Pre-Code Movies on TCM and Criterion Channel in August 2021

I will admit I took a breath of relief when I saw that it would be okay if I was a day or so late with my pre-Code calendar for the month. But then I dived a bit further and found that I could take off until August 9th! Happy Summer Under the Stars, everyone.

Normally August is my favorite time of the year to watch everyone’s favorite not-quite-basic-cable-and-certainly-not-streaming movie channel as it gives you really fascinating glimpses into an entire actor’s oeuvre, plus they always have a day for Bette Davis and who doesn’t love that. This year’s pre-Code offerings include great films from Kay Francis, Ramon Novarro, Maurice Chevalier, James Cagney, and Fredric March. Check out the month’s full listings here.

Alas, right now I am in the middle of an international move plus some legal drama (don’t worry, jail time is unlikely), so I’m very short on leisure time. I also have to apologize for the lack of reviews lately– besides the lack of time, I also am making do with just my laptop, which I hate screencapping on. Just drives me nuts.

But I should be in Germany, with my nice computer, in a new house, sometime in the next 3-4 weeks. Which sounds soon, right? Right?

Streaming on Criterion Channel, August 2021

Over at Criterion Channel, this month they’re highlighting Jean Harlow in their Platinum Blonde collection, including a number of her pre-Code bests. Here are my reviews for Red Dust, Red Headed Woman, Hold Your Man, Dinner at Eight, Bombshell and The Girl from Missouri.

I also want to point out the Channel’s great program of Josephine Baker rarities; though her 1934 film Zou Zou doesn’t fit in with the metier of this site, it is a great example of the kind of movie Hollywood simply couldn’t and wouldn’t make during the pre-Code era.

Pre-Code Movies on TCM in August 2021

8/9, 06:00 AM – Guilty Hands (1931)

A district attorney tries to frame an innocent girl for the murder he committed.

Dir: W. S. Van Dyke Actors: Lionel Barrymore, Kay Francis, Madge Evans
Runtime: 71 mins .. Genre: Suspense/Mystery .. Rating: TV-PG .. CC: Y

8/9, 07:15 AM – Man Wanted (1932)

A female executive falls in love with her male secretary.

Dir: William Dieterle Actors: Kay Francis, David Manners, Una Merkel
Runtime: 62 mins .. Genre: Romance .. Rating: TV-G .. CC: Y

8/9, 08:30 AM – Street of Women (1932)

A property developer is torn between his wife and his mistress.

Dir: Archie Mayo Actors: Kay Francis, Roland Young, Alan Dinehart
Runtime: 70 mins .. Genre: Drama .. Rating: TV-G .. CC: N

8/9, 09:45 AM – Mary Stevens, M.D. (1933)

A woman doctor decides to have a baby without benefit of marriage.

Dir: Lloyd Bacon Actors: Kay Francis, Lyle Talbot, Glenda Farrell
Runtime: 72 mins .. Genre: Drama .. Rating: TV-G .. CC: N

8/9, 11:00 AM – Mandalay (1934)

A woman with a past tries to get rid of a former lover.

Dir: Michael Curtiz Actors: Kay Francis, Ricardo Cortez, Warner Oland
Runtime: 65 mins .. Genre: Suspense/Mystery .. Rating: TV-G .. CC: Y

8/9, 6:45 PM – Jewel Robbery (1932)

A jewel thief falls for a tycoon’s wife in Vienna.

Dir: William Dieterle Actors: William Powell, Kay Francis, Helen Vinson
Runtime: 70 mins .. Genre: Romance .. Rating: TV-G .. CC: Y

8/9, 8:00 PM – One Way Passage (1932)

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

Dir: Tay Garnett Actors: William Powell, Kay Francis, Aline Macmahon
Runtime: 69 mins .. Genre: Drama .. Rating: TV-G .. CC: Y

8/9, 9:30 PM – Trouble in Paradise (1932)

A love triangle ignites trouble between two jewel thieves and their intended victim.

Dir: Ernst Lubitsch Actors: Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, Herbert Marshall
Runtime: 81 mins .. Genre: Comedy .. Rating: TV-G .. CC: Y

8/12, 09:30 AM – Call of the Flesh (1930)

A Latin lover fights for the heart of a beautiful convent girl.

Dir: Charles Brabin Actors: Ramon Novarro
Runtime: 100 mins .. Genre: Musical .. Rating: TV-G .. CC: Y

8/12, 11:30 AM – Daybreak (1931)

An Austrian nobleman falls in love with a commoner.

Dir: Jacques Feyder Actors: Ramon Novarro, Helen Chandler, Jean Hersholt
Runtime: 85 mins .. Genre: Romance .. Rating: TV-G .. CC: N

8/12, 1:00 PM – Mata Hari (1931)

Romantic biography of World War I’s notorious lady spy.

Dir: George Fitzmaurice Actors: Greta Garbo, Ramon Novarro, Lionel Barrymore
Runtime: 90 mins .. Genre: Romance .. Rating: TV-PG .. CC: Y

8/12, 2:45 PM – The Barbarian (1933)

An Arab prince masquerades as a tour guide to court a beautiful American.

Dir: Sam Wood Actors: Ramon Novarro, Myrna Loy, Reginald Denny
Runtime: 67 mins .. Genre: Romance .. Rating: TV-PG .. CC: Y

8/12, 4:15 PM – The Cat and the Fiddle (1934)

A struggling composer courts a singing star.

Dir: William K. Howard Actors: Ramon Novarro, Jeanette Macdonald, Frank Morgan
Runtime: 88 mins .. Genre: Musical .. Rating: TV-G .. CC: Y

8/21, 07:30 AM – Christopher Strong (1933)

An aviatrix’s affair with a married man could cost her her career.

Dir: Dorothy Arzner Actors: Katharine Hepburn, Colin Clive, Billie Burke
Runtime: 77 mins .. Genre: Romance .. Rating: TV-PG .. CC: Y

8/24, 6:00 PM – The Merry Widow (1934)

A prince from a small kingdom courts a wealthy widow to keep her money in the country.

Dir: Ernst Lubitsch Actors: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette Macdonald, Edward Everett Horton
Runtime: 99 mins .. Genre: Musical .. Rating: TV-PG .. CC: Y

8/24, 8:00 PM – Love Me Tonight (1932)

A Parisian tailor falls in love with a princess.

Dir: Rouben Mamoulian Actors: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette Macdonald, Charles Ruggles
Runtime: 62 mins .. Genre: Musical .. Rating: TV-G .. CC: N

8/24, 9:45 PM – The Love Parade (1930)

A count finds his marriage to a queen less than satisfying.

Dir: Ernst Lubitsch Actors: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette Macdonald, Lupino Lane
Runtime: 110 mins .. Genre: Musical .. Rating: TV-G .. CC: N

8/24, 11:45 PM – The Smiling Lieutenant (1931)

A misfired flirtation lands a young lieutenant married to a princess instead of the one he loves.

Dir: Ernst Lubitsch Actors: Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert, Miriam Hopkins
Runtime: 102 mins .. Genre: Comedy .. Rating: TV-G .. CC: Y

8/30, 06:00 AM – Taxi! (1932)

A feisty independent cab driver fights off a crooked syndicate.

Dir: Roy Del Ruth Actors: James Cagney, Loretta Young, George E. Stone
Runtime: 70 mins .. Genre: Crime .. Rating: TV-PG .. CC: Y

8/30, 07:15 AM – Smart Money (1931)

A barber’s good luck turns him into a big-time gambling boss.

Dir: Alfred E. Green Actors: Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney, Evalyn Knapp
Runtime: 90 mins .. Genre: Crime .. Rating: TV-G .. CC: Y

8/30, 08:45 AM – The Mayor of Hell (1933)

A racketeer goes straight to run a reform school.

Dir: Archie Mayo Actors: James Cagney, Madge Evans, Arthur Byron
Runtime: 80 mins .. Genre: Crime .. Rating: TV-PG .. CC: Y

8/30, 10:30 AM – Picture Snatcher (1933)

An ex-con brings his crooked ways to a job as a news photographer.

Dir: Lloyd Bacon Actors: James Cagney, Ralph Bellamy, Patricia Ellis
Runtime: 76 mins .. Genre: Crime .. Rating: TV-PG .. CC: Y

8/30, 08:00 PM – Footlight Parade (1933)

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

Dir: Lloyd Bacon Actors: James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler
Runtime: 102 mins .. Genre: Musical .. Rating: TV-G .. CC: Y

8/31, 07:30 AM – Smilin’ Through (1932)

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

Dir: Sidney Franklin Actors: Norma Shearer, Fredric March, Leslie Howard
Runtime: 97 mins .. Genre: Romance .. Rating: TV-G .. CC: Y

8/31, 09:30 AM – The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934)

An invalid poetess defies her father’s wishes to marry a dashing young poet.

Dir: Sidney Franklin Actors: Norma Shearer, Fredric March, Charles Laughton
Runtime: 109 mins .. Genre: Romance .. Rating: TV-G .. CC: Y

8/31, 6:00 PM – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932)

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

Dir: Rouben Mamoulian Actors: Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart
Runtime: 90 mins .. Genre: Horror/Science-Fiction .. Rating: TV-PG .. CC: Y

8/31, 11:00 PM – Design for Living (1933)

An independent woman can’t chose between the two men she loves.

Dir: Ernst Lubitsch Actors: Fredric March, Gary Cooper, Miriam Hopkins
Runtime: 90 mins .. Genre: Comedy .. Rating: TV-G .. CC: Y

 

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