Every generation thinks it invented sex, drugs and scandal and every generation produces a new wave of moral Chicken Littles to try to squash it. Over the weekend my bridesmaid Jimmy posted this film on his blog What Can I Say? and I loved it so much I had to repost – it’s a promo by Matthew C. Hoffman for a library series on “Forbidden Cinema” the fiery films of pre-code Hollywood. Before censorship and self-censorship became a Hollywood norm, films with titles like “Safe in Hell” and “She Had to Say Yes!” promised enough sensationalism to distract a depression-weary public (sound familiar?). This film gives a little taste of the free atmosphere in which the film industry matured and the stars who made it what it became.
The film is a great example of how history repeats itself and I love that it showcases women like Mae West and Marlene Dietrich who were the Lady Gagas of their day, the smart self-assured groundbreakers who weren’t going to let little things like conventional standards get in their way. After all, who wants to be standard?