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Complicated Women (2003)

TV Movie  |   |  Documentary  |  6 May 2003 (USA)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 288 users  
Reviews: 8 user

A look at actresses who starred in films with thought-provoking subjects made between 1929-1934 - before the Hollywood Production Code was enforced.

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An overview of the portrayal and influence of sexuality on film, from the silent era until the administration of the Hayes Code in 1934.

Director: Elaina Archer
Stars: Diane Lane, Chris Basinger, Jeanine Basinger
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Cast

Credited cast:
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Herself - Narrator (voice)
Frances Dee ...
Herself
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Herself - Interviewee (as Kitty Carlisle Hart)
Molly Haskell ...
Herself - Interviewee
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Himself - Interviewee
Mae Madison ...
Herself - Interviewee
Karen Morley ...
Herself - Interviewee
Mark Vieira ...
Himself - Interviewee
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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Himself (archive footage)
Robert Barrat ...
Himself (archive footage)
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Himself (archive footage)
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Himself (archive footage)
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Himself (archive footage)
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Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

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 <mvg@whidbey.com>

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Release Date:

6 May 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mujeres liberadas  »

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Features Blonde Venus (1932) See more »

Soundtracks

By a Waterfall
Written by Sammy Fain (music) and Irving Kahal (lyrics)
Used by permission of Warner/Chappell Music
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User Reviews

 
Exceptionally interesting and a good introduction to those not acquainted with the "Pre-Code" era
5 December 2006 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This film is a wonderful introduction to the women of the so-called "Pre-Code" movies--movies that were made through about the middle of 1935. They were called "Pre-Code" in that they were made before the rigid Production Code was enforced and the films abounded with sexuality, violence and topics of questionable taste for the time. This documentary focuses not on this overall topic, but specifically on women of the films and their smoldering sexuality. Because of this it is NOT indicative of the general topic of Pre-Code films but on a narrow aspect of the movies.

The documentary is great because I was shocked how well-preserved some of these old leading ladies were and listening to their stories about the era was extremely fascinating. I also liked all the old clips, though I felt that many times important films were omitted from discussion or clips. For example, while the very tawdry nude swimming scene from TARZAN AND HIS MATE was mentioned and shown several times (a very spicy scene even by today's standards), very little mention was made of equally famous films with similar content, such as THE BARBARIAN and THE SIGN OF THE CROSS--the two bathing scenes in these films are amazing for the early 1930s. Also, the film seemed to indicate that the Pre-Code era was from the beginning of talkies until 1934, whereas there were MANY films in the silent era that featured copious amounts of nudity or sexually liberated females. Both these quibbles, though, are very minor, as only to film nuts like me will even notice or care!


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