Thursday, April 06, 2006

Stanwyck Before the Code

Much has been written about the classic Barbara Stanwyck film "Baby Face" since the newly restored version complete with previously censored footage has been making the rounds of the repertory theaters. Just as entertaining are two other Warner Brothers films featuring a young Stanwyck: "Night Nurse" with Clark Gable as a heavy and Joan Blondell as Stanwyck's roommate, and the women in prison flick "Ladies They Talk About."

All three pre-code dramas play over the next week at the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square, one of my favorite places to see classic films. Don't miss them if you are in the Boston area. Each movie contains the hallmarks and joys of the best of the pre-code films. This review from the Boston Phoenix sums up the appeal and raw emotion of Stanwyck who seemingly is restrained from jumping off the screen at times. Stanwyck had a long career, with success on the small screen as well. But her early work shows what made her such a hit with audiences - there was no one quite like her.