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
Andrew Vabre Devine was an American character actor known for his distinctive raspy, crackly voice and roles in Western films. He is best remembered for his role as Cookie, the sidekick of Roy Rogers in 10 feature films, he appeared alongside John Wayne in films like Stagecoach, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and How the West Was Won. He is remembered as Jingles on the TV series The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok from 1951 to 1958, as Danny McGuire in A Star Is Born and as the voice of Friar Tuck in the Disney Animation film Robin Hood. Devine was born in Flagstaff, Arizona on October 7, 1905, he grew up in Kingman, where his family moved when he was one year old. His father was Thomas Devine Jr. born in 1869 in Michigan. Andy's grandfather Thomas Devine Sr. was born in 1842 in County Tipperary and immigrated to the United States in 1852. Andy's mother was Amy Ward, a granddaughter of Commander James H. Ward, the first officer of the United States Navy killed during the Civil War. Devine was a Republican.
He attended St. Mary and St. Benedict's College and Northern Arizona State Teacher's College and was a football player at Santa Clara University, he played semiprofessional football under the pseudonym Jeremiah Schwartz. His football experience led to his first sizable film role in The Spirit of Notre Dame in 1931. Devine had an ambition to act, so after college he went to Hollywood, where he worked as a lifeguard at Venice Beach, in easy distance of the studios. While filming Doctor Bull at Fox Studios in 1933, he met Dorothy House, they were married on October 28, 1933, in Las Vegas and remained united until his death, on February 18, 1977. They had two children: Timothy Andrew Devine, Jr. Dennis Patrick Gabriel Devine, it was first thought that his peculiar wheezy voice would prevent him from moving to the talkies, but instead it became his trademark. Devine claimed that his distinctive voice resulted from a childhood accident in which he fell while running with a curtain rod in his mouth at the Beale Hotel in Kingman, causing the rod to pierce the roof of his mouth.
When he was able to speak again, he had a labored, duo-tone voice. A biographer, indicated that this was one of several stories Devine fabricated about his voice, his son Tad related in an interview for Encore Westerns Channel that there indeed had been an accident, but he was uncertain if it resulted in his father's unusual voice. When asked if he had strange nodes on his vocal cords, Devine replied, "I've got the same nodes as Bing Crosby, but his are in tune." Devine appeared in more than 400 films and shared with Walter Brennan, another character actor, the rare ability to move with ease from B-movie Westerns to feature films. His notable roles included Roy Rogers's sidekick, in 10 films, he appeared in several films with John Wayne, including Stagecoach, Island in the Sky, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. He was a long-time contract player with Universal, which in 1939 paired him with Richard Arlen for a series of fast-paced B-pictures that mixed action and comedy; when Arlen left in 1941, the series continued for another two years, teaming Devine with various actors Leo Carrillo.
Most of Devine's characters were reluctant to get involved in the action, but he played the hero in Island in the Sky, as an expert pilot who leads other aviators on an arduous search for a missing airplane. Devine was known for his comic roles, but Jack Webb cast him as a police detective in Pete Kelly's Blues, for which Devine lowered his voice and was more serious than usual, his film appearances in his years included roles in Zebra in the Kitchen, The Over-the-Hill Gang, Myra Breckinridge. Devine worked extensively in radio and is well remembered for his role as Jingles, Guy Madison's sidekick in The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, which the two actors reprised on television. Devine appeared over 75 times on Jack Benny's radio show between 1936 and 1942 in Benny's semiregular series of Western sketches, "Buck Benny Rides Again". Benny referred to him as "the mayor of Van Nuys." In fact, Devine served as honorary mayor of that city, where he lived, preferring to be away from the bustle of Hollywood, from May 18, 1938, to 1957, when he moved to Newport Beach.
Devine worked in television. He hosted Andy's Gang, a children's TV show, on NBC from 1955 to 1960. During this time, he made multiple appearances on NBC's The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford. In addition, he was a guest star on many television shows in the 1950s and 1960s, including an episode of The Twilight Zone titled "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby", playing the part of Frisby, a teller of tall tales who impresses a group of gullible alien kidnappers, he played Hap Gorman, a character given to tall tales, in five episodes of the NBC TV series Flipper, during its 1964 season. He played the role of Jake Sloan in the 1961 episode "Big Jake" of the acclaimed anthology series The Barbara Stanwyck Show on NBC, he played Honest John Denton in the episode "A Horse of a Different Cutter" of the short-lived series The Rounders. He made a cameo appearance as Santa Claus in an episode of the 1960s live-action Batman TV series on ABC; the episode, entitled "The Duo Is Slumming", was broadcast on December 22, 1966, three days before Christmas.
In this role, he directly addressed the viewers, wishing them
Yola d'Avril was a French-born actress, who appeared in numerous American productions between 1925 and 1953. D'Avril was born in Lille and died in Port Hueneme, California as Yola d'Avril Montiague. During World War I, her family relocated to Paris. After her father died in 1923, she moved to Los Angeles, she appeared in MGM's adventure film and His Mate with Italian actor Paul Porcasi as her father, Monsieur Feronde. Yola d'Avril at Virtual History Yola d'Avril on IMDb In Loving Memory Of Yola d'Avril
Turner Classic Movies
Turner Classic Movies is an American movie-oriented pay-TV network operated by Warner Bros. Entertainment, a subsidiary of AT&T's WarnerMedia. Launched in 1994, TCM is headquartered at Turner's Techwood broadcasting campus in the Midtown business district of Atlanta, Georgia; the channel's programming consisted of classic theatrically released feature films from the Turner Entertainment film library – which comprises films from Warner Bros. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. However, TCM licenses films from other studios, shows more recent films; the channel is available in the United States, the United Kingdom, Malta, Latin America, Italy, Cyprus, the Nordic countries, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. In 1986, eight years before the launch of Turner Classic Movies, Ted Turner acquired the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio for $1.5 billion. Concerns over Turner Entertainment's corporate debt load resulted in Turner selling the studio that October back to Kirk Kerkorian, from whom Turner had purchased the studio less than a year before.
As part of the deal, Turner Entertainment retained ownership of MGM's library of films released up to May 9, 1986. Turner Broadcasting System was split into two companies; the film library of Turner Entertainment would serve as the base form of programming for TCM upon the network's launch. Before the creation of Turner Classic Movies, films from Turner's library of movies aired on the Turner Broadcasting System's advertiser-supported cable network TNT – along with colorized versions of black-and-white classics such as The Maltese Falcon. Turner Classic Movies debuted on April 14, 1994, at 6 p.m. Eastern Time, with Ted Turner launching the channel at a ceremony in New York City's Times Square district; the date and time were chosen for their historical significance as "the exact centennial anniversary of the first public movie showing in New York City". The first movie broadcast on TCM was the 1939 film Gone with the Wind, the same film that served as the debut broadcast of its sister channel TNT six years earlier in October 1988.
At the time of its launch, TCM was available to one million cable television subscribers. The network served as a competitor to AMC—which at the time was known as "American Movie Classics" and maintained a identical format to TCM, as both networks focused on films released prior to 1970 and aired them in an uncut and commercial-free format. AMC had broadened its film content to feature colorized and more recent films by 2002. In 1996, Turner Broadcasting System merged with Time Warner which, besides placing Turner Classic Movies and Warner Bros. Entertainment under the same corporate umbrella gave TCM access to Warner Bros.' Library of films released after 1950. In the early 2000s, AMC abandoned its commercial-free format, which led to TCM being the only movie-oriented basic cable channel to devote its programming to classic films without commercial interruption or content editing. On March 4, 2019, Time Warner's new owner AT&T announced a planned reorganization that would dissolve Turner Broadcasting.
TCM, along with Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, over-the-top video company Otter Media, will be moved directly under Warner Bros.. Speaking about the move, then-Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara explained that TCM was "a natural fit with Warner Bros." due the company's massive film library. In 2000, TCM started the annual Young Composers Film Competition, inviting aspiring composers to participate in a judged competition that offers the winner of each year's competition the opportunity to score a restored, feature-length silent film as a grand prize, mentored by a well-known composer, with the new work subsequently premiering on the network; as of 2006, films that have been rescored include the 1921 Rudolph Valentino film Camille, two Lon Chaney films: 1921's The Ace of Hearts and 1928's Laugh, Clown and Greta Garbo's 1926 film The Temptress. In April 2010, Turner Classic Movies held the first TCM Classic Film Festival, an event—now held annually—at the Grauman's Chinese Theater and the Grauman's Egyptian Theater in Hollywood.
Hosted by Robert Osborne, the four-day long annual festival celebrates Hollywood and its movies, featured celebrity appearances, special events, screenings of around 50 classic movies including several newly restored by The Film Foundation, an organization devoted to preserving Hollywood's classic film legacy. Turner Classic Movies operates as a commercial-free service, with the only advertisements on the network being shown between features – which advertise TCM products, network promotions for upcoming special programs and the original trailers for films that are scheduled to be broadcast on TCM, featurettes about classic film actors and actresses. In addition to this, extended breaks between features are filled with theatrically released movie trailers and classic short subjects – from series such as The Passing Parade, Crime Does Not Pay, Pete Smith Specialties, Robert Benchley – under the banner name TCM Extras (formerly On
Greta Meyer was a German actress in motion pictures beginning in the silent film era. Born in 1883, Meyer belonged to the most famous theatrical family in Germany, comparable to the Barrymore family in America, her early film efforts came in films like Die Königsloge. Meyer came to America in 1923 from her native Germany aboard a German steamship, she became a U. S. citizen. Meyer appeared in many Hollywood movies between 1933 and 1942, including The Great Waltz and Bitter Sweet. In 1963 Meyer was evicted from her home at 505 North Westmount Drive, West Hollywood, when property owners decided to replace her old home with a new structure, she had little place to store her acting memorabilia. Meyer contemplated a return to Germany, she acted on the stage and in films for seventy years. Greta Meyer died in Gardena, California in 1965. Los Angeles Times, "Protests Eviction Method", July 11, 1963, Page 32. Los Angeles Times, "Actress Fears Loss of Mementos", July 16, 1963, Page 2. Lowell, Massachusetts Sun, "Hollywood Chatter", December 16, 1933, Page 11.
Greta Meyer on IMDb Greta Meyer at the Internet Broadway Database
Émile Chautard was a French-American film director and screenwriter, most active in the silent era. He directed 107 films between 1910 and 1924, he appeared in 66 films between 1911 and 1934. Chautard was born in Paris. After a significant career beginning as a stage actor at the Odéon-Théâtre de l'Europe and moving up to the head of film production at Éclair Films' Paris studio in 1913, Chautard emigrated to the United States around 1914. From 1914 to about 1918, Chautard worked for the World Film Company based in New Jersey. At World, along with a group of other French-speaking film technicians including Maurice Tourneur, Léonce Perret, George Archainbaud, Albert Capellani and Lucien Andriot, he developed such films as the 1915 version of Camille, taught a young apprentice film cutter at the World studio: Josef von Sternberg. In 1919 Chautard hired von Sternberg as his assistant director for The Mystery of the Yellow Room, for his own short-lived production company. Choosing Hollywood over a return to France, Chautard went to work for Famous Players-Lasky and other studios.
He received some high-profile assignments, for instance a Colleen Moore vehicle and two features for Derelys Perdue, but he was a generation older than other directors in Hollywood's French colony. After 1924 Chautard did not direct again, but continued to make film appearances, in the von Sternberg film Blonde Venus, where he appears for his former protege as "Night club owner Chautard". Chautard died in California, he is interred at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Emile Chautard on IMDb Émile Chautard at the Internet Broadway Database Emile Chautard at Find a Grave
The Passing of the Third Floor Back
The Passing of the Third Floor Back is a 1935 British drama film directed by Berthold Viertel and starring Conrad Veidt, Anna Lee, Rene Ray and Frank Cellier. The film is based on a 1908 play and short story by Jerome K. Jerome and depicts the various small-minded inhabitants of a building and the arrival of a stranger who works to redeem them; the work had been adapted into a 1918 film version by Herbert Brenon. The film focuses on a run-down boarding house in London, home to an assorted group of residents. Many of them cling precariously to their social positions with only one figure, the wealthy self-made businessman Mr Wright, being successful; the house is owned by the grasping Mrs Sharpe, who mistreats the maid, Stasia, a rehabilitated juvenile delinquent. The various members of the household are miserable and sneering and rude towards each other, the one exception being the respect shown by all to the powerful Mr Wright. In the case of one couple, Major Tomkin and his wife, this involves pressuring their daughter Vivian to marry Wright in spite of her obvious horror at the idea.
The house's familiar routine is thrown off-balance by the sudden arrival of a mysterious foreign stranger, who earns the respect of the others in the house that of Stasia. He takes a room on the "third floor back" and joins the residents for the dinner held in celebration of the marriage between Wright and Vivian, it becomes evident that she doesn't want to marry Wright, as she is in love with one of the other lodgers, she storms out of the room. The desperate Major tries to convince Wright that it is a misunderstanding and that the engagement is still on, as he and his wife are terrified by the loss of security if the marriage is broken off; the stranger observes the meanness shown by the other members of the house, encourages them to treat each other better and to pursue their dreams rather than live in fear about their precarious social position. This begins to work, with some of the house's members convinced by his charisma. One bank holiday, the stranger announces that he will treat them all to a trip on a boat to Margate, surprising the more snobbish residents by insisting that the servants, including Stasia, will join them.
Despite the initial awkwardness, the outing soon begins to go well. When Stasia falls in the River Thames, one of the women jumps in to save her life. Once she is rescued, she is looked after by the Tomkins, who treat her as though she were their daughter, begin to regret their bullying of their own daughter into a marriage with Wright. During the trip various members of the house begin to enjoy themselves and treat each other with more respect; this change in their situation earns Wright's resentment, he begins to spitefully plan to wreck the stranger's attempts to reform the guests. This becomes apparent when the next day the inhabitants return to their previous unhappy existence and resume fighting. Wright taunts the stranger by demonstrating how he has corrupted them through the simple power of his money; the stranger tries to convince Wright that he too should try to seek a better and happier life, but Wright rejects this suggestion. Their dispute develops into a moral battle between Wright's evil.
Conrad Veidt as The Stranger Anna Lee as Vivian Rene Ray as'Stasia Frank Cellier as Wright John Turnbull as Major Tomkins Cathleen Nesbitt as Mrs. Tomkin Ronald Ward as Chris Penny Beatrix Lehmann as Miss Kite Jack Livesey as Mr. Larkcom Sara Allgood as Mrs. de Hooley Mary Clare as Mrs. Sharpe Barbara Everest as Cook Alexander Sarner as The gramophone man James Knight as The police inspector1908 play – London theatre cast: Sir Johnston Forbes-Robertson as The Stranger. H. Marsh Allen as Christopher Penny. Harry Larcom. De Hooley. Sharp. Little Friend was considered successful enough for him to be awarded a three-film contract with Gaumont, the first of, to be an adaptation of Jerome's The Passing of the Third Floor Back after a planned biopic of Lord Byron was abandoned. Viertel saw problems with transferring it to the screen but was interested in depicting the psychological motivation of the various characters. Shooting was scheduled to last six weeks and was to use a limited number of sets with only one scene, the visit to Margate, shot outside the studio.
Viertel studied the released film The Barretts of Wimpole Street, set in the confined location of a house. Viertel made only one final film after Rhodes of Africa. Writing for The Spectator in 1935, Graham Greene praised the film for having toned down "the pious note" of the original play, noted that to his surprise he had enjoyed it, he criticized director Viertel, for the film's difficulty in portraying the moments of "sweetness and light" with equal truth and realism. The film was voted the fourth best British movie of 1936. Richards, Jeffrey The Unknown 1930s: An Alternative History of the British Cinema, 1929–1939. I. B. Tauris, 1998; the Passing of the Third Floor Back on IMDb