History UsefulNotes / ThePreCodeEra

25th Apr '17 10:43:41 AM JamesAustin
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-> ''In 1934 they passed a censorship code, a production code in America and all sorts of things were not allowed on screen after that. You could not criticize the government, you could not criticize corporations, there was a very strict sexual morality. If you look at Hollywood in 1933 itís amazing how different the films are because so many of them are about normal life and working class people and people having problems with the church or problems with the police, corruption...In 1935 you couldnít make that type of film anymore.''

to:

-> ''In ''"In 1934 they passed a censorship code, a production code in America and all sorts of things were not allowed on screen after that. You could not criticize the government, you could not criticize corporations, there was a very strict sexual morality. If you look at Hollywood in 1933 itís amazing how different the films are because so many of them are about normal life and working class people and people having problems with the church or problems with the police, corruption...In 1935 you couldnít make that type of film anymore.''"''



* ''Film/TheLoveParade'' (1929): Jeanette [=MacDonald=] takes a bath onscreen, and Creator/MauriceChevalier sings a song about how he's not getting any (and thus, nobody is enjoying his skills as TheCasanova).

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* ''Film/TheLoveParade'' (1929): Jeanette [=MacDonald=] Creator/JeanetteMacDonald [[MsFanservice takes a bath onscreen, onscreen]], and Creator/MauriceChevalier sings a song about how he's not getting any (and thus, nobody is enjoying his skills as TheCasanova).



* ''Film/{{Monte Carlo|1930}}'' (1930): The heroine ([[MsFanservice Jeanette [=MacDonald=]]] again) spends about a quarter of the film in her underwear or a negligee.

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* ''Film/{{Monte Carlo|1930}}'' (1930): The heroine ([[MsFanservice Jeanette [=MacDonald=]]] (Jeanette [=MacDonald=] again) spends about a quarter of the film in her underwear or a negligee.



* ''Film/LoveMeTonight'' (1932) has Jeanette [=MacDonald=] spending large amounts of screentime in her underwear again, and the doctor giving her a prescription that boils down to YouNeedToGetLaid.
* ''The Mask of Fu Manchu'' (1932) a Franchise/FuManchu story featuring some pretty rare male {{Fanservice}}. It caused a minor scandal for the scene where Charles Starrett has his shirt ripped off and gets whipped, while Myrna Loy orgasmically calls for more. A later scene heavily implies that she wants to rape him, and usually does so with her captives.

to:

* ''Film/LoveMeTonight'' (1932) has [[RunningGag Jeanette [=MacDonald=] MacDonald spending large amounts of screentime in her underwear again, again]], and the doctor giving her a prescription that boils down to YouNeedToGetLaid.
* ''The Mask of Fu Manchu'' (1932) a (1932): A Franchise/FuManchu story featuring some pretty rare male {{Fanservice}}. It caused a minor scandal for the scene where Charles Starrett has his shirt ripped off and gets whipped, while Myrna Loy orgasmically calls for more. A later scene heavily implies that she wants to rape him, and usually does so with her captives.



* ''[[Film/{{Scarface1932}} Scarface]]'' (1932) by Creator/HowardHawks, is the TropeCodifier for the Depression gangster film, the first film to raise issues about "glorifying violence" and gangsters. It was in its day as shocking as the more famous 1983 remake. It was also [[NiceJobBreakingItHero probably responsible for calls for stricter censorship]].

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* ''[[Film/{{Scarface1932}} Scarface]]'' ''Film/{{Scarface|1932}}'' (1932) by Creator/HowardHawks, is the TropeCodifier for the Depression gangster film, the first film to raise issues about "glorifying violence" and gangsters. It was in its day as shocking as the more famous 1983 remake. It was also [[NiceJobBreakingItHero probably responsible for calls for stricter censorship]].



* ''Film/TheBitterTeaOfGeneralYen'' (1933)-- Creator/BarbaraStanwyck plays a naive missionary in China during the Useful/ChineseCivilWar who falls for General Yen, an amoral general. Also an early Creator/FrankCapra effort.

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* ''Film/TheBitterTeaOfGeneralYen'' (1933)-- (1933) -- Creator/BarbaraStanwyck plays a naive missionary in China during the Useful/ChineseCivilWar who falls for General Yen, an amoral general. Also an early Creator/FrankCapra effort.
23rd Apr '17 6:25:37 AM fearlessnikki
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Added DiffLines:

* ''The Mask of Fu Manchu'' (1932) a Franchise/FuManchu story featuring some pretty rare male {{Fanservice}}. It caused a minor scandal for the scene where Charles Starrett has his shirt ripped off and gets whipped, while Myrna Loy orgasmically calls for more. A later scene heavily implies that she wants to rape him, and usually does so with her captives.
18th Apr '17 2:57:14 PM Kitchen90
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[[caption-width-right:250: Thought ''all'' movies were squeaky clean and decent in the olden days? [[OlderThanTheyThink Think again!]]]]

-> ''In 1934 they passed a censorship code, a production code in America and all sorts of things were not allowed on screen after that. You could not criticize the government, you could not criticize corporations, there were a very strict sexual morality. If you look at Hollywood in 1933 itís amazing how different the films are because so many of them are about normal life and working class people and people having problems with the church or problems with the police, corruption...In 1935 you couldnít make that type of film anymore.''

to:

[[caption-width-right:250: Thought ''all'' movies were squeaky clean and decent in the olden days? [[OlderThanTheyThink Think again!]]]]

again!]] [[note]]'''Pictured:''' Creator/GretaGarbo and Creator/ClarkGable in ''Susan Lenox: Her Fall and Rise''.[[/note]]]]

-> ''In 1934 they passed a censorship code, a production code in America and all sorts of things were not allowed on screen after that. You could not criticize the government, you could not criticize corporations, there were was a very strict sexual morality. If you look at Hollywood in 1933 itís amazing how different the films are because so many of them are about normal life and working class people and people having problems with the church or problems with the police, corruption...In 1935 you couldnít make that type of film anymore.''



Oh sure, the language is still ([[PrecisionFStrike mostly]]) [[GoshDarnItToHeck squeaky clean]], and there's not that much full nudity even if [[MsFanservice there is more skin]]. But everything is different. In these films, there's no coyness or euphemisms, visual or otherwise; characters if they like each other will get physical. Gangsters and bad guys tend to be more AffablyEvil without the CharacterDerailment in later films that makes them obvious bad guys as an AuthorsSavingThrow. There are more KarmaHoudini villains and a DownerEnding is not rare, though the films are fairly light on the whole.

to:

Oh sure, the language is still ([[PrecisionFStrike mostly]]) [[GoshDarnItToHeck squeaky clean]], and there's not that much full nudity even if [[MsFanservice there is more skin]]. But everything is different. In these films, there's no coyness or euphemisms, visual or otherwise; characters characters, if they like each other other, will get physical. Gangsters and bad guys tend to be more AffablyEvil without the CharacterDerailment in later films that makes make them obvious bad guys as an AuthorsSavingThrow. There are more KarmaHoudini villains and a DownerEnding is not rare, though the films are fairly light on the whole.



Some directors who were especially frank and provocative suffered when censorship was enforced. A director like Josef von Sternberg, a favorite of Creator/JorgeLuisBorges and an influence on Creator/AlfredHitchcock and many others, made provocative works about sex and power in his films with Creator/MarleneDietrich. Censorship inevitably prevented him from dealing with the same kind of content, and Dietrich herself declined in stardom after the period, never truly playing roles of the same caliber. Creator/FrankBorzage, who was LighterAndSofter, but thought nothing of making films about couples who were openly sexual and who tended not to be married and whose films had a real anarchic working class spirit, never recovered fully either. It was also a prolific period of creative outpouring with a director like William A. Wellman making 20 films in a three year period for Warner Bros, a rate of productivity that he didn't repeat afterwards, even if he continued making good films. Several of the films made in this era disappeared from public view because TheHaysCode required older titles to be resubmitted for evaluation for general release in repertory theaters and later on television. Most of them, needless to say, didn't pass muster. They became prized objects for [[KeepCirculatingTheTapes private collectors]], and archivists around the world. These films were often more widely seen abroad than in America in the same period, especially at the Cinematheque in Paris, whose audiences became the FrenchNewWave.

to:

Some directors who were especially frank and provocative suffered when censorship was enforced. A director like Josef von Sternberg, a favorite of Creator/JorgeLuisBorges and an influence on Creator/AlfredHitchcock and many others, made provocative works about sex and power in his films with Creator/MarleneDietrich. Censorship inevitably prevented him from dealing with the same kind of content, and Dietrich herself declined in stardom after the period, never truly playing roles of the same caliber. Creator/FrankBorzage, who was LighterAndSofter, but thought nothing of making films about couples who were openly sexual and who tended not to be married and whose films had a real anarchic working class spirit, never recovered fully either. It was also a prolific period of creative outpouring with a director like William A. Wellman making 20 films in a three year three-year period for Warner Bros, a rate of productivity that he didn't repeat afterwards, even if he continued making good films. Several of the films made in this era disappeared from public view because TheHaysCode required older titles to be resubmitted for evaluation for general release in repertory theaters and later on television. Most of them, needless to say, didn't pass muster. They became prized objects for [[KeepCirculatingTheTapes private collectors]], and archivists around the world. These films were often more widely seen abroad than in America in the same period, especially at the Cinematheque in Paris, whose audiences became the FrenchNewWave.



Actors who were major figures in this era include Creator/JamesCagney, Creator/MarleneDietrich, Creator/BarbaraStanwyck, Creator/SpencerTracy, Creator/NormaShearer, Creator/GaryCooper, Miriam Hopkins, Creator/KayFrancis, Margaret Sullavan, George Raft, Creator/WilliamPowell, Wallace Beery, Creator/EdwardGRobinson, Creator/ClaudetteColbert, Constance Bennett, Creator/KayFrancis, Paul Muni, Creator/FredricMarch, Creator/MauriceChevalier, Creator/JeanHarlow and many others. In addition, actors like Creator/ClarkGable, Creator/HumphreyBogart and Creator/JohnWayne made [[RetroactiveRecognition early-bird appearances]] in films in this era.

to:

Actors who were major figures in this era include Creator/JamesCagney, Creator/MarleneDietrich, Creator/BarbaraStanwyck, Creator/SpencerTracy, Creator/NormaShearer, Creator/GaryCooper, Miriam Hopkins, Creator/KayFrancis, Margaret Sullavan, George Raft, Creator/WilliamPowell, Wallace Beery, Creator/EdwardGRobinson, Creator/ClaudetteColbert, Constance Bennett, Creator/ConstanceBennett, Creator/KayFrancis, Paul Muni, Creator/FredricMarch, Creator/MauriceChevalier, Creator/ClarkGable, Creator/JeanHarlow and many others. In addition, actors like Creator/ClarkGable, Creator/JoanCrawford, Creator/HumphreyBogart and Creator/JohnWayne made [[RetroactiveRecognition early-bird appearances]] in films in this era.



* Creator/WilliamAWellman - ''Film/ThePublicEnemy'' (which made James Cagney a star), ''Film/WildBoysOfTheRoad'', ''Film/HeroesForSale'', The Purchase Price, ''Film/MidnightMary'', The Conquerors, Other Men's Women''. He made 20 films in a four-year period! He later noted that this was partly because he and the writers had the freedom to pretty much do they as they pleased so long as a film was in a certain genre, had a standard runtime, and was made fast and cheaply. After the Code came, screenplays were subject to stricter scrutiny, which delayed the process greatly and as such created more inconveniences and annoyances to deal with.
* Creator/JosefVonSternberg - ''Film/TheBlueAngel, Film/{{Morocco}}, Film/BlondeVenus, Film/ShanghaiExpress, The Scarlet Empress, The Devil is a Woman'' (all with Creator/MarleneDietrich), in the same period he also made the first adaptation of Theodore Dreiser's AnAmericanTragedy which resulted in ExecutiveMeddling. These films were resonantly adult in tone, dealing with sexual relations and MasochismTango between couples. After the Code, Sternberg couldn't deal with his preferred subject and Dietrich whose stardom was so much a part of that freedom of content never really had a role of the same caliber afterwards.
* Creator/FrankBorzage - Incredibly prolific in this period. A major silent film director, he took to sound really quickly and made several films which were innovative in camera movement and bold content. ''Man's Castle'' with Spencer Tracy and Loretta Young is set in a Hooverville in New York is perhaps the boldest portrayal of the Depression from this period. His adaptation of ''A Farewell to Arms'' with Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes was disliked by ErnestHemingway but later audiences adored its swooning romanticism and frank eroticism.
* Creator/ErnstLubitsch : A major director before and after the code. He made some incredible musicals (which were closer to operetta) starring Creator/MauriceChevalier and then switched to making sophisticated comedies like ''Film/TroubleInParadise'' and ''Film/DesignForLiving,'' and he still found time to make a UsefulNotes/WW1 drama like ''Broken Lullaby'' which was one of his favorites. He survived the end of the period better than other directors.
* Creator/KingVidor : A major pioneer in the silent era. When sound came in, he made the FairForItsDay all-black musical ''Film/{{Hallelujah}}'' which recorded sound on location in 1929! He made ''Film/TheChamp'', ''Theatre/StreetScene'', ''The Stranger's Return'', ''Bird of Paradise'' and the 30s equivalent of the independent film with ''Film/OurDailyBread'' which dealt with the Depression and was cited by Creator/OrsonWelles as one of his ten favorite films.

to:

* Creator/WilliamAWellman - Creator/WilliamAWellman: ''Film/ThePublicEnemy'' (which made James Cagney a star), ''Film/WildBoysOfTheRoad'', ''Film/HeroesForSale'', The Purchase Price, ''Film/MidnightMary'', The Conquerors, Other Men's Women''. He made 20 films in a four-year period! He later noted that this was partly because he and the writers had the freedom to pretty much do they as they pleased so long as a film was in a certain genre, had a standard runtime, and was made fast and cheaply. After the Code came, screenplays were subject to stricter scrutiny, which delayed the process greatly and as such created more inconveniences and annoyances to deal with.
* Creator/JosefVonSternberg - Creator/JosefVonSternberg: ''Film/TheBlueAngel, Film/{{Morocco}}, Film/BlondeVenus, Film/ShanghaiExpress, The Scarlet Empress, The Devil is a Woman'' (all with Creator/MarleneDietrich), in the same period he also made the first adaptation of Theodore Dreiser's AnAmericanTragedy which resulted in ExecutiveMeddling. These films were resonantly adult in tone, dealing with sexual relations and MasochismTango between couples. After the Code, Sternberg couldn't deal with his preferred subject and Dietrich whose stardom was so much a part of that freedom of content never really had a role of the same caliber afterwards.
* Creator/FrankBorzage - Creator/FrankBorzage: Incredibly prolific in this period. A major silent film director, he took to sound really quickly and made several films which were innovative in camera movement and bold content. ''Man's Castle'' with Spencer Tracy and Loretta Young is set in a Hooverville in New York is perhaps the boldest portrayal of the Depression from this period. His adaptation of ''A Farewell to Arms'' with Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes was disliked by ErnestHemingway but later audiences adored its swooning romanticism and frank eroticism.
* Creator/ErnstLubitsch : Creator/ErnstLubitsch: A major director before and after the code. He made some incredible musicals (which were closer to operetta) starring Creator/MauriceChevalier and then switched to making sophisticated comedies like ''Film/TroubleInParadise'' and ''Film/DesignForLiving,'' and he still found time to make a UsefulNotes/WW1 drama like ''Broken Lullaby'' which was one of his favorites. He survived the end of the period better than other directors.
* Creator/KingVidor : Creator/KingVidor: A major pioneer in the silent era. When sound came in, he made the FairForItsDay all-black musical ''Film/{{Hallelujah}}'' which recorded sound on location in 1929! He made ''Film/TheChamp'', ''Theatre/StreetScene'', ''The Stranger's Return'', ''Bird of Paradise'' and the 30s equivalent of the independent film with ''Film/OurDailyBread'' which dealt with the Depression and was cited by Creator/OrsonWelles as one of his ten favorite films.



* Creator/HowardHawks : The director of the original ''Scarface'' and progenitor of the screwball comedy.
* Rouben Mamoulian : Director of ''Film/DrJekyllAndMrHyde1931'' with Frederic March and Miriam Hopkins, foregrounding the sexual subtext of the original and innovative for its special effects. He directed the musical ''Film/LoveMeTonight'', famous for the number, "Isn't It Romantic?", and provided Creator/GretaGarbo with a signature role in ''Film/QueenChristina''.

to:

* Creator/HowardHawks : Creator/HowardHawks: The director of the original ''Scarface'' and progenitor of the screwball comedy.
* Rouben Mamoulian : Mamoulian: Director of ''Film/DrJekyllAndMrHyde1931'' with Frederic March and Miriam Hopkins, foregrounding the sexual subtext of the original and innovative for its special effects. He directed the musical ''Film/LoveMeTonight'', famous for the number, "Isn't It Romantic?", and provided Creator/GretaGarbo with a signature role in ''Film/QueenChristina''.
1st Mar '17 7:25:22 AM Kitchen90
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Actors who were major figures in this era include Creator/JamesCagney, Creator/MarleneDietrich, Creator/BarbaraStanwyck, Creator/SpencerTracy, Creator/GaryCooper, Miriam Hopkins, Creator/KayFrancis, Margaret Sullavan, George Raft, Wallace Beery, Creator/EdwardGRobinson, Creator/ClaudetteColbert, Constance Bennett, Paul Muni, Creator/FredricMarch, Creator/MauriceChevalier, Creator/JeanHarlow and many others. In addition, actors like Creator/ClarkGable, Creator/HumphreyBogart and Creator/JohnWayne made [[YoungFutureFamousPeople early-bird appearances]] in films in this era.

to:

Actors who were major figures in this era include Creator/JamesCagney, Creator/MarleneDietrich, Creator/BarbaraStanwyck, Creator/SpencerTracy, Creator/NormaShearer, Creator/GaryCooper, Miriam Hopkins, Creator/KayFrancis, Margaret Sullavan, George Raft, Creator/WilliamPowell, Wallace Beery, Creator/EdwardGRobinson, Creator/ClaudetteColbert, Constance Bennett, Creator/KayFrancis, Paul Muni, Creator/FredricMarch, Creator/MauriceChevalier, Creator/JeanHarlow and many others. In addition, actors like Creator/ClarkGable, Creator/HumphreyBogart and Creator/JohnWayne made [[YoungFutureFamousPeople [[RetroactiveRecognition early-bird appearances]] in films in this era.
28th Feb '17 6:17:39 AM Hedging
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Oh sure, the language is still ([[PrecisionFStrike mostly]]) [[GoshDarnItToHeck squeaky clean]], and there's not a whole lot of full nudity even if [[MsFanservice there is more skin]]. But everything is different. In these films, there's no coyness or euphemisms, visual or otherwise; characters if they like each other will get physical. Gangsters and bad guys tend to be more AffablyEvil without the CharacterDerailment in later films that makes them obvious bad guys as an AuthorsSavingThrow. There are more KarmaHoudini villains and a DownerEnding is not rare, though the films are fairly light on the whole.

to:

Oh sure, the language is still ([[PrecisionFStrike mostly]]) [[GoshDarnItToHeck squeaky clean]], and there's not a whole lot of that much full nudity even if [[MsFanservice there is more skin]]. But everything is different. In these films, there's no coyness or euphemisms, visual or otherwise; characters if they like each other will get physical. Gangsters and bad guys tend to be more AffablyEvil without the CharacterDerailment in later films that makes them obvious bad guys as an AuthorsSavingThrow. There are more KarmaHoudini villains and a DownerEnding is not rare, though the films are fairly light on the whole.
26th Feb '17 10:33:01 AM Kitchen90
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Actors who were major figures in this era include Creator/JamesCagney, Creator/MarleneDietrich, Creator/BarbaraStanwyck, Creator/SpencerTracy, Creator/GaryCooper, Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, Margaret Sullavan, George Raft, Wallace Beery, Creator/EdwardGRobinson, Creator/ClaudetteColbert, Constance Bennett, Paul Muni, Creator/FredricMarch, Creator/MauriceChevalier, Creator/JeanHarlow and many others. In addition, actors like Creator/ClarkGable, Creator/HumphreyBogart and Creator/JohnWayne made [[YoungFutureFamousPeople early-bird appearances]] in films in this era.

to:

Actors who were major figures in this era include Creator/JamesCagney, Creator/MarleneDietrich, Creator/BarbaraStanwyck, Creator/SpencerTracy, Creator/GaryCooper, Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, Creator/KayFrancis, Margaret Sullavan, George Raft, Wallace Beery, Creator/EdwardGRobinson, Creator/ClaudetteColbert, Constance Bennett, Paul Muni, Creator/FredricMarch, Creator/MauriceChevalier, Creator/JeanHarlow and many others. In addition, actors like Creator/ClarkGable, Creator/HumphreyBogart and Creator/JohnWayne made [[YoungFutureFamousPeople early-bird appearances]] in films in this era.
10th Feb '17 3:58:39 AM Morgenthaler
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Some directors who were especially frank and provocative suffered when censorship was enforced. A director like Josef von Sternberg, a favorite of JorgeLuisBorges and an influence on Creator/AlfredHitchcock and many others, made provocative works about sex and power in his films with Creator/MarleneDietrich. Censorship inevitably prevented him from dealing with the same kind of content, and Dietrich herself declined in stardom after the period, never truly playing roles of the same caliber. Creator/FrankBorzage, who was LighterAndSofter, but thought nothing of making films about couples who were openly sexual and who tended not to be married and whose films had a real anarchic working class spirit, never recovered fully either. It was also a prolific period of creative outpouring with a director like William A. Wellman making 20 films in a three year period for Warner Bros, a rate of productivity that he didn't repeat afterwards, even if he continued making good films. Several of the films made in this era disappeared from public view because TheHaysCode required older titles to be resubmitted for evaluation for general release in repertory theaters and later on television. Most of them, needless to say, didn't pass muster. They became prized objects for [[KeepCirculatingTheTapes private collectors]], and archivists around the world. These films were often more widely seen abroad than in America in the same period, especially at the Cinematheque in Paris, whose audiences became the FrenchNewWave.

to:

Some directors who were especially frank and provocative suffered when censorship was enforced. A director like Josef von Sternberg, a favorite of JorgeLuisBorges Creator/JorgeLuisBorges and an influence on Creator/AlfredHitchcock and many others, made provocative works about sex and power in his films with Creator/MarleneDietrich. Censorship inevitably prevented him from dealing with the same kind of content, and Dietrich herself declined in stardom after the period, never truly playing roles of the same caliber. Creator/FrankBorzage, who was LighterAndSofter, but thought nothing of making films about couples who were openly sexual and who tended not to be married and whose films had a real anarchic working class spirit, never recovered fully either. It was also a prolific period of creative outpouring with a director like William A. Wellman making 20 films in a three year period for Warner Bros, a rate of productivity that he didn't repeat afterwards, even if he continued making good films. Several of the films made in this era disappeared from public view because TheHaysCode required older titles to be resubmitted for evaluation for general release in repertory theaters and later on television. Most of them, needless to say, didn't pass muster. They became prized objects for [[KeepCirculatingTheTapes private collectors]], and archivists around the world. These films were often more widely seen abroad than in America in the same period, especially at the Cinematheque in Paris, whose audiences became the FrenchNewWave.
16th Jan '17 9:56:59 PM LongTallShorty64
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* ''Film/{{Smarty}}'' (1934) -- a film in which Joan Blondell [[HitMeDammit gets off on being slapped]]. Really.

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* ''Film/{{Smarty}}'' (1934) -- a film in which Joan Blondell Creator/JoanBlondell [[HitMeDammit gets off on being slapped]]. Really.
9th Jan '17 3:11:16 PM LongTallShorty64
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* ''Film/BlondeCrazy'' (1931): A raunchy little tale about [[ConMan con men]] Creator/JamesCagney and Joan Blondell.

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* ''Film/BlondeCrazy'' (1931): A raunchy little tale about [[ConMan con men]] Creator/JamesCagney and Joan Blondell.Creator/JoanBlondell.
9th Jan '17 3:07:59 PM LongTallShorty64
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* ''Film/BlondieJohnson'' (1933) -- Joan Blondell becomes the real deal--a gangster. The only film from the Depression's infatuation with gangsters to have a female one go to the top. Hell, probably the only film ''ever''.

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* ''Film/BlondieJohnson'' (1933) -- Joan Blondell Creator/JoanBlondell becomes the real deal--a gangster. The only film from the Depression's infatuation with gangsters to have a female one go to the top. Hell, probably the only film ''ever''.
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