SPOTLIGHT: Juicy Pre-Code Crawford (I)

Welcome to a new Film Friday and the launch of our final series of posts! We’re returning to one of our earliest spotlighted stars, Joan Crawford (1904-1977), and featuring some of the remaining Pre-Codes we’ve yet to cover. Elsewhere on this blog, we’ve covered Dance, Fools, Dance (1931), Possessed (1931), Grand Hotel (1932), Letty Lynton (1932), Dancing Lady (1933), and Sadie McKee (1934). We’re starting this new series off today with . . .

 

Paid (1930)

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A young innocent plots revenge after being sent to prison unjustly. Starring Joan Crawford, Robert Armstrong, Kent Douglas, Tyrrell Davis, Polly Moran, and Marie Prevost. Based on a play by Bayard Veiller. Adaptation by Lucien Hubbard and Charles MacArthur. Dialogue by Charles MacArthur. Directed by Sam Wood.

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The rest of the cast, which includes a handful of recognizable character actors, are hit and miss, and although the text (based on a play, Within The Law, that was adapted again for the screen with that original title in 1939) does a fantastic job of giving voice to the characters, certain figures are more interesting than others. Yet, no mater how grand they are, Crawford is better. It really is all about her, and in this case, it’s not a detriment, for as mentioned above, her character is the picture. And to audiences, one can imagine the accompanying excitement — a moment of revelation! For in truth, Paid is the first time anyone ever saw this other “real actress” side of Crawford, and while polish will yield fruits both sweet and sour, the freshness of this new Joan Crawford, carefully crafted, but with utter finesses by Crawford herself, is a divine epiphany for all involved. As a result, Paid is highly recommended. It’s Crawford’s real screen debut.

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2 thoughts on “SPOTLIGHT: Juicy Pre-Code Crawford (I)

    • Hi, bobster427! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Agreed. Imperfections aside, I’ve always been drawn to Crawford — maybe because we share March 23rd as our birthdays!

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