Pre-code Hollywood: Rules are Made to be Broken

It has been said by many a wise soul that every Hollywood silent is essentially Pre-code. That sentence itself is my entire justification for sharing this with you. The fabulous Christina Newland and I have collaborated on a Pre-code Hollywood project to make this hot summer sizzle with a little more steam. But yes, it’s all talkies.

We have curated five films from Park Circus and Warner Bros’s new collection of sharp remasters of Pre-code classics, and we will be showing and discussing them at the fantastic Cinema Rediscovered festival next week in Bristol. After this launch, the films will be available to book by cinemas across UK and Ireland and you may even find Christina or I popping up to introduce them.

You can read more about these films in my feature for the Guardian (as you’ll see, the story starts in 1922), and about the events in Bristol here. Now check out the gorgeous artwork below. Isn’t it fabulous?

I am spending most of this summer locked in archives or chained to my computer to hit some book deadlines, but you never know… maybe I will see you at the movies!

• I am on the Watershed podcast with Mark Cosgrove talking about the joy of Pre-code cinema.

• Silent London will always be free to all readers. If you enjoy checking in with the site, including reports from silent film festivals, features and reviews, please consider shouting me a coffee on my Ko-Fi page.

6 thoughts on “Pre-code Hollywood: Rules are Made to be Broken”

  1. How I wish I could be in Bristol for this. In 2007 I produced a Pre-Code documentary shown on TCM, titled “Thou Shalt Not: Sex, Sin and Censorship in Pre-Code Hollywood.” It’s part of Warner Bros.’ DVD set “Forbidden Hollywood Vol. 2.” Here’s to much success for you and the series; congratulations on making it happen!

  2. I’ve just read your piece in the Guardian and wish I could have got to Bristol for this fantastic festival – thank you for mentioning Jewel Robbery with William Powell and Kay Francis. Bill made some very cheeky pictures in the pre-code era – I’ve just endured “Ladies Man”, not a great picture, one for Powell fans really, but he co-stars with Carole Lombard just before they married and there’s a lot of double meaning in their scenes for sure!

    1. If you or your friends are in the UK and Ireland, these films are touring so there are plenty more screenings to come, and more chances to see Jewel Robbery on the big screen!

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