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4 items from 2011

Forgotten Pre-Codes: "One More Spring" (1935)

28 December 2011 11:59 PM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

Part of a series by David Cairns on forgotten pre-Code films. 

No Christmas movie is complete without the prospect of a suicidal plunge into icy waters... festive!

Yes, 1935 was the year after the Production Code came in. But these are the Daft Days, between Christmas and New Year, when nothing really matters. Besides, this is a film worth writing about, it has a seasonal hook, is full of early thirties atmosphere, social concerns, and a little suggestiveness, and anyway, it's a remarkable fact about pre-Code cinema that virtually none of them take any interest in Christmas.

They do, however, take a good bit of interest in the winter, since winter is something that has to be prepared for if it's to be survived. Thus comedy relief Vince Barnett in The Girl in 419 (1933) spends most of his scenes talking about the fur coat he's going to buy for his sweetie once he's saved enough money, »

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New York's "Essential Pre-Code" Series: Week 3

4 August 2011 12:48 PM, PDT | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

Each year New York residents can look forward to two essential series programmed at the Film Forum, noirs and pre-Coders (that is, films made before the strict enforcing of the Motion Picture Production Code).  These near-annual retrospective traditions are refreshed and re-varied and re-repeated for neophytes and cinephiles alike, giving all the chance to see and see again great film on film.  Many titles in this year's Essential Pre-Codeseries, running an epic July 15 - August 11, are old favorites and some ache to be new discoveries; all in all there are far too many racy, slipshod, patter-filled celluloid splendors to be covered by one critic alone.  Faced with such a bounty, I've enlisted the kind help of some friends and colleagues,  asking them to sent in short pieces on their favorites in an incomplete but also in-progress survey and guide to one of the summer's most sought-after series.  In this entry: what's playing Friday, »

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Claudette Colbert, Miriam Hopkins, Gloria Swanson: Cinefest 2011

17 March 2011 9:52 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

William Gargan, Miriam Hopkins, Jack La Rue in Stephen Roberts' The Story of Temple Drake Cinefest 2011, a four-day festival of rare American films, kicked off earlier today in Syracuse, NY. According to organizers, Cinefest features "great films … from the vaults of the world's greatest libraries and obscure specialties we are noted for from private collectors!" [Cinefest 2011 schedule.] Among the highlights at this year's Cinefest are the East Coast premiere of the Museum of Modern Art's restored print of the racy pre-Code Miriam Hopkins vehicle The Story of Temple Drake (1933), based on William Faulkner's Sanctuary; the Dolores Costello vehicle Glorious Betsy (1928), which earned Anthony Coldeway an Academy Award nomination for Best Adaptation; and Norman Taurog's The Phantom President (1932), a comedy musical starring Broadway legend George M. Cohan (James Cagney won an Oscar for playing him in Yankee Doodle Dandy), Claudette Colbert, and Jimmy Durante. Also, Joe May's [...] »

- Andre Soares

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Out of the Past 2010: David Cairns

10 January 2011 8:15 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

We at Mubi think that celebrating the films of 2010 should be a celebration of film viewing in 2010.  Since all film and video is "old" one way or another, we present Out of a Past, a small (re-) collection of some of our favorite of 2010's retrospective viewings.


Always on Sunday (Ken Russell, 1965), pictured above

Always on Sunday is one of Ken Russell's early British television films, most of which were portraits of artists. It was customary for years for Russell's haters to praise these unavailable films and bemoan the director's decline into heavy-handed vulgarity. It turns out that they were half right: the TV work is excellent, and tends to be more muted than the gaudy features that followed, no doubt in part due to BBC censorship. But the critics were wrong to miss the nuances, and genius, of Russell's blockbuster marathons of bad taste and joyous camp, and »

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