Pre-Code Hollywood

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Pre-Code Hollywood refers to the brief era in the American film industry between the widespread adoption of sound in pictures in 1929 and the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code censorship guidelines, popularly known as the "Hays Code", in mid-1934.wikipedia
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Joan Blondell

Rosebud Blondell
Many of Hollywood's biggest stars such as Clark Gable, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Blondell, and Edward G. Robinson got their start in the era.
Establishing herself as a sexy, wisecracking blonde, she was a pre-Code staple of Warner Bros. pictures, and appeared in more than 100 movies and television productions.

The Public Enemy

Public Enemya black and white gangster filmBeer and Blood: The Story of a Couple o' Wrong Guys
Gangsters in films like The Public Enemy, Little Caesar, and Scarface were seen by many as heroic rather than evil.
The Public Enemy (Enemies of the Public in the UK ) is a 1931 American all-talking pre-Code gangster film produced and distributed by Warner Bros. The film was directed by William A. Wellman and stars James Cagney, Jean Harlow, Edward Woods, Donald Cook, and Joan Blondell.

Little Caesar (film)

Little Caesarfilm adaptationLittle Caesar'' (film)
Gangsters in films like The Public Enemy, Little Caesar, and Scarface were seen by many as heroic rather than evil.
Little Caesar is a 1931 American pre-Code crime film distributed by Warner Brothers, directed by Mervyn LeRoy, and starring Edward G. Robinson, Glenda Farrell, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. The film tells the story of a hoodlum who ascends the ranks of organized crime until he reaches its upper echelons.

Red-Headed Woman

Strong female characters were ubiquitous in such pre-Code films as Female, Baby Face, and Red-Headed Woman.
Red-Headed Woman is a 1932 American pre-Code romantic comedy film, produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, based on a novel of the same name by Katharine Brush, and with a screenplay by Anita Loos.

Baby Face (film)

Baby FaceBaby Face'' (film)
Strong female characters were ubiquitous in such pre-Code films as Female, Baby Face, and Red-Headed Woman.
Baby Face is a 1933 American pre-Code dramatic film directed by Alfred E. Green, starring Barbara Stanwyck as Lily Powers, and featuring George Brent.

Female (1933 film)

FemaleFemale'' (1933 film)
Strong female characters were ubiquitous in such pre-Code films as Female, Baby Face, and Red-Headed Woman.
Female is a 1933 Warner Bros. pre-Code film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Ruth Chatterton and George Brent.

Warren William

Warren William (Warren William Krech)
Other stars who excelled during this period, however, like Ruth Chatterton (who decamped to England) and Warren William (the so-called "king of Pre-Code", who died in 1948), would wind up essentially forgotten by the general public within a generation. In The Match King (1932), Warren William played an industrialist based on real-life Swedish entrepreneur Ivar Kreuger, himself nicknamed the "Match King", who attempts to corner the global market on matches.
Warren William (born Warren William Krech; December 2, 1894 – September 24, 1948) was a Broadway and Hollywood actor, immensely popular during the early 1930s; he was later nicknamed the "King of Pre-Code".

Scarface (1932 film)

Scarface19321932 film
Gangsters in films like The Public Enemy, Little Caesar, and Scarface were seen by many as heroic rather than evil.
Scarface was produced before the introduction of the Production Code Administration in 1934, which enforced regulations on film content.

Dance, Fools, Dance

In Dance, Fools, Dance (1931), lurid party scenes featuring 1920s flappers are played to excess.
Dance, Fools, Dance (1931) is a pre-Code Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer feature film starring Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, and Lester Vail in a story about a reporter investigating the murder of a colleague.

The Saturday Night Kid

Films featuring Hollywood's original "It girl" Clara Bow such as The Saturday Night Kid (released four days before the October 29, 1929, market crash) highlighted Bow's sexual attractiveness.
The Saturday Night Kid is a 1929 American pre-Code romantic comedy film about two sisters and the man they both want.

Rain or Shine (film)

Rain or ShineRain or Shine'' (film)
For Rain or Shine (1930), Milton Ager and Jack Yellin composed "Happy Days Are Here Again".
Rain or Shine is a 1930 American pre-Code film directed by Frank Capra and starring Joe Cook and Louise Fazenda.

20,000 Years in Sing Sing

1932 movieTwenty Thousand Years in Sing Sing
The song was repeated sarcastically by characters in several films such as Under Eighteen (1931) and 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1933).
20,000 Years in Sing Sing is a 1932 American Pre-Code drama film set in Sing Sing Penitentiary, the maximum security prison in Ossining, New York, starring Spencer Tracy as an inmate and Bette Davis as his girlfriend.

Wild Boys of the Road

In Wild Boys of the Road (1933), the young man played by Frankie Darrow leads a group of dispossessed juvenile drifters who frequently brawl with the police.
Wild Boys of the Road is a 1933 pre-Code Depression-era American film telling the story of several teens forced into becoming hobos.

Under Eighteen

The song was repeated sarcastically by characters in several films such as Under Eighteen (1931) and 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1933).
Under Eighteen is a 1931 American pre-Code romantic drama film directed by Archie Mayo and starring Marian Marsh, Anita Page, Regis Toomey, and Warren William.

Gabriel Over the White House

Seething beneath the surface of American life in the Depression was the fear of the angry mob, portrayed in panicked hysteria in films such as Gabriel Over the White House (1933), The Mayor of Hell (1933), and American Madness (1932).
Gabriel Over the White House is a 1933 American pre-Code film starring Walter Huston that has been described as a "bizarre political fantasy" and which "posits a favorable view of fascism."

The Mayor of Hell

Seething beneath the surface of American life in the Depression was the fear of the angry mob, portrayed in panicked hysteria in films such as Gabriel Over the White House (1933), The Mayor of Hell (1933), and American Madness (1932).
The Mayor of Hell is a 1933 American pre-Code Warner Brothers film starring James Cagney.

Heroes for Sale (film)

Heroes for SaleHeroes for Sale'' (film)
Less comical was the picture of the United States' future presented in Heroes for Sale that same year (1933), in which a hobo looks into a depressing night and proclaims, "It's the end of America".
Heroes for Sale (1933) is an American Depression-era Pre-Code film directed by William Wellman, starring Richard Barthelmess, Aline MacMahon, and Loretta Young, and released by Warner Bros. and First National Pictures.

Employees' Entrance

Employees' Entrance (1933) received the following review from Jonathan Rosenbaum: "As an attack on ruthless capitalism, it goes a lot further than more recent efforts such as Wall Street, and it's amazing how much plot and character are gracefully shoehorned into 75 minutes."
Employees' Entrance is a 1933 Pre-Code film about the devious manager of a New York department store (Warren William) and his romantic involvement with a reluctant new employee (Loretta Young).

American Madness

Seething beneath the surface of American life in the Depression was the fear of the angry mob, portrayed in panicked hysteria in films such as Gabriel Over the White House (1933), The Mayor of Hell (1933), and American Madness (1932).
American Madness is a 1932 American pre-Code film directed by Frank Capra and starring Walter Huston as a New York banker embroiled in scandal.

The Match King

In The Match King (1932), Warren William played an industrialist based on real-life Swedish entrepreneur Ivar Kreuger, himself nicknamed the "Match King", who attempts to corner the global market on matches.
The Match King is a 1932 American Pre-Code drama film made by First National Pictures, directed by William Keighley and Howard Bretherton.

Skyscraper Souls

Skyscraper
William played another unscrupulous businessman in Skyscraper Souls (1932): David Dwight, a wealthy banker who owns a building named after himself that is larger than the Empire State Building.
Skyscraper Souls is a 1932 American pre-Code romantic drama film starring Warren William, Anita Page, Maureen O'Sullivan, Gregory Ratoff, and Verree Teasdale.

Ruth Chatterton

Other stars who excelled during this period, however, like Ruth Chatterton (who decamped to England) and Warren William (the so-called "king of Pre-Code", who died in 1948), would wind up essentially forgotten by the general public within a generation.
In 1933, Chatterton starred in the successful Pre-Code comedy-drama Female.

Paid (1930 film)

Paid1930Paid'' (1930 film)
In films such as Paid (1930), the legal system turns innocent characters into criminals.
Paid is a 1930 American pre-Code drama film starring Joan Crawford, Robert Armstrong, and Kent Douglass in a story about a wrongly accused ex-convict who seeks revenge on those who sent her to prison using a scam called the "Heart Balm Racket".

It Happened One Night

motion picture screenplay
In Blonde Venus (1932), Marlene Dietrich's character resorts to prostitution to feed her child, and Claudette Colbert's character in It Happened One Night (1934) gets her comeuppance for throwing a tray of food onto the floor by later finding herself without food or financial resources.
It Happened One Night is a 1934 pre-Code American romantic comedy film with elements of screwball comedy directed and co-produced by Frank Capra, in collaboration with Harry Cohn, in which a pampered socialite (Claudette Colbert) tries to get out from under her father's thumb and falls in love with a roguish reporter (Clark Gable).

The Mouthpiece

Americans' mistrust and dislike of lawyers was a frequent topic of dissection in social problem films such Lawyer Man (1933), State's Attorney, and The Mouthpiece (1932).
The Mouthpiece is a 1932 American pre-Code crime drama film starring Warren William and directed by James Flood and Elliott Nugent.