Welcome to February, the time of year where we all gird our loins and prepare for the ever-dreaded Oscar season. Mediocre studio films compete with indie gems in a battle of power and prestige, waged through both multi million dollar marketing campaigns and snarky tweets from ‘film commentators’.

Ah ha! But not right now. Due to Covid, the Oscar ceremony has been postponed until April. That means Turner Classic Movies is free to do what it wants, such as showing Plan Nine from Outer Space in primetime. (They’ve gone mad– mad!)

And that actually leads us to TCM has blessing us with some pretty good pre-Code offerings, including a few rarities I haven’t seen but also lowkey romps like Goodbye Again, The Nuisance and The Merry Wives of Reno. There’s even a batch of gangster movies for those who need a touch of larceny to lighten up your month.

Two other notes. I know I’d promised more reviews, but for those of you who have visited the site recently, I did a little bit of tweaking on the color and images. This includes all new thumbnails for the Actresses page and, for the first time ever, thumbnails for the Actors page, though I still have a lot of bios to write for that half of the site. I also updated my old Red Dust review with a ton of new screenshots, and I’m working on cleaning and updating the Timeline page as well, and hope to get that done this month.

In non-site news, my family will be moving to Germany this summer! I’m optimistic about the move and excited to finally visit (and I guess live in) Europe for the first time in my life. So be prepared to have me suddenly mention Paris and, I don’t know, Frankfurt all the time or something.

A friendly reminder: if you want to support my site, you can become a Patron over at Patreon. Have a lovely month!

Pre-Code Movies on TCM in February

  • 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.
Date & Time Film
4:30 PM

Forsaking All Others (1934)

A woman pursues the wrong man for almost twenty years.

Dir:  W. S. Van Dyke Cast:  Robert Montgomery , Joan Crawford , Clark Gable .

BW- 83 mins, CC,

8:00 AM

20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932)

When his girl commits murder, a hardened criminal takes the rap to protect her honor.

Dir:  Michael Curtiz Cast:  Spencer Tracy , Bette Davis , Arthur Byron .

BW- 78 mins, CC,

10:30 AM

The Mayor of Hell (1933)

A racketeer goes straight to run a reform school.

Dir:  Archie Mayo Cast:  James Cagney , Madge Evans , Arthur Byron .

BW- 90 mins, CC,

12:15 PM

The Doorway to Hell (1930)

Despite his efforts to go straight, a young gangster keeps falling back into crime.

Dir:  Archie Mayo Cast:  Lew Ayres , Charles Judels , Dorothy Mathews .

BW- 78 mins, CC,

2:15 PM

The Beast of the City (1932)

A police captain leads the fight against a vicious gangland chief.

Dir:  Charles Brabin Cast:  Walter Huston , Jean Harlow , Wallace Ford .

BW- 86 mins, CC,

4:30 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,

6:00 PM

The Public Enemy (1931)

An Irish-American street punk tries to make it big in the world of organized crime.

Dir:  William A. Wellman Cast:  James Cagney , Jean Harlow , Edward Woods .

BW- 84 mins, CC,

6:00 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,

10:15 PM

The Nuisance (1933)

Love trips up an ambulance chasing lawyer.

Dir:  Jack Conway Cast:  Lee Tracy , Madge Evans , Frank Morgan .

BW- 83 mins, CC,

11:00 AM

The Keyhole (1933)

A private eye specializing in divorce cases falls for the woman he’s been hired to frame.

Dir:  Michael Curtiz Cast:  Kay Francis , George Brent , Glenda Farrell .

BW- 69 mins,

3:15 PM

Private Lives (1931)

A divorced couple rekindles the spark after landing in adjoining honeymoon suites with new mates.

Dir: Sidney Franklin Cast: Norma Shearer , Robert Montgomery , Reginald Denny .

BW- 84 mins, CC,

4:45 PM

The Merry Wives of Reno (1934)

Three couples raise a ruckus when they travel to Nevada for quickie divorces.

Dir:  H. Bruce Humberstone Cast:  Guy Kibbee , Glenda Farrell , Donald Woods .

BW- 64 mins,

6:00 AM

She Had to Say Yes (1933)

A secretary pads her salary by dating prospective buyers for her company.

Dir:  Busby Berkeley Cast:  Loretta Young , Winnie Lightner , Lyle Talbot .

BW- 66 mins, CC,

11:30 AM

Goodbye Again (1933)

An author’s reunion with an old flame angers the secretary who loves him.

Dir:  Michael Curtiz Cast:  Warren William , Joan Blondell , Genevieve Tobin .

BW- 66 mins,

12:45 PM

Beauty and the Boss (1932)

After being distracted by a string of pretty secretaries, a banker hires a plain Jane, only to fall in love with her.

Dir:  Roy Del Ruth Cast:  Marian Marsh , David Manners , Warren William .

BW- 65 mins,

6:45 PM

Man Wanted (1932)

A female executive falls in love with her male secretary.

Dir:  William Dieterle Cast:  Kay Francis , David Manners , Una Merkel .

BW- 62 mins, CC,

10:15 AM

The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933)

A boxing champion falls for a gangster’s moll.

Dir:  W. S. Van Dyke Cast:  Myrna Loy , Max Baer , Primo Carnera .

BW- 102 mins, CC,

11:30 AM

It Happened One Night (1934)

A newspaperman tracks a runaway heiress on a madcap cross-country tour.

Dir:  Frank Capra Cast:  Clark Gable , Claudette Colbert , Walter Connolly .

BW- 105 mins, CC,

9:30 AM

Illicit (1931)

Young free-thinkers turn conventionally jealous when they marry.

Dir:  Archie Mayo Cast:  Barbara Stanwyck , James Rennie , Charles Butterworth .

BW- 79 mins, CC,

2:00 PM

Smart Woman (1931)

A woman plots to make her cheating husband jealous.

Dir:  Gregory La Cava Cast:  Mary Astor , Robert Ames , John Halliday .

BW- 68 mins, CC,

3:15 PM

The Guardsman (1931)

A jealous husband dons a disguise to test his wife’s fidelity.

Dir:  Sidney Franklin Cast:  Alfred Lunt , Lynn Fontanne , Roland Young .

BW- 82 mins, CC,

6:00 AM

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,

7:15 AM

Gentleman’s Fate (1931)

A bootlegger falls apart when his wife leaves him.

Dir:  Mervyn LeRoy Cast:  John Gilbert , Louis Wolheim , Leila Hyams .

BW- 93 mins, CC,

11:00 AM

The Secret Six (1931)

A secret society funds the investigation of a bootlegging gang.

Dir:  George Hill Cast:  Wallace Beery , Lewis Stone , John Mack Brown .

BW- 84 mins, CC,

12:30 PM

The Wet Parade (1932)

A crusading politician fights the evils of both drink and prohibition.

Dir:  Victor Fleming Cast:  Dorothy Jordan , Lewis Stone , Neil Hamilton .

BW- 118 mins, CC,

10:45 AM

The Smiling Lieutenant (1931)

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

Dir:  Ernst Lubitsch Cast:  Maurice Chevalier , Claudette Colbert , Miriam Hopkins .

BW- 89 mins, CC,

7:45 AM

New Moon (1930)

A Russian lieutenant falls in love with a beautiful princess.

Dir:  Jack Conway Cast:  Lawrence Tibbett , Grace Moore , Adolphe Menjou .

BW- 78 mins,

9:15 AM

Morning Glory (1933)

A stage struck girl travels to New York determined to make it on Broadway.

Dir:  Lowell Sherman Cast:  Katharine Hepburn , Douglas Fairbanks , Adolphe Menjou .

BW- 74 mins, CC,

12:30 PM

The Great Lover (1931)

A womanizing opera star falls in love with his innocent young protegee.

Dir:  Harry Beaumont Cast:  Adolphe Menjou , Irene Dunne , Ernest Torrence .

BW- 71 mins, CC,

1:45 PM

Friends and Lovers (1931)

A society woman and her husband blackmail the men who flirt with her.

Dir:  Victor Schertzinger Cast:  Adolphe Menjou , Lily Damita , Laurence Olivier .

BW- 68 mins,

6:15 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,

6:15 AM

Manhattan Melodrama (1934)

Boyhood friends grow up on opposite sides of the law.

Dir:  W. S. Van Dyke Cast:  Clark Gable , William Powell , Myrna Loy .

BW- 90 mins, CC,

1:45 PM

Trouble in Paradise (1932)

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

Dir:  Ernst Lubitsch Cast:  Miriam Hopkins , Kay Francis , Herbert Marshall .

BW- 82 mins, CC,

8:00 PM

Bombshell (1933)

A glamorous film star rebels against the studio, her pushy press agent and a family of hangers-on.

Dir:  Victor Fleming Cast:  Jean Harlow , Lee Tracy , Frank Morgan .

BW- 96 mins, CC,

10:00 PM

Design For Living (1933)

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

Dir:  Ernst Lubitsch Cast:  Fredric March , Gary Cooper , Miriam Hopkins .

BW- 91 mins, CC,/tbody

Questions? Comments? Or do you just want to bug me? Leave a comment below!

Categories: TCM Schedules


Danny is a writer who lives with his lovely wife, adorable children, and geriatric yet yappy dog. He blogs at pre-code.com, a website dedicated to Hollywood films from 1930 to 1934, and can be found on Twitter @PreCodeDotCom.

1 Comment

Dave · February 1, 2021 at 11:24 pm

I’m a huge fan of Warren William, but I’m firmly convinced that Marian Marsh’s performance in “Beauty and the Boss” is the worst in film history.

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