Saturday, April 23, 2011

1933: Best Year of Pre-Code Film??

You know the year of 1939, has a reputation for being the best year for films made during the golden era, and yes, its very possibly true, but what about the best year of film during the pre-code era? Personally, I feel that the answer to this question would be the year of 1933. This was a year where a lot of the films made, were seen as “breaking the camel’s back” when it comes to content and are credited with helping in putting teeth into the enforcement of the Hays’ Code.

Now let’s see, there were many, many great notable films released that year including King Kong, Baby Face, The Story of Temple Drake, She Done Him Wrong, Dinner at Eight, Female, 42nd Street, Footlight Parade, Gold Diggers of 1933, Duck Soup, Design for Living and Queen Christina, just to name some.

While at the same time there were a good number of other films that also packed a good dose of pre-code goodness in, but aren’t as well known these include Employees’ Entrance, Man’s Castle, Flying Down To Rio, Torch Singer, Wild Boys of the Road, Gabriel Over the White House, Christopher Strong and Heroes For Sale.

The films named are all but a small sample of what the year of 1933 have to offer, there are still a large number of gems haven‘t named, but full of great pre-code goodness, but its impossible to name them all in one sitting .So is the year of 1933 the best year for pre-code film? That is all but a matter of opinion, to me it is, but you may have another opinion, and if 1933 isn’t the best year of the pre-code era, it certainly comes very close.

BTW: Sorry for the unexpected absence, there's been an family emergency going on, so...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Miriam Hopkins

If any actress needs to have a revival, Miriam Hopkins would definitely get a vote in my book. There have been many actresses that have been forgotten over time, are very under appreciated, and Miriam Hopkins is one of these actresses. Now there are a good deal of folks out there that know little if anything about our friend, Miriam, and of those who know of her, and her work it mostly consist of her code era work, the feud that she had going on with Bette Davis, and the reputation of being somewhat of a difficult person behind the scenes.

What falls by the wayside, is Miss Hopkins’ pre-code past and what a past it is, that of being one of the sauciest actresses and shining stars of the era. Now she didn’t turn movies out at the rate most stars of the era did, but her pre-codes are such a delight, one can’t ignore them. There is an impish, mischievous quality about her, that is the reason why she is such a great pre-code actress, being the perfect fit for both comedies, and melodramas of the era, and if you’ve seen her pre-code films you can’t help not to enjoy her. Whether she is playing Princess Anna, the frumpy princess turned jazz baby in The Smiling Lieutenant(1931), Ivy Pearson , the prostitute/dance hall girl in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde(1931), Lily, the jewel thief in Trouble in Paradise(1932) or Temple Drake, the tease of a southern belle in The Story of Temple Drake(1933) just to name a few, it is hard to ignore the talent that Miss Hopkins displays. So in conclusion, be sure to check out the greatness of Miriam Hopkins' pre-codes, and help in spreading the word. 

Hopkins as Princess Anna (before her makeover) in The Smiling Lieutenant

Hopkins as Princess Anna (after her makeover) in The Smiling Lieutenant

Hopkins as Ivy Pearson in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Hopkins as Temple Drake in The Story of Temple Drake

Hopkins as Lily, with co-star Herbert Marshall in Trouble in Paradise

Hopkins as Gilda, with co-stars Fredric March & Gary Cooper in Design for Living

Miriam Hopkins’ Pre-Code films:
  • Fast and Loose(1930) her debut film
  • The Smiling Lieutenant(1931)
  • 24 Hours(1931)
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde(1931)
  • Two Kinds of Women(1932)
  • Dancers in the Dark(1932)
  • World and the Flesh(1932)
  • Trouble in Paradise(1932)
  • The Story of Temple Drake(1933)
  • The Stranger’s Return(1933)
  • Design For Living(1933)
  • All of Me (1934)