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Old 07-01-2017, 09:45 PM   #1
revgen revgen is online now
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Default Pre-Code and Early Talkie Films on Blu-Ray

Pre-code films are Hollywood film productions that defied a loose set of moral do's and don'ts called the Hays Code during 1930 to 1934. In July 1934, Joseph Breen took over the MPAA and strictly enforced the code. Hollywood producers during the Great Depression ignored the code almost entirely in order to sell tickets to cash-strapped consumers. Taboo subjects such as adultery, sex out of wedlock, interracial love, abortion, suicide, drugs, and other taboo subjects were explored that were later banned by the Breen office.

Below are early talkies that were produced before the Breen office took over in July of 1934. Some films defy the code outright (Bird of Paradise) while others are relatively tame (Abraham Lincoln).

A-Z

Abraham Lincoln (1930)
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
Animal Crackers (1930)
Bad Girl (1931)
Big Trail, The (1930)
Bill of Divorcement, A (1932)
Bird of Paradise (1932)
Bitter Tea of General Yen, The (1933)
Blonde Venus (1932)
Broadway (1929) - Available on the Lonesome (1928) Blu-Ray.
Cavalcade (1933)
Chandu the Magician (1932)
City Lights (1931)
Cocoanuts, The (1929)
Death Kiss, The (1932)
Deluge (1933)
Design For Living (1933)
Dishonored (1931)
Dracula (1931)
Duck Soup (1933)
Eagle and the Hawk, The (1933)
Farewell to Arms, A (1932)
42nd Street (1933)
Frankenstein (1931)
Front Page, The (1931) - Kino Lorber (European Release) - Criterion Collection: His Girl Friday Bonus Feature (American Release)
Grand Hotel (1932)
Hell's House (1932)
Horse Feathers (1932)
If I Had a Million (1932)
In Old Arizona (1929)
Invisible Man, The (1933)
Island of Lost Souls (1932)
It Happened One Night (1934)
Jazz Singer, The (1927)
King Kong (1933)
King of Jazz (1930)
Lady For a Day (1933)
Little Caesar (1931)
Monkey Business (1931)
Morocco (1930)
Most Dangerous Game, The (1932)
Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932)
Mummy, The (1932)
Of Human Bondage (1934)
Old Dark House, The (1932)
One Hour With You (1932)
Perfect Understanding (1933)
Public Enemy, The (1931)
Scarlet Empress, The (1934)
Shanghai Express (1932)
Son of Kong (1933)
Song of Songs, The (1933)
Stingaree (1934)
Tabu (1931)
Topaze (1933)
Vampire Bat, The (1933)
White Zombie (1932)












Foreign Early Talkies with English Dialogue



Post-Code Films Popular With Pre-Code Film Enthusiasts


Last edited by revgen; 05-08-2018 at 01:15 AM.
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:18 PM   #2
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The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933) has been added.
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Old 08-29-2017, 01:53 AM   #3
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Thanks for the list. I was just researching pre-code films on blu, and am glad you compiled this.
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Old 08-29-2017, 02:24 AM   #4
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Great thread idea.
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Old 08-29-2017, 02:31 AM   #5
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Great thread. Lot of titles available but so many great ones still missing.
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Old 08-29-2017, 03:25 AM   #6
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Though only in Standard Definition, Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) and Scarface (1932) are included as extras on the House of Wax (1953) and the 2-Disc Scarface (1983) Blu-rays, respectively.
A fan of Classics, B-Movies, and Genre Trash.

Last edited by lilboyblu; 08-29-2017 at 03:34 AM. Reason: Scarface
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Old 08-29-2017, 12:31 PM   #7
John_Drake John_Drake is offline
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Brilliant thread

Let's not forget:


Last edited by John_Drake; 08-29-2017 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 08-29-2017, 01:17 PM   #8
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Thanks for the list, OP!
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Old 10-25-2017, 09:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John_Drake View Post
Brilliant thread

Let's not forget:

I've added The Old Dark House (1932).

Cleopatra (1934) was released in October 1934, which postdates the time when Breen took over enforcement of the code in July 1934. So while it doesn't belong on this list, it's still a very worthwhile early talkie.

The Ghoul (1933) and The Blue Angel (1930) are both European productions. Not Hollywood productions, so they don't really belong on the list. But they are worth checking out.

Another British early talkie I like is Rome Express (1933), available on blu-ray from the UK.
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Old 10-25-2017, 01:03 PM   #10
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For the purposes of this list, would it be worth noting that "Horse Feathers" was produced (and, in this case, initially released) pre-Breen but was re-released post-Breen with footage removed and today only exists in the edited form? I doubt that's the only example, just the one that stands out to me.

Last edited by thatguamguy; 10-25-2017 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 10-25-2017, 03:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by revgen View Post
I've added The Old Dark House (1932).

Cleopatra (1934) was released in October 1934, which postdates the time when Breen took over enforcement of the code in July 1934. So while it doesn't belong on this list, it's still a very worthwhile early talkie.

The Ghoul (1933) and The Blue Angel (1930) are both European productions. Not Hollywood productions, so they don't really belong on the list. But they are worth checking out.
As thatguamguy points out, films like DeMille's Cleopatra or Horsefeathers, that may have been released after the Code were written and produced before its implementation and in many cases should make them relevant to the spirit of a list such as this.

As for films like Ghoul, one can see from their casting but also their narratives that they were directly in dialogue with US-produced horror films in a way that other European fare (Rome Express) was not.

Von Sternberg's presence and influence on US filmmaking both before and after Blue Angel would seem more than justifiable for inclusion on the list. We know that the film was screened in parts of the United States and became part of a larger controversy over the sort of moral issues that the Code was supposedly established to resolve.
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Old 02-24-2018, 09:16 PM   #12
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Added Stingaree (1934), Topaze (1933), and the MOC version of The Old Dark House (1932).

Added "Foreign Early Talkies with English Dialogue" and "Post-Code Films Popular With Pre-Code Film Enthusiasts" sections.
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Old 02-24-2018, 09:28 PM   #13
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I wish that Katherine Hepburn’s first Oscar winner Morning Glory was on blu-ray.

It’s the only pre-Code film I’ve ever seen (though there are a number listed that I hope to get to someday), and possibly my favorite Hepburn performance that I’ve seen as well.
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Old 02-24-2018, 11:06 PM   #14
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I've added King of Jazz (1930) to the list.
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Old 02-24-2018, 11:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AsOldAsRhyme View Post
I wish that Katherine Hepburnís first Oscar winner Morning Glory was on blu-ray.

Itís the only pre-Code film Iíve ever seen (though there are a number listed that I hope to get to someday), and possibly my favorite Hepburn performance that Iíve seen as well.
Katharine Hepburn's screen debut, A Bill of Divorcement (1932) will be released on blu-ray later this year by Kino Lorber.
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Old 02-24-2018, 11:44 PM   #16
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Added The Eagle and the Hawk (1933).
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Old 04-18-2018, 09:51 AM   #17
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New additions:

All 4 pre-code films from the upcoming Dietrich and von Sternberg in Hollywood boxset from Criterion.

Blonde Venus (1932)
Dishonored (1931)
Morocco (1930)
The Scarlet Empress (1934)

Masters of Cinema/Eureka releases of Tabu (1931) and Island of Lost Souls (1932).

Kino Lorber release of White Zombie (1932).
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Old 04-18-2018, 11:21 AM   #18
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My favorite era. There's a lot of untapped gold out there as far as unreleased titles to Blu-ray go. I'd love to see some of those Forbidden Hollywood DVD sets get upgraded.
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Old 04-18-2018, 05:59 PM   #19
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Warners/WAC is responsible for the Forbidden Hollywood series. So far, the only pre-code film WAC has published on blu-ray is 42nd Street (1933).

Pre-code actresses I'd like to see more of on blu-ray. Jean Harlow, Clara Bow, Joan Blondell, Joan Bennett, and Myrna Loy. Pre-code actors. James Cagney, William Powell, Warren William, Wheeler & Woolsey, and Spencer Tracy.

Bow and Tracy aren't with Warners. Myrna Loy freelanced until she landed a permanent contract with MGM.

So far, Warner only deals with Shout Factory and Criterion as 3rd party licensees. Criterion is the only label who will do pre-code titles. I'm hoping Shout will take a chance and try Doctor X (1932) or Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933).
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Last edited by revgen; 04-18-2018 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 04-18-2018, 09:49 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by revgen View Post
Warners/WAC is responsible for the Forbidden Hollywood series. So far, the only pre-code film WAC has published on blu-ray is 42nd Street (1933).

Pre-code actresses I'd like to see more of on blu-ray. Jean Harlow, Clara Bow, Joan Blondell, Joan Bennett, and Myrna Loy. Pre-code actors. James Cagney, William Powell, Warren William, Wheeler & Woolsey, and Spencer Tracy.

Bow and Tracy aren't with Warners. Myrna Loy freelanced until she landed a permanent contract with MGM.

So far, Warner only deals with Shout Factory and Criterion as 3rd party licensees. Criterion is the only label who will do pre-code titles. I'm hoping Shout will take a chance and try Doctor X (1932) or Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933).
Some other actresses who flourished in the Pre-Code years: Dorothy Mackaill, Miriam Hopkins, Ruth Chatterton, Glenda Farrell, Helen Twelvetrees (Gotta love the name!), Kay Francis, Constance Bennett, Ann Dvorak, etc. Some like Barbara Stanwyck, Loretta Young, Joan Crawford had great careers after '34 but others faded.
A great book on these ladies is Complicated Women.
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