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Why Be Good? Sexuality & Censorship in Early Cinema


Why Be Good? images courtesy of A&F Productions

Why Be Good? Sexuality & Censorship in Early Cinema

Elaina Archer, 2008

Ladies They Talk About

Howard Bretherton & William Keighley, 1933


Many classic films are just as powerful today as when they were first released. We add such films from many genres to our schedule throughout the season. Many are shown on the occasion of their rereleases, in fresh, new or restored prints.

Tue, July 22, 2008 7 PM

Featuring archival interviews with such screen icons as Louise Brooks, Gloria Swanson, and Mary Pickford, Why Be Good? traces the evolution of screen sexuality and censorship in early Hollywood from 1900 to 1935.

It also examines the scandals (onscreen and off) that led to strict enforcement of the notorious Production Code starting in 1935. Narrated by actress Diane Lane, the film was executive produced by Hugh Hefner. (70 mins., video)

One of the great “women in prison” films of the “pre-Code” era, Ladies They Talk About stars Barbara Stanwyck as a woman jailed after taking part in a bank robbery who plots her revenge from behind bars. Its risqué dialogue and racy scenes of inmate fighting are in keeping with the daring of the best “pre-Code” films. (35mm, 69 mins.)

Second film begins at 8:30 PM.