See and Hear Us!
The Story of the Code Through Classical Song Montage
Video Clips from July 15, 2018
This five-minute montage is an overview of our essential program, The Story of the Code Through Classical Song. These excerpts show both Tiffany and Rebekah singing, Tiffany speaking, and Rebekah dancing. The clips are from their debut performance as the L. A. Soprani Sisters on July 15 in the Hollywood and Western Building. This event commemorated the 84th anniversary of the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code. Click here to read more about this essential program and book the L. A. Soprani Sisters at your upcoming event to see the whole program!
Pre-Code vs. Pro-Code
Recording from a PowerPoint Presentation on June 23, 2019
Tiffany co-hosted a PowerPoint presentation with a respected Hollywood historian and published author on June 23. Mark A. Vieira has used his knowledge and insight about pre-Code Hollywood and his skill for restoring vintage photographs to illustrate and describe the films which led to the formation of the Production Code Administration in 1934 for over twenty years; he also has tried to clarify misconceptions about Joseph I. Breen and the other Code administrators. On April 2, 2019, he published his newest book on the four years of unrestrained filmmaking in the 1930s, Forbidden Hollywood: When Sin Ruled the Movies. Mr. Vieira invited Tiffany to co-host this illustrated presentation and book-signing with him. Below is the full video of the event, provided by the library. Caution: the video contains several clips from pre-Code films which contain graphic content. If you do not want to see violence or nudity, please consult the below list, in which I have documented the timing and content of the film clips. In addition, bear in mind that, throughout the rest of the presentation, there are some photographs which contain indecency and nudity.
- Red-Headed Woman (1932) – 3:25-4:10 – Jean Harlow speaking suggestive dialogue, shot of a garter on her leg.
- A Free Soul (1931) – 15:08-16:07 – Norma Shearer delivering suggestive dialogue with Clark Gable, lustful embracing.
- Rasputin and the Empress (1932) – 21:34-22:35 – Disturbingly flirtatious behavior of Lionel Barrymore toward a young girl.
- Sign of the Cross (1932) – 24:26-25:12 – Frightening footage of crocodiles (alligators) about to eat an almost naked young woman as crowds morbidly watch.
- Sign of the Cross (1932) – 26:01-26:53 – Scantily clad woman dances obscenely as on-lookers watch lustfully and kiss passionately.
- She Done Him Wrong (1933) – 27:44-28:30 – Mae West in low neckline exchanges suggestive dialogue with Cary Grant.
- King Kong (1933) – 30:30-30:42 – Sparsely dressed Fay Wray is held, tickled, and sniffed by the titular giant ape.
- So This is Africa (1933) – 31:04-32:01 – Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey, dressed as native women, are captured by native men as mates, with much suggestiveness.
- Cavalcade (1933) – 32:04-32:52 – Shots of a party featuring a series of suggestive romantic couples, including a woman with a very low neckline.
- Hold Your Man (1933) – 33:30-34:01 – Footage of viewers lustfully watching scenes of passion in film, including shots of excessive kissing from previous clips.
- I Loved an Artist (1934) – 36:51-37:40 – Two young women refer to a salacious magazine story, mocking its moral-minded ending and scheming about immoral relationships.
- Search for Beauty (1934) – 37:55-38:09 – Gertrude Michael looks at Buster Crabbe in a bathing suit, lustfully focusing her binoculars on the lower half of his body.
- Search for Beauty (1934) – 38:11-38:18 – Naked men are seen totally unblocked from the rear in a locker room scene.
- The Scarlet Empress (1934) – 39:03-42:02 – Torture scenes of graphic and excessive brutality and violence, including some nude victims.
If you don’t want to see this offensive pre-Code content, I highly suggest that you just watch the question and answer sequence, which occupies the last half-hour of the video. There are no slides or videos, just questions from the unseen audience and answers from Mr. Vieira and me. This section begins at 47:24 and lasts until the end of the video.
“Il faut partir” from La fille du regiment by Gaetano Donizetti
In this French aria, Tiffany plays Marie, a canteen girl from a Napoleonic era regiment. Marie was a foundling who was raised by this regiment. However, she has just discovered that a noblewoman is her aunt, so she is forced to leave her beloved regiment and her dozens of “fathers” to live in opulence. She says farewell in this song.
“Non disperar” from Giulio Cesare by George Frideric Handel
This Italian aria is Cleopatra’s first solo in this opera. In this song, she mockingly tells her brother, Ptolemy, that he mustn’t despair. Although she is going to be queen of Egypt, he may be lucky in love.
“One Kiss” from New Moon by Sigmund Romberg
This romantic waltz is from an operetta by the popular Viennese-American composer Sigmund Romberg. New Moon was made into a movie in 1940 with Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. In this movie, Jeanette MacDonald, as Marianne de Beaumanoir, sings this song at a party at her estate in colonial New Orleans. Rebekah’s performance of this timeless song is inspired by the party scene from the 1940 movie.
“Ah! Je veux vivre” from Romeo et Juliette by Charles Gounod
This French song is often called “Juliette’s Waltz.” The 14th-century heroine of Shakespeare’s iconic love story sings this song at a masked ball given in her honor. She says that she wants to live joyfully in the time of her youth; however, she wisely acknowledges that youth and happiness do not last forever. This song was sung by Jeanette MacDonald in Rose-Marie from 1936, when she played a Canadian opera singer who performs in Gounod’s opera.
These videos are from a recording session at St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church in Los Olivos from March of 2018. Bridget Hough is the pianist.