Book Review: ‘Sin and Vice in Black & White: 15 Classic Pre-Code Movies’ by Rupert Alistair

I picked this up on my Kindle because it was just a few bucks. However, after recently watching a few pre-Code movies, as they featured some on the Criterion Channel last month, I wanted to read more about them to sort of map our which others might be worth my time and yours.

This is a pretty short book at sixty or so pages but it still covers fifteen of the best pre-Code movies between 1931 and 1934.

The book did give me a few movies worth checking out that feature Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Collins and Clark Gable. So it was certainly helpful in suggesting things.

However, the fifteen chapters are pretty much just quick rundowns of each film and not a whole lot more beyond that. We get some production info but it’s all fairly minor. Granted, in this book’s defense, a lot of that information could’ve been lost to time.

This does a decent job of explaining what the pre-Code era was though and also, how the Hays Code came to be.

If the subject interests you, this is probably worth a read, especially at three dollars and change.

Rating: 6/10
Pairs well with: other books on classic cinema, I’ve reviewed a bunch here.

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