Current & Upcoming Films
HOLLYWOOD BEFORE THE CODE : NASTY-ASS FILMS FOR A NASTY-ASS WORLD!
HOLLYWOOD BEFORE THE CODE : NASTY-ASS FILMS FOR A NASTY-ASS WORLD!
FRIDAY, MARCH 2 - THURSDAY, MARCH 8
Programmed exclusively for the Roxie Theater by Elliot Lavine
ALL PROGRAMS ARE DOUBLE-FEATURES; SEE TWO GREAT FILMS FOR ONE LOW PRICE!
It's been nearly fifteen years since the last great Hollywood Pre-Code Festival at the Roxie Theater but on Friday, March 2 - and for a full solid week - the Roxie is proud to announce its exciting return to blatantly profane pre-code motion picture entertainment--FOURTEEN great FILMS…SEVEN sensational DOUBLE FEATURES--for thrill-seeking and sophisticated San Francisco Bay Area movie-goers!!
Hollywood films produced before early 1934 were often marked by an unwholesome indifference to delicate sensibilities. Filled with erotically charged images, dangerous, graphic violence, and bizarrely aberrant behavior, these are films that over seventy-five years later continue to batter us with an arsenal of artistic bravura!
This week-long fest will present a toxic mix of potent pre-code films that combine hard-core classics like SCARFACE, FREAKS, and CALL HER SAVAGE with rarely screened gems like THE CHEAT, LADIES OF THE BIG HOUSE, and SENSATION HUNTERS in a variety of media formats--from dazzling 35mm studio archive prints, to 16mm collector prints, to ultra-high quality digital.
Directors like Howard Hawks, Edgar G. Ulmer, Mitchell Leisen, Charles Vidor, and Tod Browning create vivid entertainments, loaded with overt and thinly veiled images of uninhibited sex and grotesque violence. Casts which include Barbara Stanwyck, Bela Lugosi, Bette Davis, Paul Muni, Joan Blondell, Ann Dvorak, Charles Laughton, Miriam Hopkins, Jack LaRue, Lupe Velez, Boris Karloff, Clara Bow, and Tallulah Bankhead and so many other faces familiar and obscure make this ruthless Roxie pre-code galaxy a must-see experience!
With this rip-roaring and raunchy series, the Roxie leaps, balls out, back into the sizzling center of provocative pre-code Hollywood film fare: NASTY-ASS FILMS FOR A NASTY-ASS WORLD.
(Click on Show Date for Tickets!)
Friday, March 2:
This blistering pre-code gangster saga towers over the rest--an unnerving portrait of a brutally evil and immoral man (patterned very loosely after Al Capone) obsessed with the power that crime and other perversions have carved out for him. Blissfully violent and sexually profane, SCARFACE sears itself onto your unsuspecting brain like few other films can. Starring Paul Muni, Ann Dovrak, Boris Karloff, Karen Morley. Directed by Howard Hawks. In B&W. 35mm Studio Archive Print. 93 mins. 1932.
FRI at 8:00 and 11:00 pm late show!
THREE ON A MATCH
Three young women, friends since childhood, reunite after years of separation. But the random hand of fate has determined that at least one of them will descend into the depths of drugs, depravity and death before the breathless pace of this tragically exciting sixty-three minute pre-code melodrama has exhausted itself. Starring Ann Dvorak, Bette Davis, Joan Blondell, Humphrey Bogart. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy. In B&W. HQ Digital. 63 mins. 1932.
FRI at 6:45 and 9:45 pm.
Saturday, March 3:
One of the most shockingly profane pre-code films of all time! A group of freaks at a circus sideshow band together to exact a terrifying vengeance on those who have cruelly exploited one of their own. At once a uniquely perverse horror story as well as a beautifully and poetically rendered plea for tolerance. An unforgettable experience on the big screen! Starring Wallace Ford, Olga Baclanova, Leila Hyams, Harry Earles. Directed by Tod Browning. In B&W. 16mm film print. 64 mins. 1932.
SAT at 2:15, 5:00, 8:00 and 11:00 late show!
For much, much more on FREAKS, check out the definitive site here!
ISLAND OF LOST SOULS
On a desolate uncharted island, a demented scientist conducts ungodly experiments in evolution leading to the creation of a race of mutant human abominations! Before long he establishes himself as the ruling god of these unearthly beings, bringing about a reign of agonizing terror! One of Hollywood's strangest, most disturbing horror classics! Starring Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Leila Hyams, Richard Arlen. Directed by Erle C. Kenton. In B&W. 35mm Studio Archive Print! 70 mins. 1932.
SAT at 3:30, 6:30 and 9:30
Sunday, March 4:
THE BITTER TEA OF GENERAL YEN
An exotically adventurous film from a most unexpected director! A beautiful American missionary is, through fate, thrown into a romantic interlude with a charismatic Chinese warlord. Breaking many Hollywood taboos--mainly the issue of miscegenation and, in this case sprinkled liberally with simmering displays of passion--BITTER TEA is a primal slice of pre-code erotica, a film that will amaze you from start to finish! Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Nils Asther, Toshia Mori, Walter Connolly. Directed by Frank Capra. In B&W. 35mm Studio Archive Print! 88 mins. 1933.
SUN at 1:15, 4:30, and 8:00
The beautiful but hopelessly spoiled wife of a wealthy businessman becomes ensnared in a vicious circle of deception and depravity when her uncontrollable addiction to gambling makes her the vulnerable target of a sadistic, sex-obsessed madman. Will the love of her man save her from an ignominious doom? Not necessarily: this is pre-code America! Starring Tallulah Bankhead, Harvey Stephens, Irving Pichel. Directed by George Abbott. In B&W. 35mm Studio Archive Print! 74 mins. 1931.
SUN at 3:00, 6:20, and 9:45
Monday, March 5:
MURDER AT THE VANITIES
This completely uninhibited blend of murder mystery and movie musical was released just weeks before Hollywood's self-imposed production code went into effect, taking full advantage of its fleeting moments of censorial freedom! An opening night on-stage murder at Earl Carroll's Vanities sets things in motion, giving way to lots of scantily clad dancers and some wildly suggestive dialog. Duke Ellington provides much of the musical panache; the "Sweet Marijuana" number usually brings down the house! Starring Jack Oakie, Kitty Carlisle, Gertrude Michael, Carl Brisson. Directed by Mitchell Leisen. In B&W. 35mm Studio Archive Print! 89 mins. 1934.
MON at 8:00 only!
While on a Pacific cruise, a pretty young showgirl joins up with a traveling group of cabaret performers and winds up scrambling for life and limb at the lowliest dive in Panama City! This vividly atmospheric pre-code pot-boiler belies its poverty row origins with a surprisingly witty script and solid direction from the man who would later bring GILDA to the big screen. An extremely rare film and one that will make a lasting impression; a lost gem rediscovered! Starring Arline Judge, Preston Foster, Marion Burns, Kenneth MacKenna. Directed by Charles Vidor. In B&W. 16mm film print. 73 mins. 1933.
MON at 6:20 and 9:45
Tuesday, March 6:
LADIES OF THE BIG HOUSE
A pretty young flower-girl rejects the advances of a notorious hood who then frames her and her new boyfriend for murder that sends the boyfriend to death row and the flower girl to a vicious women's prison. Things go from bad to worse when its discovered that the hood's former moll is behind bars there too! A wild pre-code extravaganza with an abundance of heart-pounding big-house violence;cat-fights galore! A rarely seen gem from the height of the pre-code era! Starring Sylvia Sidney, Gene Raymond, Wynne Gibson, Louise Beavers. Directed by Marion Gering. In B&W. 35mm Studio Archive Print! 77 mins. 1931.
TUE at 8:00 only!
Against a graphically depicted Depression-era backdrop, the story of a wise-cracking gal who rises to the top in the male-dominated crime rackets is played out with enough gusto and sexually charged ammo to load a dozen tommy guns. A rapid-fire exercise in economy and excitement, this is first-class pre-code entertainment of the highest order! Starring Joan Blondell, Chester Morris, Mae Busch, Allen Jenkins. Directed by Ray Enright. In B&W. HQ Digital. 67 mins. 1933.
TUE at 6:30 and 9:35
Wednesday, March 7:
THE STORY OF TEMPLE DRAKE
A spoiled rich girl is abducted by vicious bootleggers and held sexually captive by the gang's brutal leader. But her troubles are really only just beginning. Freely adapted from William Faulkner's novel "Sanctuary," this is one of the most legendary of all pre-code films, a jaw-dropping array of censor-baiting violence and sexual frankness. Unforgettable to say the least! Starring Miriam Hopkins, William Gargan, Jack LaRue, Florence Eldridge. Directed by Stephen Roberts. In B&W. HQ Digital. 70 mins. 1933.
WED at 6:30 and 9:45
CALL HER SAVAGE
Simply put, an astonishing and daring epic of rampant sexual energy, the likes of which have rarely been duplicated in the American cinema, before or since. A headstrong young woman attempts to defy the wicked and wild roots of her questionable parentage by embarking on a life of reckless debauchery! Time has done nothing to diminish the utter blasphemy of this red-hot pre-code classic! Starring Clara Bow, Gilbert Roland, Thelma Todd, Monroe Owsley. Directed by John Francis Dillon. In B&W. HQ Digital. 88 mins. 1932.
WED at 8:00 only!
Thursday, March 8:
THE BLACK CAT
Very little if anything of Poe's classic tale remains in this brilliant and fatalistic shocker from the visually ambitious director of poverty-row film noir classic DETOUR. Young American honeymooners are stranded in storm-swept Hungary at the fortress-like home of demented architect Hjalmer Poelzig. Also on hand is Dr. Verdegast, a mysterious traveler who has sworn savage vengeance on Poelzig for unspeakably profane crimes! A powerhouse classic of pre-code horror! Starring Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Julie Bishop, David Manners. Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. In B&W. 35mm Studio Archive Print! 65 mins. 1934.
THURS at 6:40 and 9:45
An intensely morbid tale of macabre horror! In the jungles of Zanzibar, a crippled, evil white man commands a cult of natives to commit unspeakably horrible acts of torture and terror! Twisted, savage violence, rampant drug abuse, prostitution, rape, and incest…this staggering pre-code epic has it all…and then some! Unbelievable! Unless you've already seen it, you've never seen anything like it! Starring Walter Huston, Lupe Valez, Virginia Bruce, Conrad Nagel. Directed by William J. Cowen. In B&W. HQ Digital. 86 mins. 1932.
THURS at 8:00 only!