Pre-Code Hollywood refers to the brief era in the American film industry between the widespread adoption of sound in pictures in 1929 and the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code censorship guidelines, popularly known as the "Hays Code", in mid-1934. Although the Code was adopted in 1930, oversight was poor, it did not become rigorously enforced until July 1, 1934, with the establishment of the Production Code Administration. Before that date, movie content was restricted more by local laws, negotiations between the Studio Relations Committee and the major studios, popular opinion, than by strict adherence to the Hays Code, ignored by Hollywood filmmakers; as a result, some films in the late 1920s and early 1930s depicted or implied sexual innuendo, mild profanity, illegal drug use, prostitution, abortion, intense violence, homosexuality. Strong female characters were ubiquitous in such pre-Code films as Female, Baby Face, Red-Headed Woman. Gangsters in films like The Public Enemy, Little Caesar, Scarface were seen by many as heroic rather than evil.
Along with featuring stronger female characters, films examined female subject matters that would not be revisited until decades in US films. Nefarious characters were seen to profit from their deeds, in some cases without significant repercussions, drug use was a topic of several films. Many of Hollywood's biggest stars such as Clark Gable, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Blondell, Edward G. Robinson got their start in the era. Other stars who excelled during this period, like Ruth Chatterton and Warren William, would wind up forgotten by the general public within a generation. Beginning in late 1933 and escalating throughout the first half of 1934, American Roman Catholics launched a campaign against what they deemed the immorality of American cinema. This, plus a potential government takeover of film censorship and social research seeming to indicate that movies which were seen to be immoral could promote bad behavior, was enough pressure to force the studios to capitulate to greater oversight. In 1922, after some risqué films and a series of off-screen scandals involving Hollywood stars, the studios enlisted Presbyterian elder William H.
"Will" Hays, a figure of unblemished rectitude. Hays nicknamed the motion picture "Czar", was paid the then-lavish sum of $100,000 a year. Hays, Postmaster General under Warren G. Harding and former head of the Republican National Committee, served for 25 years as president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, where he "defended the industry from attacks, recited soothing nostrums, negotiated treaties to cease hostilities." Hollywood mimicked the decision Major League Baseball had made in hiring judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis as League Commissioner the previous year to quell questions about the integrity of baseball in wake of the 1919 World Series gambling scandal. Hays introduced a set of recommendations dubbed "The Formula" in 1924, which the studios were advised to heed, asked filmmakers to describe to his office the plots of pictures they were planning; the Supreme Court had decided unanimously in 1915 in Mutual Film Corporation v. Industrial Commission of Ohio that free speech did not extend to motion pictures, while there had been token attempts to clean up the movies before, such as when the studios formed the National Association of the Motion Picture Industry in 1916, little had come of the efforts.
In 1929, an American Roman Catholic layman Martin Quigley, editor of the prominent trade paper Motion Picture Herald, Father Daniel A. Lord, a Jesuit priest, created a code of standards, submitted it to the studios. Lord's concerns centered on the effects sound film had on children, whom he considered susceptible to their allure. Several studio heads, including Irving Thalberg of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, met with Lord and Quigley in February 1930. After some revisions, they agreed to the stipulations of the Code. One of the main motivating factors in adopting the Code was to avoid direct government intervention, it was the responsibility of the Studio Relations Committee, headed by Colonel Jason S. Joy, to supervise film production and advise the studios when changes or cuts were required; the Code was divided into two parts. The first was a set of "general principles" which concerned morality; the second was a set of "particular applications", an exacting list of items that could not be depicted.
Some restrictions, such as the ban on homosexuality or the use of specific curse words, were never directly mentioned but were assumed to be understood without clear demarcation. Miscegenation, the mixing of the races, was forbidden, it stated that the notion of an "adults-only policy" would be a dubious, ineffective strategy that would be difficult to enforce. However, it did allow that "maturer minds may understand and accept without harm subject matter in plots which does younger people positive harm." If children were supervised and the events implied elliptically, the code allowed what Brandeis University cultural historian Thomas Doherty called "the possibility of a cinematically inspired thought crime". The Code sought not only to determine what could be portrayed on screen, but to promote traditional values. Sexual relations outside of marriage could not be portrayed as attractive and beautiful, presented in a way that might arouse passion, nor be made to seem right and permissible. All criminal action had to be punish
Half-A-Dollar-Bill is a surviving 1924 American silent drama film directed by W. S. Van Dyke and starring Anna Q. Nilsson, it was released through Metro Pictures. Anna Q. Nilsson as The Stranger, Mrs. Webber William P. Carleton as Captain Duncan McTeague Raymond Hatton as Noodles, the cook Mitchell Lewis as Papeete Joe George MacQuarrie as Martin Webber Frankie Darro as Half-A-Dollar-Bill Rosa Gore as Gossip Half-A-Dollar-Bill on IMDb Half-A-Dollar-Bill at AllMovie Australian daybill.
Muriel Evans was an American film actress. She is best known for her many appearances in popular westerns of the 1930s for which she won a Golden Boot Award. Evans was born in Minnesota to Norwegian immigrant parents, her father died when she was only two months old, forcing her mother to move to California to find work, where Evans' mother took a job as a maid at First National Studios. She was soon noticed by a studio executive; the executive introduced her to the director Robert Z. Leonard, who gave her a small role opposite Corinne Griffith in the 1926 film, Mademoiselle Modiste, she continued attending classes at Hollywood High School and landing bit parts in stock theater productions and silent films. In 1929, Evans co-starred in the silent, comedic short films, Good Night Nurse and Joyland, starring Lupino Lane. Shortly after completing Joyland, Evans put her acting career on hold to finish school. In July 1929, Evans announced her engagement to Michael J. P. Cudahy, the grandson of Michael Cudahy, one of the founders of the Cudahy Packing Company.
They were married on July 1929 in Riverside, California. Evans and Cudahy settled in Paris. In 1930, they returned to the United States and Evans filed for divorce, their divorce was finalized in October 1930. Evans, who gave up her career upon her marriage, returned to Hollywood, signed a contract at MGM and began making films again. In March 1932, Evans won a two-day beauty contest sponsored by Paramount Pictures, after which she starred in six films, most notably Young Ironsides with Charley Chase and Pack Up Your Troubles with Laurel and Hardy, she would go on to star in eight more shorts with Chase before his death in 1940. Evans' success was due in large part to her pleasant speaking voice, she made a smooth transition from silent pictures to talkies, throughout the 1930s, Evans continued to work steadily. She appeared in Frank Capra's Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Manhattan Melodrama with Clark Gable and William Powell, The Prizefighter and the Lady with Myrna Loy. By the mid-1930s, Evans began co-starring in popular westerns alongside Tom Mix, John Wayne and Tex Ritter.
She starred in three Hopalong Cassidy films opposite William Boyd, did seven westerns with Buck Jones. In 1936, Evans married Marshall R. Worchester. By age 30, she retired from acting. One of her last film appearances came in the Pete Smith short, Studio Visit. Soon after retiring and her husband settled in Washington, D. C. Over the next decade, she starred in the television show Hollywood Reporter. In 1951, the couple moved back to Hollywood; the couple bought property in Tarzana, where Evans dabbled in real estate. After the death of her husband in 1971, Evans began work as a volunteer nurse at the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills not far from her home. After a stroke in 1994, she became a resident within the complex and dined with fellow actors with whom she had once worked, including Anita Garvin. In 1999, Evans made her last film appearance in a 2000 documentary, I Used to Be in Pictures, in which she was one of many former actors who recalled their experiences in the film work.
On October 26, 2000, Muriel Evans died of colon cancer at the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California. She was 90 years old. Muriel Evans on IMDb Muriel Evans at Find a Grave
White Eagle (1922 serial)
White Eagle is a 1922 American Western film serial directed by Fred Jackman and W. S. Van Dyke; the film is considered to be lost. Ruth Roland as Ruth Randolph Earl Metcalfe as Phil Stanton Harry Girard as Jim Loomis Virginia Ainsworth as Julia Wells Otto Lederer as Gray Wolf Bud Osborne as Standing Bear Frank Lackteen as Crouching Mole Gertrude Douglas as Moonlight Louise Emmons as Stone Ear Frank Valrose as Feather Foot Chick Morrison as Bill Henley Anita Nara The serial consisted of fifteen two reel episodes, two of which were entitled "The Clash of the Clans." The Sign of the Trident The Red Men's Menace A Strange Message The Lost Trail The Clash of the Clans The Trap The Mysterious Voyage The Island of Terror The Flaming Arrow The Cave of Peril Danger Rails Win or Lose The Clash of the Clans The Pivoted Rock The Golden Pool White Eagle is a remake of the earlier Ruth Roland serial Hands Up The serial features a famous scene of Ruth Roland climbing a rope ladder from a moving train to a plane flying overhead.
List of film serials List of film serials by studio White Eagle on IMDb
For the American novelist who wrote under this name see George Moore The Pagan is a 1929 silent/part talking romantic drama filmed in Tahiti and produced and distributed by Metro Goldwyn Mayer. Both director W. S. Van Dyke and cinematographer Clyde De Vinna had visited Tahiti in 1928 to film White Shadows in the South Seas; the Pagan stars Ramón Novarro. The film has a slight resemblance in story to an earlier Novarro silent, Where the Pavement Ends, directed by Rex Ingram and now lost. Trader Henry Slater stops at a South Pacific island looking to obtain a cargo of copra, he is informed that half-caste Henry Shoesmith, Jr. owns the largest plantation, but is rather indolent. Meanwhile, Shoesmith is lolling around, while admirer Madge, wishes she had met him before she became a fallen woman; the young man hears a woman singing aboard a ship. He swims out and is attracted to Tito. She, rebuffs him; when the narrow-minded Slater first meets Shoesmith, he is quite rude to the native, but soon changes his manner when he learns who the young man is.
The easygoing Shoesmith does not take offense, is delighted to be formally introduced to Tito, Slater's half-caste ward. Slater starts to bargain for copra and is pleasantly surprised when Shoesmith offers him as much as he wants for free, he takes the precaution of having Shoesmith sign a contract to that effect. Tito falls in love with Shoesmith, but Slater has other plans for her, he tells using the excuse that Shoesmith has no ambition. He suggests to the naive younger man that he build up his business, he sails away with Tito and his copra. Shoesmith follows Slater's advice and runs a store, but Madge warns him he does not know what he is doing; when Slater returns, Shoesmith asks Tito to marry him. She agrees. However, Slater informs the puzzled Shoesmith that the loan payments are overdue and that he is foreclosing on all of Shoesmith's property. In addition, Slater informs his ward that he will "sacrifice" himself to protect her by marrying her himself. Shoesmith is too late to stop the wedding, but while Madge distracts the guests, he carries Tito off to his native home.
Slater takes her back to his ship and starts to beat her. Shoesmith follows, a fight ensues; the younger man wins, he and Tito swim back toward the island. However, when they spot approaching sharks, they have no choice but to head back to Slater, pursuing in his dinghy. Slater keeps his rival at bay with a sword. Shoesmith swims under the boat to the other side and topples Slater into the water, where the sharks get him; the young couple return to their idyllic home. Ramon Novarro as Henry Shoesmith Jr. Renee Adoree as Madge Donald Crisp as Henry Slater Dorothy Janis as Tito The Pagan on IMDb The Pagan at the TCM Movie Database The Pagan at AllMovie The Pagan at Virtual History lobby poster for The Pagan
Robert Montgomery (actor)
Robert Montgomery was an American film and television actor and producer. He was the father of actress Elizabeth Montgomery, he began his acting career on the stage, but was soon hired by MGM. Assigned roles in comedies, he soon proved he was able to handle dramatic ones as well; when WWII broke out, he drove ambulances in France until the Dunkirk evacuation. When the United States entered the war on December 8, 1941, he enlisted in the Navy, was present at the invasion at Normandy. After the war, he returned to Hollywood, where he worked in both films and on, in television. Henry Montgomery Jr. was born in Fishkill Landing, New York, to Henry Montgomery Sr. and his wife, Mary Weed Montgomery. His early childhood was one of privilege, as his father was president of the New York Rubber Company, his father died by suicide in 1922 by jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, the family's fortune was gone. Montgomery settled in New York City to try his hand at acting, he established a stage career, became popular enough to turn down an offer to appear opposite Vilma Bánky in the film This Is Heaven.
Sharing a stage with George Cukor gave him an entry to Hollywood and a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where he debuted in So This Is College. One writer claimed that Montgomery was able to establish himself because he "proceeded with confidence, agreeable with everyone and willing to take suggestions". During the production of So This Is College, Montgomery learned from and questioned crew members from several departments, including sound crew, set designers, camera crew, film editors. In a interview, he confessed, "it showed that making a motion picture is a great co-operative project." So This Is College gained him attention as Hollywood's latest newcomer, he was put in one production after another, his popularity growing steadily. Montgomery played in comedy roles. MGM was reluctant to assign him the role, until "his earnestness, his convincing arguments, with demonstrations of how he would play the character" won him the assignment. From The Big House on, he was in constant demand. Appearing as Greta Garbo's romantic interest in Inspiration started him toward stardom with a rush.
Norma Shearer chose him to star opposite her in The Divorcee, Strangers May Kiss, Private Lives, which led him to stardom. In 1932, Montgomery starred opposite Tallulah Bankhead in Faithless, though the film was not a success. During this time, Montgomery appeared in the original pre-Code film version of When Ladies Meet, which starred Ann Harding and Myrna Loy. In 1935, Montgomery became president of the Screen Actors Guild, was elected again in 1946. In another challenging role, Montgomery played a psychopath in the chiller Night Must Fall, for which he received an Academy Award for Best Actor nomination. After World War II broke out in Europe in September, 1939, while the United States was still neutral, Montgomery enlisted in London for the American Field Service and drove ambulances in France until the Dunkirk evacuation, he returned to Hollywood and addressed a massive rally on the MGM lot for the American Red Cross in July 1940. Montgomery returned to playing light comedy roles, such as Alfred Hitchcock's Mr. & Mrs. Smith with Carole Lombard.
He continued his search for dramatic roles. For his role as Joe Pendleton, a boxer and pilot in Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Montgomery was nominated for an Oscar a second time. After the U. S. entered World War II in December 1941, he joined the United States Navy, rising to the rank of lieutenant commander, served on the USS Barton, part of the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. In 1945, Montgomery returned to Hollywood, making his uncredited directing debut with They Were Expendable, where he directed some of the PT boat scenes when director John Ford was unable to work for health reasons. Montgomery's first credited film as director and his final film for MGM was the film noir Lady in the Lake, in which he starred, which received mixed reviews. Adapted from Raymond Chandler's detective novel and sanitized for the censorship of the day, the film is unusual because it was filmed from Marlowe's vantage point. Montgomery only appeared on camera a few times, three times in a mirror reflection, he directed and starred in Ride the Pink Horse a film noir.
Active in Republican politics and concerned about communist influence in the entertainment industry, Montgomery was a friendly witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947. The next year, 1948, Montgomery hosted the Academy Awards, he hosted an Emmy Award-winning television series, Robert Montgomery Presents, which ran from 1950 to 1957. The Gallant Hours, a film Montgomery directed and co-produced with its star, his friend James Cagney, was the last film or television production with which he was connected in any capacity, as actor, director, or producer. In 1955 Montgomery was awarded a Tony Award for his direction of The Desperate Hours.. In 1954, Montgomery took an unpaid position as consultant and coach to President Eisenhower, advising him on how to look his best in his television appearances before the nation. A pioneering media consultant, Montgomery had an office in the White House beginning in 1954. Montgomery has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for movies at 6440 Hollywood Boulevard, another for television at 1631 Vine Street.
On April 14, 1928, Montgomery married actress Elizabeth Bryan Allen, sister
Elizabeth Patterson (actress)
Mary Elizabeth Patterson was an American theatre and television character actress who gained popular recognition late in her career playing the elderly neighbor Matilda Trumbull on the television comedy series I Love Lucy. Born in 1874 in Savannah, Mary Elizabeth Patterson was the child of Mildred and Edmund D. Patterson, a Confederate army veteran. Federal census records document that her father by 1880 was a lawyer and residing with his wife and children in the home of his father-in-law, Garrick Archibald McDougal, a widower, a lawyer and farmer in Savannah; that same census lists Elizabeth as the second child of the Pattersons' four offspring. She had an older sister, Annie Belle, two younger brothers and Archie. With regard to Elizabeth's education, it extended well beyond the local county schools, she studied at Tennessee colleges in Pulaski and Columbia, where her participation in campus theater groups fostered a growing passion for drama. Her parents soon sent her to Europe in hopes of diminishing her interest in theater.
After returning from Europe, Patterson used money from a small inheritance to move to Chicago. There she subsequently toured with repertory companies. In 1913, she made her Broadway debut in the play Everyman, she remained active in New York City theatre through 1954. In 1926, at the age of 51, Patterson was cast in a silent film, The Boy Friend. Transitioning into the era of "talkies", she remained a busy actress in Hollywood throughout the 1930s, averaging more than five films a year during that decade in supporting roles. A few of her screen credits at that time include Tarnished Lady, she appeared in the role of Susan in two adaptations of John Willard's popular play The Cat and the Canary: The Cat Creeps in 1930 and The Cat and the Canary in 1939. Patterson continued to perform in the 1940s, when she was cast in more than 30 additional films. Among her notable roles is her 1949 portrayal of the heroic character Eunice Habersham in the groundbreaking racial crime drama Intruder in the Dust, a film based on the William Faulkner novel of the same name and set in the Deep South.
Although she would appear in a few more feature films in the 1950s, such as Washington Story and Pal Joey, Patterson by began to focus her work on roles in the expanding medium of television. In 1952, at the age of 77, Patterson made her first appearance on the hit CBS-TV sitcom I Love Lucy in the episode "The Marriage License". In that installment, Patterson's character, Mrs. Willoughby, is the wife of the Greenwich, justice of the peace who remarries Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. In that role, she most notably sings an off-key version of "I Love You Truly" during the wedding ceremony; the following year she was cast in a featured guest role as Mrs. Matilda Trumbull in the episode "No Children Allowed". Patterson's character of Mrs. Trumbull was an ornery curmudgeon who resided in the same New York apartment building as the Ricardos. In that installment, she threatened to make trouble for the Ricardos since the building did not allow children. At the end of the episode, her character softens as she holds for the first time the Ricardos' baby, "Little Ricky".
Patterson's character on I Love Lucy proved to be so popular among viewers, as well as useful to the writers of the series, that she continued in the role for three more years serving in episode storylines as a convenient babysitter for "Little Ricky". In the fall of 1956, with I Love Lucy in its final season, Patterson made her last appearance as Mrs. Trumbull in "Little Ricky Learns to Play the Drums", her character was mentioned one last time in the 1957 episode "Lucy Raises Chickens". In that installment and Ethel decide to follow the Ricardos and move to Connecticut to be near them, Mrs. Trumbull's sister moves into 623 East 68th Street to manage the apartment building for the Mertzes. Prior to, after her work on I Love Lucy, Patterson appeared in many other American television series during the 1950s and early 1960s, her first credited performance on the "small screen" was in March 1950 in "The Walking Stick", a teleplay on the NBC anthology series The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre. During the 11 years after that initial televised performance to her final role on television in 1961, she portrayed characters in a variety of other series, including Pulitzer Prize Playhouse, Studio One in Hollywood, General Electric Theater, Stage 7, Lux Video Theatre, The Star and the Story, The Adventures of Jim Bowie, Adventures of Superman, New York Confidential, 77 Sunset Strip, Johnny Stacatto, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Playhouse 90, The Barbara Stanwyck Show, The New Breed.
Patterson, who never married, lived at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel during her 35-year film and television career.. On January 31, 1966, she died at age 91 in Los Angeles of complications from pneumonia, her gravesite is in Savannah Cemetery in her hometown in Tennessee. I Love Lucy - Mrs. Trumbull / Mrs. Willoughby Adventures of Superman - Mrs. Clara Exbrook / Mrs. Peabody Alfred Hitchcock Presents - Grandmoth