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« Free Reads -- Q&A archive | Main | Free Reads -- Callow on Guinness »

November 25, 2002

Free Reads -- Pre-Code Hollywood

Friedrich --

Jon Walz visits the author and film restorer Mark Vieira for the L.A. Times, and produces a concise introduction to the history and pleasures of "pre-Code Hollywood," here. The pre-Code period was the four(ish) year long stretch in the early '30s when an amazingly large number of rowdy, uninhibited films were produced. Then the censors cracked down.

Sample passage:

Content from hundreds of pre-1934 films was excised methodically by the Hays Office's zealous L.A. studio liaison Joseph Breen, beginning in 1934 and continuing well into the mid-'50s, when films began playing on television. In recent years, lost footage has been found and reinserted into many of the "cut" films, but there are close to 100 films still missing footage.
     "I grew up in the Bay Area in the '50s and would watch these films on local TV stations," Vieira says. "Although I didn't know about the cuts, something just drew me to the kinds of worlds these films portrayed, and it fascinated me."

I haven't seen as many of the pre-Code films as I'd like, but I can certainly vouch for their energy, physicality and good-nature. What a shock it is to see such films coming from that era. You mean, Grandma and Grandpa drank, had fun, and enjoyed sex?



posted by Michael at November 25, 2002


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