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Sadie McKee (1934)
How things have changed - possible spoilers
Another poster has mentioned that this film was released a couple of months before the Hayes Code was being strictly enforced. Nevertheless it has to go through some amazing "story gymnastics" to get several points across.
I don't want to spoil the story for anyone, but observe the incredibly indirect way Sadie's friend has to ask if she is sleeping with her wealthy husband, and the almost as indirect answer Sadie gives. Perhaps even this much wouldn't have been allowed under full enforcement of the Hayes Code.
Alcoholism was another touchy subject. It's very clear that Sadie's husband is an alcoholic, but the words "alcoholism" is never used; the disease is simply called "it," and you have to infer what "it" is from the surrounding material.
I'm trying to not give too much of the story away, but another rule movie makers had to follow was that divorced people aren't supposed to be happy. So what to do after Sadie and her wealthy husband are amicably divorced? For the answer, I guess people will have to watch the movie!
A Major Milestone Movie
I first saw "Maurice" when it was in theatrical release a long time ago, and was absolutely captivated. I actually bought a VHS copy of it back when they cost something like $80, so I was really glad to be able to get the Special Edition DVD set, which includes several deleted scenes.
However, back to the title of this review: "Maurice" was a milestone or watershed movie because it has a happy ending. Before it was produced, almost all movies with a gay theme ended either tragically or without a conclusion. Following that old formula, it would have ended with Maurice standing on the dock as Alec's ship slowly moved away, his farewell gift having been refused, or Maurice would have found Alec hanging at the end of a rope in the boathouse. Instead, it ends with Maurice and Alec in each other's arms. It's easy to forget just how significant this was at the time.
I would also like to address the subject of Maurice and Alec's future. The opinion that their affair would not last long is widely held, largely due to the huge difference in their social classes. I freely admit that they would face huge difficulties, but I don't think their situation was hopeless.
Alec was uneducated, but he was not unintelligent. He was also ambitious and hard working. He had to have been very much in love with Maurice to change his plans at the last minute and stay in England. Maurice has already suffered the loss of someone he thought was his soul mate, and was unlikely to let another great love get away easily.
So what did they do, and where did they go? My feeling is that their best chance at happiness would have been to emigrate to some location where nobody knew them, most likely the United States. Class differences certainly also existed in America, but they were not nearly as rigid as in Britain, and with a little education and "polish" Alec could easy have found a way to fit in.
Most likely they would have ended up in someplace like San Francisco, which even then was famous for its "Bohemians" and people who lived unconventional lifestyles.