Although the Catholic Church of Detroit placed this movie on its "to be boycotted" list in July 1934, the Production Code Administration gave it an approval certificate for its re-release in 1935, when the its Code was more rigorously enforced. See more »
Here is a splendid example of cinema from the late pre-Code era. As is true of most pre-Code films, the biggest star is the dialogue. Witness this exchange from the first scene:
**********Ruby (Gangster's girlfriend, Pert Kelton, dressed in evening gown): I've been sittin' around this apartment so long, the maid's beginnin' to dust me off in the mornin'. **********Fenny (Gangster, Nat Pendleton): There you go, always beefing. Look at you, crawlin' with diamonds, and not a bruise on you. And still you complains! **********Ruby (chewing gum): It's the solitude that gets me. (...she says as if she just learned that word yesterday) **********Fenny: I'm here, ain't I? **********Ruby: I still say it's solitude. **********Fenny: (double-take)
Ruby does sustain a few bruises before the end of the film. The writers could have written a drama about how badly gangsters treat their women; instead, they wove their social commentary into a comedy. There is a long lead-in to the refrain of "Your Mother," and when Zasu Pitts finally sings "Mother," her delivery is hilarious. All of the actors play for laughs, and the laughs are actually intentional. The script is witty and clever, the characters are interesting and well-developed, and there is a realism and sexuality which is absent from post-1934 films. Ruby convinces convinces Annie (Zasu Pitts) to take a bath in a bedroom scene which is racy even by today's standards. It was meant to be. The studios knew the curtain was about to reign down on their party, and they went for broke in late 1933 and early 1934. (If only there were an extant print of _Convention City_.) As is often true of films from so long ago, there are splendid examples of slang which have disappeared from the vernacular. To top it off, TCM's print is flawless. If it were generally known how great some of these films are, modern sitcoms would disappear due to low ratings. Sure, this is JUST a comedy, but a superb one from Hollywood's Golden Age.
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