laughton and Bickford. It was directed by Kurt Neumann.[3]

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Plot

Judith Denning, a beautiful cafe singer in Malay, has been forced to leave town after town because of gossip that says her husband’s suicide was on account of her infidelity. Upright British lawyer C. M. Chisholm accuses Judith of being a “loose white woman” who is tempting the natives and forces her to leave town by getting her fired.

Horace H. Prin, “King of the Jungle,” then offers to marry her. Prin takes Judith to his jungle home on the river, where he has been running a trading outfit for twenty years. Prin’s white management crew consists largely of criminal exiles whose secret pasts he uses as leverage to get them to remain under his ruthless tyranny.

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When Hambly, who runs a station up the river, insists that the poor diet Prin has been feeding the native workers is breeding insurrection among them, Prin has him killed. Overseer David von Elst, who has not seen a white woman in ten years, quickly falls in love with Judith. A month after Judith’s arrival, she and David decide to run away, but when they confront Prin, he refuses to give them a boat and sends David up the river to take Hambly’s place at Gubar.

David, meanwhile, has told Judith he deserted his regiment after natives decapitated his partner and threw his head through David’s window. Since then he has lacked the courage to fight Prin and return to society. Ballister, the new tough overseer, then arrives and immediately asks Judith for a “tumble,” undaunted by Prin’s eccentric tyranny. When two tribal chiefs request the right to deal with other traders, Prin foolishly refuses them, and they prepare for war against him.

The natives kill Connors, one of Prin’s men, and throw his head through David’s window, after which David finally regains his nerve and travels through the dangerous jungle to warn Judith. David and Judith prepare to leave, but Prin drains their boat of gas. Ballister, sympathetic to the lovers, warns them to take another boat. When Prin shoots his pet baby ape, “Duke,” Jakey, Prin’s most faithful white servant, throws his machine guns in the river and leaves with David and Judith. Ballister and Prin play poker and drink as the natives approach, armed with spears. After Ballister is killed, Prin declares he is forever king of the jungle and walks out into the onslaught of spears.

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Cast

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References

  1. Jump up^ The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1931-40 published by The American Film Institute c.1993
  2. Jump up^ Hangman’s Whip, St. James Theatre, February 24, 1933, IBDb.com; accessed August 5, 2015.
  3. Jump up^ The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1931-40 published by The American Film Institute, c. 1993

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Before Morning (1933)


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Before Morning (1933)

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Director: Arthur Hoerl

Cast: Leo Carillo, Lora Baxter, Taylor Holmes, Blaine Cordner, Louise Prussing, Russell Hicks, Louis Jean Heydt, Jules Epailly

56 min

Before Morning is a 1933 American Pre-Code crime drama directed by Arthur Hoerl, and starring Leo Carrillo, Lora Baxter, and Taylor Holmes. The film was adapted for the screen by Arthur Hoerl, from the 1933 Broadway play of the same name by Edward and Edna Riley.[1]

Synopsis

Actress Elsie Manning (Lora Baxter) is engaged to Horace Baker (Blaine Cordner), but has also been in a romantic relationship with James Nichols (Russell Hicks) who has named her as the beneficiary in his will. Not knowing about her engagement, Nichols asks his wife for a divorce and is refused. Nichols dies in Manning’s apartment after she tells him she’s engaged to Baker. When Baker arrives on the scene, he agrees to help her dispose of the body by having Nichols moved to a sanitarium. The owner, Dr. Gruelle (Leo Carrillo), tells them Nichols was murdered by poison and attempts to extort money from Manning for his statement that the death was of natural causes. Gruell tries the same scam on the widow of Nichols (Louise Prussing), who eventually agrees when the poison is found in her purse. It is revealed that Gruell is really a corrupt police inspector named Mr. Maitland.[2]

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Cast

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References

  1. Before Morning at the Internet Broadway Database
  2. Jump up^ “Before Morning”AFI Catalog of Feature Films. AFI. Retrieved July 20, 2015.

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