4 items from 2014
Before R-ratings, anti-heroes and gratuitous violence and nudity in mainstream Hollywood movies, there was the Hays Code. As a form of self-policing the industry, virtually every movie released up until 1968 needed that stamp of approval if it wanted distribution. And while it helped produce all of Old Hollywood’s true classics for several decades, it often included ridiculous rulings like not being able to show or flush a toilet on screen, not allowing married couples to be shown sleeping in the same bad or always making sure criminals, even protagonists of the movie, got punished in the end.
But before the Hays Code was nothing, and it was a gloriously weird, scandalous time for the movies. Certain Hollywood films in the early ’30s as “talkies” were rapidly taking hold have since been labeled “Pre-Code” films that never received Hollywood’s stamp of approval.
Every Friday in September, »
- Brian Welk
Hollywood got away with a hell of a lot before the Production Code, and Turner Classic Movies is offering a weekly taste of the bounty. Alec Baldwin and TCM's Robert Osborne will introduce 24 hours of pre-Code sex, drugs, profanity, nudity and bad behavior every Friday in September. TCM will highlight the freewheeling early careers of Barbara Stanwyck, Mae West, Jean Harlow, Warren William, James Cagney and more who starred in films where the bad guy sometimes won, and where the fallen heroine didn't need, or even want, to be saved. Classics on the docket include "Baby Face," "Footlight Parade," "Freaks," "Trouble in Paradise," "The Story of Temple Drake" and "Scarface" -- all wildly licentious for the time. Without censorship, during the 20s and early 30s sound boom, Hollywood did not sanitize sex, drug use, abortion, prostitution and extreme violence. Here's a look at the Code, which has some whacky do-nots. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Female Perversion: Glazer’s Latest a Strange, Hypnotic Exploration of the Body Feminine
It’s been over a decade now since Jonathan Glazer’s exciting and strange sophomore film Birth (2004), an eerie and unsettling exploration of reincarnation tainted with the specter of pedophilia. While greeted with divisive reactions, his long awaited next feature, Under the Skin seems destined for an equally baffling reaction as he once again employs an A-list star in a nightmarish and disorienting universe of perplexing intention. Have no doubt, however, that Glazer has crafted a cinematic masterpiece that’s surreal, scintillating, and unforgettably strange. While reminiscent of several classic sci-fi titles in its obfuscated execution, it’s most notable ancestor would perhaps be Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, but only in a rudimentary comparison of narrative. Glazer’s is a menacing look at the construction and consumption of female sexuality.
On the »
- Nicholas Bell
I must have been about 12 years old when I first saw Tarzan and His Mate. I loved the Tarzan movies. Tarzan was the undisputed King of the Jungle and was the greatest, Cheetah was man’s best friend, Boy was annoying, and Jane was the Queen of the Jungle and a young male’s introduction to the allure of the female. The uncensored version, with a naked Jane silhouetted while changing clothes in a backlit tent and the spectacular underwater ballet scene would have been a revelation to me; Tarzan and Jane are frolicking in their favorite swimming hole, Tarzan in his usual loincloth and Jane naked – not naked from the waste up, or presumed naked as they hid her behind some lake flora or rocks – Jane was naked.
- Gregory Small
4 items from 2014
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