Jean Harlow lobbies for Red-Headed Woman and emerges as one of MGM’s top stars. Background notes on the film accompany a look at this pre-Code classic adapted from a Katharine Brush novel. The movie also stars Chester Morris, Una Merkel, and Leila Hyams. Directed by Jack Conway.
Classic Movie Reviews by Cliff Aliperti
Spoiler-free reviews of movies from Hollywood's Golden Age, especially the 1930s. Most reviews also include research into background of the film and, when relevant, the history surrounding the subject of the movie.
One Sunday Afternoon made over in Old New York for The Strawberry Blonde. From director Raoul Walsh for Warner Bros. from a script by the Epstein brothers. Starring James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland, Rita Hayworth, and Jack Carson.
One of James Cagney’s classic gangster movies, The Roaring Twenties (1939) also boasts an especially nasty Humphrey Bogart in its cast, plus strong work from Gladys George. Post includes background about writer Mark Hellinger, real-life roaring twenties personalities Larry Fay and Texas Guinan, plus a look at a pre-Code predecessor Broadway Thru a Keyhole (1933).
Edmund Lowe stars in Attorney for the Defense, second of four 1932 pre-Code crooked lawyer movies based on the exploits of William J. Fallon. With Evelyn Brent and Constance Cummings; Directed by Irving Cumming for Columbia.
Based on a book by Captain Cornelius Willemse, the NYPD’s original “gang buster,” Behind the Green Lights pits the police vs. a crooked mouthpiece and features a romance between cop and lawyer. Easily found independent release is fast-paced and entertaining.
Warner Baxter stars as a love-struck politician who is assassinated just before a key international vote. Science gives him another 6 Hours to Live after a powerful ray brings him back to life. Also starring Miriam Jordan and John Boles. Directed by William Dieterle. A 1932 Fox Films release.
Ripped from the headlines: New York’s Vice Squad scandal in Paramount pre-Code The Vice Squad (1931), starring Paul Lukas in a part inspired by Chile Acuna, with Kay Francis and Judith Wood. Directed by John Cromwell.
The second film adaptation of Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis was released in late 1934. Guy Kibbee is well cast in the title role with Aline MacMahon as his wife Myra Babbitt. Directed by William Keighley for First National-Warner Bros.
A pre-Code set around a dance hall starring Barbara Stanwyck with Monroe Owsley and Ricardo Cortez, and I didn’t like it? Uh uh. Here’s what I didn’t like about Ten Cents a Dance (1931).
What Price Hollywood? (1932), the best of the pre-Code era “inside-Hollywood” films, stars Constance Bennett and Lowell Sherman in director George Cukor’s first film for David O. Selznick.