With Precode films you can expect a little (sometimes a lot) almost-nudity. From suggestive silhouette shots to nude swimming scenes to copious views of undressing leading ladies, Precode directors always broke the boundaries. One technique often used to titillate the audience was bath scenes. Sometimes including undressing scenes and always including a nude actor, these images broke the boundaries of the The Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 or Hays Code which stated:
“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 plot.
3. Indecent or undue exposure is forbidden.”
These images would be completely banned in mid 1934. But, thanks to DVD and the internet, modern audiences can view and enjoy Precode films. Below I have included the best images of bathing scenes in films used, clearly, by the director to attract audiences rather than to advance the plot. Some of the images come directly from films whilst other were used to promote certain movies, actors or studios.
|Claudette Colbert in 'Sign of the Cross' (1932)|
|James Cagney and Joan Blondell from 'Blonde Crazy' (1932)|
|Jean Harlow in 'Hold Your Man' (1933)|
|Yola d'Avril takes a bath in 'Beauty and the Boss' (1932)|
|George Raft and Roscoe Karns from 'Night After Night' (1932)|
|Bebe Daniels from 'The Maltese Falcon' (1931)|
|Ruth Stevens from 'Hips Hips Hooray' (1934)|
|Joan Blondell scrubbing up in 'Blonde Crazy' (1932)|
|Leila Karnelly from "The Cock-Eyed World" (1929)|
|Myrna Loy enjoying a bath in 'Barbarian' (1933)|
|Alice White in 'Sweethearts on Parade' (1930)|