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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Herself - Narrator (voice)
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Herself
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Herself - Interviewee (as Kitty Carlisle Hart)
Molly Haskell ...
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Mae Madison ...
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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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6 May 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mujeres liberadas  »

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Features Men in White (1934) See more »

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Music Makes Me
Music by Arthur Johnston
Lyrics by Sam Coslow
Used by permission of Famous Music
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Good Clips
21 May 2003 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Actually, very good clips, and the narrative makes a very good claim to proving its thesis: that the sexy Pre-Code dramas and comedies actually represented a realistic depiction of the 20th century morality until Joseph Breen clamped down, making the Production Code not just voluntary, but mandatory.

There is a good claim in that, but it makes its point by looking at the best of the Pre-Code works and the worst of the movies made under the Code. Nor does it go into the reason that Hollywood made those sexy movies in the first place, and stopped making them later: to sell tickets at the box office. Truth has never been the primary concern of the movie industry; and while these clips demonstrate that Hollywood was interested in selling tickets to men who wanted to look at naked women... well, the underwater swimming sequence from TARZAN AND HIS MATE shows Maureen O'Sullivan's stand-in swimming around in the nude, but Weismuller is wearing a loincloth.


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