Archive for category: Pre-code Cinema

Channeling Movies: Sex and Sin on Pre-Code Fridays on Turner Classic Movies

4 September, 2014 (16:28) | by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews, Pre-code Cinema, Television | By: Sean Axmaker

Turner Classic Movies is turning all the Fridays in September over to films from that brief period in the early thirties when the studios thumbed their collective noses at the toothless Production Code and pushed the boundaries of sex, violence, and bad behavior without judgment or consequences in film after film. The iron boot of […]

MOD Movies: ‘The Big House,’ ‘5 Fingers,’ ‘Roadblock

13 April, 2014 (11:26) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Noir, Film Reviews, Pre-code Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

The Big House: Triple Feature (Warner Archive) is a special edition for the MOD (manufacture-on-demand) line. The 1930 The Big House, directed by George Hill, is the original men-in-prison drama in terms of the way it established the conventions. There’s the pecking order of tough guys behind bars, the culture of loyalty, the sniveling snitches, […]

Videophiled MOD Movies: ‘Cry of the City,’ ‘The Beast with Five Fingers,’ ‘Young America’ and Lee Tracy

2 February, 2014 (14:58) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Noir, Pre-code Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

It’s been a few months since I’ve surveyed the MOD market – that’s the manufacture-on-demand line that Warner, Fox, and Sony currently present as a way to release films that the sales market no longer supports – and there have been a lot of releases in that time. Not all are ‘classic” in the essential […]

MOD Movies: More ‘Forbiddden Hollywood’

27 May, 2013 (09:07) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Pre-code Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

Forbidden Hollywood: Volume 6 (Warner Archive) and Forbidden Hollywood: Volume 7 (Warner Archive) continue to showcase the best, sauciest, and most surprising films made before the Production Code forced Hollywood to clean up the screen. At their best, or at least their most memorable, they flaunted the sexual play of unmarried couples (and worse, the […]

MOD Movies: Lust in the ‘Red Dust’

25 November, 2012 (17:06) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Pre-code Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

“Red Dust” (Warner Archive), the 1932 jungle melodrama starring Clark Gable as a rubber plantation foreman in East Asia and Jean Harlow as the street smart showgirl who takes a powder from “Say-gone” (as they call the future Vietnamese city of Saigon) and lands upriver in his primitive plantation manor, is as sexy, frank, and […]

Blu-ray: The Original ‘The Most Dangerous Game’

11 July, 2012 (09:11) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews, Horror, Pre-code Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

The Most Dangerous Game (1932) is the first screen adaptation of the classic story of the decadent hunter who stalks human prey. Directed by Ernest Schoedsack with actor-turned-director Irving Pichel (his first directing credit) and produced by Schoedsack and Merian C. Cooper, previously known for exotic adventure documentaries like Grass (1925) and Chang (1927), it is still the […]

MOD Movies: More Pre-Code Pleasures in ‘The Last Flight,’ ‘Thirteen Women,’ and ‘Taxi’

11 March, 2012 (19:11) | by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews, Pre-code Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

A month ago I covered a collection of pre-code movies released through the Warner Archive Collection, 11 early sound films of varying quality and pleasure that all, in their own way, had a little audacity to them. Those releases found an appreciative audience, apparently, if the Warner Archive Facebook page and Tumblr blog and Warner […]

MOD Movies: ‘Safe in Hell’ and other Pre-Code Pleasures

5 February, 2012 (10:52) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Pre-code Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

11 sassy, sexy and sometimes stiff early sound pictures with attitude from the Warner Archive. When Hollywood was trying to find its way in the early sound era, learning to work around the sudden production constrictions imposed by sound recording and editing while struggling to find its own distinctive voice and delivery, it was also […]

Pre-Code Paramount and Fleischer’s Superman – DVDs for the Week

8 April, 2009 (18:25) | Animation, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Pre-code Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

Pre-Code Hollywood Collection / Cleopatra: 75th Anniversary Edition Universal Home Video plunges into the sex, sin and bathtub gin of pre-code Hollywood films with their answer to the “Forbidden Hollywood” series from Warner. The Pre-Code Hollywood Collection is branded as part of the “Universal Backlot Series” but it actually collects six films Paramount Pictures (Universal […]

William Wellman’s Forbidden Hollywood – DVDs for the Week

23 March, 2009 (13:47) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Essays, Pre-code Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

The studios are finally listening to me! Okay, maybe not, but fifteen months ago I did publish my wish list of Dream DVD Special Editions and Box Sets on GreenCine. Some of those wishes have since come true: Touch of Evil: 50th Anniversary Edition (with all three cuts of the film), The Films of Budd […]