Monday, December 28, 2015

Pre-Code Hollywood: No Restrictions Apply

Just the other day, my fourteen-year-old complained about not being allowed to watch rated R movies. He said, “You and Dad are I’m too overprotective and you're not giving me a chance to see what life’s really like.” Excuse me for being a parent. Instead of letting him watch today’s restricted movies, perhaps I’ll let him watch some of these:

The Cheat, 1931
A compulsive gambler will do anything to pay off her debt – including turning to a wealthy businessman behind her husband’s back.

Events take an unhappy turn for two Bill and Jack, two locomotive engineers, after Bill is attracted to his best friend's wife.
Dorothy Mackhaill in Safe in Hell, 1931
After accidentally killing the man who raped her and forced her into prostitution, a New Orleans woman flees to a Caribbean island. While she awaits her fiancé, the vicious local police chief sets his sights on her.

 Hot Saturday  1932
Scandal erupts after a young woman innocently spends the night with a notorious playboy and neglects to tell her fiancé.
Merrily We Go to Hell, 1932
An abusive alcoholic reunites with a woman from his past driving his wife to drastic measures.

They Call it Sin, 1932
With time on his hands during a business trip, Jimmy Decker (who's engaged to his boss's daughter) romances small-town church organist Marion Cullen.  She follows him to New York only to learn Jimmy's true colors after she's burned her bridges.
Attractive Nan, member of a bank-robbery gang, goes to prison thanks to evangelist Dave Slade...who loves her.
Letty, a young woman who ended up pregnant, unmarried and on the streets at fifteen is bitter and determined that her child will not grow up to be taken advantage of. Letty teaches her child to lie, steal, cheat and do anything else he'll need to be street smart.

Once upon a time in Hollywood, movies of the past were just as gritty as the movies of today. Well, maybe not just as gritty, but back in the late 1920s and early 1930s, it wasn’t unusual to find sexual innuendo, partial nudity, profanity, illegal drug use, promiscuity, prostitution, infidelity, abortion, extreme violence and homosexuality in films.

This period in cinema history is known as the Pre-Code era, the time before movies were censored and sugar coated to reflect all-American wholesomeness.
Ina Claire publicity still for The Greeks Had a Word for Them, 1932
According to DVD Beaver, “In 1934, Hollywood was turned upside down by the enforcement of a strict “Production Code” that would change the way movies were made for the next 34 years. During the “pre-code” period (1929 to mid-1934), censorship barely existed in Hollywood and filmmakers had free reign to make the movies they wanted and the public demanded. No subject was taboo...”

To read more about Pre-Code Hollywood click here.

The sensational subject of sex sold back then, just like it does today.  However, Variety blamed women for the rise in such steamy films:

Women are responsible for the ever-increasing public taste in sensationalism and sexy stuff. Women who make up the bulk of the picture audiences are also the majority reader of the tabloids, scandal sheets, flashy magazines, and erotic books ... the mind of the average man seems wholesome in comparison.... Women love dirt, nothing shocks 'em.

The more times change the more they stay the same...

I haven’t seen enough Pre-Code movies to have a favorite, but I’d love to see Born to be Bad. Maybe I’ll watch it with my fourteen-year-old so he can learn what kind of women to avoid!

Were you familiar with the Pre-Code Era of Hollywood? Do you have any favorite Pre-Code films?  

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Reprinted from 1/20/14

Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is quickly approaching so I'm taking a break from blogging today to get ready for it! Be back next Monday, so until then, Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Star Wars: How it All Began...

This week, Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters. I'm eager to see it and can still remember going to see the original with my parents way back when! 
So just how did the saga come to be? Here's a little trivia about its origins from Wikipedia:
Elements of the history of Star Wars are commonly disputed, as George Lucas's statements about it have changed over time. Lucas has said that it was early as 1971—after he completed directing his first full-length feature, THX 1138—that he first had an idea for a space fantasy film, though he has also claimed to have had the idea long before thenOriginally, Lucas wanted to adapt the Flash Gordon space adventure comics and serials into his own films, having been fascinated by them since he was young. In 1979, he said, "I especially loved the Flash Gordon serials... Of course I realize now how crude and badly done they were... loving them that much when they were so awful, I began to wonder what would happen if they were done really well."
At the Cannes Film Festival in May following the completion of THX 1138, Lucas was granted a two-film development deal with United Artists; the two films were American Graffiti, and an untitled Flash Gordon-esque space fantasy film. He pushed towards buying the Flash Gordon rights. He said:
I wanted to make a Flash Gordon movie, with all the trimmings, but I couldn't obtain the rights to the characters. So I began researching and went right back and found where Alex Raymond (who had done the original Flash Gordon comic strips in newspapers) had got his idea from. I discovered that he'd got his inspiration from the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs (author of Tarzan) and especially from his John Carter of Mars series books. I read through that series, then found that what had sparked Burroughs off was a science-fantasy called Gulliver on Mars, written by Edwin Arnold and published in 1905. That was the first story in this genre that I have been able to trace. Jules Verne had got pretty close, I suppose, but he never had a hero battling against space creatures or having adventures on another planet. A whole new genre developed from that idea.
For the complete article click here. I'll actually go the theater to see this movie instead of waiting for it to come out on DVD, but I'll wait a week or so until after the crowds have died down. Are you planning to see it?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Kalua Pork with Cabbage

It's the holiday season, the busiest time of the year. There's little time to spare, so who wants to spend a long time in the kitchen when there are so many other things to do?

While at my mother-in-law's over Thanksgiving, she made this delicious crock pot dish that only took minutes to prepare. My kids even loved this recipe! And when I made it yesterday, they thought it tasted as good as Grandma's, which usually never happens.

This meal is great for a busy weeknight. Serve with hot applesauce and a salad and you have an easy, and not to mention, great tasting meal. Enjoy!

Kalua Pork with Cabbage

7 slices bacon
1 T coarse salt
1 3-4 lb pork roast (I used a 3 lb pork loin)
1 head cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 cup pineapple chunks

Place four strips of bacon in bottom of slow cooker. Salt all sides of pork roast, then place on top of bacon in slow cooker. Put the remaining bacon on top of pork roast. Cover and cook on LOW 8-10 hours or until meat is tender. Put cabbage and pineapple chunks on top of roast and cook an additional 1 1/4 hours, or until cabbage is tender.

Have you ever heard of this recipe?  Thanks for visiting and have a great week!