Friday Night Spotlight: Pre-Code Classics

Friday Night Spotlight


Alec Baldwin and Robert Osborne Present Pre-Code Classics Fridays in September

TCM Looks at Freewheeling Era with 24 Hours of Movies Every Friday During September

Osborne & BaldwinEvery Friday in September, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is heading back in time to the pre-Code era, before American films fell under the censor's eye and began to avoid topics and situations that were considered morally dubious. TCM will shine a light on this freewheeling cinematic period, presenting a weekly 24-hour festival of pre-Code movies, with award-winning actor Alec Baldwin and TCM's Robert Osborne set to introduce the primetime lineups as part of TCM's Friday Night Spotlight.

Pre-Code Hollywood is the era in the American film industry between the introduction of sound in the late 1920s and the strict enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code beginning in the mid-1930s. Films of this period included unflinching portrayals of such subject matter as sexuality, prostitution, illegal drug use, abortion and extreme violence. Without the interference of censors, lawbreakers in the movies were often allowed to profit from their schemes, and fallen women became the heroines of many films.

TCM's pre-Code festival covers a wide range of genres and represents the output of all major Hollywood studios of the era. The freedom and daring of the period provided vivid opportunities for performers who were unafraid of the racy pre-Code themes.

Baby FaceFemale stars who boldly carved out careers in the era's climate of open sexuality included Barbara Stanwyck, whose performance in Baby Face (1933) will kick off the first night's primetime lineup. Other female stars who managed to push the envelope during the pre-Code era included Mae West (I'm No Angel, She Done Him Wrong, both 1933) and Jean Harlow (Red Dust, 1932; Bombshell, 1933). Among male actors, Warren William – known as the "King of Pre-Code" – benefited particularly from the indulgent nature of the times by creating a gallery of unrepentant villains and anti-heroes including those in Skyscraper Souls (1932) and Employees' Entrance (1933). And the leading "gangster" stars of the period, Edward G. Robinson (Little Caesar, 1931) and James Cagney (The Public Enemy, 1931), gained heroic stature in the eyes of the public while filling their crime melodramas with realistic grit and violence that would be impossible on screen a few years later.

TCM's lineup of pre-Code films includes two movies making their first appearance on the network: Search for Beauty (1934) and Call Her Savage (1932). In addition, the lineup includes the 2008 documentary Thou Shalt Not: Sex, Sin and Censorship in Pre-Code Hollywood. A complete schedule is included below.

TCM's September edition of Friday Night Spotlight marks a reunion for Baldwin and Osborne, who co-hosted The Essentials on TCM from 2009 to 2011. Earlier this year, Baldwin conducted an in-depth interview of Osborne for the TCM special Private Screenings: Robert Osborne, which aired as part of TCM's 20th anniversary celebration.


Pre-Code Classics – Fridays in September

Friday, Sept. 5
6 a.m. – The Big Shakedown (1934)
7:15 a.m. – Parachute Jumper (1933)
8:30 a.m. – Ex-Lady (1933)
9:45 a.m. – Virtue (1932)
11 a.m. – Wild Boys of the Road (1933)
12:15 p.m. – Safe in Hell (1931)
1:30 p.m. – Frisco Jenny (1932)
2:45 p.m. – Female (1933)
4 p.m. – Illicit (1931)
Night Nurse5:30 p.m. – Night Nurse (1931)
6:45 p.m. – Thou Shalt Not: Sex, Sin and Censorship in Pre-Code Hollywood (2008)
8 p.m. – Baby Face (1933)
9:30 p.m. – The Divorcee (1930)
11 p.m. – Footlight Parade (1933)
1 a.m. – Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)
2:45 a.m. – Search for Beauty (1934) – TCM Premiere
4:15 a.m. – Taxi! (1932)

Friday, Sept. 12
6 a.m. – The Naughty Flirt (1931)
7 a.m. – Ten Cents a Dance (1931)
8:30 a.m. – When Ladies Meet (1933)
10 a.m. – Double Harness (1933)
11:15 a.m. – For the Defense (1930)
12:30 p.m. – Union Depot (1932)
1:45 p.m. – Mary Stevens, MD (1933)
3 p.m. – The Age of Consent (1932)
4:45 p.m. – Bombshell (1933)
6:30 p.m. – Red-Headed Woman (1932)
Red Dust8 p.m. – Red Dust (1932)
9:30 p.m. – Design for Living (1933)
11:15 p.m. – Trouble in Paradise (1932)
12:45 a.m. – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932)
2:30 a.m. – The Story of Temple Drake (1933)
3:45 a.m. – Freaks (1932)
5 a.m. – Jewel Robbery (1932)

Friday, Sept. 19
6 a.m. – Parole Girl (1933)
7:30 a.m. – Three Wise Girls (1932)
8:45 a.m. – Lady Killer (1933)
10:15 a.m. – Possessed (1931)
11:45 a.m. – Two Seconds (1932)
1 p.m. – The Little Giant (1933)
2:30 p.m. – The Mind Reader (1933)
3:45 p.m. – Beauty and the Boss (1932)
5 p.m. – Waterloo Bridge (1931)
6:30 p.m. – Hot Saturday (1932)
8 p.m. – Blonde Venus (1932)
I'm No Angel9:45 p.m. – I'm No Angel (1933)
11:30 p.m. – She Done Him Wrong (1933)
12:45 a.m. – Blonde Crazy (1931)
2:15 a.m. – Thou Shalt Not: Sex, Sin and Censorship in Pre-Code Hollywood (2008)
3:30 a.m. – Skyscraper Souls (1932)
5:15 a.m. – She Had to Say Yes (1933)

Friday, Sept. 26
6 a.m. – A Free Soul (1931)
8 a.m. – Downstairs (1932)
9:30 a.m. – Ladies They Talk About (1933)
10:45 a.m. – Loose Ankles (1930)
12 p.m. – They Call it Sin (1932)
1:15 p.m. – Heroes for Sale (1933)
2:30 p.m. – Employee's Entrance (1933)
4 p.m. – Midnight Mary (1933)
5:15 p.m. – Other Men's Women (1931)
6:30 p.m. – The Public Enemy (1931)
Scarface8 p.m. – Scarface (1932)
9:45 p.m. – Little Caesar (1930)
11:15 p.m. – Penthouse (1933)
1 a.m. – Three on a Match (1932)
2:15 a.m. – Call Her Savage (1932) – TCM Premiere
3:45 a.m. – The Hatchet Man (1932)
5 a.m. – State's Attorney (1932)

(All Times Eastern)


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Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is a two-time Peabody Award-winning network that presents great films, uncut and commercial-free, from the largest film libraries in the world. TCM, which is available in more than 85 million homes, features the insights of hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz, plus interviews with a wide range of special guests. Currently in its 20th year as a leading authority in classic film, TCM offers critically acclaimed original documentaries and specials; film series like The Essentials, hosted by Robert Osborne and Drew Barrymore, and Friday Night Spotlight; and annual programming events like 31 Days of Oscar® in February, Summer Under the Stars in August and TCM Essentials Jr. during the summer. TCM also connects with movie fans through such events as the annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood and the TCM Classic Cruise, as well as through the TCM Classic Film Tour in New York City. In addition, TCM produces a wide range of media about classic film, including books and DVDs, and hosts a wealth of material online at and through the Watch TCM mobile app.

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