Tag Archives: pre code

Four Frightened People (1934)

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Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

Four Frightened People (1934)

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Director: Cecil B DeMille

Cast: Claudette Colbert, Herbert Marshall, Mary Boland, William Gargan, Leo Carillo, Nella Walker, Tetsu Komai, Delmar Costello

78 min

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Four Frightened People is a 1934 American Pre-Code adventure film directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Claudette ColbertHerbert MarshallMary Boland, and William Gargan. It is based on the novel by E. Arnot Robertson.


The film tells the story of two men (Marshall and Gargan) and two women (Colbert and Boland), who leave from a plague-ridden ship and reach the Malayan jungle. The relationships between the four people before they enter the jungle are examined and are transformed as they interact with natural phenomena and the natives who populate the jungle. The film also relates how each of the four people carried on in life after they emerged from the jungle.

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Filming locations

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Production crew

  • Executive producer (uncredited) – Emanuel Cohen
  • Art Direction – Roland Anderson
  • Production Manager (uncredited) – Roy Burns
  • Assistant Director (uncredited) – Cullen Tate, James Dugan
  • Sound Mixer (uncredited) – Harry Lindgren
  • Double (uncredited) – Mildred Mernie as Claudette Colbert, Bruce Warren as Herbert Marshall, Leota Lorraine as Mary Boland, Carl Mudge as William Gargan, Curley Dresden as Leo Carrillo

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The film was a box office disappointment for Paramount.[1]

Home Video Release

This film, along with The Sign of the CrossCleopatraThe Crusades and Union Pacific, was released on DVD in 2006 by Universal Studios as part of The Cecil B. DeMille Collection.


  1. Jump up^ By, D. W. (1934, Nov 25). TAKING A LOOK AT THE RECORD. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/101193306?accountid=13902

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I Cover the Waterfront (1933)

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Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

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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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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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]


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


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

See also


  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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Safety In Numbers (1930)

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Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

Safety In Numbers (1930)

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Director: Victor Schertzinger

Cast: Charles Buddy Rogers, Kathryn Crawford, Josephine Dunn, Carole Lombard, Roscoe Karns, Richard Tucker, Francis McDonald, Raoul Paoli, Virginia Bruce, Tom London

80 min

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Safety in Numbers is a 1930 American Pre-Code musical comedy film. Directed by Victor Schertzinger, it stars Buddy Rogers, and features Kathryn CrawfordJosephine Dunn, and Carole Lombard (in one of her early roles).


William Butler Reynolds, a 20-year-old San Franciscan with a penchant for dancing and song-writing, is about to inherit a sizable fortune.

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His guardian uncle decides to send him to New York to be educated in the “ways of the world” by three lady friends–Jacqueline, Maxine, and Pauline, Follies girls, who agree not to vamp him though he falls for Jacqueline and is jealous of her admirer, Phil Kempton.

Bill’s inept attempt to promote a song with a producer results in the firing of all three girls; and when Jacqueline then resists his advances, he picks up Alma, a telephone operator, and becomes attentive to Cleo, a Follies vamp, but the girls save him from her wiles. Luckily, the producer accepts the song and rehires the girls; Jacqueline, realizing the sincerity of the boy’s love for her, embarks for Europe with Phil; but Phil realizes the appropriateness of the match and sees to it that the lovers are united.

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The reviewer for the Motion Picture Herald wrote, “Here’s that rare combination of intelligent direction, brilliant dialogue, and rich humor. The result is a picture that is entertainment plus.” Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times was less enthusiastic, but praised the musical numbers.[1]

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  1. Jump up to:a b Ott, Frederick W. (1972). The Films of Carole Lombard. Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press. pp. 75–77. ISBN 978-0806502786.

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White Woman (1933)

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Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

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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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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  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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Lena Rivers (1932)

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Lena Rivers AKA The Sin Of Lena Rivers (1932)

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Director: Phil Rosen

Cast: Charlotte Henry, Morgan Galloway, Beryl Mercer, James Kirkwood, John St Polis, Betty Blythe, Joyce Compton, Russell Simpson, Clarence Muse, The Kentucky Singers

67 min

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Lena Rivers, aka The Sin of Lena Rivers, is a 1932 American pre-Code drama film directed by Phil Rosen based on the 1856 novel by Mary Jane Holmes. Filmed on several occasions throughout the silent era.[1]


Lena Rivers’ mother dies in childbirth, and the child is left to be reared by her grandparents. Years later, her grandfather is reported lost at sea, and Lena and her grandmother go to live in Canterville, Kentucky with John Nichols, Lena’s uncle, despite the objections of John’s wife Mathilda and his daughter Caroline, who think that Lena is illegitimate.

Henry R. Graham, the owner of the plantation next to the Nichols’, seems bothered when he meets Lena. One day, Lena plays with a bunny on the Graham property, and she is horrified when Graham’s ward, Durrie Belmont, shoots it. Although she calls him a murderer, Durrie, who is courting Caroline, becomes attracted to Lena.

Graham takes a personal interest in Lena because she reminds him of a woman with whom he was in love, but who died while he was away, believing he had deserted her. When Lena shows a gift for calming the excitable horse Brimstone, Graham gives her the horse. After Graham introduces her to Durrie, the boy promises never to shoot another bunny and walks her home. Graham throws a party at his manor, but Lena does not come because she does not have a fancy dress, so Durrie goes to her house.

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They take a walk, and he kisses her before she goes in. Caroline sees them together and calls Lena an “ungrateful sneak,” then says she takes after her mother, who never married. Lana slaps her and runs crying to her grandmother, who assures her that her mother was married, but that her father left her to die. Graham enters Brimstone in the races for Lena because she has made astonishing progress with the previously unmanageable horse.

When Lena’s grandmother has an attack, Graham, worried about the effect her possible death might have on Lena, mentions to Durrie that he would like to adopt her. Durrie’s jealousy is aroused, as Caroline had earlier implied that Graham and Lena were having an illicit affair. In reality, Graham is Lena’s father. He had married her mother in secret because of his tyrant father, using his middle name “Rivers” as their surname.

His father “shanghaied” Graham to Europe, and when he returned, he learned that his wife had died. Until Lena recently appeared, he had been unaware that he had a daughter. Brimstone wins the race, and Lena is awarded $5,000, but Durrie discovers that Graham told the jockey of his competing horse to let Brimstone win.

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Still unaware of Graham’s real relationship to Lena, Durrie, jealous, angry and drunk, proposes to Caroline, who agrees to marry him. Lena’s grandmother dies after realizing that Lena now has enough money to support herself. Shaken by the death, Lena learns about Durrie and Caroline’s elopement and leaves town to make a new life for herself elsewhere after forgiving Graham, who has revealed his secret to her.

Meanwhile, Durrie drives recklessly and his car goes over an embankment. When Graham finds out that Durrie and Caroline are in the hospital, he sends for Lena. While Caroline flirts with a doctor, Durrie learns that Graham is Lena’s father and leaves the hospital to find her and marry her. He gets into a car to find Lena inside, and they hug and kiss.

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  1. Jump up^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:..Lena Rivers

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Topaze (1933)

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Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

Topaze (1933)

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Director: Harry D’Abbadie D’Arrast

Cast: John Barrymore, Myrna Loy, Reginald Mason, Jobyna Howland, Jackie Searl, Albert Conti, Frank Reicher, Luis Alberini, Lowden Adams

78 min

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Topaze is a 1933 American Pre-Code film based on the French play of the same name by Marcel Pagnol. Another film version of Topaze, this one made in the original French was also released that year, starring Louis Jouvet in the title role. Subsequently Pagnol himself directed a 1936 adaptation.


Prof. Auguste A. Topaze (John Barrymore), an honest, naive chemist and schoolteacher at the –  Stegg Academy in Paris, loses his job when he refuses to accede to a demand by the Baroness de La Tour-La Tour to alter the grades of her bratty son, Charlemagne.

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On the same day, Friday the 13th, Topaze calls on the Baron de La Tour-La Tour’s mistress, Coco (Myrna Loy), who is looking for a tutor for her sister’s son, Alphonse, and had gotten Topaze’s name from La Tour. Upon meeting and listening to the sincere remarks of Topaze, the baron, head of the La Tour Chemical Works, decides to employ him as a scientific front for his phony curative water.

After an encounter at a cafe, where the Baron narrowly avoids a scene with his wife by calling Coco “Madame Topaze”, Coco reveals the true nature of her relation to the Baron to the naive Professor. When they arrive late back to Coco’s apartment, the Baron is jealous, but soon realizes Topaze is entirely innocent.

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Unaware that the water, “Sparkling Topaze,” which is being sold all over Paris, does not contain the medicinal formula he invented for it, Topaze is shocked when Dr. Bomb (who had turned down the “honor” of having the fradulent water named for him) shows up, demanding 100,000 francs from the Baron or he will expose the fradulent product. But the Baron blackmails him in return with information about his previous identity, and Bomb is dragged out.

After confirming for himself, in the lab and in a local restaurant, that “Sparkling Topaze” is in fact phony, a dazed Topaze returns to Coco’s apartment the next morning, where Coco fusses over him. At first, he is ready to be arrested, but the men who are shown in are instead a delegation from the Bureau of Awards and Merits, who award him the Academic Palms. All are friends and business associates of the Baron, and the scales begin to fall from Professor Topaze’s eyes.

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His naivete thoroughly destroyed, declaring “Topaze lies dead in an alley”, Topaze decides to fight back by becoming more corrupt than his mentors. He remakes his image and, with Bomb as his assistant, he opens his own office, where he makes dignitaries wait to see him. One is Dr. Stegg, who now wants Topaze to preside at the graduation at the school. Topaze succeeds in blackmailing the Baron into a partnership in his company with a complete account of his relationship with Coco, which he threatens to show to the Baroness, whose name the shares in the company are in.

At the Stegg Academy graduation, Topaze, who has also garnered the romantic attention of Coco, is to distribute the prize, which he is told is to go to his former nemesis, Charlemagne de La Tour-La Tour. He gives a little speech about his experiences in the great world, that honesty isn’t always rewarded and that villainy often receives more applause than virtue. Declaring that he will not reward wrongdoers, he shows up Charlemagne’s ignorance relative to all his classmates, then awards the prize to them instead.

He is last seen escorting Coco into the cinema.

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Topaze won the 1933 National Board of Review Award for Best Film.

Mordaunt Hall said “[I]t is an agreeable and effective film, and Mr. Barrymore lends no little artistry to the rôle of the benign Professor Auguste Topaze, a part played with rare skill on the stage by Frank Morgan.”[1]

In 1935, a planned reissue was rejected by Joseph Breen as the Production Code was now being strictly enforced and the relationship between Coco and Philippe lacked compensating moral values.[2]


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  1. Jump up^ New York Times review by Mordaunt Hall
  2. Jump up^ The Dame in the Kimono by Leonard Leff and Jerold Simmons (Weidenfeld and Nicolson: 1990)

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Borrowed Wives (1930)

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Borrowed Wives (1930)

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Director:  Frank R Strayer

Cast: Rex Lease, Vera Reynolds, Nita Martan, Paul Hurst, Robert Livingston, Charles Sellon, Dorothea Wolbert, Sam Hardy, Harry Todd, Tom London

62 min

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Borrowed Wives is a 1930 American Pre-Code film directed by Frank R. Strayer.

Plot summary

Peter Foley (Rex Lease) is a beneficiary of his grandfather, who leaves him $800,000 in his will. The condition for Peter getting the money is that he gets married. Peter is very interested in getting the money, especially since he has debts, and plans to marry Alice Blake (Vera Reynolds) as soon as she arrives from Kansas City.

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He plans to take her to his Uncle Henry’s (Charles Sellon) home before midnight to actually get the inheritance. The uncle needs to see the girl whom Peter is about to marry before he releases the money.

Alice’s airplane is delayed, though. The man to whom Peter is in debt, Parker (Sam Hardy), insists that his own girl friend, Julia (Nita Martan), pose as Peter’s wife in the meantime. Alice is informed by Joe Blair (Robert Livingston), a man who is secretly interested in marrying Alice himself, that Peter is actually married to Julia. Alice agrees to marry Joe if this is true.

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Peter and Julia are pursued by Bull (Paul Hurst), a motorcycle policeman who loves Julia. Further complications arise at Uncle Henry’s, when Lawyer Winstead (Harry Todd), who is found bound and gagged, agrees to marry them. The uncle, revealed to be posing as a paralytic, is exposed as a villain, but Peter and Alice are ultimately married before the last hour appointed in the will.[1]

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Trouble in Paradise (1932)

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Trouble in Paradise (1931)

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Director: Ernst Lubitsch

Cast: Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, Herbert Marshall, Charles Ruggles, Edward Everett Horton, C Aubrey Smith, Robert Greig, Luis Alberini

83 min

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Kay Francis & Miriam Hopkins-The Trouble in Paradise 1932

Trouble in Paradise is a 1932 American Pre-Code romantic comedy film directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Miriam HopkinsKay Francis, and Herbert Marshall and featuring Charles Ruggles and Edward Everett Horton.

Based on the 1931 play The Honest Finder (A Becsületes Megtaláló) by Hungarian playwright László Aladár,[2] the film is about a gentleman thief and a lady pickpocket who join forces to con a beautiful perfume company owner.

In 1991, Trouble in Paradise was selected for preservation by the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.[3]

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In Venice, Gaston Monescu (Herbert Marshall), a master thief masquerading as a baron, meets Lily (Miriam Hopkins), a beautiful thief and pickpocket also pretending to be of the nobility, and the two fall in love and decide to team up.

They leave Venice for Paris, and go to work for the famous perfume manufacturer Madame Mariette Colet (Kay Francis), with the intention of stealing a great sum of money from her safe, which Monescu, as her secretary, arranges to be diverted there. In the course of things, Colet begins to flirt with Monescu, and he begins to have feelings for her.

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Unfortunately, the plan develops a hitch when François Filiba (Edward Everett Horton), one of Colet’s suitors, sees Monescu at a garden party. He is unable to remember where he knows him from, but when another of Colet’s suitors, The Major (Charles Ruggles), tells Filiba that he once mistook Monescu for a doctor, Filiba suddenly remembers that he knows Monescu from Venice, where the thief robbed him, pretending to be a doctor. Monescu and Lily plan an immediate getaway that night, after they take all the money in the safe.

Colet prepares to leave for a dinner party given by the Major, but cannot decide whether to go or to stay and have sex with Monescu. Eventually she goes, but not before Lily catches on that Monescu has fallen for her rival, and wants to back out of the plan – so she robs the safe herself after confronting her partner.

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At the Major’s, Filiba tells Colet about Monescu, but she refuses to believe it’s true. She returns home and suggestively probes Monescu, who admits that the safe has been cleaned out, but claims that he himself took the cash. He also tells her that the manager of her business, Adolph J. Giron (C. Aubrey Smith), who has been suspicious of Monescu all along, has stolen millions of dollars from the firm over the years.

Lily then confronts Colet and Monescu, reporting that it was she who stole the money from the safe. An argument ensues, in which, eventually, Colet allows the two thieves to leave together. As a parting shot, Monescu steals a necklace from Colet that Lily had her eye on, and, in turn, Lily steals it from him, displaying it to him as the taxi takes them away, hugging each other.

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Working titles for Trouble in Paradise included “The Honest Finder,” “Thieves and Lovers,” and “The Golden Widow”; the latter was publicly announced to be the intended release title.[4] As with all the Lubitsch-Raphaelson collaborations, Lubitsch contributed to the writing and Raphaelson contributed ideas to the directing.[5]

Lubitsch did not receive screen credit for his writing, and Grover Jones, who was credited with the adaptation, did not contribute significantly:[5] although he was in the room, his credit was based on a contractual obligation, and he did little more than tell stories.[5][6]

Further, although supposedly based on László Aladár’s 1931 play The Honest Finder, Lubitsch suggested that Raphaelson not read the play, and instead the main character, Herbert Marshall’s master thief, was based on the exploits of a real person, George Manolescu, a Romanian con man whose memoir was published in 1905, and became the basis for two silent films.[5]

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Made before effective enforcement of the Production Code, the film is an example of pre-code cinema containing adult themes and sexual innuendo that was not permitted under the Code. In 1935, when the Production Code was being enforced, the film was not approved for reissue[4] and was not seen again until 1968.[7]Paramount was again rejected in 1943, when the studio wanted to make a musical version of the film.[4]

The Art Deco sets for Trouble in Paradise were designed by the head of Paramount’s art department, Hans Dreier, and the gowns were designed by Travis Banton.[5]

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Trouble in Paradise was the film that first had people talking about “the Lubitsch touch,” and it was, in fact, one of the director’s favorites.[5] Critic Dwight Macdonaldsaid of the film that it was “as close to perfection as anything I have ever seen in the movies.”[5]

The New York Times named the film as one of the ten best films of 1932. In 1998, Roger Ebert added it to his Great Movies collection.[8] Wes Anderson and Ralph Fiennes both said the movie was an inspiration for The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). Review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes reports 91% approval based on 23 critics.[9]

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Awards and honors

Trouble in Paradise was named by the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 1932.[3][10]


  1. Jump up to:a b “Trouble in Paradise” at Kay Francis Films. Accessed 16 March 2014
  2. Jump up^ “Screenplay info” on TCM.com. Accessed=August 24, 2012
  3. Jump up to:a b “Awards”Allmovie.com. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
  4. Jump up to:a b c “Notes”TCM.com. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
  5. Jump up to:a b c d e f g Nixon, Rob. “Trouble in Paradise (article)”TCM.com. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
  6. Jump up^ Raphaelson, Samson. Three Screen Comedies Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1983. ISBN 0-299-08780-8
  7. Jump up^ Osborne, Robert. Outro to the Turner Classic Movies showing of Trouble in Paradise (March 31, 2011)
  8. Jump up^ Ebert, Roger“Trouble in Paradise”. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  9. Jump up^ Trouble in Paradise (1932)”. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  10. Jump up^ “Awards”Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 24, 2012.

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Tangled Destinies (1932)

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Tangled Destinies AKA Who Killed Harry Forbes? (1932)

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Director: Frank R Strayer

Cast: Gene Morgan, Doris Hill, Glen Tryon, Vera Reynolds, Ethel Wales, Moanei Lindley, Syd Saylor, Sidney Bracey

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Tangled Destinies is a 1932 American film directed by Frank R. Strayer.

The film is also known as Who Killed Harvey Forbes? in the United Kingdom.

Plot summary

When a transcontinental airplane is forced to land in the desert in a thick fog, the crew and ten passengers find refuge in a deserted house, where they start up an electric generator and turn on the lights.

After the lights go out unexpectedly, one of the passengers is killed. Another passenger, a detective, claims he was guarding the deceased, who was carrying valuable diamonds, which are then discovered to be paste. Later, another person is murdered. Eventually, the murderer is found in the guise of a clergyman.

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Money Means Nothing (1934)

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Money Means Nothing (1934)

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Director: Christy Cabanne

Cast: Wallace Ford, Edgar Kennedy, Gloria Shea, Vivien Oakland, Maidel Turner, Betty Blythe, Eddie Tamblyn, Richard Tucker, Tenen Holtz, Ann Brody

70 min

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When Julie Ferris, a wealthy young woman searching for excitement, goes slumming at Joe’s Roadside Inn, she notices a group of shady men and follows them in her car. After trailing them for a distance, Julie crashes into their car as they are hijacking two trucks carrying tires. In the ensuing scuffle, the thieves shoot one of the trucks’ drivers, Red Miller, and threaten Julie. Ken McKay, the other driver, protects and rescues Julie, and she immediately falls in love with him. Although her sister Helen and rich brother-in-law George disapprove, Julie marries Ken and moves to Brooklyn.

While determined to make the marriage work, Julie is nonetheless unprepared for her new neighbors, the boorish, nosy Greens. After the Greens crash Julie’s birthday dinner, Herbert Green, who is Ken’s boss at the auto parts store, is told by his overbearing wife that Julie’s snobbish family insulted him. As revenge, Herbert lies to his district manager that Ken has been tipping off the still active hijackers.

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Fired, Ken has no luck in finding another job and contemplates making the now pregnant but devoted Julie return to her family when Red Miller, who has opened his own tire store, hires him. In cahoots with the hijackers, Red forces an unsuspecting Ken to help him steal more tire shipments, but Herbert, on a tip from Julie, figures out the plan and calls the police. In the end, the thieves are caught, and a repentant Herbert promises Ken a new job. Thus saved, the newlyweds reaffirm their belief that money means nothing.

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Wallace Ford Wallace Ford
Gloria Shea Gloria Shea
Julie Ferris McKay
Edgar Kennedy Edgar Kennedy
Herbert Green
Vivien Oakland Vivien Oakland
Helen Whitney (as Vivian Oakland)
Maidel Turner Maidel Turner
Mrs. Kerry Green
Betty Blythe Betty Blythe
Mrs. Ferris
Eddie Tamblyn Eddie Tamblyn
Robert ‘Robby’ Ferris (as Edward Tamblyn)
Richard Tucker Richard Tucker
George Whitney
Tenen Holtz Tenen Holtz
Mr. Silverman
Ann Brody Ann Brody
Mrs. Silverman
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Irving Bacon Irving Bacon
Navy Secretary (scenes deleted)
Ernie Adams Ernie Adams
Lead Hijacker (uncredited)
Sam Flint Sam Flint
Police Sergeant (uncredited)
Douglas Fowley Douglas Fowley
Red Miller (uncredited)
Olaf Hytten Olaf Hytten
Parsons – the Butler (uncredited)
Jack Kenney Jack Kenney
Hijacker-Driver (uncredited)
Jack Norton Jack Norton
Jack – Hijacker (uncredited)
Lee Phelps Lee Phelps
Chauffeur (uncredited)
Harry Semels Harry Semels
Toy Vendor (uncredited)
Bert Young Bert Young
Jim – Driver Shot in Leg (uncredited)

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Phantom Broadcast, The (1933)

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Phantom Broadcast, The (1933)

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Director: Phil Rosen

Cast: Ralph Forbes, Vivienne Osborne, Arnold Gray, Gail Patrick, Paul Page, Pauline Garon, Guinn Big Boy Williams, Rockliffe Fellowes

72 minutes

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As a delivery boy bestows flowers to girls about town, singer Grant Murdock states on his radio show that “Tonight I’m singing to you!” Joe Masetro, a gangster type, has set his sights on signing Grant to a big contract at the end of the week. Grant signs a new contract, however, with his old manager and conductor, Norman Wilder, a hunchback. Joe is upset with siren Elsa Evans, who was supposed to seduce Grant into signing with him. When Joe threatens to cut her out of the action, Elsa tells him she plans to marry Grant.

After the broadcast, Grant makes dates with a number of the girls and heads for Elsa, telling Wilder’s driver, Sandy Higgins, that he will not be rehearsing tonight. Lefty, Joe’s chief henchman and Elsa’s ex-lover, arrives with his gang to kill Norman. Norman meets Laura Hamilton, a young singer, and offers to test her the next day. Getting into his car, Sandy warns Norman about Lefty’s presence and the danger from Joe. Norman laughs off Sandy’s concern, but agrees to take a taxi, after which his car is shot up by Lefty and company. Joe calls Elsa at Grant’s apartment and tells her that Norman was “killed in a gang fight.” Norman, using his key, enters Grant’s apartment, frightening Elsa.

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Told of the attack, Grant assumes the murderers were after him, and after refusing to rehearse, he and Elsa leave. While Laura washes dishes with her fiancée, Dr. Robert Brooks, Norman calls and offers to test her in his studio that night. After the tryout, Norman tells Laura that she has real talent, but insists that a singing career and marriage do not mix. After she leaves, Norman looks in the mirror and imagines what he might have been like if he had not been born a hunchback. The next day, Grant and Norman rehearse. It turns out that Norman is the real singer and that Grant is no more than a ventriloquist’s dummy, mouthing the words and accepting the praise and glory.

When Grant leaves, he bumps into Laura and breaks her compact. Impressed by her looks, he promises to sing “My Good Bye to You” just for her, but Norman warns Laura about Grant, then refuses to sing the song on the broadcast. After the radio show, Norman tells Grant to stay away from Laura, but Grant calls her and makes a date for five o’clock to “hear him sing.” Grant strikes Norman and leaves. Norman tries to call Laura but she has already left. Back at his apartment, Elsa finds Laura’s compact and confronts Grant.

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She talks about marriage, but Grant strikes her and throws her out. While Elsa takes out her gun, Norman buys one of his own. Arriving at Grant’s, Norman finds the performer dead, with Laura’s compact next to him. Thinking Laura killed Grant, Norman switches guns, calls the police and confesses to the murder. Laura arrives, and realizing his mistake, Norman orders her to leave. When the police arrive, Norman escapes through the roof, but is mortally wounded.

Elsa calls Joe seeking help, but it is Lefty, who is still in love with her, who agrees to give her money. At the radio station, word of Grant’s murder arrives. At seven o’clock, right on schedule, the “voice” of Grant Murdock is heard on the air. The studio curtain is pulled back to show Norman singing “My Good Bye to You.” As he dies in her arms, Norman tells Laura that “love and music do mix.” On a ship, Laura honeymoons with Robert, as nearby Elsa wonders aloud to Lefty why Norman took the “rap” for her.

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Ralph Forbes Ralph Forbes
Vivienne Osborne Vivienne Osborne
Elsa Evans
Arnold Gray Arnold Gray
Grant Murdock
Gail Patrick Gail Patrick
Laura Hamilton
Paul Page Paul Page
Dr. Robert Brooks
Pauline Garon Pauline Garon
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams Guinn ‘Big Boy’ Williams
Sandy Higgins (as Big Boy Williams)
Rockliffe Fellowes Rockliffe Fellowes
Joe Maestro
Harland Tucker Harland Tucker
Program Manager (as Harlan Tucker)
Carl Miller Carl Miller
Mary MacLaren Mary MacLaren
George Nash George Nash
Althea Henley Althea Henley
George 'Gabby' Hayes George ‘Gabby’ Hayes
Police Lieutenant (as George Hayes)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Louise Beavers Louise Beavers
Penny (uncredited)
Kit Guard Kit Guard
Thug (uncredited)
Henry Hall Henry Hall
Thornton–Radio Station Manager (uncredited)
Dick Rush Dick Rush
Policeman (uncredited)

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X Marks The Spot (1931)

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X Marks The Spot (1931)

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Director: Erle C Kenton

Cast: Lew Cody, Sally Blane, Wallace Ford, Mary Nolan, Fred Kohler, Charles Middleton, Virginial Lee Corbin, Joyce Coad, Richard Tucker, Hank Mann, Helen Parrish

72 minutes

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X Marks the Spot is a 1931 American pre-Code crime drama film, directed by Erle C. Kenton and released by Tiffany Pictures, which operated from 1921 to 1932.

The story concerns a newspaper reporter indebted to a gangster for raising the money to save his little girl’s life. The source material was remade into a 1942 film of the same name. Helen Parrish appeared in both versions.


Ted Lloyd, a reporter for a small-town newspaper, follows an ambulance to the scene of an accident where he discovers that his young sister Gloria is the victim. Gloria’s doctor tells Ted that if she is ever to walk again, Ted must find the money to send her to Germany for an operation.

Ted asks all his friends, including his editor George Howard, for help, but although they are sympathetic, none has the necessary money. Desperately, Ted approaches Riggs, a local gangster. At first, Riggs flatly refuses to make the loan. Ted then offers to exchange secret information about the District Attorney for the money. Riggs angrily denounces Ted as an informer, then unexpectedly decides to give him the money for the operation. Ted promises never to forget Riggs’ kindness.

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Eight years later, George has become the editor of the New York Gazette and Ted works as the Broadway gossip columnist. When Ted writes an item about showgirl Vivyan Parker, implying that she is being kept by a wealthy man, she sues the paper for libel. Eager to avoid the suit, George sends Ted to Vivyan’s apartment to obtain a release. Ted sneaks into her apartment with the help of the doorman, but Vivyan refuses to sign the release and orders him out of her apartment. When she is later found murdered, Ted is the primary suspect.

In order to clear his name, Ted, who believes that robbery was the motive for Vivyan’s murder, obtains a list of her jewelry from her lover, E. T. Barnes. He contacts several fences and, with the help of one of them, discovers that the murderer is Riggs. Remembering that Riggs once did him a favor, Ted does not reveal his name, but George, suspecting that Ted knows who committed the murder, follows him to his meeting with Riggs and Riggs is arrested.

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Believing that Ted betrayed him, Riggs swears vengeance. During the trial, one of Riggs’ cronies tapes a gun beneath the table where Riggs waits for sentencing. When a guilty verdict is returned, Riggs uses the gun to shoot a guard and abduct one of the jurors. Riggs holds the man hostage, insisting that he will release him in exchange for Ted. Ted agrees, entering the room where Riggs waits at the same time the police release a smoke bomb. In the following gun battle, Riggs is killed and Ted is wounded. While Ted is in the hospital, George takes over his column. His final effort announces Ted’s engagement to his secretary, Sue.

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Vampire Bat, The (1933)

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The Vampire Bat (1933)

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The Vampire Bat is a 1933 American pre-Code horror film starring Lionel AtwillFay WrayMelvyn Douglas, and Dwight Frye.

Plot outline

When the villagers of Kleinschloss start dying of blood loss, the town fathers suspect a resurgence of vampirism, but police inspector Karl Breettschneider remains skeptical. Scientist Dr. Otto von Niemann, who cares for the victims, visits a patient who was attacked by a bat, Martha Mueller.

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Martha is visited by a mentally challenged man named Herman, who claims he likes bats because they are “soft like cat” and “nice”. On the doctor’s journey home, he meets Kringen, one of the townsfolk, who claims to have been attacked by the vampire in the form of a bat, but withheld his story from the town to not spread fear. Dr. von Niemann encourages Kringen to tell the townsfolk of his story.

Kringen becomes suspicious that Herman Glieb may be the vampire due to his obsession with bats. Herman lives with bats and collects them off the street.

Dr. von Niemann returns to his home, which also houses Breettschneider’s love Ruth Bertin, Ruth’s hypochondriac aunt Gussie Schnappmann, and servants Emil Borst and Gorgiana. Fear of the vampire and suspicion of Glieb quickly spread around the town, and people start fearing him.

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Ms Mueller is killed that night. The analyses of Dr. von Niemann and another doctor, Dr. Haupt, conclude that the death is the same as all of the previous deaths – blood loss, with two punctures in the neck caused by needle-sharp teeth. Gleib enters the examination, and upon seeing the dead body, runs away screaming.

Next morning, Glieb enters Dr. von Niemann’s garden, where Dr. von Niemann, Breettschneider, and Bertin are discussing vampires inside the house. The town fathers enter the house and announce that Kringen is dead and Gleib is missing. An angry mob hunts down Gleib and chases him through the countryside and into a cave, where he falls to his death.

That night, Dr. von Niemann is seen telepathically controlling Emil Borst, as he picks up sleeping Gorgiana and takes her down to Dr. von Niemann’s laboratory, where a strange organism is seen. They then drain her blood from her neck.

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Schnappmann then discovers Gorgiana’s body in her bed. Dr. von Niemann and Breettschneider investigate and find Ms Mueller’s crucifix, which Glieb handled the night Dr. von Niemann visited her. Breettschneider is becoming more convinced of the presence of vampires in the village as no other plausible explanations for the deaths can be found. As Glieb was seen in the garden that morning, the two conclude he is guilty.

Upon hearing of Glieb’s death, however, Breettschneider’s conviction is erased. Dr. von Niemann tells Breettschneider to go home and take sleeping pills, but gives him poison instead, intent on draining his blood. Bertin discovers Dr. von Niemann telepathically controlling Borst, who is at Breettschneider’s house.

It is revealed that Dr. von Niemann has created life, and is using the blood to fuel his organism. He ties Bertin up in his lab. Borst supposedly enters with Breettschneider’s body on a trolley. Dr. von Niemann walks over to Borst, who is revealed to be Breettschneider (who did not take the pills) in costume, with the real Borst on the trolley. Breettschneider pulls a gun on Dr. von Niemann, and walks over to untie Bertin. Dr. von Niemann then wrestles Breettschneider, who drops the gun. As the two fight, Borst picks up the gun and shoots Dr. von Niemann.

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Fay Wray and Lionel Atwill had been in the successful film Doctor X the previous year, and had already wrapped up work on Mystery of the Wax Museum for Warner Bros. This was quite a large-scale release and would have a lengthy post-production process. Seeing a chance to exploit all the advance press, poverty row studio Majestic Pictures Inc. contracted Wray and Atwill for their own “quickie” horror film, rushing The Vampire Bat into production and releasing it in January 1933.

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Majestic Pictures had lower overheads than the larger studios, which were struggling at the time during the Great Depression. Part of the reason that The Vampire Batlooked almost as good as any Universal Pictures horror film is because Majestic leased James Whale‘s castoffs, the “German Village” backlot sets left over from Frankenstein (1931) and the interior sets from his film The Old Dark House (1932), plus some location shooting at Bronson Caves.

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Completing the illusion that this was a film from a much bigger studio, Majestic hired actor Dwight Frye to populate scenes with Wray and Atwill. A stock musical theme by Charles Dunworth, “Stealthy Footsteps”, was used to accompany the opening credits.[1]

The Vampire Bat ruse worked well for Majestic, which was able to rush the quickie film into theaters less than a month before Warner’s release of Mystery of the Wax Museum. According to The Film Daily (January 10, 1933), the film’s running time was 63 minutes, like most extant prints.


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See also


  1. Jump up^ Larson, Randall D. (1985). Musique fantastique: a survey of film music in the fantastic cinema. Scarecrow Press. p. 32; ISBN 0810817284.
  2. Jump up^ “Scientific Horror”. New York Times. January 23, 1933. Retrieved 2013-05-14

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Sin Takes a Holiday (1930)

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Sin Takes a Holiday (1930)

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Director: Paul L Stein

Cast: Constance Bennett, Kenneth McKenna, Basil Rathbone, Rita La Roy, Louis John Bartels, John Roche, Zasu Pitts, Kendall Lee, Muriel Finley, Judith Wood

81 min

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Sin Takes a Holiday is a 1930 American pre-Code romantic comedy film, directed by Paul L. Stein, from a screenplay by Horace Jackson, based on a story by Robert Milton and Dorothy Cairns. It starred Constance BennettKenneth MacKenna, and Basil Rathbone. Originally produced by Pathé Exchange and released in 1930, it was part of the takeover package when RKO Pictures acquired Pathe that year; it was re-released by RKO in 1931.

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Basil Rathbone and Constance Bennett in a screen capture from the film

Sylvia Brenner (Constance Bennett) is a plain secretary sharing an apartment with two other girls, one of whom is her friend Annie (ZaSu Pitts). Her economic condition is meager, but she makes do with what she has.

She works for a womanizing divorce attorney, Gaylord Stanton (Kenneth MacKenna), who only dates married women; he has no intention of ever getting married and sees wives as safe, since they already have husbands. But Sylvia is secretly in love with Gaylord. When the woman he is fooling around with, Grace Lawrence (Rita La Roy), decides to leave her husband in order to marry Gaylord, he panics.

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In order to avoid having to deal with the matrimonial pursuits of any of his potential dalliances, he offers a business proposal to Sylvia whereby he will provide her with financial remuneration if she will marry him in name only. She agrees.

After the sham wedding, Sylvia is sent off to Paris by Gaylord, to get her out of the way so he can continue his nightly debauchery. In Paris, she uses her money to do a serious makeover of herself. While there, she also meets her boss’s old friend, Reggie Durant (Basil Rathbone), who falls in love with her. Reggie is a sophisticated European, who introduces Sylvia to the enticements of the European lifestyle, to which she is attracted. When Reggie asks Sylvia to divorce Gaylord so that she can marry him, she is tempted, but confused, and returns home. Returning to the States, everyone takes notice of the transformed Sylvia.

Although there is a brief hiccup, as Grace puts forth a full-court offensive to win over Gaylord, Gaylord and Sylvia end up realizing that they are in love with each other.

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(Cast list as per the AFI database)[1]

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On its original release, the movie recorded a loss of $40,000.[2]

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.[3]

The film was recorded using the RCA Photophone System.[4]

Tag line for the film, was, “Oh lady – what clothes!”[5]

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  1. Jump up to:a b “Sin Takes a Holiday: Detail View”. American Film Institute. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  2. Jump up to:a b c Richard Jewel, ‘RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951’, Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p57
  3. 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
  4. Jump up^ “Theiapolis: Technical Details”. theiapolis.com. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  5. Jump up^ “Sin Takes a Holiday, Articles”. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved August 5, 2014.

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Twin Husbands (1933)

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Twin Husbands (1933)

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Director: Frank R Strayer

Cast: John Miljan, Shirley Grey, Monroe Owsley, Hale Hamilton, Robert Elliott, Wilson Benge, Maurice Black, Robert Walker

68 min

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Twin Husbands is a 1933 American Pre-Code film directed by Frank R. Strayer.

Plot summary

After he wakes from a deep sleep in a strange Long Island mansion, a dazed man finds a calendar dated 1938, four years later than his last recollection, and evidence that his name is Jerome “Jerry” Peyton Werrenden. Greyson, a butler, tells Jerry that he is the mansion’s owner and that he has been ailing mentally for months.

Jerry, however, quickly deduces that he has been kidnapped and drugged and that Greyson was hired to pose as a longtime servant as part of a scheme to convince him that he is suffering from amnesia.

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Curious about the scheme, Jerry pays Greyson to continue his part, while he pretends to be Werrenden with Chloe, his supposed wife, and with Colton Drain, his supposed secretary. When Chloe and Colton realize that Jerry is wise to the plot, they offer him $10,000 to impersonate Werrenden, who is living in Europe, in a meeting with Colonel Gordon Lewis, the estate trustee, who has been asked to deliver $200,000 in bonds. Jerry accepts the offer and, while waiting for the colonel, overhears Chloe and Colton discussing plans to leave for South America.

After requesting a signed receipt, Lewis, apparently fooled by the impersonation, gives Jerry the bonds, which Jerry then places in a safe, the combination to which only the real Werrenden knows. Later that night, Colton and Chloe discover two thugs, Feets and Chuck, breaking into the safe.

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When the thugs see Jerry, they identify him as The Sparrow, a master “cracksman,” and as a favor to his fellow crooks, Jerry allows them to escape before the police arrive. After a confused interrogation of Chloe, Colton, Lewis and Greyson about Jerry’s identity, Sergeant Kerrigan orders Jerry and Chloe to police headquarters. To Chloe’s surprise, however, Jerry takes her to his house, explaining that Greyson had telephoned his minion, Kerrigan, with orders to impersonate a police sergeant.

After Jerry determines that Chloe was actually trying to save her ne’er-do-well husband from the financial scheming of Colton, he confronts Lewis about the bonds. Cornered, Lewis confesses that he had hired Feets and Chuck to steal the bonds because he needed the money to cover his own overdraughts.

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Jerry then breaks into Colton’s private vaults and unearths several documents that reveal that Colton had covered up news of Werrenden’s death and had stolen his securities. Jerry returns to the Werrenden mansion and shows Chloe, with whom he has fallen in love, his evidence. Supported by Chloe, a repentant Lewis and Greyson, Jerry convinces the police that he is Werrenden and that Colton is suffering a nervous breakdown.

Unable to expose Colton to the police because of his own criminal activities, Jerry nonetheless satisfies Chloe by forcing Colton to agree to leave immediately for South America. Chloe then convinces a reformed Jerry not to run away, but to stay with her indefinitely.

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Gay Nighties, The (1933)

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The Gay Nighties (1933)

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Director: Mark Sandrich

Cast: Bobby Clark, Paul McCullough, James Finlayson, Dorothy Granger, John Sheehan, Monte Collins

20 min 

The Gay Nighties is a 1933 American Pre-Code comedy film featuring Clark & McCullough and directed by Mark Sandrich.

Plot summary

Clark & McCullough, as Hives and Blodgett, are campaign managers for political candidate Oliver Beezley. They plan to defeat Beezley’s political rival, Commodore Amos Pipp (James Finlayson), by exploiting his weakness for women.

Blodgett is to be disguised as a beautiful woman to entrap Pipp, but with his moustache he proves unconvincing in drag—Hives declares, “Even the Commodore wouldn’t fall for a buzzard like you!”—and Hives instead enlists the help of Mrs. Beezley (Dorothy Granger) to carry out the scheme.

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First, though, they have to stay out of the line of fire, and ahead of the police, the nearsighted house detective (Monte Collins), a sleepy man with a cot (Charles Williams), and a somnambulist Countess (Sandra Shaw) with her afghan hound.

Gay Nighties The 3


Gay Nighties The 1

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Woman Between, The (1931)

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The Woman Between (1931)

Woman Between The 1

Director: Victor Schertzinger

Cast: Lilli Damita, Lester Vail, O P Heggie, Miriam Seegar, Anita Louise, Ruth Weston, Lincoln Steadman, Blanche Friderici, William Morris, Halliwell Hobbes, Ellinor Vanderveer

73 min 

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The Woman Between is a 1931 American pre-Code drama film directed by Victor Schertzinger and written by Howard Estabrook. The film stars Lili DamitaLester VailO.P. HeggieMiriam Seegar and Anita Louise.[1][2] The film was released on August 8, 1931, by RKO Pictures.

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A young man returns from Europe after several years’ estrangement from his family caused by his disapproval of his father’s remarrying after his mother’s death. At the family reunion he learns that his stepmother is the woman with whom he had a shipboard romance on the voyage home.


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  1. Jump up^ “The Woman Between (1931) – Overview”Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  2. Jump up^ “Woman Between – Rotten Tomatoes”. Retrieved September 9, 2014.

Woman Between The 4

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Lady Refuses, The (1931)

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The Lady Refuses (1931)

Lady Refuses The 1

Lady Refuses The 2

Director: George Archainbaud

Cast: Betty Compson, John Darrow, Gilbert Emery, Margaret Livingston, Ivan Lebedeff, Edgar Norton, Daphne Pollard

72 min

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The Lady Refuses is a 1931 American pre-Code melodrama film, directed by George Archainbaud, from a screenplay by Wallace Smith, based on an original story by Guy Bolton and Robert Milton. It stars Betty Compson as a destitute young woman on the verge of becoming a prostitute, who is hired by a wealthy man to woo his never-do-well son away from the clutches of a gold-digger (Margaret Livingston). The plot is regarded as risqué enough to appear in at least one collection of pre-Code Hollywood films.[3]

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Sir Gerald Courtney (Gilbert Emery) is an aristocrat whose son, Russell (John Darrow), prefers to spend his time partying with young women rather than focusing on the promising career he has in architecture. When Russell leaves one evening to revel with the gold-digging Berthine Waller (Margaret Livingston) rather than spending it dining with his father, Sir Gerald is a bit despondent. As he ponders what to do about his wayward son, providence takes a hand.

A beautiful destitute young woman, June (Betty Compson), on the verge of entering into the oldest of professions due to her desperation, is being pursued by the London police. Sir Gerald, who was at the window in the first floor watching his son leaving with Berthine Waller, observes how June leaves a taxi on the other side of the street, and is being cornered by the police.

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As she comes over to his house to knock, he opens the door and welcomes her as an old friend he was expecting, reassuring the Policemen that she is a respectable citizen. After they leave, Sir Gerald invites her to dinner, after she told him her situation. Then he proposes to hire June for a 1000 Pounds to prevent his son to fall into the clutches of Berthine.

June does her job beautifully, as Russell leaves Berthine and begins to concentrate on his architectural career, much to his father’s delight. There’s a slight hitch however: June has fallen in love with Sir Gerald, rather than Russell. Devastated, Russell calls Berthine to meet him at his apartment (which is upstairs in the same building where June lives). Seeing all of her work being unwound in a single evening, June lures Russell down to her apartment, where she gets him so drunk that he passes out and spends the night.

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When Berthine arrives at Russel’s apartment, she has been followed by an ex-lover, Nikolai Rabinoff (Ivan Lebedeff). In a jealous rage, Nikolai kills Berthine. The following morning Russell awakes to find June gone, having vowed to not come between the son and the father. He is also the main suspect in Berthine’s murder. Seeking shelter from his father, Russell refuses to invoke June as his alibi. In order to save him, June steps forward and admits that Russell spent the night in her apartment. Sir Gerald, thinking the worst, renounces his devotion for June, which devastates her, but confirmed what she always feared: that he would never rely on her. June leaves his house, but when Sir Gerald discovers the innocence of Russell’s night spent in her apartment short after, he understands his own mistake and vows to track her down and spend the rest of his life with her.

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(cast list as per AFI database)[3]


In 1959, the film entered the public domain in the United States due to the copyright claimants’ failure to renew the copyright registration in the 28th year after publication.[5]

During production, this film was known by several titles, including Children of the StreetsLadies for HireA Lady for Hire and Forgotten Women.[6] According to several sources at the time, the noted screenwriter, Jane Murfin was supposed to have done work in the adaptation of the Milton/Bolton story for the screen, however, no sources give her credit for any writing work on the film.[3]

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  1. Jump up^ “The Lady Refuses”. New York Times. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  2. Jump up to:a b “The Lady Refuses: Technical Details”. theiapolis.com. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  3. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h “The Lady Refuses: Detail View”. American Film Institute. Archived from the original on March 29, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  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^ 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.
  6. Jump up^ “The Lady Refuses, Notes”. Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 16, 2014.

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Hearts of Humanity (1932)

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Hearts of Humanity (1932)

Hearts of Humanity 1

Hearts of Humanity 2

Director: Christy Cabanne

Cast: Jean Hersholt, Jackie Searl, J Farrell Macdonald, Claudia Dell, Charles Delaney, Lucille LaVerne, Richard Vallace, George Humbert, Betty Jane Graham

56 min


Irish policeman Tom O’Hara is killed by a thief in Sol Bloom’s antique store, but before he dies, he asks widower Sol to take care of his son Shandy, who will be arriving soon from Europe.

Sol’s own son Joey is streetwise and uncontrollable, although Sol has reared him lovingly. Sol adopts Shandy and treats him like his own son, and Shandy reciprocates with love and helpfulness. Shandy looks after Joey, who is continually getting into trouble.

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When Joey steals a dollar from his father’s cash register, Shandy pawns the harp his mother gave him to replace the money so Joey will not get into trouble. When Joey breaks a neighbor’s window, Shandy offers to pay the owner ten dollars so he will not tell Sol, however he is unable to get his harp back because it has been sold.

Desperate, Shandy asks the new owner to lend it to him, and then steals it when the owner refuses. He wins a ten dollar prize performing in an amateur night contest, but is so guilt-ridden about having stolen the harp that he wanders aimlessly in the rain. Shandy takes ill and is brought home by a policeman. Joey reforms and prays for Shandy’s recovery. Joey’s improvement bolsters Shandy, who recovers, and the harp’s owner returns the harp to Shandy.

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Cast (in credits order)

Jean Hersholt Jean Hersholt
Jackie Searl Jackie Searl
Shandy O’Hara
J. Farrell MacDonald J. Farrell MacDonald
Tom O’Hara
Claudia Dell Claudia Dell
Ruth Sneider
Charles Delaney Charles Delaney
Tom Varney
Lucille La Verne Lucille La Verne
Mrs. Sneider
Richard Wallace Richard Wallace
Joey Bloom (as Dick Wallace)
George Humbert George Humbert
Betty Jane Graham Betty Jane Graham
John Vosper John Vosper
Dave Haller (as John Vosburgh)
Tom McGuire Tom McGuire
Mr. Wells
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Suzanne Wood Suzanne Wood

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Savage Girl, The (1932)

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The Savage Girl (1932)

Savage Girl The 1

Director: Harry L Fraser

Cast: Rochelle Hudson, Walter Byron, Harry Myers, Adolph Milar, Ted Adams, Floyd Shackelford, Herbert Evans

66 min

The Savage Girl is a 1932 American film directed by Harry L. Fraser.


A white jungle goddess is protected by a fierce killer gorilla.

Savage Girl The 5


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All Quiet on the Western Front (1929)

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All Quiet on the Western Front (1929)

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Director: Lewis Milestone

Cast: Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, John Wray, Arnold Lucy, Ben Alexander, Scott Kolk, Owen Davis Jr, Walter Rogers, William Bakewell, Russell Gleason, Richard Alexander, Harold Goodwin, Slim Summerville, G Pat Collins, Beryl Mercer, Edmund Breese, Zasu Pitts ( silent version only ), Raymond Griffith, Joan Marsh, Fred Zinnemann, Dorothy Vernon, Wolfgang Staudte, Robert Parrish, Yola D’Avril

136 min

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All Quiet on the Western Front (GermanIm Westen nichts Neueslit. ‘In the West Nothing New’) is a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, a German veteran of World War I. The book describes the German soldiers’ extreme physical and mental stress during the war, and the detachment from civilian life felt by many of these soldiers upon returning home from the front.

The novel was first published in November and December 1928 in the German newspaper Vossische Zeitung and in book form in late January 1929. The book and its sequel, The Road Back (1930), were among the books banned and burned in Nazi GermanyAll Quiet on the Western Front sold 2.5 million copies in 22 languages in its first 18 months in print.[1]

In 1930, the book was adapted as an Academy-Award-winning film of the same name, directed by Lewis Milestone. It was adapted again in 1979 by Delbert Mann, this time as a television film starring Richard Thomas and Ernest Borgnine.

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Title and translation

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The English translation by Arthur Wesley Wheen gives the title as All Quiet on the Western Front. The literal translation of “Im Westen nichts Neues” is “In the West Nothing New,” with “West” being the Western Front; the phrase refers to the content of an official communiqué at the end of the novel.

Brian Murdoch’s 1993 translation would render the phrase as “there was nothing new to report on the Western Front” within the narrative. Explaining his retention of the original book-title, he says:

Although it does not match the German exactly, Wheen’s title has justly become part of the English language and is retained here with gratitude.

The phrase “all quiet on the Western Front” has become a colloquial expression meaning stagnation, or lack of visible change, in any context.[citation needed]

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Plot summary

The book tells the story of Paul Bäumer, a German soldier who—urged on by his school teacher—joins the German army shortly after the start of World War I. His class was “scattered over the platoons amongst Frisian fishermen, peasants, and labourers.” Bäumer arrives at the Western Front with his friends and schoolmates (Leer, Müller, Kropp and a number of other characters). There they meet Stanislaus Katczinsky, an older soldier, nicknamed Kat, who becomes Paul’s mentor. While fighting at the front, Bäumer and his comrades have to engage in frequent battles and endure the treacherous and filthy conditions of trench warfare.

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At the very beginning of the book, Erich Maria Remarque says “This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped (its) shells, were destroyed by the war.”[2] The book does not focus on heroic stories of bravery, but rather gives a view of the conditions in which the soldiers find themselves. The monotony between battles, the constant threat of artillery fire and bombardments, the struggle to find food, the lack of training of young recruits (meaning lower chances of survival), and the overarching role of random chance in the lives and deaths of the soldiers are described in detail.

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The battles fought here have no names and seem to have little overall significance, except for the impending possibility of injury or death for Bäumer and his comrades. Only pitifully small pieces of land are gained, about the size of a football field, which are often lost again later. Remarque often refers to the living soldiers as old and dead, emotionally drained and shaken. “We are not youth any longer. We don’t want to take the world by storm. We are fleeing from ourselves, from our life. We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces.”

Paul’s visit on leave to his home highlights the cost of the war on his psyche. The town has not changed since he went off to war; however, he finds that he does “not belong here anymore, it is a foreign world.” He feels disconnected from most of the townspeople. His father asks him “stupid and distressing” questions about his war experiences, not understanding “that a man cannot talk of such things.” An old schoolmaster lectures him about strategy and advancing to Paris while insisting that Paul and his friends know only their “own little sector” of the war but nothing of the big picture.

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Indeed, the only person he remains connected to is his dying mother, with whom he shares a tender, yet restrained relationship. The night before he is to return from leave, he stays up with her, exchanging small expressions of love and concern for each other. He thinks to himself, “Ah! Mother, Mother! How can it be that I must part from you? Here I sit and there you are lying; we have so much to say, and we shall never say it.” In the end, he concludes that he “ought never to have come [home] on leave.”

Paul feels glad to be reunited with his comrades. Soon after, he volunteers to go on a patrol and kills a man for the first time in hand-to-hand combat. He watches the man die, in pain for hours. He feels remorse and asks forgiveness from the man’s corpse. He is devastated and later confesses to Kat and Albert, who try to comfort him and reassure him that it is only part of the war.

They are then sent on what Paul calls a “good job.” They must guard a supply depot in a village that was evacuated due to being shelled too heavily. During this time, the men are able to adequately feed themselves, unlike the near-starvation conditions in the German trenches. In addition, the men enjoy themselves while living off the spoils from the village and officers’ luxuries from the supply depot (such as fine cigars). While evacuating the villagers (enemy civilians), Paul and Albert are taken by surprise by artillery fired at the civilian convoy and wounded by a shell.

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On the train back home, Albert takes a turn for the worse and cannot complete the journey, instead being sent off the train to recuperate in a Catholic hospital. Paul uses a combination of bartering and manipulation to stay by Albert’s side. Albert eventually has his leg amputated, while Paul is deemed fit for service and returned to the front.

By now, the war is nearing its end and the German Army is retreating. In despair, Paul watches as his friends fall one by one. It is the death of Kat that eventually makes Paul careless about living. In the final chapter, he comments that peace is coming soon, but he does not see the future as bright and shining with hope. Paul feels that he has no aims or goals left in life and that their generation will be different and misunderstood. When he dies at the end of the novel, the situation report from the frontline states, “All is Quiet on the Western Front.”

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One of the major themes of the novel is the difficulty of soldiers to revert to civilian life after having experienced extreme combat situations. Remarque comments in the preface that “[This book] will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped its shells, were destroyed by the war.”[2]

This internal destruction can be found as early as the first chapter as Paul comments that, although all the boys are young, their youth has left them. In addition, the massive loss of life and negligible gains from the fighting are constantly emphasized. Soldiers’ lives are thrown away by their commanding officers who are stationed comfortably away from the front, ignorant of the daily terrors of the front line.

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Main characters

Cover of first English language edition. The design is based upon a German war bonds poster by Fritz Erler.

Paul Bäumer

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Paul Bäumer is the main character and narrator. At 19 years of age, Paul enlists in the German Army and is deployed to the Western Front where he experiences the severe psychological and physical effects of the war. Before the war, Paul was a creative, sensitive and passionate person, writing poems and having a clear love for his family. But as the war changed his attitude and personality, poems and other aspects of his past life become something Paul was no longer linked to, since the horrors of war trained him to disconnect himself from his feelings. He feels he can’t tell anyone about his experiences and feels like an outsider where his family is concerned.

By the end of the book, Paul realises that he no longer knows what to do with himself and decides that he has nothing more to lose. The war appears to have snuffed out his hopes and dreams, which he feels he can never regain. After years of fighting in the war, Paul is finally killed in October 1918, on an extraordinarily quiet, peaceful day. The army report that day contains only one phrase: “All quiet on the Western Front.” As Paul dies, his face is calm, “as though almost glad the end had come.”

Albert Kropp

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Kropp was in Paul’s class at school and is described as the clearest thinker of the group as well as the smallest. Kropp is wounded towards the end of the novel and undergoes a leg amputation. Both he and Bäumer end up spending time in a Catholic hospital together, Bäumer suffering from shrapnel wounds to the leg and arm. Though Kropp initially plans to commit suicide if he requires an amputation, the book suggests he postponed suicide because of the strength of military camaraderie. Kropp and Bäumer part ways when Bäumer is recalled to his regiment after recovering. Paul comments that saying farewell was “very hard, but it is something a soldier learns to deal with.”[3]

Haie Westhus

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Haie is described as being tall and strong, and a peat-digger by profession. Overall, his size and behavior make him seem older than Paul, yet he is the same age as Paul and his school-friends (roughly 19 at the start of the book). Haie, in addition, has a good sense of humor. During combat, he is injured in his back, fatally (Chapter 6)—the resulting wound is large enough for Paul to see Haie’s breathing lung when Himmelstoß (Himmelstoss) carries him to safety.

Fredrich Müller

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Müller is about 18 and a half years of age, one of Bäumer’s classmates, when he also joins the German army as a volunteer to go to the war. Carrying his old school books with him to the battlefield, he constantly reminds himself of the importance of learning and education. Even while under enemy fire, he “mutters propositions in physics”. He became interested in Kemmerich’s boots and inherits them when Kemmerich dies early in the novel. He is killed later in the book after being shot point-blank in the stomach with a “light pistol” (flare gun). As he was dying “quite conscious and in terrible pain”, he gave his boots which he inherited from Kemmerich to Paul.

Stanislaus “Kat” Katczinsky

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Kat has the most positive influence on Paul and his comrades on the battlefield. Katczinsky was a cobbler (shoemaker) in civilian life; he is older than Paul Bäumer and his comrades, about 40 years old, and serves as their leadership figure. He also represents a literary model highlighting the differences between the younger and older soldiers. While the older men have already had a life of professional and personal experience before the war, Bäumer and the men of his age have had little life experience or time for personal growth.

Kat is also well known for his ability to scavenge nearly any item needed, especially food. At one point he secures four boxes of lobster. Bäumer describes Kat as possessing a sixth sense. One night, Bäumer along with a group of other soldiers are holed up in a factory with neither rations nor comfortable bedding. Katczinsky leaves for a short while, returning with straw to put over the bare wires of the beds. Later, to feed the hungry men, Kat brings bread, a bag of horse flesh, a lump of fat, a pinch of salt and a pan in which to cook the food.

Kat is hit by shrapnel at the end of the story, leaving him with a smashed shin. Paul carries him back to camp on his back, only to discover upon their arrival that a stray splinter had hit Kat in the back of the head and killed him on the way. He is thus the last of Paul’s close friends to die in battle. It is Kat’s death that eventually makes Bäumer careless whether he survives the war or not, but that he can face the rest of his life without fear. “Let the months and the years come, they can take nothing from me, they can take nothing more. I am so alone, and so without hope that I can confront them without fear.”


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One of Bäumer’s non-schoolmate friends. Before the war, Tjaden was a locksmith. A big eater with a grudge against the former postman-turned corporal Himmelstoß (thanks to his strict ‘disciplinary actions’), he manages to forgive Himmelstoß later in the book. Throughout the book, Paul frequently remarks on how much of an eater he is, yet somehow manages to stay as “thin as a rake”. The fate of Tjaden is unknown but he appears in the sequel, The Road Back.

Minor characters


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Kantorek was the schoolmaster of Paul and his friends, including Kropp, Leer, Müller, and Behm. Behaving “in a way that cost [him] nothing,” Kantorek is a strong supporter of the war and encourages Bäumer and other students in his class to join the war effort. Among twenty enlistees was Joseph Behm, the first of the class to die in battle. In an example of tragic irony, Behm was the only one who did not want to enter the war.

Kantorek is a hypocrite, urging the young men he teaches to fight in the name of patriotism, while not voluntarily enlisting himself. In a twist of fate, Kantorek is later called up as a soldier as well. He very reluctantly joins the ranks of his former students, only to be drilled and taunted by Mittelstädt, one of the students he had earlier persuaded to enlist.

Peter Leer

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Leer is an intelligent soldier in Bäumer’s company, and one of his classmates. He is very popular with women; when he and his comrades meet three French women, he is the first to seduce one of them. Bäumer describes Leer’s ability to attract women by saying “Leer is an old hand at the game”. In chapter 11, Leer is hit by a shell fragment, which also hits Bertinck. The shrapnel tears open Leer’s hip, causing him to bleed to death quickly. His death causes Paul to ask himself, “What use is it to him now that he was such a good mathematician in school?”[4]


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Lieutenant Bertinck is the leader of Bäumer’s company. His men have a great respect for him, and Bertinck has great respect for his men. He permits them to eat the rations of the men that had been killed in action, standing up to the chef Ginger who would only allow them their allotted share. Bertinck is genuinely despondent when he learns that few of his men had survived an engagement.

When he and the other characters are trapped in a trench under heavy attack, Bertinck, who has been injured in the firefight, spots a flamethrower team advancing on them. He gets out of cover and takes aim on the flamethrower but misses, and gets hit by enemy fire. With his next shot he kills the flamethrower, and immediately afterwards an enemy shell explodes on his position blowing off his chin. The same explosion also fatally wounds Leer.


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Corporal Himmelstoss (spelled Himmelstoß in some editions) was a postman before enlisting in the war. He is a power-hungry corporal with special contempt for Paul and his friends, taking sadistic pleasure in punishing the minor infractions of his trainees during their basic training in preparation for their deployment.

Paul later figures that the training taught by Himmelstoss made them “hard, suspicious, pitiless, and tough” but most importantly it taught them comradeship. However, Bäumer and his comrades have a chance to get back at Himmelstoss because of his punishments, mercilessly whipping him on the night before they board trains to go to the front.

Himmelstoss later joins them at the front, revealing himself as a coward who shirks his duties for fear of getting hurt or killed, and pretends to be wounded because of a scratch on his face. Paul Bäumer beats him because of it and when a lieutenant comes along looking for men for a trench charge, Himmelstoss joins and leads the charge. He carries Haie Westhus’s body to Bäumer after he is fatally wounded. Matured and repentant through his experiences Himmelstoß later asks for forgiveness from his previous charges. As he becomes the new staff cook, to prove his friendship he secures two pounds of sugar for Bäumer and half a pound of butter for Tjaden.


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Detering is a farmer who constantly longs to return to his wife and farm. He is also fond of horses and is angered when he sees them used in combat. He says, “It is of the vilest baseness to use horses in the war,” when the group hears several wounded horses writhe and scream for a long time before dying during a bombardment. He tries to shoot them to put them out of misery, but is stopped by Kat to keep their current position hidden. He is driven to desert when he sees a cherry tree in blossom, which reminds him of home too much and inspires him to leave. He is found by military police and court-martialed, and is never heard from again.

Josef Hamacher

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Hamacher is a patient at the Catholic hospital where Paul and Albert Kropp are temporarily stationed. He has an intimate knowledge of the workings of the hospital. He also has a “Special Permit,” certifying him as sporadically not responsible for his actions due to a head wound, though he is clearly quite sane and exploiting his permit so he can stay in the hospital and away from the war as long as possible.

Franz Kemmerich

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A young boy of only 19 years. Franz Kemmerich had enlisted in the army for World War I along with his best friend and classmate, Bäumer. Kemmerich is shot in the leg early in the story; his injured leg has to be amputated, and he dies shortly after. In anticipation of Kemmerich’s imminent death, Müller was eager to get his boots. While in the hospital, someone steals Kemmerich’s watch that he intended to give to his mother, causing him great distress and prompting him to ask about his watch every time his friends visit him in the hospital. Paul later finds the watch and hands it over to Kemmerich’s mother, only to lie and say Franz died instantly and painlessly when questioned.

Joseph Behm

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A student in Paul’s class who is described as youthful and overweight. Behm was the only student that was not quickly influenced by Kantorek’s patriotism to join the war, but eventually, due to pressure from friends and Kantorek, he joins the war. He is the first of Paul’s friends to die. He is blinded in no man’s land and believed to be dead by his friends. The next day, when he is seen walking blindly around no-man’s-land, it is discovered that he was only unconscious. However, he is killed before he can be rescued.

Publication and reception

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Erich Maria Remarque

From November 10 to December 9, 1928, All Quiet on the Western Front was published in serial form in Vossische Zeitung magazine. It was released in book form the following year to smashing success, selling one and a half million copies that same year. Although publishers had worried that interest in World War I had waned more than 10 years after the armistice, Remarque’s realistic depiction of trench warfare from the perspective of young soldiers struck a chord with the war’s survivors—soldiers and civilians alike—and provoked strong reactions, both positive and negative, around the world.

With All Quiet on the Western Front, Remarque emerged as an eloquent spokesman for a generation that had been, in his own words, “destroyed by war, even though it might have escaped its shells.” Remarque’s harshest critics, in turn, were his countrymen, many of whom felt the book denigrated the German war effort, and that Remarque had exaggerated the horrors of war to further his pacifist agenda. The strongest voices against Remarque came from the emerging National Socialist Party and its ideological allies. In 1933, when the Nazis rose to power, All Quiet on the Western Front became one of the first degenerate books to be publicly burnt;[5] in 1930 screenings of the Academy Award-winning film based on the book were met with Nazi-organized protests and mob attacks on both movie theatres and audience members.[6]

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However, objections to Remarque’s portrayal of the German army personnel during World War I were not limited to the Nazis. Dr. Karl Kroner (de) objected to Remarque’s depiction of the medical personnel as being inattentive, uncaring, or absent from frontline action. Dr. Kroner was specifically worried that the book would perpetuate German stereotypes abroad that had subsided since the First World War. He offered the following clarification: “People abroad will draw the following conclusions: if German doctors deal with their own fellow countrymen in this manner, what acts of inhumanity will they not perpetuate against helpless prisoners delivered up into their hands or against the populations of occupied territory?” [7][8]

A fellow patient of Remarque’s in the military hospital in Duisburg objected to the negative depictions of the nuns and patients, and of the general portrayal of soldiers: “There were soldiers to whom the protection of homeland, protection of house and homestead, protection of family were the highest objective, and to whom this will to protect their homeland gave the strength to endure any extremities.”[8]

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These criticisms suggest that perhaps experiences of the war and the personal reactions of individual soldiers to their experiences may be more diverse than Remarque portrays them; however, it is beyond question that Remarque gives voice to a side of the war and its experience that was overlooked or suppressed at the time. This perspective is crucial to understanding the true effects of World War I. The evidence can be seen in the lingering depression that Remarque and many of his friends and acquaintances were suffering a decade later.[7]

In contrast, All Quiet on the Western Front was trumpeted by pacifists as an anti-war book.[8] Remarque makes a point in the opening statement that the novel does not advocate any political position, but is merely an attempt to describe the experiences of the soldier.[9]

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The main artistic criticism was that it was a mediocre attempt to cash in on public sentiment.[citation needed] The enormous popularity the work received was a point of contention for some literary critics, who scoffed at the fact that such a simple work could be so earth-shattering.[citation needed]

Much of this literary criticism came from Salomo Friedlaender, who wrote a book Hat Erich Maria Remarque wirklich gelebt? “Did Erich Maria Remarque really live?” (under pen name Mynona), which was, it its turn, criticized in: Hat Mynona wirklich gelebt? “Did Mynona really live?” by Kurt Tucholsky.[10]

Friedlaender’s criticism was mainly personal in nature—he attacked Remarque as being ego-centric and greedy. Remarque publicly stated that he wrote All Quiet on the Western Front for personal reasons, not for profit, as Friedlaender had claimed.[7][8] Max Joseph Wolff (de) wrote a parody titled Vor Troja nichts Neues (Compared to Troy, Nothing New) under the pseudonym Emil Marius Requark.[11]

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Poster for the movie All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), featuring star Lew Ayres

In 1930, an American film of the novel was made, directed by Lewis Milestone; with a screenplay by Maxwell AndersonGeorge AbbottDel AndrewsC. Gardner Sullivan; and with uncredited work by Walter Anthony and Milestone. It stars Louis WolheimLew AyresJohn WrayArnold Lucy, and Ben Alexander.

The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1930 for its producer Carl Laemmle Jr., the Academy Award for Directing for Lewis Milestone, and the Academy Award for Outstanding Production. It was the first all-talking non-musical film to win the Best Picture Oscar. It also received two further nominations: Best Cinematography, for Arthur Edeson, and Best Writing Achievement for Abbott, Anderson, and Andrews.[12]

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In 2016, it was confirmed that Roger Donaldson will direct a remake of All Quiet on the Western Front starring Travis Fimmel as Katczinsky.[13]

TV film

In 1979, the film was remade for CBS television by Delbert Mann, starring Richard Thomas of The Waltons as Paul Bäumer and Ernest Borgnine as Kat. The movie was filmed in Czechoslovakia.[14]


Elton John‘s album Jump Up! (1982) features the song, “All Quiet on the Western Front” (written by Elton and Bernie Taupin). The song is a sorrowful rendition of the novel’s story (“It’s gone all quiet on the Western Front / Male Angels sigh / ghosts in a flooded trench / As Germany dies”).

Bob Dylan, during his Nobel Laureate lecture, cited this book as one that had a profound effect on this songwriting.

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On November 9, 2008, a radio adaptation of the novel was broadcast on BBC Radio 3, starring Robert Lonsdale as Paul Bäumer and Shannon Graney as Katczinsky. Its screenplay was written by Dave Sheasby, and the show was directed by David Hunter.[15]


In 2010, Hachette Audio UK published an audiobook adaptation of the novel, narrated by Tom Lawrence. It was well received by critics[16] and listeners.

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See also


  1. Jump up^ Eksteins, Modris (April 1980). “All Quiet on the Western Front and the Fate of a War”. Journal of Contemporary HistorySAGE Publications15 (2): 353. doi:10.1177/002200948001500207.
  2. Jump up to:a b Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front. 2009. p. 48.
  3. Jump up^ Chapter Ten of All Quiet on the Western Front
  4. Jump up^ All Quiet on the Western Front (London: Putnam & Company Ltd, 1970 reprint), page 240.
  5. Jump up^ “Nov 10, 1928: Remarque publishes All Quiet on the Western Front”History.com. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
  6. Jump up^ Sauer, Patrick (June 16, 2015). “The Most Loved and Hated Novel About World War I”Smithsonian.com. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved June 21, 2015.
  7. Jump up to:a b c Patrick Clardy. “All Quiet on the Western Front: Reception”Yale Modernism Lab. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
  8. Jump up to:a b c d Barker, Christine R.; Last, Rex William (1979). Erich Maria Remarque. New York: Barnes & Noble Books.
  9. Jump up^ Wagner, Hans (1991). Understanding Erich Maria Remarque. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.
  10. Jump up^ Kurt Tucholsky (under pen name Ignaz Wrobel), Hat Mynona wirklich gelebt?Die Weltbühne, December 31, 1929, No. 1, p. 15
  11. Jump up^ Catalogue entry for Vor Troja nichts Neues in the German National Library, retrieved January 29, 2014
  12. Jump up^ “The 3rd Academy Awards – 1931”Oscars. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  13. Jump up^ Kay, Jeremy. “‘Warcraft’ star Travis Fimmel to lead ‘All Quiet On The Western Front'”ScreenDaily. MBI Ltd. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  14. Jump up^ “All Quiet on the Western Front (1979)”IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  15. Jump up^ “BBC Radio 3 – Drama on 3, All Quiet on the Western Front”. Bbc.co.uk. November 9, 2008. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
  16. Jump up^ “All Quiet on the Western Front Audiobook Review – Audiobook Jungle – Audiobook Reviews In All Genres”audiobookjungle.com. Retrieved April 10, 2016.

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Other Men’s Women (1931)

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Other Men’s Women (1931)

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Director: William A Wellman

Cast: Grant Withers, Mary Astor, Regis Toomey, James Cagney, Fred Kohler, J Farrell Macdonald, Joan Blondell, Lillian Worth, Walter Long, Pat Harmon, Lucille Ward

71 min

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Other Men’s Women is a 1931 American pre-Code drama film directed by William A. Wellman and written by Maude Fulton. The film stars Regis Toomey, Grant Withers, and Mary Astor and features Joan Blondell. It was produced and distributed by Warner Bros.

It was first previewed, released and reviewed in 1930 under the title The Steel Highway. By the time of the film’s release in New York City the title had been changed to Other Men’s Women.[1]


In 1929, Bill White (Grant Withers), is a railroad engineer and boozing womanizer who is evicted from his boarding house for excessive drinking and late rental payments.

Needing a new place to live, he accepts the invitation from his longtime friend and fellow engineer, Jack Kulper (Regis Toomey), to move into his home, where he resides happily with his wife Lily (Mary Astor). This new living arrangement brings changes to relationships as the months pass.

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Bill and Lily’s own friendship, which at first is playful and innocent, evolves into a passionate love between them. Hesitant to hurt Jack, they try to keep their feelings secret, at least for a while; but Jack begins to notice differences in his wife’s demeanor and becomes suspicious when he finds that Bill has suddenly moved out of their house. Jack initially thinks Lily and his friend have had a quarrel, but he later confronts Bill inside the cab of the coal-fired

Bill and Lily’s own friendship, which at first is playful and innocent, evolves into a passionate love between them. Hesitant to hurt Jack, they try to keep their feelings secret, at least for a while; but Jack begins to notice differences in his wife’s demeanor and becomes suspicious when he finds that Bill has suddenly moved out of their house.

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Jack initially thinks Lily and his friend have had a quarrel, but he later confronts Bill inside the cab of the coal-fired steam locomotive that the two men operate together at the nearby rail yard. There Bill finally admits to Jack that Lily and he have fallen in love. In the fistfight that ensues, Jack falls during the struggle, strikes his head, and is permanently blinded by the injury.

During his convalescence at home, Lily tries to rededicate herself to her marriage; however, Jack resents his dependency on his wife. Increasingly frustrated by his situation, he insists that Lily leave town for a few weeks to visit her parents, explaining that he needs emotional space and that he also wants her away from the dangers of expected floods due to rainstorms in the area.

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Shortly after Lily’s departure, Jack learns from rail workers that Bill plans to drive a train of flatcars stacked with bags of cement onto a vital river bridge, the desperate hope being that the combined weight of the train and its load will bolster the bridge and prevent it from being swept away by the rising floodwaters. Stumbling that night through a heavy downpour and literally feeling his way to the rail line, sightless Jack manages to locate Bill and knock him unconscious before he begins what everyone deems a suicidal mission.

Jack then takes charge of the engine’s controls, but before moving onto the wavering bridge, he pushes Bill off the locomotive to safety. Once on the bridge, the entire train plummets into the river as the structure collapses, and Jack drowns in the raging river.

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Months after the tragedy, Bill, still as an engineer, goes into the depot’s diner for some quick food before returning to his train. Nearby, Lily arrives on another train and enters the same restaurant carrying her luggage. The two see one another and engage in some awkward small talk before Lily remarks that she intends to remain in the community, fix up her house and yard, and plant a new spring garden.

Then, with a warm smile, she invites Bill to drop by to help her with the work. Bill runs out of the diner to re-board his moving train. Lily stands in the restaurant’s doorway watching Bill climb to the top of a long line of freight cars and then running forward toward the engine. As he jumps from one car’s roof to the next he raises his arms skyward.

Then, with a warm smile, she invites Bill to drop by to help her with the work. Bill runs out of the diner to re-board his moving train. Lily stands in the restaurant’s doorway watching Bill climb to the top of a long line of freight cars and then running forward toward the engine. As he jumps from one car’s roof to the next he raises his arms skyward.

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Cast notes

  • Other Men’s Women was James Cagney’s third film, although Cagney does not mention it in his autobiography, Cagney by Cagney. He and Joan Blondell went on to sign long-term contracts with Warners.[2]
  • Mary Astor dismissed the film as “a piece of cheese”, although praising Cagney and Blondell.[2]


  • “Leave A Little Smile” – sung by Grant Withers, J. Farrell MacDonald and Mary Astor (from the Warner Bros. musical Oh Sailor Behave)
  • “The Kiss Waltz” – played on the phonograph (from the Warner Bros. musical Dancing Sweeties)
  • “Tomorrow Is Another Day” – played at the restaurant/dance hall (from the Warner Bros. musical Big Boy)

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Release and reception

According to Film Daily, the film’s original title was “The Steel Highway”, under which title it was reviewed by Motion Picture Herald, but by the time of its New York City premiere, the current title had been adopted.[1]

The name change was announced around December 1930.[3] According to an article in The New York Times published in 1936, film studio employees were routinely asked to submit the best possible name for each of the studio’s releases, and one employee had submitted “Other Men’s Women”, along with nine others, for every film, until it was finally chosen as the new name for The Steel Highway. The employees whose titles were chosen generally received $25 or $50 as a reward.

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The employees whose titles were chosen generally received $25 or $50 as a reward.[4]

Variety called it “a good program picture,” but The New York Times described the film on its release as “an unimportant little drama of the railroad yards”.[2] Years later, in a review of a DVD of Wellman’s films, Dave Kehr wrote in the Times that “freed from the constraints of studio-bound early-sound technology, Wellman seems almost giddy with the possibilities of location shooting, moving his camera with abandon, staging dialogue scenes atop moving trains, constructing at least one live sound set … in the middle of a busy switchyard, where freight trains rumble past,” although he did comment that Wellman’s major flaw of “a simplistic, often inconsistent sense of character” was present in the film.[5]

In 1937, a remake of the film under the title “The Steel Highway” was announced, to be directed by Reeves Eason, but there is no indication that the film was made.[6]

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Home media

Other Men’s Women was released on DVD by the Warner Archive in 2010.


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Flaming Signal, The (1933)

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The Flaming Signal (1933)

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Director: George Jeske, Charles E Roberts

Cast: Marceline Day, John David Horsley, Noah Beery, Henry B Walthall, Carmelita Geraghty, Mischa Auer, Francisco Alonso, Anya Gramina

64 min

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A pilot and his dog crash-land on an island run by a psycho who owns a motel–and most of the locals. With Marceline Day and John David Horsley.


While aviator Lieutenant James Robbins signs his autograph on the leg of an attractive, admiring French girl at a crowded airfield as he prepares to fly from Los Angeles to Hawaii, Flash, his German shepherd, grabs a parachute and sneaks into the plane.

Thirty hours later, Jim survives a fierce lightning storm, but afterward his engine catches fire. Flash parachutes to Tabu Island, just south of Hawaii, and Jim crashes in the ocean. The dog finds Jim unconscious hanging onto a broken wing and pushes him to shore.

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After Flash finds Sally James, daughter of a missionary, swimming nude in a lake, she and her father take Jim and Flash to the trading post and bar run by drunken Otto Von Krantz, who exploits the natives and, with his blonde barmaid Molly, encourages them to drink and spend the money that he pays them for the pearls they find. Jim and Flash wait for the weekly boat to come, and three days later, while Sally and Jim hold hands and watch the natives dance, Von Krantz rapes chief Manu’s daughter Rari.

When Manu orders Von Krantz to leave the island, Von Krantz shoots him. The natives hold a ritual to bring Manu back to life and keep the white people captive in Von Krantz’s bar, but Flash sneaks out with a torch and lights a pyre to signal search planes. Manu rises and Reverend James goes to speak with him, but Von Krantz shoots Manu and a native knifes the reverend.

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After Jim knocks out Von Krantz and escapes from the bar with Sally, Flash bites Von Krantz to death as Molly watches. After Jim and Sally bury her father, Flash attacks a native about to spear them from above and falls with the native over a cliff. A plane lands in the water, and as natives approach, Jim, Sally and a limping Flash escape to the plane.

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Flash the Dog Flash the Dog
Flash (as Flash)
John David Horsley John David Horsley
Lt. Jim Robbins (as John Horsley)
Marceline Day Marceline Day
Molly James
Noah Beery Noah Beery
Otto Von Krantz
Henry B. Walthall Henry B. Walthall
Rev. Mr. James
Carmelita Geraghty Carmelita Geraghty
Mischa Auer Mischa Auer
Manu–High Priest
Francisco Alonso Francisco Alonso
Jane'e Olmes Jane’e Olmes
Anya Gramina Anya Gramina
French Girl

Flaming Signal The 9

Flaming Signal The 4

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Flaming Signal The 14

Flaming Signal The 11

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Morals for Women (1931)

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Morals for Women (1931)

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Director: Mort Blumenstock

Cast: Bessie Love, Conway Tearle, John Holland, Natalie Moorhead, Emma Dunn, June Clyde, Edmund Breese, David Rollins, Lina Basquette, Virginia Lee Corbin, Otis Harlan

65 min

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Helen Hutson, the secretary and mistress of New York businessman Van Dyne, is initially upset when her childhood sweetheart, Paul Cooper, comes to her office to visit. However, she agrees to have dinner with him after he says he is leaving town that night and, feigning a headache, breaks a date with Van.

They go dancing, and Paul, whom Helen once told not to come back into her life until he made good, proposes by the end of the evening. Helen avoids giving an answer, and at the train

They go dancing, and Paul, whom Helen once told not to come back into her life until he made good, proposes by the end of the evening. Helen avoids giving an answer, and at the train station before he leaves, she tries but fails to confess her involvement with Van.

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Despite advice from her friend Katherine, Helen, now in love with Paul, plans to return to her hometown of Greenfield, New York and tell him everything before they marry. In Greenfield, Helen finds that her younger sister Lorraine is infatuated with a wealthy boy from the southern school she is attending.

Her father, who has lost his job as a newspaperman, comes in drunk with friends, one of whom asks Helen to repay $200 that her father borrowed. When a boy in town makes insulting innuendos about Helen, her brother Bud defends her reputation, breaking a bottle over the boy’s head. After the sheriff tells Helen that the injured boy’s father will not press charges if he is paid for the hospital expenses, Helen reveals to Bud that the rumors are true.

He embraces her nonetheless, and Helen returns to New York where she placates Van by saying that Paul means nothing to her, and gets the money to bail Bud out of jail. Sometime later, on the night of a party Van demands she hold for some drunken business associates, Helen’s mother and father visit her apartment. That same day, Paul, who has come back from his trip, looks for her at the office, and meets Van instead.

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When Paul announces their impending marriage, Van maliciously brings Paul to the party. Meanwhile, Helen’s mother has made lemonade for the surprised guests, while her father gets drunk with two of Van’s associates. When Van, in front of Paul, orders Helen to get him handkerchiefs from his drawer, Paul leaves in disgust. Helen leaves town the next day with her parents. They receive a telegram from Lorraine announcing her marriage, and Helen is happy that her sister is “safe.” Paul comes to the house, and as Bud and his mother watch from the window, Helen and Paul embrace and reconcile.

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Bessie Love Bessie Love
Helen Huston
Conway Tearle Conway Tearle
Van Dyne
John Holland John Holland
Natalie Moorhead Natalie Moorhead
Emma Dunn Emma Dunn
Mrs. Huston
June Clyde June Clyde
Lorraine Huston
Edmund Breese Edmund Breese
Mr. Huston
David Rollins David Rollins
Bill Huston
Lina Basquette Lina Basquette
Virginia Lee Corbin Virginia Lee Corbin
Crauford Kent Crauford Kent
Mr. Marston
Otis Harlan Otis Harlan
Mr. Johnston
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
George Olsen George Olsen
Orchestra Leader (archive footage)
Ethan Allen Ethan Allen
Norman Budd Norman Budd
Wilbur Higby Wilbur Higby
John Hyams John Hyams
Walter Perry Walter Perry
Lillian Rich Lillian Rich

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circa 1920: Bessie Love (1898 - 1986), the Hollywood film actress.

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