Pre-Code Movies on TCM in December 2019

Wow. We survived 2019. Well, I mean this is premature, but it’s sure looking like we’re making it through at this point. Our reward for it appears to be The Story of Temple Drake on blu-ray (finally) and Joan Blondell month on TCM. There are ton of excellent Blondell pre-Codes to enjoy; hell, they’re showing my favorite film, Gold Diggers of 1933 twice. Nothing wrong there.

TCM is also doing a fun thing this month where they are showing the original film followed by its remake, i.e. The Front Page followed by His Girl Friday. This means you get a lot of excellent pre-Codes like One Way Passage followed by a sterling example of how easy it is to take the source material and completely flub it. (Side note: how did King Kong escape getting shown this month? Or how even did King Kong escape King Kong Escapes?)

I know my review output slowed to a trickle in November; it turns out having two kids around the house plus trips and extra work shifts and all the fun of the holidays makes it hard to sit down and pay attention to a pre-Code. I hope this changes in December, but I have no clue.

A friendly reminder: if you want to support my site, you can become a Patron over at Patreon. I appreciate it!

Pre-Code Movies on TCM in December

Please note:

  • All times listed here are Eastern Standard. This schedule is subject to change (like if someone dies or the world ends– you know how it is).
  • Plot descriptions and casts lists below come from TCM. See the full listings for the month here.
  • If you subscribe to TCM via cable, you can watch TCM online via the TCM Watch site.
Date & Time Film

2nd
7:30 AM

The Squaw Man (1931)

After saving the life of a British aristocrat, an Indian maiden bears his child.

Dir:  Cecil B. DeMille Cast:  Warner Baxter , Lupe Velez , Eleanor Boardman .

BW- 107 mins,

4th
7:15 AM

42nd Street (1933)

The definitive backstage musical, complete with the dazzling newcomer who goes on for the injured star.

Dir:  Lloyd Bacon Cast:  Warner Baxter , Bebe Daniels , George Brent .

BW- 89 mins, CC,

4th
9:00 AM

Down to Their Last Yacht (1934)

A society family gone bust uses their yacht for charter tours.

Dir:  Paul Sloane Cast:  Mary Boland , Polly Moran , Ned Sparks .

BW- 64 mins,

4th
10:15 AM

The Prodigal (1931)

A wealthy southern boy takes to the road as a hobo.

Dir:  Harry Pollard Cast:  Lawrence Tibbett , Esther Ralston , Roland Young .

BW- 76 mins, CC,

4th
11:45 AM

The Conquerors (1932)

Newlyweds go West and build a banking empire in Nebraska.

Dir:  William A. Wellman Cast:  Richard Dix , Ann Harding , Edna May Oliver .

BW- 86 mins,

4th
3:00 PM

Wild Boys of the Road (1933)

An impoverished girl masquerades as a boy to run with a gang of young hobos.

Dir:  William A. Wellman Cast:  Frankie Darro , Edwin Phillips , Rochelle Hudson .

BW- 68 mins, CC,

5th
6:00 AM

The Widow From Chicago (1930)

A woman infiltrates a criminal mob to avenge her brother’s death.

Dir:  Edward Cline Cast:  Alice White , Neil Hamilton , Edward G. Robinson .

BW- 62 mins,

5th
7:15 AM

The Finger Points (1931)

A naive reporter takes payoffs for keeping a prominent gangster out of the papers.

Dir:  John Francis Dillon Cast:  Richard Barthelmess , Fay Wray , Regis Toomey .

BW- 85 mins, CC,

5th
3:00 PM

Little Caesar (1930)

A small-time hood shoots his way to the top, but how long can he stay there?

Dir:  Mervyn LeRoy Cast:  Edward G. Robinson , Douglas Fairbanks , Glenda Farrell .

BW- 78 mins, CC,

5th
8:00 PM

Sinner’s Holiday (1930)

A jealous young man frames his sister’s boyfriend.

Dir:  John G. Adolfi Cast:  Grant Withers , Evelyn Knapp , James Cagney .

BW- 60 mins, CC,

5th
9:15 PM

Millie (1931)

A prostitute turns to murder to protect her teenage daughter’s honor.

Dir:  John Francis Dillon Cast:  Helen Twelvetrees , Lilyan Tashman , Robert Ames .

BW- 84 mins, CC,

5th
11:00 PM

Blonde Crazy (1931)

A con-man bellhop and his chambermaid girlfriend set out to fleece hotel guests.

Dir:  Roy Del Ruth Cast:  James Cagney , Joan Blondell , Louis Calhern .

BW- 79 mins, CC,

6th
12:30 AM

Make Me A Star (1932)

A grocery clerk goes to Hollywood in search of fame and fortune.

Dir:  William Beaudine Cast:  Joan Blondell , Stuart Erwin , ZaSu Pitts .

BW- 86 mins, CC,

6th
2:15 AM

Blondie Johnson (1933)

A female crook fights her way from poverty to the top of the underworld.

Dir:  Ray Enright Cast:  Joan Blondell , Chester Morris , Allen Jenkins .

BW- 68 mins, CC,

6th
3:30 AM

The Crowd Roars (1932)

A race-car driver tries to keep his brother from following in his footsteps.

Dir:  Howard Hawks Cast:  James Cagney , Joan Blondell , Ann Dvorak .

BW- 70 mins, CC,

6th
4:45 AM

Three on a Match (1932)

A woman’s childhood friends try to rescue her from gangsters.

Dir:  Mervyn LeRoy Cast:  Virginia Davis , Joan Blondell , Dawn O’Day .

BW- 63 mins, CC,

6th
6:00 AM

Miss Pinkerton (1932)

A private duty nurse gets herself mixed up in a murder investigation.

Dir:  Lloyd Bacon Cast:  Joan Blondell , George Brent , Ruth Hall .

BW- 65 mins, CC,

6th
7:15 AM

The Famous Ferguson Case (1932)

Two reporters interested in different stories write about a murder.

Dir:  Lloyd Bacon Cast:  Joan Blondell , Grant Mitchell , Vivienne Osborne .

BW- 74 mins,

7th
6:30 AM

Dance, Fools, Dance (1931)

A brother and sister risk their lives to expose the gangsters who ruined their family.

Dir:  Harry Beaumont Cast:  Joan Crawford , Lester Vail , Cliff Richards .

BW- 81 mins, CC,

7th
12:00 PM

One Way Passage (1932)

An ocean voyage leads to romance for a dying heiress and a condemned criminal.

Dir:  Tay Garnett Cast:  William Powell , Kay Francis , Aline MacMahon .

BW- 68 mins, CC,

7th
3:00 PM

Cimarron (1931)

A husband and wife fight to survive in the early days of the Oklahoma Territory.

Dir:  Wesley Ruggles Cast:  Richard Dix , Irene Dunne , Estelle Taylor .

BW- 124 mins, CC,

9th
4:00 AM

Smilin’ Through (1932)

A young woman falls in love with the son of an old family enemy.

Dir:  Sidney Franklin Cast:  Norma Shearer , Fredric March , Leslie Howard .

BW- 98 mins, CC,

11th
12:15 PM

Loose Ankles (1930)

A young woman will inherit a million dollars if she marries well.

Dir:  Ted Wilde Cast:  Loretta Young , Douglas Fairbanks , Louise Fazenda .

BW- 68 mins, CC,

12th
8:00 PM

Smarty (1934)

A squabbling couple can’t seem to make it to the divorce court.

Dir:  Robert Florey Cast:  Joan Blondell , Warren William , Edward Everett Horton .

BW- 65 mins, CC,

12th
9:15 PM

Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)

Three chorus girls fight to keep their show going and find rich husbands.

Dir:  Mervyn LeRoy Cast:  Warren William , Joan Blondell , Aline MacMahon .

BW- 98 mins, CC,

12th
11:00 PM

Havana Widows (1933)

Chorus girls travel to Cuba in search of rich husbands.

Dir:  Ray Enright Cast:  Joan Blondell , Glenda Farrell , Guy Kibbee .

BW- 62 mins, CC,

13th
12:15 AM

I’ve Got Your Number (1934)

Two telephone engineers try to clear a woman of criminal charges.

Dir:  Ray Enright Cast:  Joan Blondell , Pat O’Brien , Allen Jenkins .

BW- 69 mins,

13th
1:30 AM

Lawyer Man (1933)

Success corrupts a smooth-talking lawyer.

Dir:  William Dieterle Cast:  William Powell , Joan Blondell , David Landau .

BW- 68 mins, CC,

13th
2:45 AM

He Was Her Man (1934)

A safecracker goes straight to get back at some fellow crooks.

Dir:  Lloyd Bacon Cast:  James Cagney , Joan Blondell , Victor Jory .

BW- 70 mins, CC,

13th
5:30 AM

Footlight Parade (1933)

A producer fights labor problems, financiers and his greedy ex-wife to put on a show.

Dir:  Lloyd Bacon Cast:  James Cagney , Joan Blondell , Ruby Keeler .

BW- 103 mins, CC,

13th
10:15 AM

The Cuckoos (1930)

Two tramps-turned-fortune-tellers try to solve a kidnapping.

Dir:  Paul Sloane Cast:  Bert Wheeler , Robert Woolsey , June Clyde .

BW- 97 mins, CC,

14th
12:00 PM

Red Dust (1932)

A plantation overseer in Indochina is torn between a married woman and a lady of the evening.

Dir:  Victor Fleming Cast:  Clark Gable , Jean Harlow , Gene Raymond .

BW- 83 mins, CC,

16th
4:15 AM

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932)

Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale of a scientist who unleashes the beast within.

Dir:  Rouben Mamoulian Cast:  Fredric March , Miriam Hopkins , Rose Hobart .

BW- 96 mins, CC,

16th
8:00 PM

Little Women (1933)

The four March sisters fight to keep their family together and find love while their father is off fighting the Civil War.

Dir:  George Cukor Cast:  Katharine Hepburn , Joan Bennett , Paul Lukas .

BW- 115 mins, CC,

17th
12:30 AM

Imitation of Life (1934)

A widow and her housekeeper go into business together but almost lose their daughters.

Dir:  John M. Stahl Cast:  Claudette Colbert , Warren William , Rochelle Hudson .

BW- 111 mins, CC,

21st
12:00 PM

The Front Page (1931)

A crusading newspaper editor tricks his retiring star reporter into covering one last case.

Dir:  Lewis Milestone Cast:  Adolph Menjou , Pat O’Brien , Mary Brian .

BW- 101 mins, CC,

22nd
6:30 AM

Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)

Three chorus girls fight to keep their show going and find rich husbands.

Dir:  Mervyn LeRoy Cast:  Warren William , Joan Blondell , Aline MacMahon .

BW- 98 mins, CC,

23rd
9:30 AM

The Maltese Falcon (1931)

In the first screen version of The Maltese Falcon, detective Sam Spade investigates the theft of a priceless statue.

Dir:  Roy Del Ruth Cast:  Bebe Daniels , Ricardo Cortez , Dudley Digges .

BW- 78 mins, CC,

25th
10:00 AM

Little Women (1933)

The four March sisters fight to keep their family together and find love while their father is off fighting the Civil War.

Dir:  George Cukor Cast:  Katharine Hepburn , Joan Bennett , Paul Lukas .

BW- 115 mins, CC,

25th
8:00 PM

The Thin Man (1934)

A husband-and-wife detective team takes on the search for a missing inventor and almost get killed for their efforts.

Dir:  W. S. Van Dyke Cast:  William Powell , Myrna Loy , Maureen O’Sullivan .

BW- 91 mins, CC,

28th
12:00 AM

Animal Crackers (1930)

Three zanies try to recover a stolen painting during a madcap house party.

Dir:  Victor Heerman Cast:  Groucho Marx , Harpo Marx , Chico Marx .

BW- 97 mins, CC,

28th
3:30 PM

The Champ (1931)

A broken-down prizefighter battles to keep custody of his son.

Dir:  King Vidor Cast:  Wallace Beery , Jackie Cooper , Irene Rich .

BW- 86 mins, CC,

31st
9:15 AM

The Thin Man (1934)

A husband-and-wife detective team takes on the search for a missing inventor and almost get killed for their efforts.

Dir:  W. S. Van Dyke Cast:  William Powell , Myrna Loy , Maureen O’Sullivan .

BW- 91 mins, CC,

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