Following XENA: The Sins of Her Past (VI)

Welcome to another Xena Thursday! Today we’re concluding our last series of posts on this iconic action series, looking at particular themes/arcs/elements through a handful of accompanying installments. My hope is that this can be a resource, like so many of the other entries herefor those who are just beginning their adventure with Xena. So far we’ve looked at the best action episodes, the best offerings that feature Xena in an anti-heroic light, all of the episodes dealing with Callisto’s arc, the most important installments in Xena and Gabrielle’s relationship, and all of the stories involving the Twilight of the Olympian Gods. Today we’re looking at the outings that best deal with Xena’s past. Many of these feature flashbacks, but some involve information or characters that help audiences piece together who Xena was before the series started. Redemption was one of the show’s most overt themes (so this — far and away — our longest list), and a lot of the installments in today’s post deal with the motif directly. So for those who want to know more about Xena’s origins, these are the episodes (of both Xena and Hercules) to watch . . .

 

01. HTLJ – Season 1, Episode 9: “The Warrior Princess” (Aired: 03/13/95 | Filmed: 01/03 – 01/12/95)

The “perfect woman” is waiting for Iolaus. Unfortunately, she’s an evil, power-hungry warrior princess, who’s using him to get Hercules out of the way.

Written by John Schulian | Directed by Bruce Seth Green | Production No. 76608

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This episode is chosen, obviously, for introducing Xena, who’s evil and tries to kill Hercules. Check out my thoughts on this crossover here and here.

 

02. HTLJ – Season 1, Episode 12: “The Gauntlet” (Aired: 05/01/95 | Filmed: 01/13 – 01/20/95)

Warrior Princess Xena joins forces with Hercules when her troops turn on her under the command of the cruel and ruthless Darphus.

Written by Robert Bielak | Directed by Jack Perez | Production No. 76612

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Chosen for Xena’s transformation from evil to good, I featured this episode as #12 on my list of the 50 best Hercules episodes. Read my thoughts on this crossover here and here, and find out why it earned its ranking here.

 

03. HTLJ – Season 1, Episode 13: “Unchained Heart” (Aired: 05/08/95 | Filmed: 01/23 – 02/01/95)

Herc and Xena team up to stop the evil Darphus, the mortal lieutenant of Ares, the god of war who’s intent on ruling the world.

Written by John Schulian | Directed by Bruce Seth Green | Production No. 76613

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This episode is chosen for Xena’s decision to head out and fight evil on her own. Check out my thoughts on this crossover here and here.

 

04. Season 1, Episode 1: “Sins Of The Past” (Aired: 09/04/95 | Filmed: 06/26 – 07/05/95)

Xena journeys homeward determined to make amends for the sins of her past, but her efforts to begin a new life are challenged by the vengeful warlord Draco.

Story by Robert Tapert | Teleplay by R.J. Stewart | Directed by Doug Lefler | Production No. 876901

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Chosen for Xena’s desire to make amends with her mother and the people of Amphipolis, I featured this episode as #23 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

05. Season 1, Episode 3: “Dreamworker” (Aired: 09/18/95 | Filmed: 07/19 – 07/28/95)

When Gabrielle is kidnapped by a mystic, Xena enters an altered state of consciousness and must face ghosts from her past in order to rescue her friend.

Written by Steven L. Sears | Directed by Bruce Seth Green | Production No. 876905

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Chosen for Xena’s confrontation with her evil self in the Dreamscape, I featured this episode as #24 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

06. Season 1, Episode 5: “The Path Not Taken” (Aired: 10/02/95 | Filmed: 08/14 – 08/21/95)

Xena faces ghosts from the past when she visits one of her old haunts and ingratiates herself with murderous former “colleagues” in order to locate a kidnapped princess who is being hidden there.

Written by Julie Sherman | Directed by Stephen L. Posey | Production No. 876907

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Chosen for Xena’s ability to infiltrate her old haunts (and the introduction of Marcus), I featured this episode as one of the 18 honorable mentions that narrowly missed inclusion on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

07. Season 1, Episode 6: “The Reckoning” (Aired: 10/16/95 | Filmed: 09/14 – 09/22/95)

Ares frames Xena with the murder of four innocent villagers in the hope that she will return to him and rule by his side.

Written by Peter Allan Fields | Directed by Charles Siebert | Production No. 876908

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Chosen for the discovery that Xena was trained by Ares, I featured this episode as #37 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

08. Season 1, Episode 10: “Hooves And Harlots” (Aired: 11/20/95 | Filmed: 09/25 – 10/05/95)

Xena tries to prevent a war between the Amazons and the Centaurs, while Gabrielle finds herself chosen to replace an Amazon Princess who died in her arms.

Written by Steven L. Sears | Directed by Jace Alexander | Production No. 876911

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Chosen for the introduction of Xena’s history with the centaurs, I featured this episode as #20 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

09. Season 1, Episode 14: “A Fistful Of Dinars” (Aired: 01/29/96 | Filmed: 11/09 – 11/17/95)

Xena is drawn into a treacherous treasure hunt that forces her to team up with a desperate assassin and a ruthless warlord — who happens to be her former fiance.

Written by Steven L. Sears & R.J. Stewart | Directed by Josh Becker | Production No. 876918

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Chosen for the love triangle that develops with Xena’s ex-fiancé, I featured this episode as #50 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

10. Season 1, Episode 20: “Ties That Bind” (Aired: 04/29/96 | Filmed: 02/21 – 03/01/96)

Xena saves a mysterious warrior who later professes to be her estranged father. But the reunion is anything but happy, as a suspicious Xena tries to find out if the man’s claims are true.

Written by Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster | Directed by Charles Siebert | Production No. 876923

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Chosen for the exploration of the identity of Xena’s father, I featured this episode as #53 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

11. Season 1, Episode 22: “Callisto” (Aired: 05/13/96 | Filmed: 02/06 – 02/16/96)

Xena is once again reminded of the sins of her past when a malicious female warrior, whose family was killed by Xena’s former army, exacts her revenge on the Warrior Princess by impersonating her.

Written by R.J. Stewart | Directed by T.J. Scott | Production No. 876920

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Chosen for the introduction of Callisto, which forces Xena to examine some of her past crimes, I featured this episode as #3 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

12. Season 1, Episode 23: “Death Mask” (Aired: 06/03/96 | Filmed: 01/26 – 02/05/96)

After being reunited with her estranged older brother, Toris, Xena decides to join him in his plans to kill the raider who destroyed their village years before.

Written by Peter Allan Fields | Directed by Stewart Main | Production No. 876917

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Chosen for Xena’s confrontation with both her brother Toris and the warlord that raided her village and changed her life, I featured this episode as one of the 18 honorable mentions that narrowly missed inclusion on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

13. Season 2, Episode 1: “Orphan Of War” (Aired: 09/30/96 | Filmed: 05/29 – 06/07/96)

Xena comes to the aid of a community of centaurs menaced by a member of her former band, and upon her arrival is reunited with the young son whom she left in their care nine years earlier.

Written by Steven L. Sears | Directed by Charles Siebert | Production No. V0206

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Chosen for the revelation that Xena had a son that she gave up to the centaurs, I featured this episode as #42 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

14. Season 2, Episode 2: “Remember Nothing” (Aired: 10/07/96 | Filmed: 05/08 – 05/16/96)

The Three Fates offer Xena the opportunity to erase her past — including her younger brother’s untimely death — but only if she vows to never shed blood in anger again.

Story by Steven L. Sears & Chris Manheim | Teleplay by Chris Manheim | Directed by Anson Williams | Production No. V0201

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Chosen for Xena’s opportunity to see what life would be like if her brother didn’t die, I featured this episode as #30 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

15. Season 2, Episode 3: “The Giant Killer” (Aired: 10/14/96 | Filmed: 05/17 – 05/28/96)

Xena is caught behind a rock and a hard place when she’s pitted against her old friend Goliath in a battle between the Israelites and the Philistines.

Written by Terence Winter | Directed by Gary Jones | Production No. V0204

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This episode is chosen for Xena’s having to face off with her old friend, Goliath. Check out my thoughts on this episode, along with the opinions and recollections of the cast and crew here.

 

16. Season 2, Episode 4: “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” (Aired: 10/21/96 | Filmed: 04/25 – 05/07/96)

Xena is forced to take on the Bacchae — bloodthirsty minions of the wine god, Bacchus — in order to get their power-hungry leader and foil his plan to take over the world.

Written by Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster | Directed by T.J. Scott | Production No. V0202

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This episode is chosen for Xena’s relationship with Orpheus. Check out my thoughts on this episode, along with the opinions and recollections of the cast and crew here.

 

17. Season 2, Episode 12: “Destiny” (Aired: 01/27/97 | Filmed: 06/17 – 06/27/96)

A fierce battle with Sitacles and his men leaves Xena lying near death and dreaming of the past encounters that have shaped her into a warrior princess, including her adventures with Julius Caesar and her relationship with a mysterious girl.

Story by Robert Tapert | Teleplay by R.J. Stewart & Steven L. Sears | Directed by Robert Tapert | Production No. V0207

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Chosen for being the first flashback show and illustrating how an interaction with Caesar set Xena off on a path of destruction, I featured this episode as #22 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

18. Season 2, Episode 20: “The Price” (Aired: 04/28/97 | Filmed: 02/10 – 02/19/97)  

Xena reverts to her old ways to whip a dispirited Athenian army into shape to take on a horrific foe known as the Horde. But her ruthlessness appalls Gabrielle.

Written by Steven L. Sears | Directed by Oley Sassone | Production No. V0217

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Chosen for Xena’s history with the Horde and a return to her militaristic ways, I featured this episode as #9 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

19. Season 3, Episode 1: “The Furies” (Aired: 09/29/97 | Filmed: 03/28 – 04/08/97)  

At Ares’s prodding, the Furies curse Xena with madness for failing to avenge her father’s death. But lifting the curse may prove troublesome when she learns who the murderer was.

Written by R.J. Stewart | Directed by Gilbert Shilton | Production No. V0224

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Chosen for the further exploration of Xena’s paternity, I featured this episode as #36 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

20. Season 3, Episode 4: “The Deliverer” (Aired: 10/20/97 | Filmed: 05/27 – 06/05/97)

Xena, Gabrielle and the first priest of a monotheistic cult head for Britannia to battle their common enemy Caesar — who promptly captures Gabrielle.

Written by Steven L. Sears | Directed by Oley Sassone | Production No. V0403

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Chosen for Xena’s first interaction with her betrayer (Caesar) and one whom she betrayed (Boadicea), I featured this episode as #17 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

21. Season 3, Episode 6: “The Debt (I)” (Aired: 11/03/97 | Filmed: 07/16 – 07/25/97)

As Xena and Gabrielle travel toward the Eastern kingdom of Chin, Xena recalls a kidnapping episode from her dark past involving two rival Chin clans.

Story by Robert Tapert & R.J. Stewart | Teleplay by R.J. Stewart | Directed by Oley Sassone | Production No. V0406

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Chosen for the flashbacks of Xena’s evil exploits in Chin, I featured this two-part episode as numbers 5 & 6 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts on this episode (and the next) here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

22. Season 3, Episode 7: “The Debt (II)” (Aired: 11/10/97 | Filmed: 07/28 – 08/06/97)

Flashbacks recall Xena’s spiritual reawakening at the hands of her mentor. But in the present, the “Green Dragon” has captured Xena, and is breathing fire at her.

Story by Robert Tapert & R.J. Stewart | Teleplay by R.J. Stewart | Directed by Oley Sassone | Production No. V0407

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Chosen for the flashbacks of Xena’s opportunity to become good and serve with Lao Ma, I featured this two-part episode as numbers 5 & 6 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts on this episode (and the prior) here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

23. Season 3, Episode 18: “Fins, Femmes, And Gems” (Aired: 04/13/98 | Filmed: 01/26 – 02/04/98)

Aphrodite steals the “mystic diamond” that keeps the North Star lit and casts obsession spells on Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer to keep them from retrieving it.

Story by Rob Tapert and Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster | Teleplay by Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster | Directed by Josh Becker | Production No. V0418

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Chosen for Xena’s fond memories of childhood with Lyceus, I featured this episode as #46 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

24. Season 4, Episode 1: “Adventures In The Sin Trade (I)” (Aired: 09/28/98 | Filmed: 06/16 – 06/26/98)

Distraught with grief over the loss of Gabrielle, Xena travels to Siberia and the Amazon Land of the Dead to find her friend.

Story by Robert Tapert & R.J. Stewart | Teleplay by R.J. Stewart | Directed by T.J. Scott | Production No. V0607

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Chosen for the flashbacks of Xena’s time with Alti and the Siberian Amazons, I featured this episode as #35 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

25. Season 4, Episode 2: “Adventures In The Sin Trade (II)” (Aired: 10/05/98 | Filmed: 06/29 – 07/09/98)

Xena’s continuing search for Gabrielle in the Amazon Land of the Dead leads to a climatic battle with the evil shamaness Alti.

Story by Robert Tapert & R.J. Stewart | Teleplay by R.J. Stewart | Directed by T.J. Scott | Production No. V0608

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Chosen for the continued flashbacks of Xena’s time with Alti and the Siberian Amazons, I featured this episode as #38 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

26. Season 4, Episode 7: “Locked Up And Tied Down” (Aired: 11/09/98 | Filmed: 08/18 – 08/27/98)

Xena is sentenced to life in prison for a crime she committed in her dark past.

Story by Robert Tapert & Josh Becker | Teleplay by Hilary J. Bader | Directed by Rick Jacobson | Production No. V0614

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This episode is chosen for Xena’s decision to go to jail for a past crime. Check out my thoughts on this episode, along with the opinions and recollections of the cast and crew here.

 

27. Season 4, Episode 9: “Past Imperfect” (Aired: 01/04/99 | Filmed: 08/28 – 09/08/98)

Xena has a series of flashbacks in which she recalls military exploits from her evil past—which echo the strategies attackers are using on a town she’s defending.

Written by Steven L. Sears | Directed by Garth Maxwell | Production No. V0609

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Chosen for the flashbacks of the birth of Solan, I featured this episode as one of the 18 honorable mentions that narrowly missed inclusion on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

28. Season 4, Episode 11: “Daughter Of Pomira” (Aired: 01/18/99 | Filmed: 04/29 – 05/07/98)

Xena must come to grips with a past defeat when she ventures into the lair of the Horde to retrieve the daughter of one of her fighters from the old days.

Written by Linda McGibney | Directed by Patrick Norris | Production No. V0604

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This episode is chosen for Xena’s return to face the Horde, this time to do a favor for an old soldier in her army. Check out my thoughts on this episode, along with the opinions and recollections of the cast and crew here.

 

29. Season 6, Episode 2: “The Haunting Of Amphipolis” (Aired: 10/09/00 | Filmed: 05/31 – 06/09/00)

Xena is forced to battle Mephistopheles when she returns to Amphipolis with Gabrielle and Eve to find her home haunted by evil.

Story by Edithe Swensen and Joel Metzger | Teleplay by Joel Metzger | Directed by Garth Maxwell | Production No. V1401

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This episode is chosen for the brief flashback of what happened after Lyceus was killed. Check out my thoughts on this episode, along with the opinions and recollections of the cast and crew here.

 

30. Season 6, Episode 7: “The Rheingold” (Aired: 11/13/00 | Filmed: 07/10 – 07/18; 07/31 – 08/01/00)

Xena embarks on a deadly mission involving her dark past when the Norse warrior Beowulf approaches her for help.

Written by R.J. Stewart | Directed by John Fawcett | Production No. V1408

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This episode is chosen for the flashbacks of Xena’s time as a Valkyrie. Although not among my lists of either the best or the worst episodes, I dedicated a whole post to the Norse trilogy, which includes this installment and the preceding two. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

31. Season 6, Episode 8: “The Ring” (Aired: 11/20/00 | Filmed: 07/19 – 07/28/00)

Xena must battle a monster of her own making to recover the destructive Rheingold ring she forged in her days as an evil warrior.

Written by Joel Metzger | Directed by Rick Jacobson | Production No. V1409

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This episode is chosen for the continued flashbacks of Xena’s time as a Valkyrie. Although not among my lists of either the best or the worst episodes, I dedicated a whole post to the Norse trilogy, which includes this installment and the preceding two. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

32. Season 6, Episode 9: “Return Of The Valkyrie” (Aired: 11/27/00 | Filmed: 08/02 – 08/11/00)

Xena battles to regain her memory and reverse the curse of the Rheingold ring.

Written by Emily Skopov | Directed by John Fawcett | Production No. V1410

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This episode is chosen for Xena’s having to resolve the consequences made by the Rheingold. Although not among my lists of either the best or the worst episodes, I dedicated a whole post to the Norse trilogy, which includes this installment and the preceding two. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

33. Season 6, Episode 10: “Old Ares Had A Farm” (Aired: 01/15/01 | Filmed: 09/15 – 09/22/00)

To protect the mortal Ares from a gang of revenge-seeking warlords, Xena brings him to her childhood home and disguises him as a farmer.

Written by R.J. Stewart | Directed by Charles Siebert | Production No. V1414

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Chosen for Xena’s attempt to relive the simplicity of her youth, I featured this episode as #47 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

34. Season 6, Episode 17: “Last Of The Centaurs” (Aired: 04/30/01 | Filmed: 01/15 – 01/24/01)

A young centaur is being hunted down by Lord Belach, and Xena and Gabrielle must save him while preventing a war.

Written by Joel Metzger | Directed by Garth Maxwell | Production No. V1420

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Chosen for the flashbacks of Xena’s history with Borias and her confrontation with his son, I featured this episode as one of the eight worst of the entire series. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

35. Season 6, Episode 21: “A Friend In Need (I)” (Aired: 06/11/01 | Filmed: 03/08 – 03/19/01)

Summoned by a long-lost spiritual soulmate, Xena heads for Japan with Gabrielle on a daunting mission to save the city of Higuchi from destruction and make amends for her past.

Story by Robert Tapert & R.J. Stewart | Teleplay by R.J. Stewart | Directed by Robert Tapert | Production No. V1424

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Chosen for the flashbacks of Xena’s relationship with Akemi, I featured this episode as #45 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the two-part finale here.

 

36. Season 6, Episode 22: “A Friend In Need (II)” (Aired: 06/18/01 | Filmed: 03/20 – 03/30/01)

Xena and Gabrielle face the greatest threat they’ve ever known when they go up against the evil Yodoshi and an army of 20,000 elite Samurai warriors.

Story by Robert Tapert & R.J. Stewart | Teleplay by R.J. Stewart | Directed by Robert Tapert | Production No. V1425

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This episode is chosen for Xena’s desire to finally set things right for the souls she condemned. Check out my thoughts on this episode, along with the opinions and recollections of the cast and crew here.

 

 

Come back next week for our final Xena Thursday! And tune in tomorrow for another Joan Crawford Pre-Code Film Friday!

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