Saturday 2 June 2012

Nudity in Precode

Although, the code blatantly stated no nudity in any form there is a number of delicious examples where you can see more than you should be.
The code said:
VI. Costume
1. Complete nudity is never permitted. This includes nudity in fact or in silhouette, or any lecherous or licentious notice thereof by other characters in the picture.
2. Undressing scenes should be avoided, and never used save where essential to the plot.
3. Indecent or undue exposure is forbidden.
4. Dancing or costumes intended to permit undue exposure or indecent movements in the dance are

But this was clearly not followed....

Even before the talkies, major stars were baring all for big roles and big money. The most notable was Clara Bow in the first Academy Award winning film, Wings (1927). In it, Clara showed a scandalous glimpse of her breasts.

 But this wasn't the only one, famous directors often used nudity as a ploy to gain viewers and publicity. For example, the pioneer director D.W. Griffiths 'Intolerence' (1916), included a number of scenes of barely clad beauties. The film was later censored for redistribution in 1934 after the new code was introduced.

But, as sound technology became a reality directors and producers weren't pressured into changing their ways, so they didn't...

There is several popular examples of nudity in Precode talkies, normally shown as bohemian or foreign, nudity is depicted as free and exotic. Tarzan and his Mate (1934) is a popular example with Jane, played by Maureen O' Sullivan, taking a refreshing swim.

Or similarly, Dolores del Rio in 'Bird of Paradise' an exotic adventure movie with a delicious swimming scene.

There are dozens of other films including nudity in silhouette, such as, Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933):

Or in fact, such as, Claudette Colbert in Sign of the Cross:

Don't blink or you'll miss it :)


  1. Really like your blog.
    Point of interest: in Tarzan and his Mate a female competitive swimmer doubled for Maureen in the nude swimming scene.

    1. Thanks for the comments on my blog, I knew she was a body double but not that she was a competitive swimmer. Interesting info!!!