Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Pre-Code Hollywood Collection

Last week I watched The Pre-Code Hollywood Collection. This collection includes six pre-code films, and a short documentary called "Forbidden Film: The Production Code Era". I have been interested in this collection since it's release to DVD this past spring. I own all three of the Forbidden Hollywood collections put out by Warner Bros. I guess Universal got the hint that there is a market out there for the pre-code films, so they released their version. Each of the films in this collection were made my Paramount.

The six movie they included in this set were very entertaining. The films included are...(summaries taken from the back of the box)

The Cheat (1931) A compulsive gambler (Tallulah Bankhead) will do anything to pay off her debt - including turning to a wealthy businessman behind her husband's back.

Merrily We Go to Hell (1932) An abusive alcoholic (Fredric March) reunites with a woman from his past and drives his wife (Sylvia Sidney) to drastic measures.

Hot Saturday (1932) Scandal erupts after a young woman (Nancy Carroll) innocently spends the night with a notorious playboy (Cary Grant) and neglects to tell her fiance' (Randolph Scott).

Torch Singer (1933) After giving up her illegitimate child for adoption, a notorious nightclub singer (Claudette Colbert) attempts to find her daughter through a children's radio show.

Murder at the Vanities (1934) While sexy musical revue "The Vanities" captivates an audience on its opening night, a murder investigation takes place backstage. Included in this film is a song called "Marijuana", too funny!

Search for Beauty (1934) Olympic swimming champions (Buster Crabbe and Ida Lupino) are tricked into endorsing a racy magazine - and much worse.

I was quite disappointed with the documentary though. It wasn't very long, and there wasn't really a lot of information about the different pre-code movies. They told a brief history of the production code, but nothing very entertaining. The best bet for a good documentary is in the Forbidden Hollywood Collection Volume 2 set. "Thou Shalt Not: Sex, Sin and Censorship in Pre-Code Hollywood" was a longer film, with many movie clips.

I would have to say that this set is definitely worth buying. Pre-code movies are so much fun to watch. They were quite scandalous in their day, but nothing compared to the movies made today. I guess that I should do an overview of the Forbidden Hollywood sets one of these days too!

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