Complicated Women (2003)

TV Movie   |    |  Documentary


Complicated Women (2003) Poster

A look at actresses who starred in films with thought-provoking subjects made between 1929-1934 - before the Hollywood Production Code was enforced.


7.9/10
319

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Director:

Hugh Munro Neely

Writers:

Mick LaSalle (based on the book by), Hugh Munro Neely, Andie Hicks

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5 December 2006 | MartinHafer
8
| Exceptionally interesting and a good introduction to those not acquainted with the "Pre-Code" era
This film is a wonderful introduction to the women of the so-called "Pre-Code" movies--movies that were made through about the middle of 1935. They were called "Pre-Code" in that they were made before the rigid Production Code was enforced and the films abounded with sexuality, violence and topics of questionable taste for the time. This documentary focuses not on this overall topic, but specifically on women of the films and their smoldering sexuality. Because of this it is NOT indicative of the general topic of Pre-Code films but on a narrow aspect of the movies.

The documentary is great because I was shocked how well-preserved some of these old leading ladies were and listening to their stories about the era was extremely fascinating. I also liked all the old clips, though I felt that many times important films were omitted from discussion or clips. For example, while the very tawdry nude swimming scene from TARZAN AND HIS MATE was mentioned and shown several times (a very spicy scene even by today's standards), very little mention was made of equally famous films with similar content, such as THE BARBARIAN and THE SIGN OF THE CROSS--the two bathing scenes in these films are amazing for the early 1930s. Also, the film seemed to indicate that the Pre-Code era was from the beginning of talkies until 1934, whereas there were MANY films in the silent era that featured copious amounts of nudity or sexually liberated females. Both these quibbles, though, are very minor, as only to film nuts like me will even notice or care!

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Soundtracks

Echoes of the Music-Hall
Written by
Jaroslav Jezek
Used by permission of Supraphon a.s.

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Documentary

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