"The book is a film that takes place in the mind of the reader." ~ Paulo Coelho

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Mini Movies Reviews: July 2020 (#CleanMovieMonth2020)

Hello, one and all!

July 2020 was when Pure Entertainment Preservation Society (PEPS) hosted #CleanMovieMonth2020 where the challenge was to watch only American films made from 1934-1954. I am glad to say that I did it! Well, pretty much. I didn't watch a movie from any years outside of that range. Today I will be writing mini reviews for all of them.
All these films are Code films (learn more about the Code at their website). All movies in these years had to be approved by the Motion Picture Production Code, and its purpose was to provide clean movies that anyone could watch. This is what PEPS specializes in! The writers behind this blog, the Brannans, have realized that like all things, some are wonderful examples and some are below par. They have come up with a system of classifying all of the Code films which follows (For more detail, please go HERE):

Non-Code film - How could this have even gotten approval!? It has a core problem that isn't Code compliant.
Poor Code film - Might have a core problem in addition to lots of surface problems.
Fair Code film - No core problems, but some surface ones.
Good Code film - Absolutely acceptable in all ways!
Perfect Code film - This goes beyond a Good Code film because it either has a wonderful message to teach the audience, or it deals with a hard topic in a very good way.

In these mini reviews I'll be saying what Code film rating I would give it. Note, some of these PEPS may have already reviewed and given a rating, so if mine is different you should probably go with theirs.

Any reviews with an asterisk (*) means that it was a rewatch. If I have reviewed it fully, there will be a link to it. New feature: If it is underlined I'm thinking about fully reviewing it but haven't decided yet. Help me decide! If it sounds like something you want to read my thoughts on more fully, let me know!

I watched and reviewed this for Olivia de Havilland's birthday. I was so sad to hear that she passed away on Sunday the 26th! She will be sorely missed. This movie really showed her talents.
Code Rating: Good
As I said in my review, everything is shown very properly!

Beyond Tomorrow (1940) 
My sisters and I have been wanting to watch this for years! It was my younger sister (who doesn't even like "old" movies) who suggested it ages ago, and finally we watched it this month. A very sweet movie!
Code Rating: Perfect.
It shows the dangers of greedy ambition instead of appreciating and growing your talents. It shows respect for life and makes you think about all that you do.

The Shepherd of the Hills (1941)
My dad saw this a few months ago and really liked it. This month I decided to watch it with him! Now, I don't like John Wayne movies, but his acting in this one was so good! I think that fellow Lord of the Rings fans would agree that there is one part that is very similar to The Return of the King, which I was surprised about.
Code Rating: Good/Perfect
It shows how wrong revenge and grudges are, in addition to showing why it is so disastrous to kill another human.

Bringing Up Baby (1938)*
Ah, this is one of the funniest movies of all time! Do you know how rare it is for my whole family to watch a movie together? This is the order of most to least likely of movie watching in my family:
1. My sisters and me together. 2. My sisters, dad, and me together. 3. My dad and me. 4. My dad by himself. 5. Two sisters together or alone. 6. My mom by herself. 7. My mom and my sisters and me. 8. My parents, one of my sisters, and me. 9. All of us together.
Do you see how rare that is? Well, for the first time in ages my whole family watched this together. My younger sister had never see it before, so it was her first! This is honest to goodness fun!
Code Rating: Good
Absolutely nothing objectionable!

Watched and reviewed this for what would've been Yul Brynner's 100th birthday.
Code Rating: Good
The Code's influence really was obvious to me in this one, because though it's a crime film and people are murdered and whatnot, it was always off screen. That didn't lessen the horror of why it was a bad thing though! It wasn't like, "Oh, killing is fine." It said it was bad, but you didn't have to experience it, you know? I was impressed.

Unconquered (1947) 
Just my dad and I watched this together. What can I say? I'm not a Gary Cooper fan. There are only two movies of his that I've seen that don't annoy me. It also turns out that Paulette Goddard annoys me as well. I just didn't like this at all, but I'll try to stay unbiased while rating it.
Code Rating: Poor/Non-Code
A few core problems in addition to numerous surface problems. I can't really think of anything to say that is good about this. After three hours of this you are really ready for something else.

I watched this for PEPS's Code Classics Blogathon! Read about my thoughts in that review. It's a pretty good article, if I do say so myself...
Code Rating: Good

My Man Godfrey (1936) 
William Powell is so much fun to watch even when he basically plays the same character in every film. I really was enjoying it until the end. Endings can make or break a film for me, and this one broke it! I was not satisfied.
Code Rating: Fair
Eh, I guess it's alright, but just a few surface problems of the family's that knocks it down to Fair.

Made For Each Other (1939) 
Before July I had never seen a Carole Lombard movie, and now I've seen two, but I'm not interested in anymore. I mean, her death was so tragic and I wish that she had been able to make more as her talent matured! Anyway, this movie wasn't a total loss because it had Jimmy Stewart and he makes everything lovely and wonderful. In fact the ending surprised me with how much I enjoyed it.
Code Rating: Good

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)*
I had seen this before, but it had been so long that I remembered nothing but this: Theodore Roosevelt, some Frankenstein like guy, and "I'm not a taxi driver, I'm a coffee pot!". If you are ever looking for a weird movie, look no further than this, but it is absolutely hysterical! So much fun and confusion and laughter.
Code Rating: Good/Fair
Um, the story it's self would probably be Fair, but everything is handled so well that it might be Good. I'm not sure, but I'm still cracking up just thinking about it.

His Girl Friday (1940)
Wowza, everyone talks so quickly in this one, you have to stay on your toes! 1940 must have been Cary Grant's year for playing ex-husbands. Quick question: Does anyone know why in the world it is called "His Girl Friday"? It bothers me when titles are never explained.
Code Rating: Fair
It opens with a bit of a disclaimer, stating that it's good that these "dark days of newspapers" are past, which I thought was an interesting way of stepping around the things that happen. This film is past it's prime, and would probably offend people especially in this year, 2020. But, I am glad that I've seen it.

Going My Way (1944)*
It had been ages since I'd seen this! I'd mixed it up a lot with its sequel The Bells of St. Mary's (1945), so now I'm looking forward to rewatching that as well. I had totally forgotten the Mule song, but my sister was prepared because apparently she heard it at her job all the time. This film won Best Picture at the Oscars for 1944!
Code Rating: Good/Perfect
There are some very good messages about religion in here! There are actually a ton of good things in here, and I cried, if that tells you anything.

*muffled screaming*
I'm trying to keep myself calm, but I just love this movie so much! This is my third time watching it this year, and I made my older sister watch it as well. She really liked it, too! I'm feeling triumphant now that I've made another fan, but I want more people to talk to about this, so if you haven't seen it, please do!
Code Rating: Perfect!
It has wonderful messages about faith, humility, courage, and hope! I don't remember the last movie that has had this much of an effect on me. All the details are handled so perfectly, it is incredible.

Pygmalion (1938)
Now, this is what I mean by the beginning of my post by "pretty much". My family has always watched My Fair Lady (1964) and we really enjoy it. When I learned about this earlier version of the play, I knew that I wanted to watch it! I saw that it was 1938, so Code years, and decided to save it for #CleanMovieMonth2020. I watched it yesterday, July 31st, to finish with a bang! About 3/4 of the way through I began to notice that they were using some forbidden words an awful lot. I know that the self regulators sometimes allowed words like that to be used to enforce characters, so I didn't pay any heed to it. All of a sudden it struck me: One of the first allowed uses of that word was in Gone With The Wind, which was Rhett Butler's exit line, but that was made in 1939, the year after this! I realized that I had made the mistake of choosing... a foreign film! I looked it up afterwards and yep, it was made in the United Kingdom. Why is this a bad thing? Now, I love British films, but the Code only applied to American films, therefore this doesn't count. That being said, I'm counting it anyway because I had good intentions towards it.
If it was in Code the rating would be: Fair. The language that I mentioned in addition to one or two other things, but from what I've heard about Shaw's plays, this sounds very mild.

That wraps up my mini reviews! Once again, if you want me to fully review any of these, let me know! I had a good time with these days 4 movies.

One more thing before I go, PEPS is not done yet. They have named August #AMonthWithoutTheCode2020, so we can compare non-Code movies to all the ones that we just watched. I'll also be taking part in this and you can see my post at the end of this month.

Thanks for reading! Now it is your turn to tell me all about the films that you saw in July and if you've seen any of these! I want all your recommendations and warnings.



  1. Bringing Up Baby is a scream, we love it. Arsenic and Old Lace is funny but scary too. I was mesmerized by its bizarreness while watching it (alone!) for the first time, and Cary Grant's facial expressions are killer, this was my first introduction to his humor. I watched Made for Each Other ages back. I love Jimmy Cooper, but I don't love his movies.

    I love My Man Godfrey, the ending was a bit flat, but still funny I thought. This is a new favorite, I feel like I watched it 2-3 times this year or last year.

    I've watched His Girl Friday twice, and I still don't seem to get everything. I don't find it super funny, and I can't understand a lot of the details.

    1. Livia, it is such a hoot! I've seen Bringing Up Baby several times, and it never fails to crack me up! Yes, Cary Grant's expressions are what makes Arsenic and Old Lace so hilarious! He doesn't even have to say anything. I hadn't seen it in ages and was surprised by how absurdly funny it is! Most of the Jimmy Stewart movies that I've seen are pretty good, but every once in a while I come across one that just isn't up to par with the others. He's always so good, though!

      Yes, it was so funny, then the ending killed it. I'm planning on seeing the 1957 remake with June Allyson and David Niven soon, gave you seen that version?

      To me it was kind of funny in places, but everything happened so quickly I couldn't even register what was happening! It was exhausting to watch.

  2. Hi! This is a sincere thank you and a reminder that the "We Love Lucy Blogathon" begins on August 6th. I look forward to your blog post! ❤

    1. Sorry that I'm late to replying to this, but the reminder really helped and made sure I wasn't doing it at the last minute, so thanks! :)

  3. Bringing Up Baby is such a great movie. I'm pretty sure I used to have whole sections of it memorized, my mom would watch it so often. I'd love to see your review of it, if you felt so inclined. ;)

    (I'd also be down for a review of Going My Way. It looks cool, so I'd be interested to hear more about it.)

    Re: His Girl Friday, does he help her or rescue her? Or does she work for him? Or something? I always figured it was a reference to Robinson Crusoe, but I've never seen it, and the fact that it doesn't tell you why it's named that is...weird. I don't like that either. I wish to know what the title means, thank you very much!

    (Ahh, Seventh Heaven sounds like SUCH a lovely movie. I'm still dying to watch it after your review.)

    1. Oh, that's one of the classics off old Hollywood, so I'm so g glad to hear that you've seen it! I loved introducing my sister to it fire the first time. The other day she told me it's one of her favorite movies from this year!

      *rubs hands together* Thank you so much for your votes! It readily helps me out! I'll get them both out no later than November!

      I've always thought it was a reference to Robinson Crusoe, too, and actually it might still be but all my knowledge about RC is that there is someone named Friday. Ah, now that you mention it, she does work for him! She used to then quit and he's convinced her to come back for one big story. Hey, you might have solved my mystery, so thanks!

      It is! It is! The story is so beautiful! If you ever do see it, the second that you're finished you need to tell me your thoughts!!!

    2. My review of Bringing Up Baby (1938) is here!:

      I hope to have your other request up in December...

  4. Replies
    1. Skye, of all of these I think you'd most enjoy Arsenic and Old Lace!


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"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, where you stop your story." -Orson Welles