April 2nd, 2008

carole lombard 03
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Know the (pre-)Code

The superb series of features on the pre-Code era at the Greenbriar Picture Shows site (http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/#90358) continues with a glance at musicials and comedies of the era, such as "Footlight Parade," a few dancers from which are shown above (http://greenbriarpictureshows.blogspot.com/2008/03/musicals-and-comedies-go-pre-code-busby.html).

It was a fascinating period in film history, as not until the late 1960s was so much eroticism revealed in mainstream American movies. It wasn't just Busby Berkeley's fantastic dance sequences, either; comedy also took advantage of the loosened reins of the time, as witness from films of the Marx Brothers and the ribald, overlooked team of Wheeler and Woolsey.

Perhaps the brassy, beautiful, funny Joan Blondell captured the spirit of the pre-Code era better than any other actress. She appeared in the aforementioned "Footlight Parade" and many other films, but there's one that people haven't seen for decades.

It's a 1933 film called "Convention City," and it's the holy grail of pre-Code. Supposedly, Warners destroyed all copies of the movie because it was far too spicy. (Ironically, several other films accused of the same charge were simply left alone, and most were able to be salvaged when tastes changed and they could again be shown.) It is hoped that somewhere, someone has a copy of this film, hidden (or misidentified) in some vault. Keep your fingers crossed.
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