Friday, September 30, 2016

Thirties Something

Films offensively shocking and dicey!
With a penchant for stockings quite spicy
Follow wastrels and brutes
And good taste down the chutes
'Til the censors make talkies play nicey.

Frank McHugh -- with the ladies, and Adrian Rosley -- in Fashions of 1934 (William Dieterle; 1934). From Pre-Code.Com: "(McHugh's) character of Snap is a pervert plain and simple, a cartoon looking to make it with any lady who crosses his path. One extended sequence is him simply being shown dirty pictures and he responds by laughing in that funny high pitched way."

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Red Dustup

One more tart in a skirt with a bust
Just a smart aleck flirt, lower crust
While you're tapping the rubber
You play sap and you snub her, 
Drag her heart through the dirt and the dust.

In Red Dust (Victor Fleming; 1932), Jean Harlow and Clark Gable spar on a rubber plantation.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Girls Just Want to Have Funds

Here's an ode to those ladies turned loose
And, ignobly, were paid to seduce
Who, in bedroom-set dramas
Played the reddest hot mamas
'Til the Code made these Sadies vamoose.

Joan Crawford as prostitute Sadie Thompson in Rain (Lewis Milestone; 1932).

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


The mariner feels such a booby
Though darn it, he's really no newbie
But his sweet Shanghai blossom
Proves a cheat, far from awesome
Sheer blarney, unreal, a fake Ruby.

David Cairns

Sailor James Cagney romances prostitute "Shanghai Lil", played by all-American Ruby Keeler: Footlight Parade (Lloyd Bacon, Busby Berkeley; 1933). Title by discombobulated Donald B. Benson.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Occidental Purist

He's sailing the Earth's seven seas
Assailing the birds and the bees
But broads who work ports
Are frauds, he reports,
"The frails in here sure ain't Chinese."

James Cagney and Ruby Keeler in Footlight Parade (Lloyd Bacon, Busby Berkeley; 1933). In the film's final musical number, “Shanghai Lil”, Keeler is in "yellowface" as Lil, one of the prostitutes working in a waterfront bar. Title by impurist Donald B. Benson.

Friday, September 23, 2016

"I Do" Or Die

If she let him, for free or for rent,
She's doomed even if she repent.
And she can't be his wife
When her man mates for life --
That's the "nice girl" who didn't consent.

Donald B. Benson

By the dictates of Hollywood morality, not only can prostitute Mae Clarke never marry soldier Douglass Montgomery, but she must also die. The wages of sin in Waterloo Bridge (James Whale; 1931).

Thursday, September 22, 2016

B. J. Hooker


Some broads in these stories were easy
Quite flawed, without moorings, and sleazy
When they ramped up the code
Such tramps hit the road
The bawdy made moralists queasy.

Mae Clarke and Doris Lloyd play prostitutes in Waterloo Bridge (James Whale; 1931).

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Working Girl Interrupted

Though she works, she can't draw on a pension
And the perks are too awful to mention
From the streets to the flops
All she meets are the cops
And those jerks of the law mean detention.

Barbara Stanwyck is one of the Ladies They Talk About (Howard Bretherton, William Keighley; 1933).

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Manhandle With Care

In the fight "Cagney versus Mae Clarke"
She might hurl a curse or remark
She'd nag and she'd glare
Then get dragged by her hair
His bite being worse than her bark.

James Cagney drags Mae Clarke out of bed and across the room -- by her hair: Lady Killer (Roy Del Ruth; 1933).

Monday, September 19, 2016

Public Enmity

Half-deranged, Cagney won't take no guff
He's no angel, he's prone to get rough
But when known dirty rats
Have him mown down with gats
For a change, he groans "I ain't so tough."

David Cairns

James Cagney in The Public Enemy (William A. Wellman; 1931).

Friday, September 16, 2016

On Golden Blonde

With plotlines more bracing than sappy,
Joan's hotties are aces and scrappy
Exposing her thighs
In hose she cracks wise,
Allotted lines racy and snappy.

Joan Blondell's gams are featured in the very first shot of Smarty (1934; Robert Florey); with Warren William.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Yankee Doodle Dainties

A fella who flails beneath dresses
Will dwell on a gal's bedroom messes
At tops you unhook
He stops for a look
To help turn his fails to successes.

James Cagney plays Lingerie Inspector in Blonde Crazy (Roy Del Ruth; 1931). Title by dainty Donald Benson.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Baths of Glory

When eyeing a dame in the tub,
A guy's always game for a rub
But censors say nyet!
To anything wet
Keep it dry, or film frames they will scrub.

James Cagney and Joan Blondell, having fun in Blonde Crazy (Roy Del Ruth; 1931). Title by bathist Donald B. Benson.