Time-traveling back to the 30s: Joan Blondell

Brainscan’s notes and collages:

Joan Blondell started in Hollywood at the very beginning of the Precode Era, and over its length – the four and a half years from 1930 to mid-1934 – she appeared in 25 movies. Often she did so while pushing the envelope of what could be shown or said. For me, an interested amateur, any appearance by Ms. Blondell is worth a look, no matter the quality of the film. A real pro who knows Precode films very well has posted dozens of videos to YouTube on that subject; one such video includes scenes from several of Joan’s more risqué performances. Easy enough to grab a few frames and stick them together. Forgive me because I don’t know the titles of the films in which these scenes appear, but she looks terrific and that’s what counts.

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Scoop’s random thoughts:

Joan was still around when I was young. Her most acclaimed late-in-life performance was in The Cincinnati Kid, but you’d mostly see her in the same kinds of comic roles that might also have gone to Vivian Vance or Bea Benederet. You’d see her showing as much cleavage as the 50s and 60s would allow, as the wisecracking widow who was too old to be acting like that when she shamelessly flirted with people like Don Porter or Buddy Ebsen.

Back in the thirties, however, she was a major star and a major babe. Here are some clips of Joan in action.

There are also some alleged nudes of her online, but none are especially convincing.

One thought on “Time-traveling back to the 30s: Joan Blondell

  1. Joan Blondell got me interested in old movies. I saw her in a 1937 movie called “Stand-In”, where she was very cute, and even sexy, despite being a post-Code. Leslie Howard was the male lead, and Humphrey Bogart had a supporting role as a man who seemed to have a Scottie dog attached to his arm.

    Back in the 1970’s, UW-Madison had a weird policy that allowed admission to be charged for films shown in UW lectures halls, IF they were shown by a “student film society”. There were dozens of such societies, because such showings were profitable. Half the societies had a membership of one – all the same guy, who was making good money. Most of the other half also had a membership of one, but at least it was a different guy. I suppose there might have been a genuine society or two.

    Anyway, it meant a wide array of movies was shown everyweeked, and admission was $1. This was pre-VCR, so it was heaven if you liked old movies, which they showed a lot of, because the rentals were low. At that time, there was a Bogart fad, so anything he was in got shown, if it was available.

    Pre-Codes were NOT available, because they were not put on 16mm for TV, which is what these guys were renting. They did not meet TV standards when all those old movies were sold off by the studios.

    I remember how suprised I was when I first saw a pre-Code movie. It just seemed WRONG that what was going on in that movie was in an OLD movie.

    PS – Sometime in the early 80’s, UW-M got rid of the “anybody can be a film society” policy. I guess it dawned on them that it was a commercial enterprise and not really an educational one. I thought it was a pity; educational or not, it was good, cheap entertainment for the students. I suppose VCR’s and cable would have ended it soon anyway.

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