Complicated Women (2003)

TV Movie  |   |  Documentary  |  6 May 2003 (USA)
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A look at actresses who starred in films with thought-provoking subjects made between 1929-1934 - before the Hollywood Production Code was enforced.



(based on the book by), , 1 more credit »
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Credited cast:
Herself - Narrator (voice)
Herself - Interviewee (as Kitty Carlisle Hart)
Molly Haskell ...
Herself - Interviewee
Himself - Interviewee
Mae Madison ...
Herself - Interviewee
Karen Morley ...
Herself - Interviewee
Mark Vieira ...
Himself - Interviewee
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Himself (archive footage)
Robert Barrat ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Herself (archive footage)


Jane Fonda narrates the story of the years between the ascent of talkies until late in 1934, when the Hays Office cracked down on what it perceived as immorality in Hollywood movies. The emphasis is on how women were portrayed, and focuses on how they were much more liberated and equal (or superior) to men, until 1935 when they once again took subservient roles to their male co-stars. Written by Ron Kerrigan <>

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Release Date:

6 May 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mujeres liberadas  »

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Features Big Business Girl (1931) See more »


Shadow Waltz
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Used by permission of Warner/Chappell Music
See more »

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User Reviews

All the Shock of the Era
26 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Complicated Women is the documentary companion to Mick LaSalle's book about women in the pre-code era. The time from the first talkies through to the enforcement of the Production Code is known as the pre-code era, a great time for movie making. Subjects ranging from marital infidelity, prostitution, abortion, nudity, drug use, and other shocking subjects littered films. The public either loved them or hated them, and thanks to groups like the Catholic Legion of Decency, these subjects were censored. However, this documentary praises these films for their modernity and shows clips from films like The Divorcée, Queen Christina, Downstairs, Torch Singer, Mary Stevens MD, The Smiling Lieutenant, Men in White, Female, A Free Soul, Baby Face, Midnight Mary, The Story of Temple Drake, Red Dust, Faithless, Grand Hotel, Gold Diggers of 1933, Ladies They Talk About, I'm No Angel, Tarzan and His Mate, and more.

The only problem with this documentary is that it skips around a lot. There are headers for each section, but they all begin to blend together.

The film incorporates interviews with many great sources like Mick LaSalle, Molly Haskell, Mark Viera, and several actresses of the era.

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