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Tuesday, July 2, 7:00 pm - Little Caesar
Tuesday, July 9, 7:00 pm - Design for Living
Tuesday, July 16, 7:00 pm - Baby Face
Tuesday, July 23, 7:00 pm - The Sign of the Cross


Join us at the Lincoln Theatre for our July Film Series!

Before the enactment of the Hays Code in 1934, filmmakers got away with content that they wouldn't be able to return to for several decades. Sex, violence, and a general flouting of social norms abound in these films -- sometimes they seem rather quaint now, and other times shocking. Come see four of the movies that brought down the hammer on Hollywood and caused the code to become the law of the land!


July 2: Little Caesar

An aspiring small-town criminal, Caesar "Rico" Bandello (Edward G. Robinson) relocates to Chicago to hit the big time, accompanied by his buddy, Joe Massara (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.). While Rico makes a name for himself in the underworld, Joe decides to leave the life of crime and ventures into show business, where he meets the lovely dancer Olga (Glenda Farrell). Though Rico and Joe try to honor their friendship, eventually their choices take them down dramatically different paths.

Little Caesar kicked off the craze for gangster films that followed -- in the 1930s and well beyond -- and Robinson's searing performance is one for the ages. It was targeted by censors for its hard-hitting violence and for its perceived "glorification" of the gangster lifestyle -- after the Hays code went into effect, it was withdrawn from public exhibition and was not screened again for almost twenty years.


"Edward G. Robinson's gravelly snarl and sociopathic disdain for human conventions became the template for countless future gangster anti-heroes." —Dan Jardine, Cinemania


Directed by Mervyn LeRoy

Starring Edward G. Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Glenda Farrell

United States | English | 1931 | Action, Crime | 79 minutes | Passed


July 9: Design for Living

Painter George (Gary Cooper) and playwright Thomas (Fredric March) are two Americans sharing a Paris apartment, bohemian-style. They're also rivals for the affection of commercial artist Gilda (Miriam Hopkins). When the plucky Gilda moves in with them, she does so with the agreement that there will be "no funny business" -- an agreement that soon becomes untenable. As the rivalry between George and Thomas heats up even further, each man seeks to make his move as soon as the other turns his back.

The newly-formed National Legion of Decency was swift to condemn the film due to the layers of polyamory-tinged innuendo, and the film was banned from exhibition within a year of its original release.


"In Design for Living, Ernst Lubitsch crafted one of the most humorous pieces of the pre-code era, and also one of the most controversial." —Jose Solis, PopMatters


Directed by Ernst Lubitsch

Starring Gary Cooper, Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins, Edward Everett Horton

United States | English | 1933 | Romantic Comedy | 91 minutes | Passed


July 16: Baby Face

Barbara Stanwyck is at her best -- simultaneously charming and ruthless -- in this film about the sexual escapades of Lily Powers, the beautiful daughter of a speakeasy owner. Lily's dreary life in Pennsylvania takes a sudden turn, and she skips town along with her friend Chico (Theresa Harris), hopping a freight train to New York City. After wooing her way into an entry-level position in a corporation, Lily uses her beauty and sexual prowess to seduce a string of successful men as she -- floor by floor -- works her way to the top!

After a limited release, the film was pulled from distribution and heavily censored, removing several suggestive scenes. The original, uncut version was considered lost until 2004, when the footage was re-discovered; the restored, uncensored version is what we'll be showing at the Lincoln.


"If you've never seen Stanwyck in a pre-code film, you've never really seen Stanwyck." —Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle


Directed by Alfred E. Green

Starring Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent (and keep your eye out for a young John Wayne)

United States | English | 1933 | Romance, Drama | 71 minutes | Passed


July 23: The Sign of the Cross

After Emperor Nero (a delightfully languorous Charles Laughton) blames the Christians for the burning of Rome, he orders that they be sent to the Colosseum. While rounding them up, military leader Marcus Superbus (Fredric March) meets pretty young Mercia (Elissa Landi) and he soon finds that his loyalty to his emperor begins to flag in the face of this dangerous new faith. The wicked Empress Poppaea (Claudette Colbert), carrying a torch for Marcus, learns about Mercia -- and employs every machination possible to assure that Mercia is among those fed to the lions!

Squeaking past the censors on the strength of an ostensible faith-based message, the film led to the formation of the Catholic Legion of Decency, and wound up with a lot of footage on the cutting room floor -- including a sapphic seduction dance, portions of Poppaea's notorious "milk bath" sequence, and jaw-dropping savagery in the Colosseum sequence. Finally restored in 1993, we'll be screening the original full-length version.


"This early, pre-code Cecil B. DeMille spectacular is famous for pretending to be a religious epic, while actually being full of sex and violence." —Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid


Directed by Cecil B. DeMille

Starring Fredric March, Claudette Colbert, Charles Laughton, Elissa Landi

United States | English | 1932 | Historical Epic | 125 minutes | Passed


Film Prices

Lincoln Theatre Members get $2.00 off on the following prices with discount code:

General: $11.00
Seniors, Students, and Active Military: $10.00
Children 12 and under: $8.50

All prices include a $2.00 Preservation Fee that goes directly into our capital account for the preservation of the Lincoln Theatre and its programs.