Silents with nudity on DVD?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Greg_S_H, Sep 6, 2001.

  1. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

    Joined:
    May 9, 2001
    Messages:
    15,452
    Likes Received:
    297
    Location:
    North Texas
    Real Name:
    Greg
    Are there any "mainstream" American silent films currently available on DVD that feature nudity? In other words, films that would have been seen by a mass audience in the pre-code days? I've seen a few excerpted for a documentary on TCM (I believe), but I either don't remember the titles or they weren't identified by name.
     
  2. James D S

    James D S Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2000
    Messages:
    1,000
    Likes Received:
    1
    Boy, aren't you twisted.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Calgary Goldsmith

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2001
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Go to your local independantly owned video rental store. Theres a pretty good one here in Madison that carries tons of exotic titles along the lines of what your looking for. If you live in a moderately big city I'm sure you'll find one that carries such titles.
    At the risk of sounding like a total sicko, I once rented one for the heck of it and I found the funniest/sickest thing I have ever seen. It was probably made in the late teens or early twenties. It involved a old guy seperated by a wooden fence with a hole in it. There was a beautiful girl (even by today's standards she was pretty darn hot) on the other side and she gave that telling look like give me what you got. So the guy put his you know what through the hole and it looked like he was having a good time but the lady had put a goat in place of her. I have never laughed harder and been in total disgust at the same time.
     
  4. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 1999
    Messages:
    4,274
    Likes Received:
    353
    Location:
    Central Arkansas
    Real Name:
    Clint
    [​IMG]
    ------------------
    Yes, but are they high-quality balloons? ~ David Letterman [​IMG]
     
  5. Stephen L

    Stephen L Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2001
    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    0
    [​IMG]
    ------------------
    Steve
     
  6. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

    Joined:
    May 9, 2001
    Messages:
    15,452
    Likes Received:
    297
    Location:
    North Texas
    Real Name:
    Greg
    [​IMG]
    You guys got me totally wrong. I don't mean a stag film or anything of the sort. I'm talking about respectable, upscale narratives. For example, Cecile B. DeMille's Male and Female is supposed to come close with some revealing scenes. Also, some of the early Tarzan talkies featured a nude Maureen O'Sullivan taking a swim (later excised).
    As lame as it sounds (and I know few will believe it), I am more interested in this from a historical perspective. In other words, what was possible before the code and after. I thought about throwing in a sentence about not being a perv, but I figured that would be obvious. If I wanted some hardcore, I could get a XXX modern DVD. [​IMG]
    [Edited last by Greg_S_H on September 07, 2001 at 01:09 AM]
     
  7. Bob_L

    Bob_L Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2001
    Messages:
    891
    Likes Received:
    2
    Real Name:
    Bob Lindstrom
    Greg:
    I take you seriously.
    I can think of some pre-code sound films that don't "quite" have nudity but are clearly pre-code.
    1. International House -- In addition to being a terrific comedy, some of the costumes are relatively revealing in the "China Teapot" dance number. Plus, there is a reference to homosexuality -- a gag by WC Fields -- that would NEVER have gotten past Will Hays. (And a single shot of Anna May Wong in male drag.)
    2. DeMille's version of Cleopatra -- As I recall, the ladies in waiting to Claudette Colbert's Cleo were showing somewhat more skin than the Hays Office would allow.
    3. Murder at the Vanities -- (if you can find it on video) features a film version of the Earl Carroll Vanities from Broadway with some see-through outfits. Plus, you get the TOTALLY Hays-unacceptable song, "Marijuana"! (I'm not making this up.)
    On the silent front:
    I also believe that Benjamin Christiansen's "Witchcraft Through the Ages" has nudity. It's a Danish film but I think it did play in America.
    Also check out the DeMille silent films. He often included content and costumes that would not pass the later Hays code; but snuck it in because it was part of a "biblical" epic. This was DeMille's lifelong scam, in fact.
    Finally, I found this web article that might be useful:
    http://www.filmsite.org/sexualfilms.html
    This is really a fun area to explore and I think most people who think we live in such an enlightened and permissive age would be shocked to discover what our relatives found acceptable in the 1920s.
     
  8. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

    Joined:
    May 9, 2001
    Messages:
    15,452
    Likes Received:
    297
    Location:
    North Texas
    Real Name:
    Greg
    Bob,
    Thanks a lot. That's exactly what I'm looking for. I took an American Pop Culture course a few years ago, and it piqued my interest in exploring these matters.
    I knew I was on the right track with DeMille from reading a couple of reviews, and I've heard of Witchcraft Through the Ages (aka Haxan). That one's supposed to be shocking even by today's standards. I'll have to try to scare up the others.
     
  9. NeilEdwards

    NeilEdwards Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2001
    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    0
    I believe "Sign of the Cross" is a bit risque (if I remember well). Most of DeMille's films are.
     
  10. BarryR

    BarryR Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2000
    Messages:
    647
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    Earth
    Real Name:
    BARRY RIVADUE
    I recall seeing a 1924 DeMille film, THE GOLDEN BED, at a film convention years ago--and it was pretty racy, such as a masquerade scene involving an ostensibly topless girl covered with whip cream, fending off a guy with an appetite for dessert. [​IMG]
     
  11. Bob_L

    Bob_L Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2001
    Messages:
    891
    Likes Received:
    2
    Real Name:
    Bob Lindstrom
    Oh, I think that my DVD of Intolerance has at least one shot that involves nudity. And that's 1916!
    There is also a laserdisc set called "Forbidden Hollywood" that features pre-code films laced with sexual situations. Nudity is not featured in any of these films but they represent storylines -- sexual harrassment in the workplace, etc. -- that would not pass The Code.
    [Edited last by Bob_L on September 07, 2001 at 08:48 AM]
     
  12. Ben Motley

    Ben Motley Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Messages:
    738
    Likes Received:
    0
    Greg, Roan's "Pre-Code Hollywood" series of discs is very interesting. These are talkies, but are from the early '30s or before. I think I've only seen any nudity on one of the movies so far, but there is a lot of racey, for the day, content.
    Bird of Paradise shows an island native nymph (Dolores Del Rio) swimming in the nude; it has underwater shots too! But still, the shots are kind of muddy, but I think that's how it was filmed.
    On the first Pre-Code dvd set however, we get Bette Davis and Leslie Howard in "Of Human Bondage", Helen Twelvetrees and a large cast of would be suitors in "Millie", Dorothy Mackaill and Joel McCrea in "Kept Husbands" (Joel McCrea also stars in Bird of Paradise, as well as a young and just starting out Lon Chaney Jr. - Chaney is in an extremely small role though). I've yet to watch Kept Husbands, but both Millie and Of Human Bondage are very entertaining films. Millie has lots of the good life, with Helen runnin' around partyin', drinkin', and stringin' the fellows along, all after a failed marriage. It ends in Millie trying to keep one of her rejects from puttin' the moves on her barely legal daughter. I won't tell you any more, but that I was pretty surprised at how well the movie was done. It was pretty well edited (we all know that many early films are just "slow" as molasses) and had a pretty climactic end. As for Of Human Bondage, that Bette Davis is one wicked, unnapreciative little hussy, and ultimately gets her due. Not quite as entertaining as Millie, but Bette's performance is very convincing and worth watching. I just wanted to reach through the t.v. and rattle her cage, shape her up a little you know. I've yet to watch Kept Husbands.
    Finally, while not in their Pre-Code series, Roan also put out Joan Crawford's "Rain", which is a great little flick. Crawford is terrific as Sadie, the tough party girl that ends up clashing with stick-in-the-mud Reverend Alfred Davidson, played by Walter Huston, as they are thrown together on an island due to quarentine. Crawford plays her part to the hilt, and is quite stunningly good looking while she's at it. If you're already into early controversial film, then chances are, you've either already heard of, and even seen Rain. If not, then by all means, check it out. The Roan edition is now out of print, but someone, I believe Image, is currently pressing it.
    Good luck in your search Greg.
    ------------------
    "Who made it?! The Shark!?!"
    Please sign this Hammer Films petition, thanks!
    http://www.petitiononline.com/Hammer/petition.html
    [Edited last by Ben Motley on September 07, 2001 at 09:01 AM]
     
  13. Hugh Jackes

    Hugh Jackes Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2000
    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Anaheim. CA
    Real Name:
    Hugh Jackes
    The supplemental material for Ben Hur, the William Wyler version starring Charlton Heston from 1959, included a featurette about the 1925 version. In the 1925 version, there were nude women frolicking in a street festival scene that took place (I think before the chariot race).
    Unfortunately, according to imdb, that version is available on VHS only, but there are excerpts of the nudes from the '25 version on the DVD of the '59 version.
     
  14. Kurt N

    Kurt N Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2001
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Probably not what you're looking for, but the Something Weird DVD of The Beast That Killed Women has some shorts from the silent-era gesturing topless chicks and one (may be early talkie-haven't watched it in a while) with brief full-frontal nudity.
    Note: originally typed "breast" instead of "Beast"
    And what's wrong with being a perv?
    [Edited last by Kurt N on September 07, 2001 at 09:27 AM]
     
  15. Lary Larson

    Lary Larson Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 3, 1999
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    0
    FYI - Häxan is on the way from Criterion. Check it out here and here .
    Lary
    ------------------
    Want to help the HTF find ET? Click here! Learn more here .
     
  16. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    4,300
    Likes Received:
    40
    The upcoming DVD of Lon Chaney's The Penalty (1920) has a brief bit of nudity with an artist's model intact. It's a very nice transfer and an amazing performance by Chaney as well.
    There is apparently an extensive nude swim sequence in Back to God's Country, currently out on DVD, but I've not seen it.
    In essence, you're looking for things that predate 1922 and Hollywood's clamping down on morals in the wake of the Arbuckle-Rappe scandal.
    ------------------
    "This movie has warped my fragile little mind."
     
  17. Ben Motley

    Ben Motley Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Messages:
    738
    Likes Received:
    0
  18. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

    Joined:
    May 9, 2001
    Messages:
    15,452
    Likes Received:
    297
    Location:
    North Texas
    Real Name:
    Greg
    A few years back, my VCR was running almost constantly, recording tons of movies on TCM and AMC. I am almost 100% certain I recorded Rain, so I'll have to look through my stack and see if I can find it. That Roan disc sounds interesting.
    I'm surprised the 1925 Ben Hur isn't on DVD. I haven't seen it, but it has a pretty good reputation. Also, I'm pretty sure Intolerance is out of print now. At least, Amazon has it listed with their "limited availability" classification.
    I think I'll just jump in with some DeMille. He seems to be well-represented on DVD, so that might be a good place to start.
    Of course, now that I've done some research, there are tons of great silents on DVD that I want. I think my next few will be Griffith's America, Lubitsch's The Marriage Circle, and the Landmarks of Early Cinema discs. Between these and grabbing the last few Chaplin discs before they disappear, who has time for talkies? [​IMG]
     
  19. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 19, 2001
    Messages:
    1,568
    Likes Received:
    0
    Josef von Sternberg's The Scarlet Empress (recently released by Criterion) has naked ladies a-plenty in the opening torture montage.
    Plus the film is deliriously weird and wonderful!
     
  20. SpenceJT

    SpenceJT Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2000
    Messages:
    334
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Real Name:
    Jeff Spencer
    WOW! I'm seeing a bunch of posts from Madison! Do any of you MadCity residents know of an area Home Theater enthusiasts group?
    ...or should we start one!
    Spence
    ------------------
    SpenceJT
    www.spenceplace.com
    "...now what's all this crud about no movie tonight!"
    - Thank you Mr. Lemmon
     

Share This Page