Oddball Films and guest Curator Taylor Morales bring you, Sex, Censorship and Betty Boop: The Ladies of Pre-Code Hollywood, a collection of films exploring Hollywood’s fascination with female sexuality in the years before 1934, when the industry adopted the Motion Picture Production Code, a set of moral censorship standards that governed the US motion pictures industry between 1934 and 1968. The Code, which banned all forms of overt sexuality and “immorality”, forced Betty Boop to lengthen her skirt and cover her garter. This collection of films and cartoon shorts captures the good, the bad and the offensive of this remarkable pre-code period. Looking back at the era with a critical eye we see examples of sex as an avenue to power for females as well as a means of exploitation. Our evening will begin with a dance lesson from the queen of sex appeal, Ms. Betty Boop, in the Fleischer brothers' short The Dancing Fool (1932). In this cartoon Betty Boop teaches her animal friends how to shake their stuff, and shakes her building to pieces in the process. Our next film, the Janus Films documentary, The Love Goddesses Pt. 1 (1965), explores the rise of female sex symbols from the silent film era through the 1930s. Greta Garbo, Mae West, Jean Harlow and other love goddesses grace the screen in classic scenes that taught the world how to love. We then turn from glam to ham with Red Noses (1932), a live-action comedy short about two female office workers sent to the Turkish baths by their boss when they are too sick to go to work. This thin plot is more of an excuse to enact a series of comedy bits involving scantily clad women on treadmills and mechanical horses. It does not disappoint. Next, we’ll move from the hilarious to the egregious with Polly Tix Goes to Washington (1934), a “baby burlesk” starring 3-year-old Shirley Temple, in one of her first films, as Polly Tix, a high-class call girl sent to Washington to seduce a congressman into voting on a Castor Oil bill. This film displays the darker side of pre-code sexuality, landing on the wrong side of the precarious line between satirical and sinister. We will come full circle with our last film, another Betty Boop cartoon, Minnie the Moocher (1932), featuring the first known filmed footage of jazz band leader Cab Calloway. When Betty runs away from home she finds herself in the company of a cast of scary creatures. Will she make it back home?
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 Limited Seating RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 558-8117