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Pre-Code Hollywood: Sex, Immorality, and Insurrection in American Cinema; 1930-1934 Paperback – August 15, 1999
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This was a Hollywood of loose dames, hot whoopee, and coked-up killers who'd do anything for a pot of jack. It was a world that was often amoral and anarchic--an industry that allowed James Cagney and Paul Muni wild orgies of violence, openly flaunted the sexuality of Marlene Dietrich and Mae West, gave King Kong permission to crush cars and eat people, and allowed Tod Browning to make Freaks, one of the ghastliest, most sensationalistic, and greatest American movies.
Doherty's book captures this mad universe beautifully, describing films in such delightful detail that you may find yourself tossing it on your couch and racing to the video store. He also documents the downfall of the period, the outrage that was leveled against early sound films, and the emerging code that repressed American movies for almost 30 years. Film fans reveling in the debauchery of Hollywood's naughtiest era will also want to see Mark A. Vieira's Sin in Soft Focus. --Raphael Shargel
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Doherty includes discussions of many well-known films in his narrative, but also does justice to long-forgotten films rarely seen since their original release. Although films stars such as Barbara Stanwyck and James Cagney established their screen presence and characters in the pre-code films, we usually remember them for their later work, with a few rare exceptions like Cagney's Public Enemy. Doherty recalls the early films of stars like these, and also remembers actors and actresses unknown to the current generation of filmgoers.
Many of the films covered in this book were ventures with low or moderate budget ventures, but they had a strong impact on audiences. Comparing a pre-code Warners musical like 42 Street to one of its post-code counterparts, like Golddiggers of 1935 illustrates the major change in tone and attitude films acquired as a result of the code. Pre-code language was stronger, more skin was shown, and plots were not sugar-coated with mandatory happy endings. Doherty paints a strong picture of a movie era too often glossed over in most film histories.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
an interesting book that could have been much better written as to covering the said topic with a lot more reference materialPublished 7 months ago by pastor james allen
I am reading (and going to be including this) as a required text for an online class that I am currently creating. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Ashley Boswell
This is a product of fine piece of work done by Brandies University professor Tom Doherty investigating into the history of Hollywood at the height of Great Depression when much of... Read morePublished on July 3, 2013 by Rama Rao
If you are searching for that one book to get or give this is the one. Pre-code anything will get you something that will be not only interesting, but vital to that era.Published on June 16, 2013 by Commando Big
I appreciate great writing, that adjusts to the flow of presented material, gliding through the eye en route to capture... Read morePublished on June 9, 2013 by ZENmud
I thought this book was a complete waste of time. Didn't like the writing, incompetent research, etc. Even the cover is lousy! Read morePublished on July 27, 2009 by K. Anez.