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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References Three on a Match (1932) See more »


Spin a Little Web of Dreams
Written by Sammy Fain (music) and Irving Kahal (lyrics)
Used by permission of Warner/Chappell Music
See more »

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User Reviews

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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