I wrote this REVIEW of "A FREE SOUL", the 1931 adaptation of Adela Rogers St. John's 1927 novel. Directed by Clarence Brown, the movie starred Norma Shearer, Leslie Howard, Lionel Barrymore and Clark Gable.
RKO’s 1931 Behind Office Doors is typical of the pre-code era in a number of ways. Apart from having some racy content the whole approach is not quite what you’d expect. The wives-vs-secretaries story line was tailor-made for a breezy romantic comedy but rather than going for laughs the movie plays it all dead straight. The result is what could be described as a romantic office melodrama.
For Clara Bow the transition from silent movies to talkies was an uneasy period to say the least. By 1933 she had decided to call it a day. Countless explanations have been offered for this premature end to a glittering career, from chronic weight problems to nervousness in front of the microphone to mental illness. In fact her career fadeout had a great deal to do with the sound films she was offered. No Limit is a movie that could kill any star’s career.
The Smiling Lieutenant, released by Paramount in 1931, is a fairly typical example of the Ernst Lubitsch musical. It’s a delightful frothy concoction, which is all it tries to be and all it needs to be.
Sin Takes a Holiday belongs to that very peculiar genre, the pre-code romantic comedy. What’s peculiar about the movies of this genre is that they rely much more on being risque than on being actually funny. In that respect the Production Code did Hollywood a big favour by forcing writers to work harder to make their scripts funny rather than shocking.