Mick LaSalle obsession, Norma Shearer, in Riptide. TCM will show Shearer's pre-code movie Let Us Be Gay, next Monday. They are also showing Double Harness a pre-code movie with another LaSalle favorite, Ann Harding, this afternoon!
After recently enjoying Mick LaSalle's books on Pre-code Hollywood ("Complicated Women" and "Dangerous Men") I found a bunch of raw interview footage of him talking about many of his favorite subjects. Mick is the film critic for the San Francisco Chronicle and he taught a class on the subject at Berkeley which makes me actually want to go back to school. He also maintains a blog called Maximum Strength Mick with podcasts and book reviews.
I think LaSalles books are a great place to start with the pre-code era. His explanation of the "code" itself is the best I've read. LaSalle argues convincingly that the code did more harm than good for movies as a whole. I have a hard time reconciling this emotionally because my favorite films, screwball comedies of the late 1930s, probably wouldn't have existed without the code. It doesn't help that my favorite movie star, Cary Grant, was still learning how to act in the pre-code era. While this was pretty common actually, and bless the studio system for continuing to give these people room to grow and steady work, it is more instructive at times than actually enjoyable.
He talks a lot about Barbara Stanwyck, one of my favorite actresses. This is a great time to watch this and warm up those Tivos because TCM will be showing almost an entire day of pre-code Stanwyck films on August 19th.
Bridget Jones's Dairy (2001)
7 years ago