At this point y’all should be pretty well-versed in Pre-Code Hollywood and all its glory. The Warner Archive is at it again, releasing Vol. 7 of the ever-popular Forbidden Hollywood series. This set features film that, while not the “best” films of the era, feature some of the most salacious scenarios that Hollywood had to offer at the time. These are the kind of morally “loose” films that caused the Catholic church to call the industry indecent. They’re also more sexually charged than most current Hollywood films. The films included in this set are: William A. Wellman’s The Hatchet Man, Edgar Selwyn’s Skyscraper Souls, Roy Del Ruth’s Employees’ Entrance and Robert Florey’s Ex-Lady.
The Forbidden Hollywood collections have been bringing us some of the greatest pre-code films to DVD for the first time for almost a decade. Originally released through the TCM Vault Collection, the last few editions have come from the Warner Archive Collection. Vol. 6 has been out for a few weeks now, but I was finally able to sit down and watch the four films included: The Wet Parade, Downstairs, Mandalay and Massacre. It’s a pretty great collection – all of films I hadn’t heard of before. Vol. 7 will be coming out shortly (and I will hopefully report on that collection as well). After the cut, I’ll briefly discuss the four films that are included in this excellent manufactured on demand set.
The Warner Archive recently released a bizarre little pre-code gem called Hollywood Party. The film was a Jimmy Durante vehicle that supposedly had eight directors (including Alan Dwan and Sam Wood, though none were credited) and is basically a fantastic mishmash of MGM’s comedy stars. The film was released in on June 1st, 1934 – making it one of the last films before Hollywood its began strict enforcement of the Hays Code. On June 13th, 1934 an amendment to the Hays Code was adopted, establishing the Production Code Administration and requiring all films released on or after July 1, 1934, to obtain a certificate of approval before being released.